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Professional Development Programs

AAPA Professional Development Programs focus on all levels of the port industry and are the standard for unparalleled industry certifications specifically designed to shape the future of port leadership through innovation and enhance port management professionalism.

Application Period is Open!

Are you interested in advancing your career and looking for an industry recognized certification or annual credential to pursue? Look no further than AAPA’s Port Professional Associate (PPA®) and Port Professional Executive (PPX®) Credential Programs and Port Professional Manager (PPM®) Certification. The application portal is open through January 13, 2023. Submit your materials via the online application portals for the 2023 PPA Credential and Delta PPM Cohort. Read on for more information on how to apply for PPM. If you are interested in becoming a PPX, send an email to Shannon McLeod. For more information about AAPA’s professional development programs, reach out to Julie Barelas.

PPA/PPM/PPX programs offer participants a meaningful experience, enabling them to build an essential industry-peer network; gain practical skills, knowledge and competencies; and strengthen their advancement and mentoring opportunities. These unique programs offer ports an efficient and effective approach to educate and develop their staff on the intricacies of port management at every level. AAPA Professional Development Programs aim to lead through innovation, nurturing the development of industry professionals as they shape the futures of port infrastructure, the supply chain, and global trade.

How To Apply

To apply for the PPM Certification Program, candidates must follow these five critical steps to be considered:

Step One: Applicants must express interest to their Executive Director or Direct Supervisor at their respective ports. Candidates must be recommended by one of the two in order to qualify for program participation. Having a letter of endorsement from either the Executive Director or Direct Supervisor will aid in your application process. 

Step Two: Applicants must choose a program advisor for the duration of the PPM Program. This person must be from their port or organization and will act as a mentor to provide advice and support to participants during their program time. 

Step Three: Ensure your resume is updated. Is your resume up to date with your most recent accomplishments? Take a moment to look it over before submitting your application. A copy of your resume is required when applying for the PPM Certification Program. 

Step Four: Take a moment to reflect on your career goals. Will participating in the PPM Program help you to achieve them? Candidates must write an essay describing why they would like to be considered for the program, and how it will aid them in reaching their goals. 

Step Five: Check your budget and travel availability for attendance in the program. The refreshed PPM Certification Program grants a shorter timeframe and a more cost-efficient approach, allowing participants more leeway than before.

About our Education Partners

The International Association of Maritime and Port Executives (IAMPE) and AAPA have teamed up to offer premier educational opportunities to port professionals all across the country. IAMPE offers a variety of programs that are tailored to a wide range of professionals within the port industry. Through the PPM, candidates will be able to attend professional development events and take advantage of networking opportunities. Visit IAMPE's Educational and Training webpage for more information about its course offerings. 

Lamar University’s Center for Port Management and AAPA have a Memorandum of Understanding to give PPM candidates an opportunity to take online courses through Lamar and earn credits that can be applied towards a master’s degree. Visit Lamar University’s Center for Port Management for more information about its course offerings.

“I found Lamar University’s Ports Introduction to Port and Marine Terminal Management course very interesting… Over the semester, we balanced the content with a host of visiting lecturers and subject matter experts from various segments of the maritime industry. I highly recommend the program and certainly the class. Whether a veteran looking to stay up to speed on industry trends or new to the industry, the course provided significant learning opportunities.”

-Larry Kelley, PPM, Executive Director & CEO, Port of Port Arthur Navigation District