What is a Certified Product Manager?

In the field of product management, certification is not always necessary, but it can be beneficial depending on your career goals and circumstances. Here are some factors to consider:

Industry and Location: The importance of certification can vary by industry and location. In some highly regulated industries, such as healthcare or finance, certification may be more valuable. Similarly, some job markets may place a higher emphasis on certification.

Education and Experience: If you already have a strong educational background and several years of relevant experience in product management, certification may be less critical. Practical experience and a proven track record can often be as valuable, if not more, than certification.

Networking: Building a strong professional network can be as important as formal certification. Joining product management communities, attending industry conferences, and connecting with experienced product managers can provide valuable insights and opportunities.

Skill Development: Certification programs can provide structured learning and ensure you have a well-rounded knowledge of product management best practices. They can be particularly helpful if you are new to the field.

Job Requirements: Some employers may require or prefer candidates with specific product management certifications. In such cases, certification becomes a necessity to meet job requirements.

Personal Goals: Consider your career goals. If certification aligns with your career aspirations and helps you advance in your desired direction, it may be a worthwhile investment.

Ultimately, whether you should pursue certification depends on your individual circumstances and goals. Some well-known product management certifications include Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified Product Manager (CPM), and Pragmatic Marketing Certified (PMC), among others. It's a good idea to research these programs, assess your needs, and make an informed decision based on your career path and industry expectations.

Also Check: How I got my first product management job

Certification process for product manager:

Becoming a certified product manager involves several key steps:

Step 1: Research and Select a Certification Program:

  • Start by researching different product management certification programs. Consider factors like program content, reputation, cost, and how well they align with your career goals.
  • Examples of well-known certifications include AIPMM's Certified Product Manager (CPM), Product School's Product Manager Certificate, and The Pragmatic Institute's Product Manager Certificate.
  • Career Advancement: Many companies use product management certifications as a benchmark for evaluating candidates for promotion or higher-level positions. For example, if you are aiming for a Senior Product Manager role, having a recognized certification can demonstrate your commitment and competence in the field, making you a stronger candidate for the role.

Step 2: Check Prerequisites:

  • Many certification programs have prerequisites, such as educational or work experience requirements. Make sure you meet these prerequisites before proceeding.

Step 3: Enroll in the Program:

  • Once you've selected a certification program, enroll in it. Follow the specific instructions provided by the certifying body to register for the program.

Step 4: Complete the Coursework:

  • Typically, certification programs involve coursework, which can be delivered in various formats such as in-person classes, online courses, or self-study. Complete the required coursework as per the program's guidelines.

Step 5: Prepare for Examinations:

  • Many certification programs require you to pass one or more exams to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. Prepare for these exams by studying the program materials, taking practice tests, and reviewing relevant resources.

Step 6: Take the Examinations:

  • Schedule and take the required exams. Ensure that you follow the exam guidelines and procedures provided by the certification program.
  • Skill Validation: Certification programs often cover a comprehensive range of product management skills and practices. Completing a certification ensures that you have a well-rounded understanding of the field, from market research to product development, which can be especially helpful if you're transitioning into product management from another career.

Step 7: Gain Practical Experience (if required):

  • Some certification programs may require you to demonstrate practical experience in addition to passing exams. Be prepared to provide evidence of your on-the-job experience in product management.
  • Network Opportunities: Many certification programs offer opportunities to connect with other professionals in the field. These connections can lead to valuable insights, mentorship, and job opportunities.

Step 8: Pay Certification Fees:

  • Most certification programs have associated fees. Ensure that you pay these fees in a timely manner.

Step 9: Pass the Certification:

  • Successfully pass the certification exams and meet any practical experience requirements if applicable. Your certification will be granted upon meeting all the program's requirements.

Step 10: Maintain Your Certification:

  • Many certifications require ongoing professional development to maintain your status. This may involve continuing education, renewing your certification periodically, or participating in relevant activities to stay current in the field.
  • Global Recognition: Certain product management certifications are globally recognized and respected. This can be advantageous if you're considering working in different regions or countries, as it establishes your credentials in a universally understood way.

