14 best project management courses and professional certifications
The project management industry is pivotal in sustaining the global economy. With a growing number of projects globally, the demand for competent people managers is on the rise. PM offers interesting career opportunities if you have the right qualification.
This review is for people who want to get their project management qualifications online. We cover some of the best project management courses online and also provide guidance to help you choose the one that is best for you.
Project Management Courses – An Overview
Project Management is not limited to a single definition. It is such a vast and innovative field that it keeps on evolving continually. The Project Management Institute PMI gives a very broad definition: “Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.”
This definition shows that PM is more than just a body of knowledge. It incorporates everything from learning of theory to using technology to human engineering.
Managing resources – Project managers are highly skilled people whose sole job is to minimize the wastage of resources in a project, which is not an option in today’s competitive world. To put things into perspective, PMI 2017 reported that companies that invested in project management initiatives tended to waste 28 times less money.
Scope of duties – A typical project manager has to single-handedly oversee these principal activities: Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Controlling, Closing. Being an expert in all of these is not an easy job. It requires mastery of skills such as time management, communication, leadership, creativity among others.
Regulations – Since PM is such a crucial job in the modern context, this profession is highly regulated and standardized. It has a wide array of sub-fields and professional certifications, as well as a multitude of training options.
List of courses – Below, we suggest some of the best project management courses and training options online. If you aim to become a project manager or are already working as one, these courses from various providers will help get you started or further improve.
Best Project Management Courses 2021 – Beginners
|PM Foundations||Fundamentals of Project Planning||Introduction to Project Management||Agile Crash Course|
|$17.99/month||Free. Certificate Fee.||Free. Certificate.||from $11.99|
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1. PM Foundations – LinkedIn
We would like to start with a beginner-level course that can help you kickstart a career in project management.
The ‘PM Foundations’ course is designed to help learners understand what project management entails and how a regular workday is for a professional. It is comprised of 9 chapters, each one dealing with a specific phase of a typical project i.e. initiation, planning, execution, closure, etc.
You will be able to test your knowledge via chapter-end quizzes and challenges that encourage you to apply what you have learned to real-life situations. A final exam will earn you a certificate and valuable credits for NASBA and PMI.
A distinctive feature is that it has a special chapter on Agile Project Management. Those interested in going down that path might find this course helpful.
One last thing to add is that LinkedIn Learning is a platform used by many serious-minded, experienced professionals from the LinkedIn community. Sharing a digital classroom and discussion forum with them can prove lucrative for you learning-wise.
2. Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management – Coursera
This is a beginner level project management course offered by the University of Virginia. It is a beneficial learning opportunity for those seeking insight into the modern PM world.
The instructor starts with an introduction to PM and walks you through its rudimentary concepts, such as what is the project life cycle or the critical path of a project.
Towards the end, specialized concepts such as the earned value approach and latest software solutions are touched upon, which are a selling point for this course according to many reviewers. It boasts a 4.7-star rating on Coursera.
Apart from video lectures, the course directs you towards insightful reading material and also has a bunch of quizzes. If you complete this course, you earn 12 PDUs for PMI, which can help you maintain your certification status.
3. Introduction to Project Management – edX
The next suggestion in our list is another elementary level project management course by academics from The University of Adelaide.
The ‘Introduction to Project Management’ course is quite similar to our previous suggestions in terms of curriculum design. It relays the core knowledge and principles of PM to learners, starting from the very baseline.
What distinguishes it from many beginner level project management courses out there is its focus on developing the learners’ personal qualities and soft skills. If you are looking for something that goes beyond book knowledge and guides you on what practical traits you need to work on, this is the course for you.
An advantage of edX is that the course content is available for free; you can purchase a verified certificate upon completion but it is optional. Therefore, it is an attractive package for students and young professionals looking to boost their career prospects in this industry.
Provider: University of Adelaide. edX
Level: Introductory. | Instructors: Frank Shultmann and others
Course Content: 6 weeks.
