Best Online Project Management Certificate

by Doug Wintemute

Updated October 6, 2022

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Organizations everywhere seek managers who can lead teams and projects effectively. By earning project management certificates online, graduates can oversee large projects from start to finish and deliver successful results.

Earning a project management certificate or project management certification online can provide aspiring and experienced professionals the skills and credentials for sought-after management positions. This guide explores these credentials in more detail and ranks the best online project management certificate programs.

Project management training provides highly applicable leadership and communication skills or specialized training in agile, Scrum, and predictive management approaches. Students learn how managers plan, analyze, and adapt projects while considering risks and stakeholders' needs.

Both credentials demonstrate to employers that candidates understand effective project management and can help minimize failures to maximize organizational returns. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 5% growth in employment for management positions from 2019-2029, which is above the average employment growth rate for all occupations.

The Best Online Project Management Certificate Programs

#1 Best Online Project Management Certificate

Regis University

  • Denver, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online project management certificate at Regis University ranks high for students seeking online project management training. From its campus in Denver, the private institution offers certificate programs in 21 areas.

The project management program offers industry insights and career-focused training throughout its curriculum. Certificate-seekers prepare for the workforce by pursuing experiential learning opportunities. Flexible enrollment options allow learners to fit school into their schedule. The project management certificate program uses full-time and part-time schedules for distance learners. This flexibility helps working professionals and other busy students.

Distance learners can contact the financial aid office to learn more about eligibility for certificate programs. The school's funding options include scholarships, internal aid, and federal aid programs. With 99% of all enrollees receiving financial aid, the school boasts a 64% graduation rate.

Average Tuition
In-state
$37,830
Out-of-state
$37,830
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
6,908
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Best Online Project Management Certificate

Champlain College

  • Burlington, VT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online project management certificate at Champlain College offers a flexible route to project management career training. Learners enroll in 19 certificate programs offered from the Burlington, Vermont, campus of the private institution.

With career-focused classes, the project management program covers core topics while also offering insights into professional roles and responsibilities. Certificate-seekers participate in experiential learning opportunities to gain relevant skills for their career path. Enrollees can choose classes based on their schedule and needs. The online project management program offers full-time and part-time tracks. This flexibility makes it easier for busy students to balance school with work or other responsibilities.

Learners can reach out to the financial aid office to learn more about eligibility for assistance. Qualifying students can cover the cost of their certificate program with funding sources like the Pell Grant. According to the school, 100% of the student body receives financial aid and 65% graduate within six years.

Average Tuition
In-state
$41,728
Out-of-state
$41,728
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
4,385
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#3 Best Online Project Management Certificate

City University of Seattle

  • Seattle, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

City University of Seattle’s online certificate in project management is an attractive option for students seeking flexible training relevant to the project management field. The private institution, located in Washington offers four certificate programs.

The project management program delivers industry insights and career-focused training throughout its curriculum. Certificate-seekers can also participate in experiential learning opportunities focused on their career goals. Enrollees choose classes based on their schedule, needs, and career aspirations. The online graduate-level project management certificate program provides full-time and part-time enrollment options. Busy students can balance school with work and other responsibilities thanks to this flexibility.

When preparing for educational costs, learners should consult with the financial aid office to determine their eligibility for assistance. Qualifying students can cover the cost of their certificate program with funding sources like the Pell Grant.

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,120
Out-of-state
$13,120
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,960
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#4 Best Online Project Management Certificate

Central New Mexico Community College

  • Albuquerque, NM
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

The online project management certificate at Central New Mexico Community College provides project management training in a flexible format. Learners enroll in 127 certificate programs offered from the Albuquerque campus of the public institution.

The project management program emphasizes industry-specific knowledge and professional insights throughout the curriculum. Certificate-seekers can also pursue experiential learning opportunities to gain career training while in the program. Flexible enrollment options help learners make progress toward their certificate. The online project management certificate program enrolls students full time and part time. Busy students can balance school with work and other responsibilities thanks to this flexibility.

The financial aid office helps learners identify funding sources for certificate programs. The school's funding options include scholarships, internal aid, and federal aid programs. With 83% of all enrollees receiving financial aid, the school boasts a 29% graduation rate.

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,344
Out-of-state
$7,104
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
23,096
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Best Online Project Management Certificate

Inver Hills Community College

  • Inver Grove Heights, MN
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

The online certificate in project management at Inver Hills Community College appeals to students seeking career training in a flexible format. Learners benefit from 25 certificate options offered by the public institution, located in Inver Grove Heights.

The project management program offers industry-tailored classes that help participants deepen their knowledge of the field while gaining industry insights. Certificate-seekers work with faculty members to customize their course of study and gain hands-on training related to their career goals. Enrollees can adapt the program based on their unique needs and schedule. The online project management certificate program offers tracks for full-time and part-time students. Working professionals and busy students benefit from the flexible options.

Distance learners can contact the financial aid office to learn more about eligibility for certificate programs. The school offers several internal and external funding opportunities, including scholarships and federal loans. According to the school, 68% of enrollees receive financial aid, and the graduation rate is 26%.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,913
Out-of-state
$4,913
Retention Rate
55%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,192
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
Best Online Certificate

Online Project Management Certificate Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%

Affordability - 15%

Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Featured Online Project Management Certificate Programs

What Is an Online Project Management Certificate Program?

Project management certificate online programs can vary considerably in scope and structure, but most feature 5-10 classes and run for 3-12 months. The training develops fundamental project management abilities for entry-level professionals or individuals looking to expand their skills and qualifications. Some certificates help more experienced professionals prepare to pursue project management certifications online.

