10 Best Online Graduate Certificates in Project Management [2021 Guide]

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Every industry needs competent leaders to supervise projects, and you may be ready to become part of a leadership team that completes tasks on time, on budget, and on target when you earn an online graduate certificate in project management.

Online Graduate Certificates in Project Management

This certificate can tell the world you have the education, skills, and knowledge it takes to be in charge of the multifaceted plans and performances that get the job done.

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This certificate may help you advance your career, earn a higher salary, and gain more expertise.

Online Graduate Certificates in Project Management

Project Manager with team searching online

If you want to advance in your career or change to a new one, a graduate certificate in project management can serve as proof that you have the educational training it takes to succeed.

Your courses can provide the foundations and skills you need to design, shape, and finish projects your organization is undertaking. In your courses, you may learn to set goals, create success measures, and manage teams that must work together to complete projects.

Your curriculum can also help prepare you to take the certification exams that many business and industry organizations often require as proof of your abilities. Project management is a growing field, and experienced and trained project management professionals are in high demand.

Online graduate certificates allow you to continue in your current job while you take courses at times that fit into your busy schedule.

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Whether your interest is in construction, technology, defense, telecom, finance, manufacturing, health care, or most anything else, your courses can teach you the latest research required for proficiency in today’s global economy. Every field requires the knowledge and experience you may gain.

You may learn from faculty members who not only have advanced degrees but have practical, hands-on experience in their fields. As experienced professionals, they may know what employers want and understand the ins and out of project completion.

Companies want employees who can deliver results. An online graduate certificate in project management may show potential employers that you have the training and know-how to deliver the on-time and on-budget results that are needed in today’s competitive environment.

Project Management Careers and Salaries

Project Management Careers and Salaries

Versatile is the best word to describe what you can do with a graduate certificate in project management.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some careers in the project management field include:

Careers Annual Median Salary
Employee Relations Manager $121,220
Training and Development Manager $115,640
Operations Manager $103,650
Operations Analyst $86,200
Financial Risk Specialist $83,660
Budget Analyst $78,970
Project Management Specialist $77,420
Community Service Manager $69,600
Corporate Recruiter $63,490
Workforce Development Specialist $62,700

There are opportunities in virtually every occupational area since nearly all businesses, industries, and nonprofit organizations need qualified professional managers.

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The employment opportunities are vast, and the wages can tend to be high. Similar to an online doctorate in project management, your professional preparation that your graduate certificate provides may prove to be very useful and adaptable.

Project Management Certificate Courses

Project Manager with colleague working

Curriculum in project management certificate courses will vary among colleges, but most share a basic design: classes on the basics of project management followed by courses in specialized fields. Here are a few classes you may come across:

  • Fundamentals of Project Management: This class can teach you the steps of successful project management, from goal setting to project completion and everything in between.
  • Project Organization: This class covers how to control costs, deliver on time, and meet organizational objectives.
  • Resource Management: This class can help you learn how to locate resources, make realistic plans and schedules, and create viable controls.
  • Crisis Management: This course can teach you how to adjust initial strategies to meet new challenges when things go wrong.
  • Human Resource Management: As a project manager, you’ll need to supervise diverse employees, all of whom need to come together into a successful team under your leadership.
  • Risk Management: You can learn how to anticipate obstacles and plan for the problems you may face doing your project.
  • Project Analysis: This practical course asks students to analyze projects they have already completed to see what could have been improved.
  • Earned Value Management (EVM): In this class, you can learn various tactics, including how to forecast, adjust, and apply corrective measures.
  • Constructing Models: This class teaches students how to identify customers’ specifications and create or follow a model that shows how to meet them on time and according to budget.
  • Budgeting: Proper financial forecasting needs to cover every cost that a project will contain, so you can learn how to project, correct, and deliver.

In general, graduate certificate programs in project management require that you take classes in sequential order so you can apply what you learn in prerequisites to more advanced studies.

Admissions Requirements

Project Management student studying in library

Admissions requirements will vary from institution to institution, but most of them will require the following:

  • Undergraduate degree. An undergraduate degree from an accredited institution is required.
  • Transcripts. Schools will request transcripts that include all of the classes you’ve completed at any college of higher learning.
  • Minimum GPA. A certain Grade Point Average in undergraduate courses is often required, though the minimum standard varies.
  • Test scores. Some universities require scores from standardized tests, such as the GRE or GMAT.

Every university is different, so it is helpful read requirements carefully and take advantage of student advisors who can answer all your questions. Some certificate programs allow you to register for courses without formal admission, but certain grades are required in order to complete programs.

Accreditation

Graduate Certificates in Project Management Accreditation

Employers often prefer employees who have graduated from accredited institutions, so you may want to ensure that the ones you are considering have all the accreditations required for project management.

The Project Management Institute has also developed a wide variety of management certifications for different fields. These might include the Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate and the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPN).

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You can explore and see what additional certifications best fit your desired career and check out the directory in the Project Management Institute’s accreditation center.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Graduate Certificates in Project Management Financial Aid

Just like with any project management degree, financial aid is available to qualifying students from many sources, so graduate school doesn’t have to strain your budget.

You may want to start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the US Department of Education’s website. You can also investigate other possibilities from state and local governments as well as from public and private sources.

If you are already working and seek to advance your career, you may ask your employer about tuition assistant programs. Many organizations support employees’ desires for additional education and qualifications.

What Can You Do with a Graduate Certificate in Project Management?

Project Manager meeting with his team

A graduate certificate in project management is a valued credential in most industries. It can show employers that you have the tools and skills to successfully guide employees through complex assignments.

Your certificate provides evidence that you have learned how to oversee a project from beginning to end. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that project managers are essential to nearly every business and occupations in the management sector are projected to grow at 5% for the next decade, faster than the average for all occupations.

