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PRINCE2 Qualifications: What You Need to Know

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Are you new to the world of project management or simply want to know more about it? Find out what you need to know, here.

Project management is one of the fastest growing specialisms – and one that employers are desperate for people with skills in.

And when it comes to project management, the qualifications that are consistently looked for by employers are those offered by PRINCE2.

As we’ve just started offering PRINCE2 qualifications ourselves, we’ve decided to have a closer look at this exciting project management qualification. Here’s everything you need to know about PRINCE2 qualifications.

What is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 is a project management framework. It’s been used to help project managers deliver complex projects on time, on budget and to best practice for over 30 years.

It’s name is shorthand for Projects In Controlled Environments and it was originally developed by the UK government in the late 1980s to help the delivery of IT projects.

 Since then, the PRINCE2 framework has gone on to be developed to help project managers in all industries deliver a project from start to finish to a high quality

Widely respected, with over 1 million registered practitioners, PRINCE2 is used by leading public and private sector organisations around the world. In many industries and sectors, a PRINCE2 qualification is required to gain specific  roles into the industry and it provides a consistent, common and controlled approach to project management.

Thanks to the fact that it organises projects into a clear start, middle and end and is focused on business justification and regular reviews/ monitoring, PRINCE2 is a favourite with employees and employers alike.

Why should I study PRINCE2?

As we mentioned above, PRINCE2 is such a widespread and ubiquitous part of project management that it’s now widely looked for by employers when it comes to hiring the best candidates for project management roles.

Here are some of the main reasons:

It can help you get your first project management role

Project management is a competitive specialism to break into. Most people come into the field gradually, building up practical project management experience over a number of years. If you’re looking at starting a project management career from scratch, it can be pretty daunting trying to find your first role in the industry without prior experience. Studying a dedicated project management qualification – especially one as renowned as PRINCE2 – can be a great way to level the playing field slightly and improve your chances of securing your first project management qualification.

If you have a PRINCE2 qualification, employers will be able to see that you have the specialist knowledge they need in a candidate, along with the

It can improve the quality of your work

Don’t just take our word for it – there’s solid evidence that having a PRINCE2 certification can provide a positive impact on your working practices and the workplace in general. The 2019 Power of Professional Certification report from AXELOS found that 97% of decision-makers say certification has a positive impact, bringing higher efficiency and greater employee satisfaction.

It can give you transferable skills

And even if you don’t want a role in project management, the skills you gain from studying PRINCE2 are transferable and can be applied to other specialisms. Strong project management skills – and being able to scale delivery – are particularly in demand in industries like healthcare, finance, and construction.

It’s internationally recognised – and renowned

First developed by the UK Government in the 1980s, the PRINCE2 project management system has steadily been adopted by private and public sector organisations around the world thanks to the effectiveness of its approach to delivering complex projects.

As a result, PRINCE2 qualifications are internationally recognised and many employers use them as a benchmark of skills and knowledge when it comes to recruiting project management professionals. This means that employers actively look for PRINCE2 qualifications when it comes to selecting the right candidate for their position because they know that they will have the right quality of skills and knowledge they need. The PRINCE2 qualification, and certification, is essentially a mark of quality.

Today, it’s estimated that there are around 1 million project management practitioners worldwide with a PRINCE2 qualification, so it’s a widely recognised qualification. With one under your belt, you’ll be able to pursue a project management career in a range of different countries.

What PRINCE2 qualifications can I study?

At Acacia, we offer three types of PRINCE2 qualifications: PRINCE2 Foundation, PRINCE2 Practitioner and PRINCE2 Combined.

PRINCE2 Foundation

The PRINCE2 Foundation is an entry level qualification aimed at people looking to start their career in project management, or those already working in the field who want to improve their specific knowledge of the PRINCE2 project management framework. It’s an ideal qualification to study to get you grounded in the basics of the system. 

During the qualification, you’ll explore three modules that define the PRINCE2 framework: Themes, Processes and Principles.

