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.

How do I get certified?

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.

In order to demonstrate your competence as a Project Director, CPD candidates you required to identify a complex public or private program of work they have recently led and conduct a comprehensive review of its performance.

In order to meet the minimum threshold of complexity, the program reviewed 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

The panel interview simulates a Board level interrogation of your program or portfolio performance – it is not an oral presentation of your status (eg PowerPoint).

You will be contacted directly to schedule your panel assessment once your qualifying criteria have been assessed.

In order to successfully complete this assessment, you will also need to be familiar with larger issues, such as the portfolio management frameworks, theories and best practice; more importantly, you need to have a deep understanding of the portfolio you have reviewed and the major issues encountered.

Finally, we will interview two of the four referees you nominate with your application.

A referee is an appropriately qualified person not related to you who is willing to testify to your ability to manage simple projects. Referees are typically past or present workplace managers or executives with line authority over you and your program.

What are the benefits of Institute certification?

Institute of Project Management credentials validate contemporary best practices in the discipline of project management. By not slavishly adhereing to (or evangelizing) any one standard, methodology or industry approach, our credentials provide a highly rigorous and transferable baseline of skills that can be applied in any project context.

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

An Institute credential therefore opens up a wealth of career opportunities for the project manager. It expands your market reach, enhances your project management skills, displays your ability to handle challenging projects, earns you critical projects, and increases your salary by a huge margin.

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

Why do employers prefer our certifications?

The CPD certification is the most rigorous knowledge, skills and experience based certification project and program leaders in the world today.

By taking a 21st century approach to learning and assessment, it also is the most durable and cost-effective option for executive project managers looking to independently assure their value to current and potential employers.

These are some of the reasons why employers are looking for Institute certifications linked to your name:

  • Comprehensive and independent certification that validates knowledge, skills and experience
  • Candidates demonstrate their practical application of knowledge, as opposed to theory-based assessment
  • 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
  • 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

How does CPD compare to other certifications?

Frequently asked questions

The Certified Project Director 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).

That depends on where you work…

In 2015, the median salary for a project manager in Australia was AU$139,037 per year – in the USA, it was US$108,000.

Interestingly, having even a basic certification or qualification in project management added around 20% to the value of of an individual’s salary.

The best country to work as a project manager is Switzerland (Australia is ranked #2, and the USA is #3), while the worst is Egypt. If you want to know what a project manager usually earns in your country, just ask us!

CPM certification currently costs US$850 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 global partners.

Our Certified Project Trainers are highly experienced project leaders with a minimum of ten (10) years’ practical experience, a Masters of Business Administration (or equivalent degree), and appropriate teaching experience.

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