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Project Scheduling

Planning and Scheduling Certifications Guide | 2023

Planning and scheduling certifications are certifications that are granted by a formal body or organization with the power to teach people and assess whether or not their expertise meets industry standards.

The process of planning and scheduling is an absolutely crucial element when it comes to any business, but it is especially necessary for major corporations working on large-scale projects. The implementation of an efficient planning and scheduling practice is crucial as projects can be complex and cost from little no investments, to up to millions of dollars.

And while all of this sounds like it can be a job for almost anyone, it could not be further from the truth.

Project management as a whole, including planning and scheduling is a complex and responsible task, therefore, hiring the right person for the job is essential for corporations. And if you are pursuing a career in this profession, one of the ways to demonstrate your knowledge and skills before a potential employer is certification.

Various organizations that provide planning and scheduling certifications exist all throughout the world, each with its own set of specialized credentials. In this article, i will focus on the engineering and construction part of the project management process and provide relevant recommendations.

The Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE International), and the Project Management Institute (PMI) are two of the most esteemed organizations to offer these internationally recognized certifications.

Apart from the big two, it is also important to mention the Guild of Project Controls.

One of the major differences in the Guild’s credentials is that the Guild and its independent Certification Board are established to certify that the professional has shown their ability to execute the job rather than being prepared to demonstrate their high scores on the test.

The Guild of Project Controls, are a group of project controls professionals who set up training and accreditations through their website, the well known and most active forum dedicated to Project Controls and Project Planning, the “Planning Planet”.

You can learn more about the different levels of certification available, by visiting the Planning Planet website.

These project management organizations set the standards for each level, and create a standardized exams that can confirm the level of preparation and knowledge one has and is able to implement in project management.

Obtaining a certification in planning and scheduling adds massive value for the planner and it sets apart one professional from the rest, as it proves their unique skills, but also benefits their employer as well. By being internationally recognized, these certifications open the door to multiple opportunities for professionals in the field.

Planning and Scheduling Certifications Based on Experience:

  • Beginner Level Certifications
    • Certified Scheduling Technician (CST)
  • Intermediate Level Certifications
    • PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)
  • Advanced Level Certifications
    • Planning & Scheduling Professional (PSP)

Basic Level Planning and Scheduling Certifications

Certified Scheduling Technician (CST) – AACE International Certifications

Certified Scheduling Technician (CST) is the first of the basic level certifications, and it typically requires no previous experience in order to obtain it. The CST certification is very common among junior planners and schedulers who are just starting their careers and are looking to upgrade their knowledge in the field.

Recommended and fitting for junior schedulers and planners, the CST certification is set to provide beginner level professionals who have less experience with a chance to upgrade their knowledge and skills. However,  more experienced career professionals who wish to be recognized for their planning and scheduling skills are also, often encouraged to undertake this certification.

The Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE International) which grants the CST certification has one requirement for the eligibility for the certification, and that is having completed four years of college or having acquired a bachelor’s degree. Those who haven’t got a bachelor’s degree are still eligible for the CST certification if they have a minimum experience of four years in scheduling and planning, or industry related.

After determining the eligibility for the certification, the planner/scheduler will take a three-hour exam which is made up of 100 multiple-choice questions.

Intermediate Level Planning and Scheduling Certifications

PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP) – PMI Certifications

Moving on to the intermediate level certifications, we have the PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP).

The PMI-SP is aimed at those who already have a few years of experience under their belt, and are willing to exhibit their skill set and knowledge of managing planning and scheduling.

This certification is made available by the Project Management Institute (PMI), which is a global leader in the sphere of project management associations.

The qualifications for the PMI-SP certification include a four-year university or college degree and a minimum of 3,500 hours (or two years) or planning and scheduling practice. In addition, the candidate should also have 30 hours of formal training in project management, planning and scheduling.

Those who do not have a college or university degrees will have to complete at least 5,000 hours in the sphere of project management, planning and scheduling as well as 40 hours of formal training.

The PMI-SP certification exam takes around 3.5 hours to finish and is made of 170 questions by multiple choice.

Advanced Level Planning and Scheduling Certifications

Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP) – AACE International Certifications

The Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), this certification is aimed at professionals who have advanced knowledge and multiple years of practice and experience in project management, planning and scheduling.

The PSP certification is granted by the AACE, and to be eligible for this certification one must have a minimum experience of four years in the field of planning and scheduling as well as a four-year college or university degree. Those who have not acquired a university or a college degree must have at least eight years of experience in project management, scheduling and planning.

The PSP certification exam takes around five hours to complete and is made of 119 questions, in addition to writing a memo.

Planning and Scheduling Professional certification is renewed every three years, unless the PSP certification holder has obtained 12 CEUs in those three years.

Demonstrate Proficiency of Using a Planning and Scheduling Software

While planning and scheduling can be executed in numerous ways, using spreadsheets to paper, modern day problems require modern day solutions.

This is where different project planning and project management tools prove to be of service. Software tools are a valuable asset of any project professional, as their main function is to aid in planning and controlling of every facet of the process of project management.

One of the most widespread software applications used in project management, especially on big projects that cost millions and billions of dollars, typical for heavy industries such as Construction, Oil, Gas, Energy and similar industries is the Primavera P6 and other tools from the Primavera suite of products by the Oracle corporation.

Other popular choices of project management and scheduling software applications in this category may include Microsoft Project and Asta Power Project, followed by many others that are more suited for planning and managing projects of smaller magnitude.

Obtaining a certificate that demonstrates your expertise and skills in the use of a certain tools, along side your experience and certificate in the project planning and scheduling methodology and principles will help your further stand out from the crowd.

Apart from project management institutions and organizations, certificates that demonstrate your knowledge for the use of a tool are offered by some of the developers of the planning and scheduling software applications, and many other independent consultants and training providers as well.

For this purpose, we have listed some sources where you can obtain training and certificate for the proficient use of a planning and scheduling software.

Primavera P6 Certificates and Training

Few interesting recommendation to consider:

You can find even more options that are available in this full guide about online Primavera P6 training courses you can start right now and get your certificate. In addition to this, you can also look up Primavera P6 training near you current location.

Oracle, the corporation behind Primavera P6, has also created Oracle University where you can train and become a certified specialist.

Microsoft Project Training and Certificates

Another planning and scheduling software application that is widely used is the MS Project. This project management software is known and loved for its solutions such as Project Management, Portfolio Management, and Resource Management.

You can find some recommendations and learn more about the various online courses and certifications available for MS Project on the following link: Top MS Project courses to consider.


Organizations depend on essential project management software applications to guarantee that each assignment is executed in a timely manner and that employee effort is balanced for optimal time management.

Project management software applications are extremely crucial for project professionals working on big, complicated projects since they improve resource efficiency and maintain project scope. However a knowledgeable user is always required to operate the tool.

Certifications that accredit the knowledge of the project planning and management practice allows planners and schedulers to showcase their skill set and expertise and be more recognized in the crowd. Combined with a certifications in the proficiency of using a particular tool, an individual can display even more knowledge and professional expertise before an employer.

In today’s competitive market, businesses are bound to hire the best project planners and schedulers to become more efficient and successfully complete their projects, and having a relevant certificate works in your favor in this regard.

About the Author:

Vivien Goldstrong is a Consultant, Author, and Planning Manager with 22 years of experience and expertise in implementation and consultancy related to the Primavera suit of products across various industries.