Pricing: Free. Certificate $199
4. Essentials of Project Management for the Non-Project Manager – AMA
The American Management Association (AMA) is an education-driven organization that offers a variety of training material in project management. The course content is the same as an introductory project management course: project life cycle, technical jargon, professional tools, soft skills, etc.
A salient feature of this course is that it is specially curated for people who are already a part of a PM team but not in a leading role. It is perfect for entry-level professionals who want to prove their mettle as a useful team resource and climb up the ladder to become a project manager. It covers topics like the SMART criteria and Work Breakdown Structure.
A major advantage of taking this course is that it is offered as a live online session where you can directly interact with your instructor and course mates, just like in a real classroom.
Provider: American Management Association AMA
Level: Beginners. | Instructors: AMA teachers
Course: 4 lessons online. 2 days in-person.
Pricing: $1,995 AMA Members
5. Diploma in Project Management – Alison
Alison is a free e-learning platform that offers great opportunities for professional development. Its Diploma courses are designed as a complete package for learners who seek wholesome knowledge of a subject rather than a specific portion of it.
Consequently, the Diploma is a truly comprehensive beginner’s guide to project management. Starting from a general intro to project planning, it goes on to discuss core PM topics: methodology, toolset, documentation, and project life cycle, over 27 modules.
It ends with an in-depth case study that bolsters all concepts in one’s mind and exhibits its practical implementation. You need to pass the final assessment to complete the diploma. Interested candidates can also purchase their Alison diploma upon completion.
Overall, we believe online project management courses encompassing all these topics are rare and this class is certainly a good stepping stone for beginners.
Level: Beginners. | Instructors: n.a.
Course: 6-10 hours. Assessment included.
Pricing: Free. Certificate available,.
6. Scrum: The Basics – LinkedIn
Our next suggestion is slightly different from the aforementioned traditional project management courses. Scrum is a PM framework that has rapidly gained popularity as an agile project management tool.
The course is centered on this trending methodology. It provides a quick round-up on what Scrum is and how it stemmed from the Agile movement in the PM world, what thinking styles and ideological principles it is based on, and how it is implemented as a team.
Video lectures are backed by chapter-end quizzes. Completing this short course will earn you 1 PDU/Contact Hour for PMI. Taking this project management course can help you explore this paradigm of PM and open up chances for careers in software development, research, business analysis, etc.
7. Agile Crash Course – Udemy
Agile is one of the latest and most effective contemporary project management approaches. It is a feedback-based methodology focused on maximizing quality and output through the optimal use of human creativity.
This Udemy course provides a solid foundation for Agile and is designed for beginners. It starts with an overview of Agile, then dives into its constituents such as the Agile team and tools where it discusses innovations like the Kanban board.
A notable aspect of this course is that it attempts to explain the universality of Agile as a PM framework by discussing how it is not limited to software development and IT. There is a final exam at the end. In between the course, there are optional activities like an Agile project and learning games that can enhance your learning experience.
The ‘Agile Crash Course’ can lead to employment opportunities in modernistic PM environments like software development and business analysis.
Level: Beginners. | Instructors: Mauricio Rubio
Course Content: 23 lectures. 3 hours of video.
Pricing: from $11.99
8. Project Management Principles – Specialization – Coursera
Next up on our list is a Coursera specialization. Specializations are a number of related courses sequentially clustered together so the learner has a clear path to follow.
This course is meant for PM beginners with a general interest in this field. It is composed of 4 different project management courses that teach key concepts such as project initiation, planning, scheduling, budgeting, and risk management.
The first 3 project management courses are taught via videos/reading assignments/quizzes and focus on traditional product-centric principles. The final course is the specialization project itself. Students step into a project manager’s shoes and plan out a project A-Z. The final report is peer-reviewed, which offers a unique learning experience.
People who are enthusiastic about becoming project managers can learn a lot from this specialization, it will show you a clear path to follow.
Provider: University of California, Irvine. Coursera
Level: Beginners. | Instructors: Margaret Meloni
Course Duration: 4 courses. 5 months.
