Making Sense of Certification Alphabet Soup



A, B, C, D, E, F, G…. You know how the song goes! The letters in the alphabet makeover 170,000 words in the English language.  They can also represent acronyms for certifications that could help your hiring and earning potential. Certification alphabet soup certs like the PMP, CAPM, PSM, LSS, and ITIL, just to name a few.  You may have heard of one or all of these certifications, but never fully understood what they were, what they stood for, or how they could help you. Let’s talk about a few of them below.

PMP Certification

PMP stands for Project Management Professional. This is a go-to for many people in this certification alphabet soup. It is an internationally-backed and recognized credential thru  It is a highly sought-after certification that employers look at during their hiring process for an experienced project manager. Project managers are responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the completion of projects on time, on budget, and within scope.  Project managers work in almost every industry and can make an average of $103,000 – $130,000  per year depending on their experience.  Project managers that obtain their PMP certification can expect to make 25% more than non-certified project managers.


CAPM Certification

CAPM stands for Certified Associate in Project Management. This certification is also an internationally-backed and recognized credential thru  In order to obtain your PMP, you must have prior project management experience as well as 35 hours of project management education to sit for the exam.  However, in order to set for the CAPM exam, you only need 23 hours of project management education and NO prior work experience!  Individuals with a CAPM credential can on average make $92,000 per year.


PSM Certification

PSM stands for Professional Scrum Master. It is an internationally-backed and recognized credential thru  A scrum master is a project team member responsible for ensuring the team lives Agile values and principles and follows the processes and practices that the team agreed they would use during the project. The average salary for an individual practicing Agile is $71,000 while a Scrum Master’s average salary is $88,000, which represents a 19% increase. Like Project Managers, Scrum Masters can also work in almost every industry.


LSS Certification

LSS stands for Lean Six Sigma. It is a well-recognized certification, however, there is not a governing body that oversees the Lean Six Sigma certification.  LSS is a method that relies on a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing waste and reducing variation.  Individuals can obtain an LSS Green Belt, Yellow Belt, or Black Belt, depending on their years of experience working on Lean Six Sigma implementation projects.  The average salary for a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt ranges from $71,381 per year to $101,869 per year, according to’s collected information from over 222,000 data points in the past 12 months.

Six Sigma Green Belt

ITIL Certification

ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. It is an internationally recognized and backed credential thru ITIL is the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world. ITIL can help individuals and organizations use IT to realize business change, transformation, and growth.  The average salary for an ITIL certified individual is $96,000; 11% above the salary norm for non-certified respondents in similar positions.  Individuals who have an ITIL certification work in the information technology field.  Employers predict they will be hiring over 60,000 IT workers in the coming years for jobs that pay well and offer a family-supporting wage. ….



Now that you have a better understanding of certification alphabet soup and see the differentiation and uptick in salary that they can create, you might be asking: “How can I start working towards obtaining one (or more) of them?

I’m glad you asked as Arrowhead Consulting is pleased to be offering a new initiative called the Paths to Progress Training Program. The purpose of the program is to prepare job seekers to productively return to the workforce through gaining hands-on skills and developing relationships that will prepare them for finding and landing a job.  You don’t have to take a ton of classes or wait months to earn these certifications and through Arrowhead’s partnership with  WorkForce Tulsa,  individuals can obtain the above certifications for FREE!

If you are interested in earning any of these certifications or learning more about the Paths to Progress program, please fill out this form.

Jeremy Moore, Senior Associate – Arrowhead Consulting