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Dr P.D. Giammalvo: A Comparison of PM Certifications – A Preliminary Model


pdgHave you ever wondered what professional level credentials are available for project/program managers to choose from, and how these various project management certifications compare against one another?

This was the subject that evolved from a lengthy and sometimes heated debate on one of the Linked In discussion pages relating to Project Management. While the original topic was “PMP: Does it assure you a job?” the debate quickly got off topic and centered around the relative value of the various credentials.
What became clear is that while everyone THINKS (or at least would like to believe) the credential they hold is the most valid and appropriate measure of project management knowledge, skills and competency, a quick on line review of published literature showed little or no peer reviewed research on this topic to provide any guidance or insight.

Another problem in making any comparison is while nearly all of the major professional organizations offer multiple levels of credentials, one cannot tell from the names of those credentials exactly what they represent vis a vis one another. (i.e. does holding the Project Management Professional (PMP) from PMI really mean that the holder is a professional project manager?) Or what is a “Certified Cost Engineer” and how does that relate to project or program management?
This lack of any meaningful comparison was the driving force behind this exploratory research effort.

Due to the use of tables and diagrams – the complete paper is available here for download:

PM Certification Comparison Paper

PM Cert Comparison Table

NOTES Jan 12, 2010:

Based on inputs from some interested volunteers, I have UPDATED the SPREADSHEET model to include the US Professional Engineer (PE) licensing process.

So now we not only have a meaningful zero point, we have a recognized and highly respected professional credential near the top end to get more of a sense of the relative ranking of each of the credentials.

To download the revised file, go to, then look for “Project Management Certifications Compared” but be sure to download the Excel Spreadsheet.

OR you can download this new table here:


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