IPMA Four Level Certification (4-L-C)

The IPMA four-level certification program is designed as an ongoing competence development process. Every step up the four-level competence stair incorporates adequate development in self-knowledge and verified competence. While each IPMA Member Association may have different names, and some have additional roles at some levels, we all use the basic role-based certification approach, as shown in the model below.


The roles in the 4-L-C system, with their distinctive capabilities, include:

IPMA Level A: Certified Projects Director manages complex project portfolios and programmes.
IPMA Level B: Certified Senior Project Manager manages complex projects. Minimum five years of experience.
IPMA Level C: Certified Project Manager manages projects of moderate complexity. Minimum three years of experience.
IPMA Level D: Certified Project Management Associate applies project management knowledge when working on projects.

IPMA’s 4-L-C demonstrates a level of rigor that helps to assure knowledge, experience, competence and performance for each role. For example, our guidelines on complexity, for our Advanced, professionally assessed, competence-based certifications, Levels A, B and C, require more than experience in simple projects. Instead, we require end-to-end responsibility and authority in projects of a certain minimum size, and organizational impact. Of all the persons leading projects around the World today, many do not have the authority, or manage projects of sufficient complexity, to qualify for our advanced certifications. Still our IPMA Level D, as with other knowledge-based certifications, is an excellent starting point for advancement.

A Global Certification

The IPMA certification is recognised worldwide. Over the last 10 years IPMA has certified more than 150 000 project managers in over 50 countries across the globe. Global corporations benefit from IPMA’s international presence and recognition. We enable them to use the same certification for the entire company in all countries.

The examination process has no language barriers. Candidates always have the choice of doing the certification in their own language or in English. No matter where you live or what language you speak, you are always welcome to certify your competence with IPMA.

In addition to the uniqueness of the IPMA certification system, as shown below, our certificants represent an appropriate balance of business sectors, as opposed to focusing upon or being dominated by just one or two. This variety includes these business sectors:

• Construction Industry
• Pharmaceuticals
• Automobile
• Oil and Gas
• Utilities
• New Energy
• Banking and Insurance
• Consultancy and Training
• Logistics and Transportation
• Aerospace and Defense
• Government Agencies
• IT and Telecommunications