April 5

Top 15 Product Management Certifications for Product Managers (2021)

What is product management certification?

Product management certifications are awarded by a variety of organizations, many of them offering accompanying product management training programs. Certifications recognize individuals who possess the knowledge and skills required to be successful in one or many areas of product management. Read on for why you should consider becoming a certified product manager.

Why do you need product management certification?

Product management certification programs are a practical way to grow your product management skills while giving a boost to your resume. Certifications show potential employers that you’ve completed relevant software product management training courses, and possess the knowledge needed to perform the job.

Benefits of product management certifications

Product certifications come in all shapes and sizes, and offer a wide range of benefits. Here are some of our top reasons for pursuing a product manager certification online.

Kickstart your product management career

Perform a quick search online and you’ll find no shortage of mentions about how difficult it can be to break into product management. While this is true, it’s certainly not impossible. Learning the basics of product management through a training program and obtaining a product management certification will give you an advantage when applying for your first product manager role.

Expand your product manager skillset

No matter what career stage a product manager is in, they should maintain a growth mindset to continue improving their abilities. Whether you’re looking to sharpen your skills in strategy, leadership, or technology, there’s a product management training out there to help you along.

Career advancement opportunities

As you progress through your career, you’ll take on greater responsibilities and become accountable for more impactful decisions and contributions. Product manager training programs can help equip you with the knowledge required to be successful in these duties, and the accompanying certifications can show your employer (current or prospective) that you’ve put in the work.


Top 15 best product management certifications in 2021

We’ve compiled our list of the 15 best certifications for product managers. The certification programs range in content and target audience, from core principles for aspiring product managers, to leadership and vision for the more experienced professionals. Whatever stage you’re at, we’re sure there’s a product manager training below to meet your needs.

 

M.S. in Product Management (Carnegie Mellon University)

Carnegie Mellon University’s M.S. in Product Management is the only outright degree on this list. Developed specifically for technical professionals, the program prepares you for a transition to product management by teaching courses in business fundamentals, leadership, product management, human-computer interaction, and computer science.

Why we like it

The program differentiates itself from an MBA by focusing on the intersection of technology and business as it relates to product management, with courses split between their highly reputable schools of business and computer science. In addition to the coursework, students will complete an internship and capstone project, all within 12 months.

Best for

Individuals with work experience in a technical profession (e.g. software engineering) who have made the decision to pursue a career in technical product management, and are willing to attend school full-time for a year.

How to earn

https://ms-product-management.cmu.edu/


One Week Product Owner (Product Manager HQ)

This is the first of two certifications we’ll cover from Product Manager HQ. The 7-day course teaches the basics of Agile product ownership to kickstart your career.

Why we like it

The straightforward fundamentals are perfect for those exploring a product career, including the basics of Agile frameworks, scrum, project management, customer development, user stories, and release management. As with all PM HQ certifications, you’ll also receive resume and interview tips, and access to an exclusive Slack community of product leaders and peers.

Best for

Aspiring product owners seeking to gain a foundational understanding of Agile development methodologies and the role of product within them.

How to earn

https://www.oneweekpm.com/p/certified-product-owner


One Week PM (Product Manager HQ)

This 7-day course from Product Manager HQ will help you establish the necessary skills to build and execute a product strategy. You’ll learn how to effectively move through all stages of the product lifecycle.

Why we like it

You’ll come out of this with a strong grasp on the full product lifecycle. There’s a heavy focus on customer discovery (user research and interviews) and validation (wireframing, prototyping, and usability tests). These are bookended by tactics for writing product specs, managing backlogs, and constructing roadmaps.

Best for

Aspiring product managers looking to establish foundational PM skills and transition into product management.

How to earn

https://www.oneweekpm.com/


Online Product Management Training (Tarigo)

Tarigo is a UK-based product management training organization that offers certifications in Complete Product Management and Leading Product Management.

Why we like it

Tarigo claims product managers at any stage of their career can benefit from the Complete Product Management course’s approach to Discovery, Definition, Delivery, and Drive (measurement and optimization). The Leading Product Management certification offers further training for product leaders in team building, product vision and strategy, portfolio management, and more.

Best for

Anyone can benefit from the online training material, but UK residents have the option to attend an in-person training (when they become available again). Those with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements have the additional benefit of earning hours toward CPD accreditation.

How to earn

https://www.productmanagementtraining.com/online-product-management-training


Brand and Product Management (IE Business School, Coursera)

This certification on Coursera, taught by the IE Business School, focuses on the intersection of product and branding, and equips you with the tools to bring a brand strategy to life.

