Project Management vs. PMP Certification Training Course: What is the Difference?

May 29, 2019 | PMP Certification, PMP Exam, PMP Exam Prep

Project managers can be described as the conductors in a symphony, the air traffic controller of an airport, and the Swiss Army knives of companies.

Model: @Austindistel @breeandstephen
Photographer: Austin Distel | Source: Unsplash

The need for completing and delivering successful projects is more important than ever today. As a result, many businesses and companies seek professional project managers to help them reach their goals.

Although becoming a project manager doesn’t require an MBA, it can help to have some qualifications to back up your experience and knowledge.

The most well-known and globally-recognized certification program for project managers is the PMP certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Project managers who earn their official PMP credential can earn up to 20 percent more each year than peers.

We won’t lie… The PMP exam is a challenge, but there are many courses available that can help prepare you for the exam and also teach you about the various project management techniques (according to the Project Management Body of Knowledge [PMBOK] guide).

However, not every project management training course is designed and formatted to prepare you for the PMP exam. Therefore, it’s important to consider your career goals before you invest in a project management training course.

In this article, we will talk about the primary differences between a basic project management skills and fundamentals course and a project management training course that will prepare you for the PMP exam, and what to look for.

What You Should Know About Online Project Management Training Courses

In today’s day and age, many community colleges, educational institutions and organizations, and even professional development courses are offered and available online. This offers a level of convenience and flexibility, which appeals to today’s modern-day professionals who balance home and work lives.

Although online training courses are convenient, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are quality or are what you are looking for to further accelerate your career. In order to get the most bang for your buck, here are some things to look out for when researching online project management training courses:

Consider Your Learning Style.

Every individual has his or her own learning style. Therefore, it’s important to consider your learning style before investing in a project management training course.

For example, are you a visual or auditory learner? If so, you may learn best by watching slide presentations, listening to lectures, and reading and taking notes. Therefore, you likely learn best in a classroom setting or by listening to a recorded lecture or webinar with visuals.

Consider the Course Format and Structure.

Today’s online project management training courses are available in various formats, structures, and difficulty levels.

For example, some online training courses might be more involved, requiring so much collaboration and participation on a weekly basis, whereas others allow you to work and submit assignments more independently.

Again, consider your learning style. If you are an individual who learns best by working independently, or if you are the type of person who needs deadlines to get things done, then definitely take these factors into consideration when looking for a project management training course.

Level of Interactive Material

Again, similar to course structure, format, and your own individual learning style, some project management training courses utilize more interactive material and content than others.

Again, if you prefer to work independently, then you may learn best by reading from a book, lecture notes, and studying on your own. On the other hand, if you enjoy collaboration, then you may get more out of a course that involves more interactive material, such as practice tests and quizzes, online community portals, or recorded webinars or videos.

Robust Online Platform

Many project management training courses are offered online and delivered via an online learning platform. However, some of them are clunky and buggy, which can take away from the overall learning experience. After all, you want to focus your time and effort on learning the material, not trying to figure out how to use the platform.

Course Takeaways

Finally, another important factor to consider when taking a project management training course is what you get out of it. Do you receive a certificate of completion? Do you receive an official credential?

All in all, you want to invest in a training course that will ultimately give you something that you can add to your resume, proving your qualifications.

Are You Ready for the PMP Exam?

Project management training courses are certainly a great place to start, especially if you are just beginning a project management career, expand your skillset, or trying to see if a project management career is right for you.

However, for seasoned project managers that want to take their project management careers to the next level, the next step would be to earn your official PMP credential by taking the PMP exam.

Here are some things you need to know prior to taking the PMP exam:

– Be aware of what will be on the exam
– Be prepared to study up to six months prior to taking the exam
– Be prepared to make a financial invesment (between $500 to $3,000)
– Be prepared to enroll in a PMP exam prep course

If you are looking for a thorough, in-depth, and quality PMP exam prep course, then be sure that the course includes the characteristics and considerations above. Additionally, be sure that the PMP exam prep course also provides you with sample exams so you can practice and understand what questions and content will be on the exam, and how questions will be structured and worded.

PMP Certification Exam Prep Course with Project Vanguards

One of the best project management training courses and PMP exam prep courses available to both experienced and aspiring project managers is with Project Vanguards. Project Vanguards offers a wide range of professional training and resources to help individuals learn new skills as well as thoroughly prepare for the PMP exam. In fact, Project Vanguards also guarantees a 100 percent first-time pass rate.

Here is a snapshot of what is covered in the PMP exam prep course offered by Project Vanguards:

Day 1: Intro to Course, Curriculum, Foundational Concepts and Definitions
Day 2: Integration Mgmt
Day 3: Scope Mgmt
Day 4: Time Mgmt
Day 5: Cost Mgmt
Day 6: Quality Mgmt
Day 7: Human Resource Mgmt
Day 8: Communications Mgmt
Day 9: Risk Mgmt
Day 10: Procurements Mgmt
Day 11: Stakeholder Mgmt, How to Fill Out PMP Exam Application
Day 12: How to Pass the PMP Exam, 100 Question Practice Exam

Here are the resources you will receive:

  • Andy Crowe's PMP Exam Prep Kit
  • How To Pass the PMP Exam On Your First Try Textbook
  • Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), Sixth Edition
  • CDs to reinforce PMP knowledge areas and processes
  • Over 2,000 specific knowledge-area PMP exam practice questions
  • 4 mock 200-question PMP practice exams to monitor your progress
  • Videos and recorded classroom discussions
  • Terminology flash cards
  • Printed and bound PMP exam quick reference guide
  • 24/7 access to live instructor support

After the PMP Exam

So, let’s say you take a PMP exam prep course, you take the PMP exam, and you pass and earn your PMP credential—congratulations! However, your work doesn't stop there…

The PMI requires that you maintain your official PMP credential by earning a certain number of PDUs every three years. Because project management is constantly shifting and evolving according to technological changes and business needs, certified PMP professionals must also their knowledge and keep up with project management trends.

If you choose to participate in a PMP exam prep course with Project Vanguards, then you gain access to free PDUs for life to help you easily and conveniently keep your PMP credential current and in good standing.

Project Vanguards offers you everything you need to prepare for the PMP exam, take the exam, and maintain the validity of your PMP credential—for life.

How to Get the Most from Your Project Management Training Course—And Your Career

As we mentioned above, project management skills are incredibly important in business today—and this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Although you can certainly learn and adapt these skills while on the job, it is much more efficient to learn them by enrolling in a robust and high-quality project management training course.

By considering what makes a good project management training course, as well as your own learning style and needs, and your career goals, you can ensure that you not only choose the best course for you, but also get the most out of your project management career.

Yes, boosting your project management qualifications, credentials, and experience requires a commitment, and possibly an investment in terms of time and money, especially if you want to earn your official PMP credential. However, the longevity and credibility of your career will be well worth the journey.

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