Step 11: Use Your Certification for Career Advancement:

  • Once you've obtained your product management certification, update your resume and professional profiles to reflect your achievement. Leverage your certification to pursue career advancement opportunities and demonstrate your expertise in the field.

The exact process may vary depending on the certification program you choose, so it's essential to carefully review the specific requirements and guidelines provided by the certifying body. Additionally, stay updated on any changes or updates to the certification process, as these can evolve over time.

Types of product manager certification

To find the best certifications for different product management roles, I like to connect with professionals on LinkedIn. It's a great way to chat with them about what they think is important for product managers. Here are some cool certifications you might want to think about:

AIPMM's Certified Product Manager (CPM):

  • This certification covers a wide range of product management skills, including market planning, competitive analysis, product specification, and understanding a product's lifecycle. It's a comprehensive program that demonstrates your proficiency and commitment to the product management field.
  • Cost: $395

Product School's Product Manager Certificate:

  • Product School offers an eight-week online course that equips you with the skills to effectively manage products from inception to completion. The curriculum covers goal setting, team building, stakeholder management, and product development. Instructors often have experience at top tech companies like Amazon, Spotify, and Google.
  • Cost: $4,199.

The Pragmatic Institute's Product Manager Certificate:

  • This program provides a structured eight-step approach to managing products throughout their lifecycle. It covers essential aspects of product management, from ideation to market launch, making it a practical choice for those looking for a holistic understanding of the role.
  • Cost: $1,295

Certificate in Product Ownership Analysis by IIBA:

  • This certification is for individuals who want to showcase their expertise in blending business analysis with Agile product ownership practices. It's an online course offered by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) and typically takes about ten weeks to complete.
  • Cost: $250 for IIBA members, $400 for non-members

Agile Certified Product Manager and Product Owner by ACPMPO:

  • The Agile Certified Product Manager (ACPM) certification focuses on managing the entire product development process using Agile methodologies. On the other hand, the Agile Certified Product Owner certification concentrates on working effectively with Agile teams and implementing best practices.

Costs vary based on your preferred learning method:

  • Self-study: $1,495
  • Live online: $3,495
  • In-person: $3,495

These certifications are designed to help you enhance your product management skills and can cater to different learning styles and preferences. When choosing a certification, Additionally, research each program's content and instructors to find the one that best fits your needs and expectations.

Benefits of Certification

  • Enhanced Skill Set: A certified product manager has the latest industry knowledge, including market trends and consumer behavior.
  • Competitive Edge: Certification might set you apart in a crowded job market, making you a preferred candidate for top companies.
  • Career Advancement: Certified professionals often enjoy better career prospects and higher earning potential.
  • Global Recognition: Some certificates are recognized internationally, opening doors to opportunities worldwide.

It's important to note that while certification can offer many benefits, it's not a substitute for real-world experience. The most successful product managers often have a combination of both certification and practical experience. The choice to pursue certification should align with your career goals and the specific requirements of the job market and industry you're targeting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is certification necessary to become a product manager?

A. While it's not mandatory, certification greatly enhances your prospects.

Q. How long does it take to become a certified product manager?

A. The duration varies, but it typically takes several months of study and exam preparation.

Q. What's the cost of certification?

A. The cost varies depending on the program and country. It's essential to research this before enrolling.

Q. Do I need prior experience to get certified?

A. Some programs require prior experience, while others are open to beginners. Choose a program that suits your level.

Q. Is certification globally recognized?

A. Yes, a certification as a product manager is recognized internationally, making it valuable for those looking to work worldwide.

Also Read: What is product manager: roles and responsibilities


Becoming a certified product manager can help you (especially if you have no or less experience) advance your career and earn a higher salary. It can also give you a competitive edge in the job market. If you are serious about pursuing a career in product management but do not have real-world experience as a product manager yet, I encourage you to consider certification.

How I can help you:

  1. Fundamentals of Product Management - learn the fundamentals that will set you apart from the crowd and accelerate your PM career.
  2. Improve your communication: get access to 20 templates that will improve your written communication as a product manager by at least 10x.
Oct 30, 2023
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