Project managers can keep their PM skills and job prospects sharp with certifications to boost their expertise.

Project managers that combine certification with a specialized project management degree may have even more opportunities. While PM jobs have grown by 425% in the past eight years, PM jobs requiring a graduate or professional degree have grown at a rate of 525%.

Here’s a list of the top seven project management certifications, based on salary, and examples of online degree programs to complement them.

7. CompTIA Project+

Average salary: $80,000

This vendor-neutral certification concentrates on developing skills in communication and business in order to lead and complete projects in a timely manner, within budget, and with confidence.

The CompTIA Project+ is open to IT and non-IT professionals, as it’s designed for anyone wanting to add project management experience. Professionals with at least a year of small- to mid-sized project management experience in a leadership role are a good fit to sit for this exam.

Degree to prepare you

6. Certified Project Manager (IAPM)

Average salary: $84,798

The IAPM certification is a mid-level credential offered by the International Association of Project Managers. It’s recognized globally and focuses on developing well-rounded project managers with skills including communications, finance, IT, marketing, HR, and more.

The IAPM prepares professionals for leadership in the global business community and sits somewhere between the Master Project Manager (MPM) and Project Management Professional (PMP) certifications in terms of experience and hours.

Degree to prepare you

Take a look at career options in IT project management and career paths in business project management.

5. Master Project Manager (MPM)®

Average salary: $85,221

The MPM certification is offered by the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM). The AAPM focuses on project management, similar to the Project Management Institute (PMI), but also includes business and technical management skills.

The MPM does require 3 or more years of project management experience in addition to required education; however, it is less expensive than the PMP.

Degree to prepare you

4. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)®

Average salary: $87,562

The CSM is offered by Scrum Alliance, and geared toward project managers looking to lead teams that utilize Scrum, an agile framework for completing complex projects. The CSM is an entry-level certification that demonstrates a working knowledge of Scrum principles and methods.

Degree to prepare you

3. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®

Average salary: $101,103

Similar to the Project Management Professional (PMP)®, the CAPM certification is administered and backed by the Project Management Institute (PMI). This certification is considered an entry-level option for project managers and the first step for professionals looking to receive their PMP. It recognizes that professionals have the fundamental skills and knowledge of an effective project manager.

Degree to prepare you

2. Project Management Professional (PMP)®

Average salary: $110,000

Accredited by PMI, the PMP certification is often considered one of the most prestigious project management certifications and desired by many employers seeking highly-skilled management professionals. This credential demonstrates an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of project management, including time, budget and scope, as well as strategic planning, risk management, and communication.

Degree to take your certification to the next level

1. Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®

Average salary: $123,000

As PMI’s fastest-growing certification, an Agile Certified Practitioner is a diversified certification that covers many aspects of agile including Kanaban, Lean, Scrum, extreme programming, and test-driven development. This certification is for those who work on agile teams or whose companies are moving to agile principles.

Pre-requisites for the exam include 2,000 hours of general project experience, 21 contact hours of agile practice training, and 1,500 hours working on agile project teams (or methodologies).

Degree to prepare you

Capella offers credit for prior learning gained through work experience, continuing education, and over 100 certifications, including the CAPM® and PMP®.

The following specializations* have been accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI®) Global Accreditation Center for Project Management (PMI-GAC)


*The FlexPath format for the Project Management specializations is not accredited by Project Management Institute (PMI®) Global Accreditation Center for Project Management (PMI-GAC).