Best Online Project Management Certificate Programs

Online certificate programs in project management are most commonly available at the graduate level and help prepare students for professional certification in the field. Compare and contrast some of the best of these certificate programs and learn about career options. Schools offering Business Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Best Online Certificate Programs in Project Management

Some of the best online certificate programs in project management help prepare students for professional certification, are taught by expert faculty members, are affordable, and can be counted towards an advanced degree. Find out more about some of the top programs in the field and why they are unique.

1. Old Dominion University

LocationGraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Norfolk, VA$12,552

As a part of the school's Darden College of Education and Professional Studies School of Continuing Education, Old Dominion University provides an online graduate certificate program in project management. The certificate program requires 12 credits and can be completed in 9 months. After students have completed the certificate program, they qualify for a discounted rate on the school's Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam Preparation class and can also apply their certificate credits towards a graduate degree in systems engineering or engineering management if they choose. The program is offered in an accelerated schedule that allows students to listen to lectures and participate in a live discussion once a week.

2. University of Colorado - Colorado Springs

LocationGraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Colorado Springs, CO$13,206

The University of Colorado in Colorado Springs offers a variety of online graduate business certificate programs, including a graduate certificate in project management. The certificate requires 4 courses that can be completed fully online. The program is taught by full-time faculty members who hold doctoral degrees in their field of expertise. UCCS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the business school holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

3. Davenport University

LocationGraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Grand Rapids, MI$15,126

Davenport University has a unique post-baccalaureate certificate program available in global project management that can help prepare students for the Project Management Institute's (PMI) Certified PMP exam. The program requires 18 credits and can be completed in 1 year. The program focuses on business management and information technology and systems but can be applied to a wide range of industries, including healthcare and global logistics. Michigan residents enrolled in Davenport's online courses paid $777 per credit in 2019-2020, but 95% of students at the university receive some sort of financial assistance to help pay for their schooling. The school also offers non-Michigan residents taking online classes an automatic grant worth $258 per credit.

4. Central Michigan University

LocationGraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Mount Pleasant, MI$13,804

Central Michigan University provides an online graduate certificate program in project management that totals 15 credits. Students in the program complete 8-week courses and can choose 1 elective course. The program is designed to help prepare students for their PMP exam and can be counted towards a master's degree at the university. Online students at the school still work closely with faculty and have access to a wide range of resources, including a writing center, a math assistance center and Online Student Allies, fellow students who act as mentors in the online program.

5. Mary Baldwin University

LocationUndergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Staunton, VA$31,110 100%

Mary Baldwin University offers an online bachelor's level certificate in project management. The program requires 4 courses, all of which are designed to meet the competencies recognized by the Project Management Institute. Online students pay a flat rate of $460 per credit hour for the 2019-2020 academic year, putting the total tuition at just over $5,000.

Rank School Name Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
6Assumption CollegeWorcester, MA$12,578
7Dallas Baptist UniversityDallas, TX$18,262
8University of Virginia - Main CampusCharlottesville, VA$18,848
9Minnesota State University MoorheadMoorhead, MN$11,064
10Champlain CollegeBurlington, VT$14,310
11The College of Saint ScholasticaDuluth, MN$14,077
12Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia, PA$34,995
13Virginia International UniversityFairfax, VA$13,268
14Regis UniversityDenver, CO$13,177
15Saint Louis UniversitySaint Louis, MO$20,994
16Cardinal Stritch UniversityMilwaukee, WI$10,833
17Capitol Technology UniversityLaurel, MD$11,178
18Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester, NY$45,808
19Webster UniversitySaint Louis, MO$13,500
20Saint Leo UniversitySaint Leo, FL$8,498

All table statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics; tuition based on the 2018-2019 school year's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Certificate Programs in Project Management

Online certificate programs in project management are most commonly available at the graduate level, but some undergraduate certificate programs do exist. Project management certificate programs typically range from 12 to 18 credits in length and can usually be completed fully online. Depending on the program, students may complete 8- to 10-week courses. Some of these courses may be self-paced, while others may require live meeting times.

Many of these online certificate programs are designed to help prepare students for the PMI's PMP certification exam to help them advance their careers in the field. However, many of these programs can also be counted towards a master's degree program at the school that offers the certificate program. Depending on the program, students may be expected to maintain a certain grade or GPA throughout the certificate program. Explore more aspects of online certificate programs in project management in depth below.

Program Length

Many online certificate programs in project management are designed to be completed in 1 year or less. There are some programs that may be completed in as little as 9 months. The time to completion may also vary by the format of the program. For example, some programs are self-paced and may allow students to finish faster or slower than programs with set course schedules.

