Certified Project Officer (CPO)

A Certified Project Officer (CPO) is a fundamental contributor to any project team.

They have been examined on at least 30 hours of project management study, and can employ project management knowledge in a wide variety of settings, taking responsibility for their own work performance.

In order to demonstrate your competence as a Project Officer, you are required to evidence the following:

  • Knowledge: Successfully complete and be assessed on 30 hours of project management education
  • Skills: As this is an entry-level project certification, you do not need to demonstrate the application of this knowledge to real-world projects
  • Experience: Similarly, experience working in project environments is not required

As this certification is purely knowledge based, there are no prerequisite entry requirements.

You can be admitted to the Institute of Project Management as a Certified Project Officer by:

  • attending and successfully completing an Institute of Project Management Advanced Recognition and Certification (ARC) workshop, OR
  • passing the OPEN online CPO examination, OR
  • being assessed on 30 hours of project management training by a reputable / endorsed training provider.

Advanced Recognition and Certification (ARC) workshop

The five (5) day ARC workshop is a wholly interactive, semi-structured approach to learning.

It leverages the unique experiences, needs and operating environments of participants to enable a practical, networked education event.

Participants are therefore encouraged to share complex, ‘real life’ examples from their professional experience that can be resolved using the best-practice principles of project management.

In contextualising this course for corporate clients, we can also integrate your project assets, templates and tools into the curriculum for a seamless and relevant workplace program.

Over five days, the collaborative workshop does not so much create over-achieving project managers; rather, it introduces a common frame of reference, common purpose and common sense approach to the cohesive delivery and oversight of professional and personal projects.

Candidates with a minimum of three (3) years’ project experience who successfully complete the ARC workshop are admitted to the Institute of Project Management as Certified Project Professionals (CPPs).

All other candidates graduate as Certified Project Officers (CPOs).

OPEN online exam

OPEN is a multimedia project management resource hub, available free to all, whether or not you intend applying for Certification.

The 12 online units in OPEN cover all aspects of contemporary project management, including a number of well-known and highly regarded methodologies such as PMBOK, Agile, and PRINCE2.

Successfully completing all the online quizzes that follow each topic will satisfy the knowledge requirements for Certification.

CPO candidates can attempt these online quizzes an unlimited number of times before you pay to enrol. This guarantees you never pay to fail!

Order of Merit

The Order of Merit for Certified Project Officers recognises excellence in the discipline of project management.

Those exceptional students who attain an overall grade of 100% in the OPEN quizzes will be entered into the Institute of Project Management’s Order of Merit (CPO).

Recognition of prior learning

Previous project management studies may be also accepted in lieu of certain course elements.

For example, if you have studied at college or University for greater than 30 hours in a specific project management program, you may attract exemptions or even be automatically eligible for CPO certification.

Eligible PMP preparation courses or ‘boot-camps’ may also grant exemptions or full certification – contact us to learn more.

Institute of Project Management credentials validate contemporary best practices in the discipline of project management. By not slavishly adhering 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

The CPO certification is the most rigorous knowledge-based certification 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 project team members 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

CPO certification currently costs US$250 when completing the online examination via OPEN.

Recognition of prior project management study for CPO certification also costs US$250.

The five (5) day ARC workshop costs US$2,950 to attend.

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 community partners.

How much does a project manager earn?

That depends on where you work…

In 2017, the median salary for a project manager in Australia was AU$142,800 per year – in the USA, it was US$112,000.

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

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

The Certified Project Officer 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 Officer allows you to post-nominally use the letters CPO in all formal and official correspondence (eg Jane Smith CPO).

What is the difference between a Certification and a Qualification?

A qualification is an official academic award (such as a degree) granted by an college or University, usually following of a period of instruction.

As an Australian government accredited vocational college, the Institute of Project Management is authorised to deliver the Certificate IV and Diploma qualifications in project management.

Although qualifications may have general pre-requisites to entry (such as minimum schooling or years of work experience), they assume that a person is unskilled in their discipline on commencement.

Qualifications may also include a limited assessment of skills; however, this is often done in a controlled ‘laboratory’ style setting.

A certification, on the other hand, is an industry award that recognises a person’s competence in a field at a certain point in time.

A certifying body conducts standardised assessment against criteria that are defined by the profession; although, some (such as the Institute of Project Management) offer unsupported instructional resources as optional aid to candidates (OPEN is also free!).

Although some require re-certification (re-assessment) every few years, many certifications are awarded without conditions. A motor vehicle driver’s licence, for example, is a certification that needs occasional renewal, but rarely requires a complete re-assessment.

Certification marks (such as the CPO logo and accompanying certification rules) are an internationally regulated and protected form of trademark.

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!