The best online project management certificate programs provide students with practical skills, such as project scoping and planning, resource management, budgeting, and making accurate projections. Some colleges and universities allow learners to pursue certificates within degrees or earn transfer credits for a degree. According to Education Data, the average college course costs $396 per credit hour.

What to Expect From a Project Management Certificate Online

Students pursuing project management certificates online will encounter each school's unique curriculum, but the following list highlights some of the more common classes. These courses cover the project management foundations that most leaders possess. Course titles and descriptions may vary.

Project Management Certificate Courses

  • Assessing project risk
  • Project leadership
  • Planning and scheduling
  • Project communications
  • Cost and procurement

What Is an Online Project Management Certification?

A project management certification online helps industries and employers standardize specific skills and training. These credentials demonstrate to employers that the credentialled applicant possesses the leadership, technical, and business skills to lead projects according to industry standards.

Some popular certifications include certified associate in project management, certified Scrum master, and project management professional (PMP) through the Project Management Institute (PMI). Earning a project management certification online can provide individuals with better leadership opportunities in industries like information technology and engineering.

Certification-holders can also earn higher salaries. According to a PMI survey, 70% of professionals with the PMP credential received a wage increase within 12 months.

How to Get an Online Project Management Certification

While every project management certification online maintains specific requirements and prerequisites, all PMI certifications feature an examination that candidates must pass to earn the credential.

To qualify for the exam, professionals usually need a combination of education and experience, such as a bachelor's degree and a combined three years of specific project management experience.

Many certifications also require project management training, which can come from earning degrees or project management certificates online. The PMP exam allows for up to 230 minutes to complete 180 questions. The average candidate takes 35 hours to prepare for this exam. Most certifications last three years and require continuing education credits for renewal.

Online Project Management Certification Costs

Project management certification costs depend on the credential and organization. Certification examinations typically cost $400-$600. Certification organization members may benefit from discounted prices.

Many organizations offer certification preparation courses. Aspiring certification-holders may find free certification preparation programs, but most apply a fee.

Should I Get a Project Management Certificate Online or Project Management Certification Online?

Unlike earning a project management certificate online through a college or university, industry organizations confer project management certifications online. Certificates provide training similar to condensed degrees, while certifications recognize professionals who have met specific industry standards.

While certificate programs offer plenty of benefits, they may not appeal to all professionals equally. The following information outlines some of the pros and cons of certificates and certifications.

Project Management Certificate

Pros

  • Qualifies for entry-level positions
  • Leads to advancement opportunities
  • Can be earned while pursuing a degree

Cons

  • May not provide enough education for your ideal career
  • Can be costly for some
  • Can be time-consuming

Project Management Certification

Pros

  • Better job opportunities
  • Certifies you as an experienced leader
  • Leads to higher salaries

Cons

  • Requires significant training and experience
  • Can be costly for some
  • Requires continuing education

What Can You Do With a Project Management Certificate or Certification?

Certificates and certifications qualify professionals for better positions, more leadership opportunities, and new industries. According to a PMI survey, PMP certification-holders see their salaries increase by an average of 23% after certification. The information below includes the median annual salary for project managers, along with the highest-paying states for professionals in this field.

Highest Paying States for Annual Mean Salary (May 2020)
State Mean Salary
D.C. $105,730
Maryland $99,170
Virginia $97,570
New York $97,340
Massachusetts $96,960
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

After earning a project management certificate or project management certification online, graduates can enter many promising careers. Below, readers can find examples of some of the professional options available to graduates, along with their associated median annual salaries and projected growth figures.

The example careers may require different levels of experience and education, so candidates should research their local industries for more specific eligibility information.

Project Management Career Outlook Across Industries
Career 2020 Median Annual Salary 2019-2029 Projected Job Growth
Computer and Information Systems Managers $151,150 10%
Architectural and Engineering Managers $149,530 3%
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $141,490 6%
Financial Managers $134,180 15%
Sales Managers $132,290 4%
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers $118,430 9%
Industrial Production Managers $108,790 1%
Top Executives $107,680 4%
Medical and Health Services Managers $104,280 32%
Administrative Services and Facilities Managers $98,890 6%
Construction Managers $97,180 8%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Project Management Organizations

Professional project management organizations provide great benefits for members in all stages of their careers. New graduates can access job boards and mentorship resources, while experienced professionals can explore career development and networking options. These organizations may provide memberships based on geography or specializations.

Some organizations provide access to project management certifications online. Below are some of the most significant project management organizations.

Common Questions About Project Management Certificate Programs

How Do You Become a Certified Project Manager?

Certified project managers need to pass an examination with a credential-providing organization like PMI. A project management certification typically requires both education and experience to qualify for the exam.

Can I Get a PMP Without Experience?

The PMP certification requires a minimum of three years of project management experience. A candidate with only a high school diploma or an associate degree needs five years of experience.

How Much Does a Project Manager Certification Cost?

Most project management certifications online cost $400-$600, though candidates with specific organization memberships may receive discounts.

How Much Does the PMP Exam Cost?

The PMP examination costs $405 for PMI members and $555 for non-members. The cost to retake the test is $275 for members and $375 for non-members.

Is a Project Management Certificate Worth It?

The best online project management certificate programs can lead to entry-level roles for new graduates or help experienced professionals advance their careers. Additionally, the training can make leaders more effective and more useful to their organizations.

Portrait of Doug Wintemute

Doug Wintemute

Doug Wintemute is a Toronto-based freelance writer with professional writing interests in higher learning and entertainment. He completed his BA and MA in English at York University, graduating summa cum laude and earning academic merit, research, and writing awards at both levels. Since 2014, he has contributed content and editorial work for award-winning digital trade publications, global SEO copywriting projects, and hugely popular online brands. He can be contacted through LinkedIn.

Header Image Credit: PeopleImages | Getty Images

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