Common Courses

The curricula for certificate programs in project management usually consist of 4 to 6 courses. Most of these courses are core courses, but some programs allow students to choose 1 or 2 elective courses. While course titles may vary from program to program, some topics that are commonly discussed in these certificate programs include:

  • Project Management- Students may take multiple classes in project management that cover advanced concepts in the field. These courses may include case-based work and/or projects. Students in these courses may discuss topics in project risk, time, cost, quality, and more.
  • Agile Project Management- Courses in agile project management focus specifically on agile approaches and principles in project management. Students learn how to implement these principles to increase project capabilities and performance. Specific course topics may include SCRUM, Lean Manufacturing, and scaling agile.
  • Analysis- Analysis courses may cover a range of analytical skills, such as economic analysis, risk analysis, and/or quantitative analysis. All of these courses aim to equip students with the skills needed to make educated decisions in the development and implementation of projects.
  • Communication- Communications courses may focus on project communications management and/or the broader communication involved with social and organizational changes. In general, these courses help students further develop their written and oral communication skills, as well as leadership skills in areas like conflict resolution.

Prerequisites and Admissions Requirements

Some online certificate programs in project management allow students to complete the program as a degree- or non-degree-seeking student. Some programs may also offer rolling admissions with multiple start dates for flexibility.

Applicants to online graduate certificate programs in project management are typically required to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. The degree can usually be in any subject, and some certificate programs may require students to meet a minimum GPA requirement. Some online certificate programs may also require applicants to have experience with statistics, management, and/or spreadsheets through prior coursework.

Most of these online certificate programs do not require applicants to take the GRE or GMAT. Other common application materials may include official transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and/or a resume.

Certificate vs. Master's in Project Management

Both of these programs are available in online formats and may cover similar course topics. However, online certificate programs in project management are much shorter than master's degree programs. They usually consist of fewer courses and can be completed faster than a master's degree. Some master's degree programs may also require a culminating experience of some sort, such as a capstone course or practicum experience.

The other big difference is that master's degree programs go much further in-depth into the subject of project management and are designed for those planning a career in project management, whereas a certificate program may be ideal for any professional who utilizes project management.

How to Choose an Online Certificate Program in Project Management

Choosing an online certificate program in project management may be a challenge, as there are many different factors to consider when finding the program that is right for you. Some important considerations are discussed below.


Schools and/or programs must meet a range of academic standards in order to secure accreditation from an accreditation body. Many of the schools that offer online certificate programs in project management are regionally accredited by groups like the Higher Learning Commission or the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Although most project management certificate programs do not have program accreditation, many of these programs align the curriculum with competencies set by the PMI. Students who wish to earn professional certification in the field should look for an online certificate program in project management that is designed specifically to help them pass the PMP exam. Some schools may even be designated as a Registered Education Provider (REP) of the PMI, which is not specifically accreditation, but indicates that the program can help students meet requirements to take the PMP.

Cost of Program

The total cost of a program is usually a big determining factor when choosing a program that a student can afford. Tuition rates not only vary by institution but may also vary by residential status and other factors. However, some online certificate programs in project management may cost between $547 and $637 per credit hour.

Students also need to consider the additional costs of any fees that a school and/or program may require. For example, some online students may need to pay a technology fee that may be as much as $100. Other fees that some schools may have include an application fee and/or graduation fee.

Job Options in Project Management

Project management can be applied to a wide range of careers in various industries. Some careers may use project management on a daily basis, while others may use techniques in the field occasionally. Graduates with a certificate in project management may have job titles like:

  • Construction manager
  • Operations manager
  • General manager
  • Information technology project manager
  • Consultant
  • Emergency management director
  • Operations research analyst
  • Management analyst

Construction Managers

In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that construction managers made a median salary of $95,260 and had a job outlook of 10% from 2018 to 2028. These managers are responsible for overseeing construction projects for buildings, homes, and other structures from start to finish. They are involved in the planning process, including budgeting and setting deadlines, as well as the coordination and supervision of the actual building process. Construction managers may also handle contracts, ensure construction is meeting all codes and regulations, and communicate with other construction specialists.

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers made a median annual salary of $146,360, as of 2019, and had a job outlook of 11% from 2018 to 2028, according to the BLS. Computer and information systems managers oversee all of the computer-related activities and projects for their organization. They help their organization reach set information technology goals by helping plan upgrades, supervising the installation of new hardware and software, evaluating project costs and benefits, and researching new technologies. These managers also usually supervise the work of other IT professionals.

Operations Research Analysts

As of 2019, operations research analysts made a median salary of $84,810 and had a job outlook of 26% from 2018 to 2028, per the BLS. These analysts may help organizations run more efficiently and/or effectively using data collection techniques, analytical observation, and predictive modeling.

Professional Organizations in Project Management

There are several different professional organizations in project management as well as organizations for specific kinds of project managers, such as construction managers. A couple examples of professional organizations in project management include:

  • Project Management Institute- The PMI provides a global community for project managers as well as professional and student memberships. The organization also offers a range of professional certifications, events, and standards for project management.
  • Construction Management Association of America- The CMAA offers certifications and membership specifically for construction managers. Professionals in the field can also utilize the organization's bookstore from its website, explore education and training options, and find conference information.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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