Why we like it

When we think of “branding”, our minds may shift to marketers, but it’s equally important for product managers to understand branding strategy when launching new products. You’ll learn how to integrate a product strategy with a brand equity, architecture, and portfolio, and will receive tools for implementing the brand into the customer journey and your organization.

Best for

Tenured PMs in charge of launching new product lines, especially to new market segments, or for entrepreneurs looking to launch their own company.

How to earn

https://www.coursera.org/learn/brand-management


Product Manager Certificate (Product School)

Product School has established a reputable name through their certifications, frequent webinars, and the Product Podcast. The Product Manager Certificate helps aspiring product managers build foundational skills to break into the field. For more tenured product managers, they offer a Product Leader Certificate and Product Executive Certificate.

Why we like it

Taught by product leaders at top companies like Google, Netflix, and Spotify, the lectures are all live-streamed, offering the opportunity for interactive discussions with classmates and instructors. In addition to teaching end-to-end product development and leadership, the course includes resume and interview workshopping to prepare you for the job search.

Best for

Early-career product managers or professionals from other fields looking to transition into product management.

How to earn

https://productschool.com/product-management-certification/


Become a Product Manager (Udemy)

With over 30,000 ratings and 4.5 stars, this is by far the most reviewed product management course available on Udemy. The comprehensive syllabus touches on all the ins-and-outs a product manager can expect in their day-to-day.

Why we like it

The course content is very broad. From customer research to Agile frameworks to the basics of APIs, you’ll gain a solid foundation to kickstart your PM career. As one of the most cost-effective options on this list, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Best for

Aspiring product managers looking to establish foundational PM skills and transition into product management.

How to earn

https://www.udemy.com/course/become-a-product-manager-learn-the-skills-get-a-job/


New Product Development Professional Certification (PDMA)

This offering from the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) stands out as a not-for-profit certification administered to those who meet the educational and experience requirements, and who pass the NPDP exam.

Why we like it

While prep courses are available, they’re entirely optional. If you have the required education and experience, you can jump straight to the exam to strive for the certification. Self-study materials are also available on Amazon, or through annual membership in the PDMA.

Best for

Experienced product managers that want to prove their knowledge and enhance their resume for career advancement opportunities.

How to earn

https://www.pdma.org/page/NPDP_exam


Product Management Certification (Proficientz)

Proficientz specializes in B2B product management and awards their certification to those who pass an exam after successfully completing all 13 lessons in the training program. The lessons cover the entire product launch across 4 themes: Markets & Customer Goals, Opportunities & Priorities, Build & Deliver, and Market & Sell.

Why we like it

The lessons are mostly structured in the way you would actually apply them in the real world, taking you from understanding business goals and market segmentation all the way through to selling the product. You can opt for instructor-led courses or on-demand virtual learning, the latter with a simple monthly subscription to access all resources.

Best for

Experienced B2B product managers looking to hone their discovery skills and better collaborate with stakeholders on all aspects of a product launch. Great for those wearing many hats at a startup!

How to earn

https://www.proficientz.com/product-management-certification/


Product Management Professional Certification (Blackblot)

Blackblot is an international organization offering this certification based on their Product Manager’s Toolkit® (PMTK) methodology. Certification is granted with a passing grade of 75% on the core certification test. Additional accreditations are available through subsequent tests in Product Planning, Product Marketing, Product Pricing, Blackblot PMTK Methodology, and Product Life Cycle Model.

Why we like it

There’s no required coursework to register for the exam, but there are valuable self-study materials available to prepare. The registration fee is reasonably priced and each payment offers two chances to pass the exam. For those confident in their knowledge, this is a cost-friendly way to obtain certification in several subject areas.

Best for

Experienced product managers that want to prove their knowledge and enhance their resume for career advancement opportunities.

How to earn

https://www.blackblot.com/certification


Agile Certified Product Manager and Product Owner™ (AIPMM)

The Agile Certified Product Manager and Product Owner™ credential is offered by the Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM), but the exam preparation course comes from the 280 Group.

Why we like it

The course provides a holistic understanding of Agile concepts and frameworks, while detailing how product managers and products owners should best integrate with Agile development teams. Beyond the basics, you’ll also get insights into product strategies and roadmapping tactics. The course prepares you for the AIPMM and includes access to a study guide and practice exam.

Best for

This Agile product management certification is likely best for the aspiring product manager due to its central topic of Agile foundations, but more experienced PMs may benefit from the strategy and roadmapping content.

