What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Project Manager?

The role of a project manager can be a very rewarding experience. They are responsible for every facet of a project, from parceling out tasks to picking materials. A project manager should be multi-talented when leading their team and have both hard and soft skills. 

Depending on the employer, the necessary project manager qualifications may differ. Are you interested in entering the project management field? Are you currently a project manager ready to take your professional career to the next level? Read on to learn what qualifications you need to succeed and how to earn them.

Enroll today for the PMP Certification Training Course and get qualified for the role of a project manager.

What Does “Qualified” Mean? 

According to Jennifer Bridges, PMP, the meaning behind project manager qualifications can change depending on the business and the role they’re hiring for. Essentially, a project manager who’s qualified has the temperament, skills, and experience needed for the position. Typical requirements generally include at least three years of experience in a related role, the ability to communicate, formal training, and a PMP certification. Certification can be acquired through a professional association, a university or college, or through a specially focused online learning program.

Do You Have a Project Manager Personality?

While not necessarily a hard and fast qualification, having a personality that fits the role is ideal. A few personality traits include empathy, modesty, authority, pragmatism, foresight, organization, and client-orientation. Make sure you’re suited for this line of work before you spend time and money becoming certified. 

There are four essential project manager qualifications that you need to succeed: 

1. Essential Skills

Project management skills are an obvious must and include being able to manage four core things that are critical to the success of a project: quality, scope, cost, and time. Business skills are often another requirement. This includes being able to comprehend project financials, profit and loss, and the ability to create and adhere to a project budget. Furthermore, learning to lead is essential. Communicating clearly (face-to-face and in writing) and resolving conflicts are just some of the particularly useful leadership skills. Finally, team-building skills are great to have, since a project manager doesn’t only guide a project—they’re responsible for their team. Motivating the team to communicate and collaborate, and boosting their morale, are tasks a project manager will likely find themselves doing.

2. Formal and Informal Training

It isn’t surprising that a business would choose the most experienced and educated team members to lead their projects, or that a recruiter would seek applicants based on these distinctions. 

Most project managers find themselves going down one of two paths on their journey toward becoming qualified. Whether you’re attending a university or college and getting a degree, or enrolling in a certification course, a structured and traditional course of study may be an option for you. 

On the other hand, some businesses have internal programs that help you move into project management, or provide shadowing and mentoring opportunities. Volunteering to gain experience is also an option. 

3. Valuable Experience

Like any discipline, if you’re new to project management, it can be challenging to break into the field if you’re not sure where to begin. 

According to Bridges, there are four convenient areas to start:

  • Volunteering inside and outside of your place of employment
  • Applying for internships that may or may not lead to full-time work
  • Participating in a co-op program
  • Applying for entry-level or advanced-level positions

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4. Project Management Certification

A few ways to get certified include: 

  • PM/BA

    Earning a degree or certification from a formal undergraduate and graduate education program.
  • PMP (Project Management Professional) 

    Provided by the Project Management Institute (PMI), this is an internationally recognized certification. 
  • Agile/Scrum 

    Get trained and certified by organizations, like the Scrum Alliance. 

A project management certification, especially a PMP, can be a great career move, but it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before diving in. 

According to Derek Singleton, Product Manager for Internal Applications at Software Advice, if you already know you want to pursue a career in project management seriously, a PMP certification is for you. You also need to have professional experience in managing projects. 

Why Should You Pursue PMP Certification? 

For starters, having a PMP certification as a credential makes you more appealing to employers and recruiters. As Kevin Archbold, Consulting Manager at Key Consulting, says, “many recruiters divide their resumes into two piles: those with PMP certifications and those without.” This especially applies to highly regulated industries, like pharmaceuticals and finance, because it showcases the capacity to follow strictly-defined processes.

With a PMP certification, you’ll likely earn a higher salary than those without one. According to PMI’s Earning Power: Project Management salary survey, project managers in the United States with a PMP certification earned a median salary of $111,000, while project managers without the credential earned a median salary of $91,000.

A PMP certification also helps you learn to speak in a clear, universal, and standard format, following a set of best practices that peers and executives will understand. 

Finally, there’s a high demand for project managers. PMI projects that 15.7 million project management positions will be available to fill the year 2020, so it might be a good idea to take advantage of this opportunity by acquiring your PMP certification.   

Do you have the qualifications of a Project Manager? Try answering these PMP practice test questions and find out now.

Earn Project Manager Qualifications Today 

Ready to dive in? Simplilearn provides a PMP Certification Training Course that can significantly increase your skills, value, and potential professional opportunities. With this course, you’ll learn how to use the latest project management tools and techniques, and how to deliver a project on budget, on scope, and on time. You’ll also develop leadership and people skills, and obtain the 35 education hours required to take the PMP certification exam.

Whether you're an aspiring project manager, a software developer, a team leader, or a seasoned project manager, a PMP certification is an essential professional requirement.

About the Author


Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.