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

You can evidence your knowledge by successfully completing OPEN, the Institute’s 100% free online project education program, or attending one of our Advanced Recognition and Certification (ARC) workshops.

Alternately, you provide evidence of successfully passing project management coursework of at least 30 hours delivered by other public or private education providers.

Note that the course must explicitly educate on an aspect or all of ‘project management’. Academic completion of a workplace or industry project and/or general management studies are not eligible.

You can apply for Certification via your account profile in OPEN. It is free to register and create an account.

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.

Candidates can attempt these online quizzes an unlimited number of times before they formally apply for Certification. This guarantees you never pay to fail!

The Order of Merit recognises excellence in project management knowledge.

Those Certification holders who attain an overall grade of 100% in the OPEN quizzes will be automatically entered into the Institute of Project Management’s Order of Merit.

Build on what you already know

Depending on your professional experience, you may have already engaged in and potentially led complex projects.

The process of obtaining a project management certification will help to formalise the knowledge, skills and experience that you have already earned.

And whereas most project management certifications demand the un-critical rote memorisation of formulas and processes; the Institute of Project Management teaches from a comprehensive body of industry-tested best-practice that is transferable and scalable to any industry, sector or project.

In fact, the Institute’s project management certifications are created and maintained by a diverse international panel of cross-industry thought leaders and experts.

By ensuring that our certifications benchmark only the highest standards, we have earned global recognition, which transfers to immediately and credibly to our certification holders.

Open doors

Holding an internationally recognised project management certification may help get your foot in the door for a key interview or be an influential factor when pitching for a new client.

Project management certification can also help you to grow your professional network.

Our ever-expanding LinkedIn network of Institute certification holders welcomes a community of fellow project management professionals, potentially opening up new opportunities, roles, clients and even mentorship.

Boost your career

A project management certification will boost your career by codifying your professional knowledge, skills and experience as a project manager.

Certification establishes your commitment to skill development throughout your career.

This shows employers, managers and clients that you’re determined to be recognised as an elite project professional.

Employers are always looking for people with a track record of professional development and how these qualities will contribute to completing projects successfully.

What’s more, a project management certification can help you to take on new responsibilities.

Certification tells your manager or a new employer that you’re prepared to advance your knowledge and are ready to take on more and more challenging and complex projects.

Earn more

Gaining experience will always drive up your earnings but adding an industry-recognised certification to your name can enable you to command higher rates.

Top organisations are always on the look-out for professionals with recognised certifications and will sometimes make it a requirement for higher paying roles.

Numerous studies show that project certification holders can command salaries up to 26% greater than their peers.

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

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

  • Comprehensive assessment of project best practices, as opposed to a single methodological approach
  • 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 CPO certification is the most durable and cost-effective option for  project team members looking to independently assure their value to their employer.

CPO certification currently costs $250.

If you are eligible to be entered into the Institute’s Order of Merit, there is no additional charge.

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

What project methodology do you teach?

We do not advocate the use of one specific methodology, as our experience in a wide range of global industries shows us that organisations inevitably develop and employ their own unique framework.

Using the proven good practices of PMBOK, PRINCE2, Agile, ISO and other methods, we encourage our practitioners to think critically about what is ‘best’ practice for their own projects and operating environment.

We also don’t exclude people who have studied elsewhere and prefer a particular method. We recognise and accept candidates who have done sufficient PRINCE2, PMI, Agile or University study as meeting the knowledge requirements for our Certifications.

How much does a project manager earn?

Although salaries vary by country, it has been shown that having even a basic certification or qualification in project management adds up to 26% to the value of of an individual’s salary.

The best country to work by salary 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 Institute of Project Management is internationally accredited by the Australian government and its treaty partners as the official assessor and issuing authority for Certified Project Officer / Professional / Master / Director certifications.

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).

How do I know someone is a genuine CPO?

You can look-up CPOs 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 CPO before CPP or CPM?

The knowledge standards for CPO are the same for CPP and CPM – an examination of 30 hours of project management education.

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

Not only will you save yourself the CPO assessment fee; you will be retrospectively awarded CPO upon being admitted to the Institute as a CPP or CPM.

How long does it take to become Certified once I submit my application?

If you have completed OPEN, CPO and Order of Merit (if applicatible) certification occurs instantly upon receipt of your application and payment.

CPO certification based upon recognition of your previous project management studies can take up to one week, as it depends upon verification of your status with your course provider.

What if I apply and pay for Certification, but fail?

Candidates who are completing OPEN cannot apply and pay for Certification until they have successfully met the requirements; therefore it is impossible to ‘fail’ as the prerequisites for admission have already been met once payment is requested.

Candidates who miss a workshop session or fail to meet an assessment standard can complete the relevant sections of OPEN in their own time at no extra cost – your assessor will show you how to do this.

Candidates who submit incomplete or ineligible applications for recognition of prior learning may either resubmit or complete OPEN in their own time at no extra cost – you will not be charged twice.

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 Officers are encouraged to continue their professional development through practice and be progressively assessed at higher levels as they develop the requisite skills and experience.

Will you endorse my project management skill on LinkedIn?

Certified Project Officers who successfully complete a Certified Project Trainer (CPT) facilitated workshop are encouraged to connect with their trainer(s) on LinkedIn.

At your request, they will endorse your project management skill on your profile.

What does the Certificate look like?

Can I purchase a hard-copy of my Certificate?

Your high-resolution, print-ready digital Certification is available for download at any time from your acoount profile in OPEN.

You can also purchase from there a hard-copy, currency-quality, custom-printed Certificate that has a number of advanced security features, including:

  • Unique, controlled-supply paper with embossed logo and heat reactive spot
  • Institute of Project Management branded holographic overprint
  • Multi-coloured micro-numismatic ultra-violet watermarking
  • Unique anti-alteration technology to prevent illegal copying and counterfeiting

At present, printed Certificates are only available in A4 size.

Delivery is by Registered Post and typically takes 7-10 working days.

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!