How Long Does a PRINCE2 Course Take to Complete?

Take your project management career to new heights with an online PRINCE2 course

When you’re applying for project management jobs it’s likely that you’re going to see employers request evidence that you have knowledge of one particular framework: PRINCE2.

As one of the world’s most widely used project management systems, being able to work confidently and competently with PRINCE2 is a skill that many employers prize. Showing that you know how to work with the framework can be the key to securing a range of exciting job opportunities.

Luckily, studying a dedicated qualification in PRINCE2 can give you something that will develop your skills in the area and that you can show to prospective employers.

How long does a PRINCE2 course take to complete though? And what will you study? We take a closer look in this article.

What is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 is the name given to an influential project management framework that is used in private and public sectors across 100 countries. Standing for PRojects IN Controlled Environments, the framework was developed in the 1980s by the UK Government and was released to a wider audience in 1996.

Since then, it has become one of the world’s most trusted and widely-used project management systems thanks to the fact that it can be customised to fit projects of varying complexity and sizes.

PRINCE2 qualifications are designed to equip you with the skills to understand the processes and the best practices behind delivering successful projects. Three different types of PRINCE2 qualifications exist, which each can take a varying amount of time to complete:

PRINCE2 Foundation

Best for: People who are coming into project management for the first time, with no knowledge of PRINCE2.

This entry-level qualification will help you learn the basics of the PRINCE2 project management framework. You’ll develop an understanding of the themes, processes and principles of PRINCE2, equipping you with the essential skills that you’ll need for your first role in project management.

In the PRINCE2 Foundation, there are three modules, which each cover seven points:

  • Themes
    • Business case
    • Organisation
    • Risk
    • Quality
    • Change
    • Progress
  • 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

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PRINCE2 Practitioner

Best for: Project Managers who already have some knowledge of the PRINCE2 framework and who have completed a PRINCE2 Foundation qualification

In the PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification, you’ll cover the same modules that you explored in the PRINCE2 Foundation but you’ll build on what you learned previously, deepening your understanding and building your skills. As a result, you’ll be ready to apply for more intermediate level roles in project management.

It’s aimed at project managers who already have existing knowledge of the PRINCE2 framework and who want to take their skills to the next level.

PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Combined

Best for: People who intend to study PRINCE2 from scratch to an advanced level and who want to study both qualifications after one another.

The PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Combined is pretty much what it says: it is a combined qualification that’s made up of the Foundation and the Practitioner qualifications. You’ll study one after the other.

If you’re certain that a career in project management is for you and you want to gain specialist skills in the field, taking a combined qualification can often be more cost-effective to gain the level of qualifications that you need. Effectively, taking the combined course eliminates the need to pay for separate qualifications. Instead of being charged for each course, you’ll pay one price for both of them.

Why Study a PRINCE2 Qualification?

A truly versatile qualification, PRINCE2 qualifications are often a requirement for many project management roles. As a result, studying one can really open up a whole variety of opportunities.

The UK Government and United Nations, for instance, recommend that project managers hold this qualification, and employers in the private sector often look for candidates with these too. By studying a PRINCE2 qualification, you’ll be able to show prospective employers that you have the required skills and specialist knowledge that they’re looking for.

The transferable skills that you’ll develop and the expertise that you’ll gain on a PRINCE2 course can be applied to a range of roles across a range of industries – meaning that you aren’t necessarily tied solely to a career in project management.

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How Long Does Each PRINCE2 Qualification Take?

The short answer is, it depends on the qualification and the way that you study it.

There are three main ways that people usually study a qualification like PRINCE2: classroom study, online study and hybrid study.

1.   Classroom study

When you choose a qualification in this format, you’ll study it in a classroom environment at a set time a week or month, where a teacher or lecturer will deliver content to the class and you’ll work through it there and then, with your peers. This option is good for people who benefit from being around others whilst they learn and who feel they study better with face-to-face interactions.

It can be useful if you find it difficult to motivate yourself to study and you need the structure of being in a particular place with particular people to learn.

2.   Online study

 Online study massively took off in popularity during the COVID-19 lockdowns and it’s steadily cemented itself as one of the most popular ways to study a professional qualification. With online study, you’ll access course materials online and work your way, independently, through your course.

The beauty of online study is that it allows you to complete work at your own pace and whenever – and wherever – you want. All you need is an internet connection and a compatible device, like a laptop.

Choosing an online course means that you’ll be able to fit your study around the demands of your life. As a result, people who have full-time jobs or who have caring responsibilities often find online learning particularly effective, allowing them to fit their career development around existing commitments.

3.   Hybrid study

Hybrid study combines elements of classroom and online study. The exact way that it’s combined can vary depending on the course provider. Usually it takes the form of an element of online, self-guided learning and an element of face-to-face interactions, like in-person or online webinars or in-person lectures.

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How long do PRINCE2 qualifications take to complete?

When you’re studying online, you’ll be able to complete the qualification at your own pace. The below figures are based on the average amount of time that it takes a typical student to work through material on the course in their own time.

If you’re studying the qualification in a face-to-face setting, like at an evening class or college, your learning provider will decide the speed at which you cover material.

PRINCE2 Foundation

As the PRINCE2 Foundation qualification is an entry-level qualification and is aimed at people who want to get into project management without any existing knowledge, it doesn’t take as long as other qualifications to complete. You can generally expect a PRINCE2 Foundation qualification to take you around 12 hours to complete.

PRINCE2 Practitioner

The PRINCE2 Practitioner is the next step up in terms of difficulty, aimed at experienced project managers who are already familiar with the PRINCE2 framework. As a result, you’ll cover content in much more complexity so it will take longer to complete. On average, you can expect it to take around 32 hours to finish.

PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Combined

Combining both of the PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner qualifications, this course will take the longest to complete out of all of the qualifications but at the end, you’ll walk away with two qualifications. You’ll also likely have saved a lot of money in the process too. In general, a PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Combined qualification will take you around 44 hours to complete: 12 hours for the Foundation and 32 for the Practitioner.

PRINCE2 Qualifications: An Essential Qualification

As we hope we’ve shown you over the course of this blog, the exact time that it will take you to complete a PRINCE2 qualification will depend on a number of factors, like what you’re studying and how you’re studying it. In general though, especially if you’re studying online, the main thing that influences how quickly you can complete a PRINCE2 qualification is your commitment. If you can dedicate more time to study, you’ll progress faster!


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