Pricing: Free. Certificate available for a fee.
9. RIT – MicroMaster in Project Management – edX
edX MicroMaster is an impressive e-learning feature of the platform. MicroMasters are a series of graduate level courses offered by universities, which if completed, are accepted as recognized credits by graduate schools and employers.
The MicroMaster in Project Management by RITx is an intensive 8-month learning path comprising 3 graduate level courses and a final exam.
The first course discusses the project life cycle in detail, teaching each process and challenge comprehensively. The second course talks about the human factor involved in PM, guiding you about what personal characteristics and best practices can lead to project success. The third course focuses on the nuances of international project management, showing you how to conquer global PM challenges.
The final exam is an online proctored assessment, clearing which will earn you a MicroMaster degree. This online degree is widely accepted as proof of your mettle in PM and can potentially land you a job.
Provider: RIT, edX
Level: Beginners. | Instructors: Leonie Fernandes, Ceine Gullace
Course: MicroMasters Program. 8 months. 4 graduate-level courses.
Original Price: $900.
10. TU Delft – Project Management – Mastering Complexity – edX
Managing a project is a real-life scenario that never goes entirely as planned. A good project manager is astute enough to deal with the complexities that arise repeatedly and still deliver everything as required.
TU Delft offers the course to established project managers who are looking to upskill themselves; knowledge and prior experience in PM is a pre-requisite.
Complexity in the context of PM is introduced at first. You will learn how to identify possible complexities via the TOE framework and be prepared for them beforehand. The course will then guide you about the diversity of management styles suited to different complexities and what state of mind should you put yourself in to tackle them effectively.
At the end, there is a standard peer-reviewed assessment that will help you apply your knowledge and also see where you stand.
Provider: TU Delft, edX
Level: Advanced. | Instructors: Hans Bakker and others
Duration: 5 weeks. 4–6 hours/week
Pricing: Free. Certificate $199
11. Project Management Professional (PMP) – Cybrary
The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification by PMI is a coveted achievement in the PM industry. Having it in your portfolio renders you a class apart.
Cybrary offers this PMP training course to people who are willing to rise to the top in the PM industry. It is an intermediate project management course that builds upon basic knowledge and is a pathway to certification. This course adds 10 CEU/CPE to your credit.
As a learner, you will first revisit all basic level topics like project life cycle and scope definition. After that, the course will then systematically deal with advanced level topics like costing/budgeting, human resource allocation, quality control, risk management.
These are all essential skills to learn to perform well on the exam and in the field. Completing this training can not only help you with PMP but also contribute towards your PM career.
Level: Intermediate. | Instructors: Vince McKeown
Course: 5 hours. 11 modules
Pricing: Free limited account. Premium from $33/month
12. Cert Prep: Project Management Professional (PMP) – LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a hub of highly experienced and successful professionals aiming to impart their knowledge and share their expertise with young learners; this course is a true example of this.
The ‘Cert Prep: PMP’ course is a beginner level course that is specifically devised for students targeting the PMP certification exam. It is equivalent to 35 PDUs/Contact Hours, which is the eligibility requirement by PMI to sit the exam. Once done with this course, you can just go ahead and apply.
An appealing feature of this project management course is that it is based on PMBOK®, PMI’s own guidebook. The course curriculum exactly matches with what PMI expects from exam-takers. Some mentionable topics include risk management, stakeholder management, communications, scheduling, etc.
In addition to this, the instructor adds her own piece of advice regarding the preparation, the exam itself, and PM in general. Assessments in this course include chapter quizzes and a project. Once completed, you will receive a certificate of completion.
Level: Beginners. | Instructors: Sandra M Mitchell
Course Content: 15 lessons
Pricing: from $17.99/month
13. PMP Certification Training Course – Simplilearn
Another PMP Prep course… Simplilearn offers an extensive project management training course for the certification.
Our Simplilearn suggestion shares a number of features with the abovementioned LL course. The course is designed in accordance with PMBOK® by PMI, it earns you 35 PDUs/Contact Hours, and the trainer is an experienced PMI expert himself.
