Daniel Minahan, MSPM, PMP, CM, CAPM, CSM
Thinking of changing careers to Project Management? Looking for a promotion on your Project Team? Or, have you decided to start taking your Project Management career seriously?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, maybe it’s time to look at entry-level Project Management certifications. Some of the certifications below are not entirely entry-level (except for the Certified Project Management Associate). Here are four to start looking into if you are interested. The chart after the descriptions is just a quick look into each side-by-side.

I did a quick look on Indeed.com to what employers were looking for, because ultimately, that is what should matter for those entering the field. I picked a random large city in the U.S., which was Boston, and only went a page deep. I also looked at the next level certification after the entry-level. Here are four certifications…remember, entry-level.

IPMA Level D: Certified Project Management Associate: 
he International Project Management Association (IPMA) – USA, or asapm, is  probably the easier path for entry-level, it seems, but IPMA does require interviews and assessments after the entry-level certification. I don’t know if that is time consuming or not, and will not inquire, just pointing out facts. The Certified Project Management Associate is like PMI's CAPM, a stepping stone to the next level. In this case, the next level is IPMA Level C: Certified Project Manager. On Indeed.com, I did not find any employers looking for the certification by name. As for the Certified Project Manager, there was only one in the top ten jobs that referenced certified project management professionals, but not specifically the Certified Project Manager from IPMA. More information about the Certified Project Management Associate can be found at ipma-usa.org.

Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM): 
CAPM is available through the Project Management Institute (pmi.org), one of the leaders in the field of Project Management certification, according to most searches on your favorite search engine, as well as rankings (see below). Brand recognition is a plus in my opinion. CAPM is the stepping stone to the Project Management Professional (PMP), regarded as the top project management certification (see below at rankings). On Indeed.com, CAPM yielded seven results specifically asking for either the CAPM or PMP. I would assume an extensive background in project management, but just shy of the PMP would be a good reason to hire a CAPM, but it is a great result for an entry-level certification. I won’t search PMP as it will yield too many results.

Project+: 
This certification is accredited by CompTIA, which is a very respected IT certification provider. Project+ is probably geared more toward IT professionals and holds similar weight to the CAPM, according to some rankings, but on Indeed.com it doesn’t show up for jobs and there is next level for this certification. More information can be found at comptia.org .

Lastly, the rankings that I could find for more entry-level certifications:

Best Project Management Certifications for 2015

The top Project Management certs to get your IT career in gear