If you're looking to work your way up the ladder in your current position, or if you want to do something new altogether, opting to become a project manager is a solid decision. All types of industries, from tech companies to construction businesses, require project managers to help them create plans, organize teams and execute strategies. While many companies provide on-the-job training for their project managers, it always helps to have a leg up in the workforce. If you're interested in managing projects for a business, consider becoming certified. Read on to learn about some of the best online courses for project management certification.
What Is Project Management?
In its simplest form, project management is exactly what it sounds like: managing a project. Of course, if you want to go into project management as a profession, it's a bit more complicated. There are several core components to the job, although they may vary slightly depending on the type of company you work for. Overall, your responsibilities will be the same for any project at any company. You'll be in charge of planning, budgeting and overseeing the entire project, including providing all relevant documentation to your superiors, co-managers and subordinates.
Most companies want their project managers to have specialized training as well, although the amount of training depends on the field you work in. In most cases, you will need a bachelor's degree in the area, while some technical industries will require a master's degree or higher. Even if you already have a degree, it is important to consider earning certification as a project management professional. The certification may give you an edge over other candidates for the job.
How We Chose Our Ratings
Accuracy is of utmost importance in every review we post, so we looked at several factors to determine which courses made our list. In addition to looking at the course' syllabus, we considered the reputation of the school or website providing the class and whether the classes would prepare you for the project management certification exam. We also thought about the price of the classes, whether they offered any guarantees and how former students liked taking the courses.
Top 13 Best Online Courses for Project Management Certification
Alison is a free website that provides online courses, including one that offers a diploma in project management. The course offers a full overview of the job and teaches methodology and tool sets as well as planning, design, analysis and evaluation. This is a good course for beginners. It takes just a few hours to complete and includes a review test at the end of the course. Although you can take the course free of charge, receiving the official diploma does require a small fee, which varies depending on the options you choose. We give this diploma program 5 stars for pricing and availability.
2. Master of Project Academy
Master of Project Academy features a full list of courses that are easy to access and includes a bundle for all classes. The All Courses Bundle features 27 different online project management courses, including PMP certification training, Microsoft Project training, CAPM certification training and many more. The training bundle includes access to all PMP courses, including more than 300 lectures and 1,100 sample certification questions. Pricing is available monthly or annually, or you can choose to purchase lifetime access for just over $400. The price and number of materials are well worth 5 stars.
3. The PM PrepCast
Taught by Cornelius Fichtner of OSP International, the PM PrepCast features 140 video lessons that cover the PMP syllabus plus some. The course has created plenty of success stories and is a low-cost choice for many people. It also counts toward the PMP study requirement of 35 hours. The goal is to get you up to speed quickly and provide a way for you to prove your learning when you take the PMP exam. This course is best for people who want an online option that works well on a mobile device and offers short lessons that they can learn at their own pace. Versatility earns the PM PrepCast 5 stars.
4. Latitude U
A class with a duration of less than three hours, the Effective Project Management course at Latitude U is perfect for the person on the go. The course starts by introducing the four phases of project management. Then it will advance to include more detailed information about the management of time, budget and risks, resources and scope. The course teaches students how to meet deadlines and create a well integrated project, while managing these important factors. It uses slide examples, practice situations and feedback to teach and there is no expiration date on registration.
BrainSensei offers online PMP certification exam preparation. The course teaches you all the topics you need to know for the PMP exam in a comprehensive, self-paced environment. Each of the six modules includes self-assessment quizzes. There are more than 900 practice exam questions to help you prepare for the final review. The website is integrated with a lot of learning tools with a 100 percent exam pass guarantee. The courses are uniquely structured told through animated stories with feudal Japan as a backdrop, making them more interesting than many course options. Although BrainSensei charges for its program, it is reasonable at $65, plus free trials are available in some course package. The uniqueness of this program earns it 4 stars.
6. Capella University
Another popular online college, Capella University offers a Bachelor of Science in Project Management for Business that is accredited by the ACBSP, PMI and GAC. The concentration includes coursework on strategic planning, performance assessment techniques, and synthesizing and controls. Capella is a traditional college and costs several hundred dollars per credit hour. However, unlike some of the courses included in this article, courses are eligible for scholarships, grants and other sources of financial aid. This comprehensive program earns 4 stars.