Its live online classroom and interactive sessions set it apart from the previous suggestion. Students can ask questions during class, discuss scenarios, and demand clarifications from the teacher. This type of environment is undoubtedly conducive to higher-level learning.
The teaching methodology is comparatively more inclusive. Students learn through live classes, hands-on projects, case studies, and industry-based scenarios. In addition to this, there are a bunch of simulation tests for practice.
Overall, project managers aiming to ace to the PMP exam will find this course a useful preparatory guide.
Level: Intermediates. | Instructors: Tim Jerome
Course: 35 contact hours/PDUs. 6 projects. 8 case studies. 7 simulation test papers.
How To Choose The Best Project Management Courses?
We researched intensively to compile a handy list of the best project management courses and to present it simply and conveniently. However, we understand if all this information is hard to process and you might be wondering which course you should go for.
While the final decision is yours to take, we would like to highlight some points to consider if you want to make your experience worthwhile.
Learning Goal – The first thing to consider is what you are aiming for. Some are looking for a peek into the PM world out of sheer interest, some have a professional certification in mind, while others may be targeting specific PM fields and career paths. Each course has its own learning objective, make sure it aligns with your own.
Study Level – This is important. The project management courses in our list are classified as beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Make sure you pick a course that is your level, otherwise you will end up regretting your decision.
Teaching Style – Learning is as much subjective in nature as it is objective. If you feel you can learn better from pre-recorded lectures, you need to shortlist some project management courses from our list. Likewise, if a personalized learning experience attracts you more, you will certainly end up with a different shortlist.
Industry – If you are employed or a job-seeker, researching industry-specific PM requirements is a good idea. Management approach varies industry to industry and there are specialized project management courses for each approach. Take on a course that strengthens your CV the most and builds on your existing skills.
Cost – Some project management courses on the list are free to access while others are paid. As a student, you might also want to consider your finances and pick a course that fits your budget. However, while a free class has its advantages, it is the course object, learning outcome, and teaching quality that should matter the most.
Duration – Each course has its own schedule and it is good to keep that in mind as well. Online learning has an element of time management in it and the course duration can affect your decision. One thing to note, however, is that many online courses are self-paced.
Providers – The providers offering the project management courses listed here are well-recognized and established in the market. Here are also round-up reviews of popular Linkedin Courses, edX courses or Pluralsight courses covering related skills.
We hope we cleared some cobwebs, you can now go ahead and pick a course. Decision-making is a key aspect of project management, let this decision be your first PM challenge!
Additional project management courses
- PMI ORG – PM Basics
- PMI ORG – PM For Beginners
- Scrum ORG – Professional Scrum Foundations Training
- Kadenze – PM For Designers
- Scrum Alliance – Get Certified Course
Best Project Management Courses 2021 – Review Verdict
We would like to end this review on the best project management courses by reminding you that this industry has a bright future. The path you are choosing for yourself can lead to immense personal satisfaction and commendable achievements. It is the epitome of creative and logical thinking, things we are hardwired for.
Whatever your choice is, just ensure that it is an informed one. Once you get started, there is no turning back as this field is bound to captivate you!
Best Project Management Courses 2021
- PM Foundations – LinkedIn
- Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management – Coursera
- Introduction to Project Management – edX
- Essentials of Project Management for the Non-Project Manager – AMA
- Diploma in Project Management – Alison
- Scrum: The Basics – LinkedIn
- Agile Crash Course – Udemy
- Project Management Principles – Specialization – Coursera
- RIT – MicroMaster in Project Management – edX
- TU Delft – Project Management – Mastering Complexity – edX
- Project Management Professional (PMP) – Cybrary
- Cert Prep: Project Management Professional (PMP) – LinkedIn
- PMP Certification Training Course – Simplilearn
- Project Management For Designers – Kadenze
Have you taken any certification or course? What are the best project management courses? Let us know in the comments.