Certified Project Director (CPD)

A Certified Project Director (CPD) has the proven ability to lead multiple, complex projects, programs and portfolios of work.

They make high-level autonomous decisions and use initiative and judgement to navigate a diverse range of activities that span functions, organisations, regions and cultures.

CPD candidates must evidence the full-time equivalent of three (3) years’ program or portfolio leadership experience before proceeding to the assessment.

Qualifying programs you have led must meet the minimum standard for complexity specified below, and years of leadership experience may be accumulated non-consecutively (for example, over four calendar years).

Evidence can be presented in the form of an up-to-date resume listing the projects worked on and the role that you fulfilled.

You must also nominate four (4) referees who you either reported to (for example, an executive manager) or were accountable to (for example, a program sponsor, senior stakeholder or client) in the delivery of one or more of these projects.

We will directly contact at least two of these referees via a 15 minute telephone interview to validate your knowledge, skills and experience.

Online assessment

In order to demonstrate your competence as a Project Director, you are required to evidence the highest levels of project, program and portfolio knowledge, skills and experience.

Evidence of your experience is submitted with your application. Once this has been successfully assessed and your referees interviewed, you will be contacted for your panel interview.

This 45 minute interview simulates a Board level interrogation of your knowledge and skills – it is not an oral retelling of your career.

In order to successfully complete this interview, you will need to be familiar with larger issues, such as program and portfolio management frameworks, theories and best practice (knowledge); more importantly, you need to have a deep understanding of the programs / portfolios you have led and the major issues encountered (skills).

Candidates who successfully complete the final interview will be advised immediately and directly admitted to the Institute of Project Management as a Certified Project Director.

What to expect

In order to meet the minimum threshold of complexity, the programs / portfolios you have led must involve a minimum of five (5) related projects, concurrently performed. At least three (3) of the projects must involve:

  • A delivery team of three (3) or more people (including the project manager)
  • Detailed project documentation at all stages
  • Formal governance structure (for example, a sponsor and/or steering committee)
  • Multiple stakeholder relationships

A panel of distinguished program and portfolio experts will conduct a detailed interview with you to assess your:

  • Knowledge of program and portfolio leadership best-practice
  • Experience in applying this knowledge to your program(s) and/or portfolio(s)
  • Skills in responding to and managing change within your program(s) and/or portfolio(s), and
  • Your ability to critically review your performance and integrate lessons learned into the performing organisation.

As part of your review preparation, you should be ready to address and evidence the following:

  • Program assets, including (but not limited to):
    • program policies
    • program process and procedures
    • program systems (for example: templates; software)
  • Program performance, including (but not limited to):
    • planned versus actual performance to scope, schedule and budget
    • stakeholder identification and communication
    • business case development
    • scope definition and management
    • schedule development and control
    • cost estimating and control
    • risk identification, prioritisation and treatment
    • human resource availability and performance
    • quality planning and control
    • procurement / contract management
    • program and project governance and change control
    • program and project delivery and handover
    • other lessons learned

Institute of Project Management Certifications validate contemporary best practices in the discipline of project management.

They equally respect both people and process, and do not preference any one standard, methodology or industry approach.

Instead, our Certifications evidence a highly rigorous and transferable baseline of knowledge, skills and experience that can be applied in any project context.

Institute Certification holders are ultimately critical thinkers; they are the project leaders, problem solvers and innovators of the 21st century.

Now is the time to unlock your true career potential by proving your ability to handle challenging projects and increasing your value to employers.

So why should I certify my project management knowledge and skills with the Institute of Project Management?

  • Access our free, OPEN, online knowledge library – don’t pay for expensive preparation courses
  • Consider alternative assessment options, including the recognition of your prior project management learning
  • Receive lifetime certification – no membership, subscription or ongoing fees are required
  • Guaranteed global recognition – your project management passport!
  • Access direct pathways to higher certification and/or qualifications
  • Exponentially increase your career potential and rewards

Employers today are frustrated with “Paper PMs” – project managers who are certified on the basis of completing a theoretical, methodology-specific quiz.

Such quizzes invariably demand rote memorisation of obscure formulas and highly complex process maps that bear only a passing resemblance to how projects are delivered in the real world.

By contrast, the Institute of Project Management goes beyond theory or case-study based assessment, requiring CPD candidates to demonstrate the practical application of program and portfolio knowledge in their existing workplace.

This means that the organisation learns alongside the candidate as they critically reflect upon their own performance and identify opportunities to improve the delivery of future programs and portfolios of work.

In fact, employers prefer and invest in Institute certifications for their staff for a whole range of reasons:

  • Comprehensive assessment conducted by human experts that validates knowledge, skills and experience
  • The Institute assesses people, not CVs – we personally interview, challenge and reference check all candidates at the CPP level and higher
  • Instant, online validation of certification authenticity is available via Linkedin and OPEN
  • The Institute’s certification marks and post-nominals are accredited to explicitly defined and regularly audited international standards
  • Candidates are bound to the Institute’s Code of Ethics for Project Professionals
  • Organisations employing Institute certified candidates immediately observe improved project performance

By taking a 21st century approach to competency-based assessment, the CPD certification is the most durable and cost-effective option for executive project managers looking to independently assure their value to their employer.

CPM certification currently costs US$750 to complete online.

All fees are inclusive of lifetime certification – there is nothing more to pay.

You can either pay online when you complete the enrolment / application form, or request an invoice (if, for example, you would like your employer to pay on your behalf).

Discounts may be also be available when you use a promotional code provided by one of our community partners.

Why is there no written examination for CPDs?

Certified Project Directors are, in the main, senior executive leaders in their industry who work long and challenging hours. As such, they rarely have time for ‘homework’.

The Institute instead conducts extensive background checks before assessing candidates via a interrogatory panel of their peers.

This process mirrors the rigour of a PhD viva voce examination and guarantees candidates are genuine experts in their domain (as opposed to merely well-read theorists).

Can I use the letters "CPD" after my name?

The Certified Project Master designation is an official certification mark authorised by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and internationally protected by IP Australia.

Admission to the Institute of Project Management as a Certified Project Director allows you to post-nominally use the letters CPD in all formal and official correspondence (eg Jane Smith CPD).

How do I know someone is a genuine CPD?

You can look-up CPDs via our public directory of Certification holders.

To protect the privacy of all Certification holders, your search must include a full given name, full surname or a complete certificate number. Note, too, that some Certification holders may have opted to hide their details from the directory.

Many awardees also include their Certification on their LinkedIn profile. In that instance, a unique hyperlink is provided for verification purposes.

Do I have to complete CPM before CPD?

If you have the requisite experience and skills, you should consider skipping CPO, CPP and CPM and going straight to the higher-level Certification.

Not only will you save yourself the lower-level assessment fees; you will be retrospectively awarded CPO, CPP and CPM upon being admitted to the Institute as a CPD.

What is lifetime certification?

Lifetime certification means you do not need to pay an annual membership or subscription fee to maintain your Certification – it also means you never need to re-sit or retake an examination at this level.

Certified Project Directors are encouraged to continue their professional development through practice in more challenging and complex programs.

Will you endorse my program / portfolio management skill on LinkedIn?

Certified Project Directors are encouraged to connect with their assessors on LinkedIn.

At your request, they will endorse your program / portfolio management skill on your profile.

How can I become a Certified Project Trainer?

Our Certified Project Trainers are highly experienced project leaders (CPM or CPD) with a minimum of ten (10) years’ proven project leadership and appropriate teaching and mentoring experience.

If this is you – especially if you speak a second language – we would love to hear from you!