How Long does It Take to Get a Graduate Certificate in Project Management Online?

The length of time it takes you to complete your graduate certificate may vary according to your program’s unit requirements and how many credits you are able to complete each semester. Around 36 units will generally be required, so if you are able to take a full load of 15 units per semester, you may finish in just over 3 semesters.

Most students, though, who seek a graduate certificate in project management are already working. It’s also an option to enroll part-time so you can better balance a job and additional responsibilities with your school schedule. Your schedule will ultimately determine how long it will take to obtain your graduate certification.

What Is a Masters Certificate in Project Management?

Project Manager working on her laptop

A masters certificate in project management is a nationally-recognized document that shows employers you have learned the business skills needed to lead projects.

Similar to an online masters in project management without the GMAT, this certificate shows them you are a professional who understands and can apply the concepts needed to realize goals and missions. Today’s businesses operate in project-based environments.

This certificate is a recognized credential that offers proof that you have learned, understand, and can apply the elements that are needed to fulfill your employers’ demands and meet them in timely and cost-effective ways.

What Are the Best Certifications for a Project Manager?

The ideal combination for project manager success is a graduate certificate plus a Project Management Professional certification (PMP) issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Applicants must meet certain requirements, often including the completion of accredited programs.

Certified PMPs earn up to 25% more than their non-certified counterparts. This valuable credential requires a 4 year degree, 36 months of project leadership, and 35 hours of project management education, which is what you should earn when you get your graduate certificate in project management.

Is a Graduate Certificate in Project Management Worth It?

Project Manager meeting with international client

Yes, a graduate certificate in project management is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 5% job growth in management occupations for the next 10 years, faster than the average for all occupations.

Common careers for those with graduate certificates in project management are adaptable because they all involve supervision of a project from beginning to end. Whether it be computers, manufacturing, banking, government, nonprofit, or anything else you can imagine, you may be qualified to lead.

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This certification may grant you access to a toolkit of skills and abilities that employers may recognize and respect. Graduate certificates in project management can help prepare you to operate in any environment that requires taking responsibility for a task and completing it.

Universities Offering Online Graduate Certificate in Project Management Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Boston University

Boston University campus

The online project management graduate certificate from Boston University requires 16 credits and about 9 months to earn.

It provides students with hands-on experience in risk and cost-management, essential project management techniques and tools, project planning and control, procurement, team motivation, the project management life cycle, and methodologies of effective leadership.

Boston University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Colorado State University

Colorado State University campus

Colorado State University offers a project management graduate certificate to students who want to gain advanced knowledge in risk management, financial metrics, decision sciences, and project control and monitoring.

It’s a standalone program that requires only four 3 credit classes for completion. There are even accelerated courses available to students.

Colorado State is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Harvard University

Harvard University campus

Students interested in earning their project management certificates at Harvard University will choose four courses from the school’s management and leadership programs. Students don’t have to apply to the program beforehand, but they must earn Bs or higher in each class. Most students finish the program in less than 2 years.

Harvard University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Pennsylvania State University – World Campus

Pennsylvania State University campus

Pennsylvania State University – World Campus’s project management graduate certificate program is a 12 credit, AACSB accredited program that utilizes problem-based learning to help students build firm foundations in project management practice and theory.

Students can customize their curricula by choosing from several topics, and completed courses can be applied towards the masters program.

Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Purdue University

Purdue University campus

Purdue University’s project management graduate certificate program provides students with targeted curricula and gives them competitive edges over other job applicants.

In addition to project management-specific courses—such as project costs, scheduling, and setting goals—students are also taught speaking, active listening, critical thinking, and monitoring skills.

Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University campus

Southern New Hampshire University’s project management graduate certificate program is a 15 credit program that requires students to have taken mathematics and statistics for business before enrolling.

The three required courses are project management, seminar in project management, and quantitative analysis for decision making. Students then choose two additional electives.

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Northeastern University

Northeastern University campus

The project management certificate program from Northeastern University can be taken by part-time or full-time students and is usually completed in 6 months to 12 months by most students. It’s what’s known as a stackable certificate, with all the courses being transferable into one of the school’s various masters degree programs.

Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc.

University of Arkansas

University of Arkansas campus

Students hoping to earn their graduate certificates in project management at University of Arkansas must complete three core courses and one elective course that are each 8 weeks long. The courses can be transferred into the school’s engineering or operations management masters programs if students choose to pursue masters-level education.

The U of A is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global campus

University of Maryland Global Campus’s online graduate certificate in project management program is a 15 credit program that teaches students to mentor employees, initiate, plan, and complete projects, manage complex schedules, and maintain culturally diverse work environments.

Core courses include project quality management, project risk management, and project communications management.

UMGC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Virginia

University of Virginia campus

The project management graduate certificate program from University of Virginia helps students become more effective team leaders and prepares them to sit for the Project Management Institute (PMI) certification.

There is one elective course and five required courses that focus on communication, purchasing, team development, and different types of leadership.

The University of Virginia is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Getting Your Graduate Certificate in Project Management Online

Getting Your Graduate Certificate in Project Management Online

Employers seek professionals who can help them meet the challenges of an ever-changing global economy. After working for a few years and learning how organizations operate, you may be seeking new challenges or advancement in status and salary.

If you would rather lead than follow, earning an accredited project management graduate certificate online can help prepare you for a career that can be personally, professionally, and financially satisfying.

Ready to start your journey?
Maureen Rubin
WRITTEN BY
Maureen Rubin
Maureen has a Juris Doctor, Master's in Public Relations, and a Bachelor's in Journalism. She is an Emeritus Professor of Journalism at California State University, Northridge and enjoyed a career working in public information at nonprofits, and in Congress & the White House. She welcomes an opportunity to share educational or uplifting information with readers.