One unique element of the technology industry is that it does not demand formal education and is open to self-taught professionals. Many industry leaders — Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, for example — never finished college, and more than a few top programmers — such as John Carmack — are self-taught.
However, the one thing they all have in common — besides lacking a degree — is they all started their own businesses. For those not feeling the entrepreneurial spirit, getting a job with an established organization might require more formal education. And nothing says education like an industry certification. Whether the position is in security, IT management or business process management (BPM), the right certifications can open doors.
In addition, professionals with a BPM certification earn approximately 20% more than those who are not certified; a BPM-certified professional earns in the low six figures, while a noncertified professional’s salary is in the high $90,000 range.
What is a BPM certification?
Business process management employs methods to discover, model, analyze, measure, improve, and optimize business strategy and processes.
BPM is broader and more involved than simple task and project management. Task or project management focuses on individual tasks, while BPM observes the process from end to end. Project management refers to a one-time project, while BPM focuses specifically on processes that are repeatable and can be used from one project to the next — with the processes tweaked and modified as needed.
Many organizations offer BPM training and certification, but their education processes vary because there is no industry standard. A best practice is to evaluate offerings from the biggest associations, such as the BPM Institute and the Association of Business Process Management Professionals (ABPMP) International.
BPM certification also helps employers define job objectives, evaluate candidates, assess employee performance, and motivate employees to enhance their skills and knowledge.
Business process management certification courses
The following 10 certification programs offer online classes and in-person tutoring at local education centers. Tests are also administered online and in person. Most classes offer video on demand so you can download and watch lectures at your own pace.
1. ABPMP International
Course details/course(s) offered: ABPMP International offers the Certified Business Process Associate (CBPA), Certified Business Process Professional (CBPP) and Certified Business Process Leader (CBPL).
Who should take this course: Anyone wanting a career in BPM.
- CBPA: 1,250 hours of documented working experience in a business process-related area or a four-year qualifying university degree, complete application, pass exam and sign ABPMP code of ethics.
- CBPP: Four years to 10 years of business process experience, six months credit for other certifications, complete application and pass exam.
- CBPL: 10 years of business process experience, five years of business transformation project management, CBPP certification and six months credit for other certifications, complete application and pass exam.
2. Six Sigma Belts
Course details/course(s) offered: The certifications validate varied levels of skill in Six Sigma, ranked by martial arts-style colored belts with different assignments. They are as follows:
- Master Black Belt: Trains and coaches Black Belts and Green Belts.
- Black Belt: Leads problem-solving projects, trains and coaches project teams.
- Brown Belt: Brown Belt is not traditionally used in Six Sigma and is not recognized by most organizations or accrediting agencies. However, some organizations might classify a person as a Brown Belt if they have a Green Belt and passed the Black Belt certification exam but haven’t completed a second Six Sigma project.
- Green Belt: Assists with data collection and analysis for Black Belt projects.
- Yellow Belt: Participates as a project team member.
- White Belt: Entry level. Can work on local problem-solving teams that support overall projects but might not be part of a Six Sigma project team.
Who should take this course: Anyone looking to improve organizational operation, reduce errors, improve compliance and rise to a management position.
Requirements: Web-based or in-person exam from Council for Six Sigma Certification and achieve a minimum score of 70%.
3. ITIL 4 Foundation
Course details/course(s) offered: ITIL Foundation offers ITIL Specialist, ITIL Strategist, ITIL Leader and ITIL Master certifications.
Who should take this course: Any professionals working within an organization, or alongside an IT department, that has adopted the ITIL framework; professionals who want to understand ITIL better; non-IT workers who want to learn ITIL and anyone wishing to be certified in IT service management.
Requirements: 17 hours over three weeks of instruction.
4. Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
Course details/course(s) offered: The CBAP certification training course features 13 online lessons taken at your speed.
Who should take this course: Anyone looking for a career path with specialized knowledge of the technology industry.
Requirements: 7,500 hours of business analysis work experience in the last 10 years, 900 hours of which should be in four out of the six Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) Guide Version 3 knowledge areas. You also need a minimum of 35 hours of professional development in the past four years and must provide two references.
5. Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP)
Course details/course(s) offered: The CITP training program offers 20 hours of continuing professional development, half of which are structured learning activities approved by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy or a legally constituted state authority; up to half can be unstructured/nontraditional.
Who should take this course: Certified public accountants (CPAs) looking to bridge business and technology and looking for training and experience in IT assurance, risk, security and privacy, analytics and technology.
Requirements: CPA license in good standing and AICPA membership. You must have at least 1,000 hours of experience working on IT projects in the past five years and complete 75 hours of continuing professional development courses.
The CITP Exam is a four-hour computer-based exam composed of multiple-choice questions. The exam fee is $400 for AICPA members and $500 for non-members.
6. Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)
Course details/course(s) offered: The CSPO is a two-day course that teaches students to guide their teams and build successful products at Agile speed, while creating customer satisfaction.
Who should take this course: Product owners looking to decide what an Agile team will create next to deliver more value to the customer.
Requirements: Four to eight hours per day over a two- to three-day period, depending on the certification, with a live online interactive course. Cost depends on course, ranging from around $299 to $1,800 as of December 2023.
7. Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
Course details/course(s) offered: The CMA exam comes in two parts, with 150 to 170 recommended hours of study per part. Study includes planning and budgeting, performance analysis and management, investment decisions and financial reporting.
Who should take this course: Accountants looking to learn the “why” behind financial figures. Unlike most certifications, CMA designation holds global recognition, making it valuable for accountants who want to work outside the U.S.
Requirements: 12 to 18 months to complete both parts, on average, with up to three years allowed to complete both parts. Additionally, there is a two-part test covering 12 competencies.
8. Team Leadership Skills Masterclass
Course details/course(s) offered: The Team Leadership Skills Masterclass includes 12 modules on varying aspects of team management and leadership, such as influencing team members and how to build and train a team.
Who should take this course: New and beginner managers looking to be a team builder and leader.
Requirements: 19 hours of on-demand video. Students should have basic experience as a manager, Internet access for the courses, and a willingness to put time into the course.
9. Operations Management: Operations and the Organization
Course details/course(s) offered: The course includes eight articles on the basics of operations management in manufacturing and service organizations, as well as a collection of downloadable lectures.
Who should take this course: Anyone looking to gain a working understanding of the operations functions in a service or manufacturing organization.
Requirements: 28 downloadable lectures running just over two hours.
10. Lean Business Process Management Change Skills
Course details/course(s) offered: The course helps professionals learn lean business processes to improve efficiency. Lean businesses are those that operate with maximum efficiency and minimal waste of effort.
Who should take this course: Any manager looking to reduce waste associated with a project.
Requirements: Five sections, 20 lectures, two hours and 25 minutes total length.