Certified Project Officer (CPO)

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.

How do I get certified?

The three (3) hour CPO certification examination assesses candidates’ ability to integrate and apply their project management knowledge to a number of theoretical and real world scenarios.

Conducted online, the exam consists of 100 quiz questions that closely mirror the IPM Open topic quizzes, along with a previously unsighted case study (20 additional questions).

The passing grade for the exam is 70%.

Certified Project Officer

Those exceptional students who attain an overall grade of 90% or greater will be entered into the Institute of Project Management’s Order of Merit.

Download CPO Brochure

What is in the CPO exam?

The CPO examination ultimately assesses the knowledge, processes and techniques necessary to systematically and successfully manage the entire life of a project, including:

  • the initiation stage: the decision-making process that leads to the authorisation of the project
  • the planning stage: the development of project processes assets (such as the schedule and budget), and the definition of the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders
  • the delivery stage: the execution of the project plan, including the management of risks, opportunities and change, and
  • the closing stage: the handover of the project deliverable to the client, and capture of lessons learned for individuals and the performing organisation.

Assessment integrates all the recognised domains of project knowledge, including:

  • project scope management
  • project time management
  • project cost management
  • project quality management
  • project human resource management
  • project communications management
  • project risk management
  • project procurement management, and
  • project stakeholder management
CPO graduate

How can I prepare for the CPO examination?

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.

The quizzes that follow each topic closely mirror the multiple-choice questions you will find in the CPO exam.

CPO candidates can attempt these online quizzes an unlimited number of times, as well as a timed practice exam. This will ensure you are optimally primed to succeed!

Alternative assessment options

As an alternative to the online examination, candidates can complete a face-to-face, interactive workshop run by the Institute of Project Management and our education partners. Candidates can also be assessed in their native language.

Previous project management studies may be also accepted in lieu of certain course elements. For example, if you have studied at college or University for greater than 30 hours in a specific project management program, you may attract exemptions or even be automatically eligible for CPO certification.

These exemptions are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and may significantly discount your overall certification fee, so please contact us directly to invite consideration of your circumstance.

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 CPO certification is the most rigorous knowledge-based certification 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 early-career project managers 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 CPO compare to other certifications?


Frequently asked questions

The Certified Project Officer 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 Officer allows you to post-nominally use the letters CPO in all formal and official correspondence (eg Jane Smith CPO)

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 CPP certification currently costs US$250 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).

Very engaging facilitator – easy to understand and fostered great discussion which fostered learning. Have learned new skills.

Mareesa Bearman, CPP
Change Manager / MyState Inc.

What’s next?

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

  • A Certified Project Professional (CPP) applies contemporary project management tools, techniques and methods to the unique context of each project they undertake. They identify and respond proactively to project risks, opportunities and issues, keeping stakeholders fully informed throughout.

    Certified Project Professional

  • 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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