Can you get a project management certification without a degree?

Obtaining a project management certification without a degree is a frequently asked question by young professionals. Some project management programs, such as PMP, require a special degree, while others, such as BVOP, do not have any such requirements. In this article, we look at the topic in detail.

Project Management Certification without a degree
An appropriate degree for project management certification is not required anymore

Getting a project management certification without a degree

A project management certification has been recognized as one of the most coveted methods of bolstering your resume to get into the industry of your choice. Due to the changing trends and standards of the overall economy, enterprises are evolving to expect a more specific and in-depth knowledge from potential employees. The sentiment holds more strongly for project managers who know need to have both managerial and technical skills in a particular niche. 

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The BVOP Certified Project Manager diploma
The BVOP Certified Project Manager diploma

Management is no longer generalized, and what is better to satisfy the current professional career advancement goals than a project management certification.

Much like any other qualification, you need to clear the eligibility criteria to obtain a project management certification. And if you are wondering what these eligibility criteria are, or if you are hoping to start early as a professional, you must be curious if you could get a PMP certification without a degree. That’s what we will discuss in the following post to help you make an informed decision and prepare well for your future project management career goals. Let’s begin, shall we?

Why does a project management certification have eligibility criteria?

Project management certification has gained a lot of traction among professionals hoping to advance their career because of how reliable, quick, and cost-effective the qualification is designed to be. Moreover, employers value you more as an applicant if you have project management certification because then you are were equipped with a large pool of knowledge for the particular niche. You have tons of experience that are very enticing for any industry. If you are wondering why a project management certification has a barometer a.k.a eligibility criteria, there is a good reason for that. 

The first principle reason is that project management in itself is a significant role that you fulfill for a company. To commit to the goals and for flawless execution, you must hold robust communication and experience skills. In the absence of these qualities, you are vulnerable as a project manager. Therefore, project management certification gives you the ability to achieve successful project delivery time and again, by setting experience as an essential eligibility criterion. Read more: PMP vs MBA or Project management certification vs Master of Business Administration

The second reason justifies further on why you need to pass the eligibility requirements. A project manager needs strong theoretical knowledge besides the execution abilities. They must possess the skill to convert this knowledge into actionable executions. Five groups test your apprehension in a project management certification exam. To score well in these areas, you must possess an undulating understanding of the theories that project management professes.  

Yes, there are several standards that you must pass to sit for a project management certification test. Still, authorities make things more adaptable by setting more than one category of standards. Depending on the types of requirements you satisfy, your experience as a project manager is bound to vary. In this section, we will give you an in-depth insight into the different options that you can choose from to qualify for the project management certification exam.

What are the eligibility criteria to obtain a project management certification?

It is essential to understand that a project management certification is more experience-oriented. To make it easier for you to advance your career as a project manager, the eligibility criteria can be divided into the following sets.

Criteria 1

This set of criteria is designed for those with a four-year degree, including a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate, or any other equivalent. If you possess such a degree, you need to satisfy the following standards.

Alternative 1

  • A bachelor’s degree or any other equivalent 
  • A minimum of 3 years of professional project management experience, non-overlapping type
  • 35 hours of formal project management education 

Alternative 2

  • A GAC accredited post-graduate program 
  • A minimum of 2 years of professional project management experience, non-overlapping type
  • 35 hours of formal project management education

Criteria 2

This set of criteria is designed for those who have a secondary degree, including a high school level of education or any other relevant education. If you fall under this category, you need to satisfy the following standards.  

  • A high school diploma or any other relevant education levels such an associate degree
  • A minimum of 5 years of experience in professional project management, non-overlapping type
  • 7500 hours leading different projects
  • 35 hours of formal project management education

The real dilemma – Can you get a PM certification without a relevant degree?

It is essential to clear some of the most debilitating misconceptions regarding a project management certification. We say, debilitating because, while there are a large number of individuals worldwide that successfully obtain a project management certification, there is also a significant number who give up when they read the eligibility criteria. And if you are about to give thinking, you don’t have a higher degree, so there is no room for you among the project management certified lot. Halt! There is an option for you too. Read more: Project Management Training Courses

Yes, you can get a project management certification without a degree. The set of standards under criteria two is meant to enable those without a higher degree to understand project management certified in the section above.

If you don’t have a degree, which means you will need 7,500 hours of project experience. While at first, you might have reservations about a large number of hours, but as you find your niche and the project you feel comfortable working, time flies by quickly. Before you realize, you will have more than enough hours on your tab. Along with the 7,5000 hours of experience, you will need 35 hours of formal education on project management and your experience must at all times be of non-overlapping nature. See more: What are the best project management certificates for 2021

 What does it mean to have a work experience of a non-overlapping nature for a project management certification?

To qualify for a project management certification, you must possess a non-overlapping work experience for three years if you have a higher degree and five years if you don’t have a higher degree. It is essential to understand what does overlapping work experience entails avoiding any blunders in the future.  

According to the norms, there are eight working hours in a day, and each week has five working days. Therefore, you can only account for a total of forty hours a week. Another norm if for project managers to have at least two weeks’ worth of vacation every year. This states that you will max out at fifty working weeks annually. Hence, you will be working for around two thousand hours every year. Now that we have the loopholes covered, its time to throw light on the non-overlapping quandary. 

By non-overlapping work experience for a project management certification, we simply mean the following. 

  • Since you have forty hours to work on projects every week, if you are thinking of doing extra hours, you are making a mistake. According to the standards, you cannot account for more than forty hours a week.
  • If you are working on two projects at the same time, you will not get credit for the working time as they are overlapping with each other. To get things into a better perspective, here’s an example.

Suppose you are working on Project-01, which extends from February to October, while another project called Project-02, expands from July to December. You cannot take credit for the 9 months of working on Project-01 and the six months of working on Project-02, which makes up to 15 months of total working time. You can only take credit for 12 months instead of 15 months because 12 months is the maximum of 2000 hours you can account for. The overlapping period of four months [July to October], you can only be accountable for one project.

 What are some loopholes that I must always avoid?

  • Remember to maintain accuracy and transparency while filling out the project management certification application form. 
  • Do not include the projects you have worked on that overlap each other; the overlapping nature of each project and the working hour is a reliable criterion for a project management certification.
  • You need to achieve 35 hours of formal project management education. It is important to note that this standard cannot be skipped as It is mandatory.
  • Do not use a template to skip over the PMI audit; it an unavoidable part of your project management certification training, and it is purely random. If you end up using a template, you are at a disadvantage. A template makes the applicating mundane and less creative. 


Time is of the essence for all project managers. That is why if you career-bound, you will understand that the quickest road for the professional zenith is to obtain a project management certification. In the hopes of saving our readers form unnecessary disappointment, we curated this article. More individuals give up right after they read the eligibility criteria than those you successfully obtain a project management certification. As complex as might sounds, the standards are highly adaptive.

They are designed to help individuals from a primary education level to grow their careers. We advise you to choose a reputable training provider because project management certification needs the right amount of preparation in five different knowledge areas. Besides the theoretical knowledge that you must possess, it is essential to understand that a project management certification is more about the experience in various projects. This fluid nature makes the project management certification test highly achievable.