Check out these project management courses from Australia and abroad. Find the best one for you.
When you're looking at project management courses, there's a lot to choose from. You've got certificates and diplomas, graduate certificates, graduate diplomas and master's degrees. Industry certifications are also available.
Let's drill down on how to become a qualified project manager in Australia. We'll explore the different programs and certifications. Find the best PM course online to achieve your career goals.
Index of Courses
Why Study Project Management?
An online project management course may be a good choice if you have some experience working on projects and you want to upgrade your skills and qualifications. You can study project management online while holding a full-time job. Any current work projects may be useful for learning and assessment.
Degrees and accredited diplomas are valuable for a PM career. Short training courses can also be used to help pass professional accreditation tests. You can also study project management less formally for professional development or out of personal interest.
Add to your existing skillset
Project management training helps ensure career success by complementing on-the-job experience. Professional certification and an education qualification (diploma or university degree) help you to:
- learn to manage projects in a structured way and build applied skills (such as using PM software)
- better communicate with colleagues and be trusted to take on more senior roles
- land jobs by demonstrating professional development, and branch out into different industries and roles.
Most project managers start with industry experience but without formal training. Continued career progression eventually depends on doing courses and gaining accreditation. The sooner you do that, the greater the long-term advantage.
To build project management skills without paying, plenty of free courses are available online.
University-style courses with start and end dates are available from Coursera and edX. Coursera also offers self-paced free courses that you work through at your own convenience. Short courses are delivered by Alison.
In theory, you could potentially develop just about any project management skills, at introductory and advanced levels, with free courses. A couple of drawbacks are that completion rates are usually poor and any resultant qualifications are unofficial... READ MORE
The nationally accredited Diploma in Project Management provides solid training and a formal qualification. The course often represents the industry standard qualification and has no entry requirements.
The 12-subject course has eight core subjects that you'll find in every version across Australia, covering project scope, time, quality, cost, human resources, information and communication, risk, and integration. Average course duration is around 14 months.
TAFE-level alternatives to this diploma are the Certificate IV and Advanced Diploma... READ MORE
The most common degree awarded in project management is a Master of Project Management. Most project managers with a bachelor's degree studied within their chosen domain: finance, engineering, technology, etc.
A Bachelor of Project Management may be considered a business degree. Ideally, you would also major or minor in another discipline as part of your studies. Fully online bachelor degrees appear to be unavailable in Australia.
First-time university students with project management experience may be eligible for graduate certificate courses, providing entry to masters programs... READ MORE
A popular course among project managers is the Graduate Certificate in Project Management. This relatively short, four-subject course serves multiple purposes.
By doing a graduate certificate, you gain (a) an introduction to project management theory and practice (b) a postgraduate qualification and (c) credit towards a graduate diploma or master's degree. Experienced projects managers who lack a degree also gain a university education.
When you apply for jobs with a graduate certificate, you're well served by having formal qualifications in project management at a high level... READ MORE
A Graduate Diploma in Project Management is the university equivalent of a Diploma in Project Management. At just eight subjects long, this course may be shorter. It goes beyond the foundations offered by a graduate certificate but takes less time than a master's degree.
RMIT Online's Graduate Diploma in Project Management is from one of Australia's longest-running university programs. The 100% online course is AIPM endorsed and graduates can automatically be recognised as a Certified Practising Project Practitioner (CPPP). Learning is accelerated, with subjects offered year-round in 7-week study blocks. Both Generalist and IT Project Management study streams are available. Subjects include an introduction to project management, PM techniques, and risk and financial management. The IT specialisation covers agile software development and digital innovation among other topics, while the generalist major explores technology management and project initiation.
The premier qualification for project managers is a Master of Project Management. At 12 subjects long, the program is 50% bigger than a graduate diploma. Students are able to broaden their knowledge base and explore more topics. A capstone industry research project is normally included.
SCU Online Master of Project Management
The Master of Project Management from Southern Cross University is endorsed by the AIPM and aligns with the PMBOK Guide. The 100% online program consists of 7 core subjects, 3 elective units, and a double-weighted industry research project. SCU Online has designed the course to be fully compatible with full-time employment. Subjects are completed one at a time over 7-week study periods. You can complete the full masters in 2 years while working. Topics include project initiation and planning, contract management, quality control and risk, and an introduction to agile project management.
In Australia, the most popular general certifications are PMP, PRINCE2 and AIPM. For each one, you need to meet eligibility criteria, pay fees and pass a test. The result: you earn a well recognised professional credential.
To do well on the tests, it helps if you're an experienced, educated professional. But you can also do intensive training courses as preparation.
PMP is an internationally recognised certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). PMP Certification Courses are used globally, across fields and within most industries.
To be eligible, you need:
- a bachelor or higher degree, 36 months leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® Certification OR
- if you have no degree, 60 months leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® Certification.