Themes

  • Business case - what value will the project bring to the organisation?
  • Organisation - how will the project team's individual roles and responsibilities be defined?
  • Plans - what steps will we take to develop our plans and apply the PRINCE2 techniques?
  • Risk - how will we address uncertainties in our plans and environment?
  • Quality - what are the project's quality requirements, and how will we deliver them?
  • Change - how will we assess and address unforeseen issues?
  • Progress - how will we assess the performance of the project and decide how/if it should continue?
  • Processes

Processes

  • Starting up a project
  • Initiating a project
  • Controlling a stage
  • Managing product delivery
  • Managing a stage boundary
  • Directing a project
  • Closing a project

Principles

  • Continued business justifications
  • Learn from experience
  • Defined roles and responsibilities
  • Manage by stages
  • Manage by exception
  • Focus on products
  • Tailor to suit the project environment

PRINCE2 Practitioner

The PRINCE2 Practitioner is an intermediate level qualification, aimed at people with prior knowledge of the PRINCE2 system who are looking to develop an advanced, strategic understanding of how to apply the project management system to a range of projects.

Over the course of the qualification, you’ll build on what you learned during the PRINCE2 Foundation about the 3 core principles of PRINCE2. You’ll develop your skills and knowledge to the extent that you’ll be able to apply the framework to a range of complex situations with competing demands.

When you’ve completed this qualification, you’ll be eligible to apply for PRINCE2 Registered Practitioner status: a prestigious title that you can use in your title.

PRINCE2 Combined

The PRINCE2 Combined course is simply a qualification that combines the Foundation and Practictioner qualifications into one. It’s designed for people who are coming to project management and PRINCE2 for the first time and who want to gain Practitioner status quickly.

Studying a combined qualification can often be significantly cheaper than if you took each qualification separately, and that’s a major draw for some students who choose to take this course.

During this qualification, you’ll study all of the modules from the Foundation and the Practitioner courses and at the end you’ll be able to apply for Registered Practitioner status.

Sitting at Desk

How much do PRINCE2 qualifications cost? 

The price of a PRINCE2 qualification will vary, depending on the specific provider that you choose and what, if any, extras they provide along with the qualification.

Generally, you might find that the price of an online qualification will be higher if it has a longer support period – a period of time where you can access help from resources and tutors whilst completing your courses.

You might also find that a course is more expensive than other ones because it includes the cost of examinations, registration fees and course materials too.

In general though, an online PRINCE2 Foundation qualification should cost you around £500.

A PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification will cost around £550

And a PRINCE2 Combined qualification will cost about £900.

How can I study a PRINCE2 qualification? 

You can study PRINCE2 qualifications in a number of ways. Two of the most popular are classroom-based study and distance study – completed online, over the internet.

In the past, most people studied PRINCE2 in a classroom with other students present. This was a bit cumbersome, with students having to attend a specific place at a specific time each month, but some people enjoyed the sociality and support that studying this way provided.

The development of online learning in recent years has fundamentally challenged the dominance of classroom-based study though. With online learning, you complete the course at your own pace, wherever and whenever you want, using the internet to work through your course materials. Some students like the flexibility that online learning provides – not to mention the fact that it is often cheaper than face-to-face study.

The exact way that you study your PRINCE2 qualification will depend on the study formats that your learning provider offers. You generally find that providers will specialise in offering a particular type of learning. At ICS Learn, for example, we offer online courses, including online PRINCE2 qualifications.

What jobs can I get with a PRINCE2 qualification? 

Gaining a PRINCE2 qualification can open up a lot of opportunities, besides just the obvious ones in the project management fields.

As we mentioned earlier, PRINCE2 qualifications provide you with a lot of transferable hard and soft skills that you can apply directly to other careers. They include skills like:

  • Strategic thinking
  • Organisational skills
  • Time management
  • Working to budgets
  • Critical thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving

Holding a PRINCE2 qualification will enhance your skillset and help you develop your career in a broad range of careers, across multiple fields. You’d be hard pressed to find a career that doesn’t need at least one of the types of skills that studying a PRINCE2 qualification will give you.

Develop your project management career with a PRINCE2 qualification that you can complete 100% online. Download your free PRINCE2 course guide.