7. Bryant University
A small, private university in Rhode Island, Bryant University focuses on business, finance and accounting programs, including its online project management certification program. This college has an incredible reputation and has had features in publications like the Princeton Review and the U.S. News & World Report. It is important to note that this program has specific dates, so if you need to start immediately, it probably won't suit you. In addition, since it is through a private brick and mortar college, even online courses cost nearly $3,000. However, they are also eligible for scholarships, grants and other financial aid sources. The program is a solid one and earns 4 stars.
Simplilearn offers a variety of project management courses, including an introductory course and many for people who plan to take the certification exam. Also available is a Project Management Expert bundle, which includes six courses and a software course. An instructor leads some classes, and others offer a self-paced learning environment. The instructional model are an excellent choice for people who prefer to learn in a group classroom format. The course package costs nearly $1,200, which gives you access to an online class and three years' access to self-paced learning. The price is well worth a 4-star rating.
Like Alison, Coursera provides its online classes for free, but you'll need to pay if you want to receive an official certificate of completion. The website offers a specialization in project management. You can choose the courses you're interested in, such as managing project risks or budgeting and scheduling projects. Certification is only available for those who complete the entire program. However, you can take the first three classes for free to see how you like it, and if you decide to continue, the full course is less than $200, which is much cheaper than some options. The University of California-Irvine hosts this course and requires up to four hours of time per week for each four-week course. Coursera earns 3.8 stars because the coursework is comprehensive, but the price is not as affordable as some other online programs.
10. Ashford University
A popular online school, Ashford University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Project Management. The IACBE-accredited program teaches you to plan, oversee, document and execute a project. The degree is earned one course at a time, and each class takes five weeks to complete. Students who were able to complete the program learned how to apply proven project management principles to real life business situations, use best practices, understand successful management strategies, evaluate risk in a project, examine and apply ethics to projects, and use technology solutions to integrate dynamic business data. Although the program boasts of its high quality material, Ashford has had some issues in the past. We recommend researching carefully but keeping an open mind, which earns this program 3 stars.
11. Oxford Home Study College
Based in the United Kingdom, Oxford Home Study College is a leader in distance learning courses. Its project management course takes around 80 hours to complete and includes an introduction to project management. The student would take the role of a manager and act as champion for the life cycle of a project. When you complete the course, you'll receive a college-issued certificate in your email. Although the course costs about $300 British pounds, you'll receive a discount if you pay upfront. You can also choose to pay slightly more but make monthly payments. The biggest pros of this course are that it is totally comprehensive and provides a certificate without charging an additional fee, earning it 3 stars.
12. Colorado State University
Although traditionally a brick and mortar school, Colorado State offers several online courses, including one that you can take advantage to obtain an online project management certificate. The 16-week course prepares you for the PMP exam. Although it is pricey about $3,400, you may be eligible for some funding through the Colorado Workforce Development Center. The online format is convenient and prepares you to manage projects in a variety of fields that range from architecture to telecommunications. Colorado State University is a solid school, but the price is pretty steep for a course that only lasts four months, so we give the program 3 stars overall.
Cybrary offers an online project management professional training course that takes about six hours to complete and teaches you the basics of project management. It also covers how to analyze risk, how to develop budgets and schedules and how to monitor project contracts. The in-depth course helps to prepare you for the PMP certification exam in the form of self-paced videos and practice exams.
Additional resources are available as well, including the "Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge." Be warned that navigating the site for information before signing up is somewhat difficult and you'll receive a prompt to sign up that feels practically impossible to click out of. Even so, the courses are free and offer certificates. We'll give this program 3 stars, but it would earn more if it weren’t so aggressive in trying to get people to create an account.
When deciding which project management certification course is right for you, you must consider several factors.
- Self-paced vs. Instructor Training: Do you prefer to learn at your own pace, or would you like to learn from an actual instructor?
- Time constraints: If you have a busy schedule, you'll likely want to choose a self-paced class or one that is a few weeks long or shorter. If your schedule is open, you can commit more time to instructor-based learning or longer courses.
- Resources: What type of resources do you want available to you? Do you want text-based resources, videos or a combination of both?
- Type of certificate: Some online courses only offer a completion certificate, but others are part of a larger degree program.
- Price: Of course, price will be a determining factor as well. There are plenty of classes, but most won't provide a certificate of completion unless you pay a fee. Even so, the cost is often much more affordable than taking a traditional college course.
The Final Review
As you can see, when it comes to project management certification, there are choices for everyone. Whether you want to learn on your own, take scheduled classes or do a combination of the two, the internet offers a wealth of information to help you get started.