Spotlight On AXELOS ProPath

legal project management

Allan Thomson, AXELOS® ProPathTM Product Ambassador, sets out the reasons you should investigate the new combined professional certification scheme.

This article was created in association with AXELOS

The AXELOS® ProPath™ designations for project, programme and portfolio managers are – I believe – a radical approach to career planning and knowledge enhancement among change practitioners.

Combining multiple change skills and certifications within the designations enables professionals to be as up-to-date as possible, and proactively manage their career path.

With a growing “toolbox” of best practice techniques and approaches, individuals can make a demonstrable contribution to the success of change and improvement in their organizations – and be in-demand within a competitive jobs market. Project Management Institute research suggests a need for 25 million new project professionals globally by 2030[1].

This has never been more vital as employers seek out people with the right skills to plan and deliver new capabilities as part of the great catch-up, post-Covid. And having the ability to deliver more with less is a mantra that’s unlikely to change.

Enhanced skills across the portfolio of change

What is important for project and programme professionals – and often underestimated – is their need to understand the bigger picture in organizational change.

In other words, how does a project feed into a programme and how do both link to a portfolio? In turn, how do the separate and distinct best practice disciplines support one another?

This means that PRINCE2®-certified project managers benefit from studying Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) and Management of Risk (M_o_R®); likewise, MSP-certified programme managers can heighten their knowledge by certifying in Management of Portfolios (MoP®) and Project, Programme and Portfolio Offices (P3O®).

Not only do these learning pathways lead to AXELOS ProPath designations and greater awareness of other best practice approaches, they offer a stepping stone to the next level in a change management career, whether into programmes or portfolios.

Ian Clarkson, Practice Director – PPM at training organisation, QA, said recently: “This is where AXELOS ProPath provides clarity for the professional – giving them visibility of the future and showing them what they need to do, depending on their chosen pathway. It’s both simple and takes the friction out of career planning by selecting the relevant global best practice training and learning, which is both credible and authoritative.”

Having a diverse set of skills is essential with the level of change we expect to continue in our increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. Organizations need people who appreciate not only how to run their own projects (both waterfall and Agile enabled) but also how they fit into overall programmes and portfolios for business improvement.

Helping organizations and PMOs hire the very best

For the hiring teams within organizations an AXELOS ProPath designation gives confidence that they will be getting the best project, programme and portfolio professionals available.

For someone in the PMO reviewing a selection of potential new employees, AXELOS ProPath designations demonstrate that a person’s skills are both current and multi-faceted.

This means less investment goes into hiring the wrong people but it also provides assurance that the work a new hire does will be of consistently high standard. It also means having the capability to develop hybrid delivery models in the organization.

And for leaders wanting to retain talent for the long term, AXELOS ProPath gives ambitious employees the opportunity to plan their career growth through ongoing learning, skills development and certification.

Getting the AXELOS ProPath Designations

Obtaining an AXELOS ProPath designation is a clear and coherent learning journey.

For example, achieving AXELOS® ProPathTM Project Expert involves certifying in PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner levels, followed by MSP® and M_o_R®, also at practitioner level. This automatically qualifies you for the designation and, to obtain AXELOS® ProPathTM Agile Project Expert, you substitute PRINCE2 Agile® for PRINCE2.

For the next level of professional – becoming an AXELOS® ProPathTM Programme leader – this requires MSP, MoP® and P3O®). Beyond this, the ultimate designation for change professionals is AXELOS® ProPathTM Certified Portfolio Director.

Though there is no specific time limit in which to achieve a single designation, aiming to complete them within a reasonable period – for example six to 12 months – will ensure you’re up to speed and armed with integrated best practice skills that fit into the big picture of organizational change.

Hear from an early adopter of AXELOS ProPath

Debbie Gee, a trainer and one of the first people to achieve the AXELOS ProPath Project Expert and AXELOS ProPath Agile Project Expert designations, said:

“I think that the advent of AXELOS ProPath should change the way project and programme professionals think about their career development. It shows you have thought about a career path and how having multiple but complementary certifications, knowledge and skills fits together.

“Starting with one certification but seeing the pathway beyond that allows you to set a more long-term goal. While earning individual certifications is great, this gives you something more to aspire to.

“And for organizations employing project, programme and portfolio practitioners, aiming to achieve ProPath designations shows a higher level of commitment from the people they’re investing in and expecting to deliver meaningful and valuable change.”

Choosing your project, programme or portfolio pathway

There are three AXELOS ProPath designations to choose from:

AXELOS ProPath Certified Portfolio Director

To apply to become an AXELOS ProPath Certified Portfolio Director, you will first need to have earned:

  • ProPath Project Expert OR ProPath Agile Project Expert AND
  • ProPath Programme Leader.

There are also further requirements that you would need to meet before you can apply to become an AXELOS ProPath Certified Portfolio Director. AXELOS will announce the details through its usual communication channels.

AXELOS ProPath Certification Scheme overview

Which certification editions are valid for AXELOS ProPath?

The AXELOS ProPath designations comprise the following AXELOS best practice certifications, which are available in English and the listed translations:


AXELOS ProPath Project Expert

AXELOS ProPath Agile Project Expert

AXELOS ProPath Programme Leader

Other languages

The following editions of the translated versions are also accepted.

PRINCE2 5th edition (2009) certification obtained via an examination in

  • Brazilian Portuguese (Foundation, Practitioner and Practitioner Re-registration)
  • Chinese – Mandarin (Foundation, Practitioner and Practitioner Re-registration)
  • Czech (Foundation and Practitioner examinations only)
  • Italian (Foundation, Practitioner and Practitioner Re-registration)
  • Japanese (Foundation and Practitioner examinations only)
  • Romanian (Foundation and Practitioner examinations only)
  • Russian (Foundation and Practitioner examinations only)
  • Spanish (Foundation, Practitioner and Practitioner Re-registration)
  • Swedish (Foundation, Practitioner and Practitioner Re-registration).

MSP 4th edition: Polish, French and Dutch.

To find out more about AXELOS ProPath, including resources and core guidance at

[1] PMI (2021). Talent Gap: Ten-Year Employment Trends, Costs, and Global Implications.

Allan Thomson
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