How to earn

https://aipmm.com/agile-certified-product-manager-product-owner


Product Manager Certification (Pragmatic Institute)

The Pragmatic Institute is one of the most renowned product management training programs out there. To obtain the Product Manager Certification, you’ll take four of their eight course offerings: Build, Design, Focus, and Foundations.

Why we like it

The Pragmatic Institute carries a certain prestige with it, and for good reason. Taught by instructors who all have executive-level product experience, you’ll gain valuable real-world insights to propel your product management career. Once you’ve gotten the Product Manager Certification, you can pursue the Product Master Certification by completing their courses in Data, Launch, Market, and Price.

Best for

Taking all four required courses will net you a hefty price tag, so this would be best for experienced PMs looking to use the certification as a means for promotion or salary increase.

How to earn

https://www.pragmaticinstitute.com/certifications/


MicroMasters® in Digital Product Management (Boston University edX)

The MicroMasters® program at Boston University offers extensive training through five courses over eight months. Students can expect a weekly commitment of 4-7 hours.

Why we like it

Course material goes beyond core product management concepts to focus on platform strategy, social media marketing, advanced experimentation principles, and business analytics. In addition to certification, the course can also transfer as credits toward an M.S. at Boston University or the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Best for

The program material is definitely geared toward senior-level product managers and leaders. Considering the cost and time commitment, this is likely best for those planning to pursue the M.S.

How to earn

https://www.edx.org/micromasters/bux-digital-product-management


Product Management Studio (UC Berkeley)

This 8-week program from UC Berkeley Executive Education provides training across a variety of product management accountabilities and skills, including storytelling, decision making, discovery, positioning, and pricing.

Why we like it

The course is heavily focused on discovering value opportunities for the customer and for your organization. In addition to live sessions led by their world-renowned staff, students receive individual & group coaching from product leaders across several industries.

Best for

Product leaders or experienced product managers looking to further grow their skill sets for more impactful work and career advancement. While it’s a higher price tag, the prestige is a part of the cost.

How to earn

https://executive.berkeley.edu/programs/product-management-studio


Product Strategy (Northwestern Kellogg)

The last certification in our list is from another one of the top business schools. This course from Northwestern University teaches product leaders how to build and execute a successful product strategy.

Why we like it

The curriculum stands out with the inclusion of more advanced concepts like Jobs-to-be-Done, business model taxonomy, go-to-market planning, and growth hacking. The 2-month course combines on-demand learning and live sessions led by the world-renowned faculty.

Best for

Senior product leadership and experienced product managers who contribute extensively to product strategy.

How to earn

https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/executive-education/individual-programs/online-programs/prodstrat.aspx


Key takeaways about product manager certifications

Product management is a complex and ever-evolving profession, and our success as product managers depends on our willingness to engage as regular students of our craft. Whether you’re looking to break into your first product management role or move up the career ladder into product leadership, earning a product manager certification can augment your knowledge, abilities, and credentials. We hope the product management certificate programs detailed here provide some inspiration for your next educational pursuit.

FAQs

What is the best product management certification?

There’s no one-size-fits-all product management certification. Those new to the profession would benefit from certifications that focus on Agile methodologies and delivery, while experienced product managers and product leaders are better suited for certifications that teach advanced discovery techniques, strategy, vision, and leadership.

How do I train to be a product manager?

While product management programs are beginning to pop in universities, there’s no 4-year degree, and the concept of product management education is still relatively new. Fortunately, product management certifications like the ones we’ve discussed here offer structured and focused curriculums to train you for the various levels of product management.

Beyond product management certifications, there are a plethora of resources available to train as a product manager. Whether you enroll in a training program or not, we recommend checking out some of the best blogspodcasts, and books on product management.

Are product management certifications worth it?

Product management certifications are entirely worth it if you’re seeking new skills to grow your career. Just make sure you choose a certification that suits your needs! An experienced product manager won’t benefit from a course on the basics, while a product leadership course will be too advanced for newcomers.

How to get product management certification

Obtaining a product manager certification often requires completing a training program, passing an exam, or both. Check out the specific details on each certification program’s website to better understand the requirements, and be sure to take the time commitment, cost, and career level into account.

Bill Ryan

About the author

Bill is a product manager with B2C and B2B2C experience, and a dedicated student of Jobs-to-be-Done. Coming from a former life as a working musician, he is passionate about inspiring and encouraging others to explore new paths or hidden talents. When he’s not geeking out about product management, Bill is practicing classical guitar, composing music, reading, and trying out new recipes.


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