Certified Project Master (CPM)

A Certified Project Master (CPM) is a project leader and innovator.

They have been independently assessed against a broad range of project management competencies, and can apply a suite of specialised technical and managerial skills to initiate, plan, execute and evaluate their own project work and the work of others.

How do I get certified?

Certified Project Manager

CPM candidates need to be admitted to the Institute of Project Management as a Certified Project Officer (CPO), and evidence a threshold minimum of two years’ project leadership experience before proceeding to the assessment.

Qualifying projects you have led must meet the minimum standard for complexity specified below, and years of leadership experience may be accumulated non-consecutively (for example, over four calendar years).

Evidence can be presented in the form of an up-to-date resume listing the projects worked on and the leadership role that you fulfilled.

You must also nominate three (3) referees who you either reported to (for example, a direct supervisor) or were accountable to (for example, a project sponsor, senior stakeholder or client) in the delivery of one or more of these projects.

We will directly contact at least one of these referees via a 10 minute telephone interview to validate your experience.

Download CPM Brochure

How do you assess a CPM?

In order to demonstrate their competence as a Project Manager, CPM candidates are required to identify a complex public or private project that has recently completed and conduct a comprehensive review of its performance.

In order to meet the minimum threshold of complexity, the project you review must involve:

  • A delivery team of three (3) or more people (including the project manager)
  • Detailed project documentation at all stages
  • Formal governance structure (for example, a sponsor and/or steering committee)
  • Multiple stakeholder relationships

It is an essential requirement of this activity that you are a ‘stranger’ to the project. In other words, you cannot have had any of the following, active roles in the project you review:

  • Project initiator
  • Project sponsor
  • Project manager
  • Project team member
  • Project contractor or supplier
  • Project client
  • End-user of the project’s outputs

The final output will take the form of a hypothetical consultant’s report commissioned by the Board of Directors of the performing organisation, and be aimed at recommending improvements for the firm’s performance of future projects.

In addition to common requirements for business writing, the Review should address the following:

  • Project assets, including (but not limited to):
    • project initiation documentation (for example: a project business case; project charter)
    • project planning documentation (for example: a project stakeholder register; work breakdown structure; Gantt chart; budget; position descriptions; risk register; communications plan)
    • project delivery documentation (for example: project status reports; change requests; issues register)
  • Project performance, including (but not limited to):
    • planned versus actual performance to scope, schedule and budget
    • stakeholder identification and communication
    • business case development
    • scope definition and management
    • schedule development and control
    • cost estimating and control
    • risk identification, prioritisation and treatment
    • human resource availability and performance
    • quality planning and control
    • procurement / contract management
    • project governance and change control
    • project delivery and handover
    • other lessons learned

At a minimum, you would be expected to conduct one-on-one interviews with the project manager, project sponsor and a client representative. Other project stakeholders should also be consulted. This can be done using a variety of methods, including interviews, workshops and surveys.

For assessment purposes, the Review must be at least 2,000 words in length. The word count does not include footnotes, references and/or appendices. The executive summary must not be more than 10% of the overall word count.

You will then be required to make a 30 minute Oral Defence of your Project Review to complete this assessment activity. This Defence simulates a Board level interrogation of your Review conclusions and its recommendations – it is not an oral presentation of your findings (eg PowerPoint).

You will be contacted directly to schedule your presentation once your written report has been assessed.

In order to successfully complete this assessment, you will need to be familiar with larger issues, such as the project management frameworks, theories and best practice; more importantly, you need to have a deep understanding of the project you have reviewed and the major issues encountered.

How can I prepare for the CPM assessment?

IPM Open is a multimedia project management resource hub, exclusively available to Institute of Project Management students. Click here for a sneak peek…

The 12 online units in IPM Open cover all aspects of contemporary project management, including a number of well-known and highly regarded methodologies such as PMBOK, Agile, and PRINCE2.

CPM candidates should be familiar with IPM Open as graduates of the CPO program, and are encouraged to revisit this site for detail on how to prepare / review the relevant aspects of their project review.

Upon enrolment, you will also receive our comprehensive guide to completing your examination that includes:

  • The steps you need to complete
  • A detailed review template (with word count guides)
  • Oral defence tips and tricks, and
  • Comprehensive assessment criteria

Assessing skills, not CVs

The CPM certification requirements are intentionally flexible, and allow you to submit documentation and reviews that you may have previously undertaken as evidence of your competence.