The exam takes 230 minutes to complete and consists of 180 questions, which are a combination of multiple-choice, multiple responses, matching, hot area, and limited fill-in-the-blank. Questions are based on the PMP Exam Content Outline (ECO).
According to the PMI, successful PMP candidates typically spend 35 hours or more preparing... READ MORE
PRINCE2 is a certification program offered by AXELOS. Different levels of certification are available.
- PRINCE2 Foundation is a beginner’s certification, used to access other PRINCE2 certifications. It consists of a 60-minute, 60-question, multiple-choice, closed-book exam, and there are no prerequisites for taking it. You need 33/60 = 55% to pass.
- PRINCE2 Practitioner is a certification that you’ll be able to apply to real projects. To be eligible, you need either the PRINCE2 Foundation or another PMI or IPMA certification (such as the PMP). The exam consists of 68 questions and you have 150 minutes available. It is open book and the official PRINCE2 manual can be used.
- PRINCE2 Agile is for project management combined with agile methodology. Two certifications are available: Foundation and Practitioner.
PMP and Prince2 follow different paths to get a similar result: certification and techniques for managing projects.
PMP is based upon the PMBOK, which is a Standard, NOT a methodology. It contains numerous processes and 'generally accepted' techniques... It is therefore more theoretical, a reference guide. Prince2 on the other hand is a methodology, with a detailed process model and templates. It gives step-by-step guidance on how to organise and run a project. It is more practical than the PMBOK... more a manual than a reference guide. - Stephan
The two frameworks are sufficiently different to perhaps be more complementary than rivalrous. You may want to do both. PMP is more of a guide to best practice whereas Prince2 is more practical.
AIPM offers a national project management certification called the RegPM (Registered Project Manager). Candidates must collect and submit evidence that showcases their competence and requires the completion of an Assessment Record Book (ARB). Automatic certification is also available for completing approved courses.
AIPM Certification Courses comes in several levels, and they all require you to be a member of the AIPM at an Associate, Member or Fellow level.
- CPPP – Certified Practising Project Practitioner – suitable for a team member who works on projects.
- CPPM – Certified Practising Project Manager – for those who lead teams and manage projects.
- CPSPM – Certified Practising Senior Project Manager – the CPPM is required for this certification who is meant for senior managers who manage difficult and high risk projects.
- CPPD – Certified Practising Project Director – for those who direct projects.
- CPPE – Certified Practising Portfolio Executive – for those who monitor projects.
To be a good project manager, you need a balanced, all-round set of skills and qualities. Not everyone can do it. A formal education complements on-the-job experience when seeking employment.
A skills shortage for project professionals exists in Australia. The Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) reports shortages in information and communications technology (ICT), construction, and program or project administration.
Managing projects is dynamic and challenging. It keeps you interested and engaged.
Each project is unique and each project team has a unique combination of personalities. You're constantly learning, communicating and solving problems. You gain satisfaction and recognition each time your team delivers a well-executed project.
Project managers who deliver initiatives on-time, on-budget and within scope (let’s not forget quality also) get celebratory parties, senior management accolades, press conferences, speaking engagements – all sorts of positive PR. Actually, they're just doing their job but, because they create something new, or something better, the perceived value to an organisation is extreme. – Dale Myers
Being a professional PM means you carry significant responsibility as well. That's one reason why the job generally pays well. The average base salary in Australia is estimated at $127,112 annually (Source: Indeed, 21 July 2022).
Sound technical skills are required to management projects well. On smaller projects, managers are expected to contribute technical expertise. On larger projects, you need an understanding of how different parts of the project are delivered.
The ability to make connections with people and maintain open communication channels is also essential. It's a coordination role after all.
Ultimately, you have to get things done. You should be energetic, and able to adapt to circumstances and find quick solutions to keep things on track.
Career opportunities may emerge in your industry naturally as you build experience. Even if they don't, you can gain an education or certifications and take other initiatives.
The project management discipline is one that you normally work your way into by becoming proficient in a related profession. Project managers are found in essentially all industries, including government services, finance and insurance, information technology, national defense, healthcare, engineering, construction, business services, energy and manufacturing.
If you have the necessary skills and qualities, opportunities to manage projects should emerge as your original career progresses.
By being a good worker who shows initiative, you can build credibility and gain extra responsibilities. It also helps to take on challenges and develop new skills. You can also go for coordination and assistant roles that better align with a PM career path.
Formal training gives you a competitive edge by demonstrating professional knowledge and a commitment to the discipline. Some people also start by doing non-commercial projects like managing a home construction build or starting a community website.
Academic qualifications (degrees and diplomas) carry value. You can distinguish yourself by earning all of the following credentials:
- a diploma or bachelor degree in your industry (e.g. Bachelor of Engineering)
- an academic qualification in project management (e.g. graduate diploma) and
- professional accreditation (e.g. AIPM, PMP or PRINCE2).
Job advertisements for project manager positions often don't mention qualifications. And professional experience is important. But you're still competing against other candidates and stronger formal qualifications can help you stand out and get ahead.