Certified Project Master (CPM)

A Certified Project Master (CPM) is a project leader and innovator.

They have been independently assessed against a broad range of project management competencies, and can apply a suite of specialised technical and managerial skills to initiate, plan, execute and evaluate their own project work and the work of others.

How do I get certified?

CPM candidates need to have been assessed on a minimum of 30 hours’ project education, then evidence the full-time equivalent of three (3) years’ complex project leadership experience before proceeding to assessment.

Qualifying projects 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).

The CPM certification requirements are intentionally flexible, and allow you to submit documentation and reviews that you may have previously undertaken as evidence of your competence.

Unfortunately, a detailed Curriculum Vitae or resume – even one with references – is only testimony that you have worked on projects, and not independent evidence that you are competent to the requisite standard!

Unlike in other certification programs, our holistic, human assessment of candidates is not done by robots.

Employers can be assured that Certified Project Masters have undergone the most rigorous interrogation and third-party validation of their knowledge and skills via written, oral and face-to-face interactions.

You can be admitted to the Institute of Project Management as a Certified Project Master by any one of the following paths:

In order to demonstrate your competence as a Project Master, you are required to identify a complex public or private project that has recently completed and conduct a comprehensive review of its performance..

In order to meet the minimum threshold of complexity, the project you review 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

It is an essential requirement of this activity that you are a ‘stranger’ to the project. In other words, you cannot have had any of the following, active roles in the project you review:

  • Project initiator
  • Project sponsor or governance group
  • Project manager
  • Project team member
  • Project contractor or supplier
  • Project client

The final output will take the form of a hypothetical consultant’s report commissioned by the Board of Directors of the performing organisation, and be aimed at recommending improvements for the firm’s performance of future projects.

In addition to common requirements for business writing, the Review should address the following:

  • Project assets, including (but not limited to):
    • project initiation documentation (for example: a project business case; project charter)
    • project planning documentation (for example: a project stakeholder register; work breakdown structure; Gantt chart; budget; position descriptions; risk register; communications plan)
    • project delivery documentation (for example: project status reports; change requests; issues register)
  • Project 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
    • project governance and change control
    • project delivery and handover
    • other lessons learned

At a minimum, you would be expected to conduct one-on-one interviews with the project manager, project sponsor and a client representative. Other project stakeholders should also be consulted. This can be done using a variety of methods, including interviews, workshops and surveys.

For assessment purposes, the Review is to be at least 2,000 words in length. The word count does not include the executive summary, headings and titles, footnotes, references and/or appendices. The executive summary must not be more than 10% of the overall word count.

You assessor will then invite you to make a 30 minute Oral Defence of your Project Review to complete this assessment activity. This Defence simulates a Board level interrogation of your Review conclusions and its recommendations – it is not an oral presentation of your findings (eg PowerPoint).

You will be contacted directly to schedule your presentation once your written report has been assessed.

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

Finally, we will interview one of the three 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 lead complex projects. Referees are typically past or present workplace supervisors or managers with line authority over you and your projects.

The Institute of Project Management has mapped the knowledge required to be admitted as a Certified Project Master (CPM) to the service skills and experience of sworn US military personnel.

In doing so, the Institute recognises the applied project management competence that members of the armed forces accrue at various stages of their career.

Therefore, eligible candidates who successfully complete our three (3) day, face-to-face Advanced Recognition and Certification (ARC) program will automatically graduate with a certification that aligns with with their rank.

In order to be directly admitted to the Institute of Project Management as a Certified Project Master (CPM), ARC candidates must have attained the rank of E8/O4 (USA/USMC) or E7/O4 (USAF/USN/USCG) or equivalent.

Persons who have not attained eligible rank should complete the Certified Project Officer (CPO) program.

Completing the BSB51415 Diploma of Project Management at the appropriate standard will pre-qualify you for CPM certification.

In other words, once you have the requisite three years’ project management experience, you can use your Diploma as evidence of your knowledge and application of skills at the CPM level.

Visit here to learn more.

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 CPM certification is the most rigorous knowledge, skills and experience based certification for project 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 mid-career 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 CPM compare to other certifications?

Frequently asked questions

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 Master allows you to post-nominally use the letters CPM in all formal and official correspondence (eg Jane Smith CPM).

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$500 to complete online.

The three (3) day ARC program costs US$1,750 to attend.

If you have completed the BSB51415 Diploma of Project Management with the Institute of Project Management, there is no charge to ‘step up’ to CPM; otherwise, it is US$250.

Military personnel (active duty or retired) who have attained the rank of E8/O4 (USA/USMC) or E7/O4 (USAF/USN/USCG) or equivalent can be admitted as a CPM at no charge upon meeting the certification requirements for CPO.

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!

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