Unfortunately, a detailed Curriculum Vitae or resume – even one with references – is only testimony that you have worked on projects, and not independent evidence that you are competent to the requisite standard!

Unlike in other certification programs, our holistic, human assessment of candidates is not done by robots.

Employers can be assured that IPM Certified Project Masters have undergone the most rigorous interrogation and third-party validation of their knowledge and skills via written, oral and face-to-face interactions.

What are the benefits of IPM certification?


Institute of Project Management (IPM) credentials validate contemporary best practices in the discipline of project management. By not slavishly adhereing to (or evangelizing) any one standard, methodology or industry approach, our credentials provide a highly rigorous and transferable baseline of skills that can be applied in any project context.

IPM credential holders are critical thinkers; they are the project leaders, problem solvers and innovators of the 21st century.

An IPM credential therefore opens up a wealth of career opportunities for the project manager. It expands your market reach, enhances your project management skills, displays your ability to handle challenging projects, earns you critical projects, and increases your salary by a huge margin.

So why should I certify my project management knowledge and skills with IPM?

  • Access our free, open, online knowledge library – don’t pay for expensive preparation courses
  • Consider alternative assessment options, including the recognition of your prior project management learning
  • Receive lifetime certification – no membership, subscription or ongoing fees are required
  • Guaranteed global recognition – your project management passport!
  • Access direct pathways to higher certification and/or qualifications
  • Exponentially increase your career potential and rewards

Why do employers prefer IPM certifications?

The CPM certification is the most rigorous skills-based certification for senior project managers in the world today.

By taking a 21st century approach to learning and assessment, it also is the most durable and cost-effective option for candidates looking to independently assure their value to current and potential employers.

These are some of the reasons why employers are looking for IPM certifications linked to your name:

  • Comprehensive and independent certification that validates knowledge, skills and experience
  • Candidates demonstrate their practical application of knowledge, as opposed to theory-based assessment
  • IPM assesses people, not CVs – we personally interview, challenge and reference check all candidates at the CPP level and higher
  • Instant, online validation of certification authenticity is available via Credly through Linkedin
  • IPM’s certification marks and post-nominals are accredited to explicitly defined and regularly audited international standards
  • Candidates are bound to IPM Code of Ethics for Project Professionals
  • Organisations employing IPM certified candidates immediately observe improved project performance

How does CPM compare to other certifications?


Frequently asked questions

The Certified Project Master designation is an official certification mark authorised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and internationally protected by IP Australia.

Admission to the Institute of Project Management as a Certified Project Master allows you to post-nominally use the letters CPM in all formal and official correspondence (eg Jane Smith CPM)

That depends on where you work…

In 2015, the median salary for a project manager in Australia was AU$139,037 per year – in the USA, it was US$108,000.

Interestingly, having even a basic certification or qualification in project management added around 20% to the value of of an individual’s salary.

The best country to work as a project manager is Switzerland (Australia is ranked #2, and the USA is #3), while the worst is Egypt. If you want to know what a project manager usually earns in your country, just ask us!

For a small fee, candidates can be assessed in their native language.

Please contact us directly for more info.

The CPM certification currently costs US$500 to complete.

You can either pay online when you complete the enrolment form, or request an invoice (if, for example, you would like your employer to pay on your behalf).

Thanks Paul (trainer), very engaging trainers and easy to listen to.

Kylie Murphy, CPP
Coordinator Capability & Performance / TasWater

What’s next?

Upon being admitted to the Institute of Project Management as a Certified Project Master, you might like to extend your expertise with one of our higher certifications or qualifications in project management.

  • A Certified Project Officer (CPO) is a fundamental contributor to any project team. They have been examined on at least 30 hours of project management study, and can employ project management knowledge in a wide variety of settings, taking responsibility for their own work performance.

    Certified Project Officer (CPO)

  • A Certified Project Master (CPM) is a project leader and innovator. They have been independently assessed against a broad range of project management competencies, and can apply a suite of specialised technical and managerial skills to initiate, plan, execute and evaluate their own project work and the work of others.

    Certified Project Master (CPM)

  • A Certified Project Director (CPD) has the proven ability to lead multiple, complex projects, programs and portfolios of work. They make high-level autonomous decisions and use initiative and judgement to navigate a diverse range of activities that span functions, organisations, regions and cultures.

    Certified Project Director (CPD)

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