PMO Certification or Accreditation – What’s the Difference and Should I Care?

On our last webinar we had a great question from an attendee:

What’s the difference between a certified course and an accredited course?

It’s an interesting question because the difference is subtle and not many of us realise the difference between them.

Here’s the difference as described by Eileen in the webinar:

A Certified PMO Course

A certified course is from an examination body which examines you and then certifies that you have achieved a particular level.

With PMO certified courses there are only three that exists – these are from examining bodies British Computer Society (BCS), AXELOS and AIPMO.

An Accredited PMO Course

An accredited course is a professional body who recognises the qualification but is not the examining body, the certification you receive will just be from the training company who provided the training.

An accredited course will still have an examination – that’s why you’ll still receive a certification but it’s not signed by an examining body.

Non-certified or accreditated courses tend to have no certification – unless it’s just a certification of attendance.

The difference is subtle but it is the certified course that has the edge over the accredited ones.

Here’s a summing up from The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS):

Certification represents a written assurance by a third party of the conformity of a product, process or service to specified requirements. Accreditation, on the other hand, is the formal recognition by an authoritative body of the competence to work to specified standards.

It is the ability to demonstrate technical competence that puts accredited certification on a level above non-accredited certification.*


Why should you care about the difference? It’s not so much about one being better than the other, it’s about you being aware of which course you are opting for – informed choices. Training can be expensive and budgets are hard-fought for, so make sure you’re selecting the right course for you based on whether you’re looking for recognised and formal certification-based training.

PMO Learning has both certification based courses and ones which are non-accredited (our specialist PMO courses)

Not sure which one you should go for? You can get in touch, anytime and ask us a question.


My notes!

Certified PMO Courses* UKAS talking about certification and accreditations

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