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Professional Development Programs

To help you navigate your way toward a more rewarding career in the port industry, AAPA has developed several tools to guide your professional development. AAPA is the premier trade association for port professionals looking to advance their career. With two programs focused on developing the skills of industry professionals, come discover how AAPA can help you make the next step in your professional career.

The AAPA Professional Port Manager Program (PPM®) is an unparalleled industry credential designed to shape the future of port leadership and enhance port management professionalism. The Industry Recognized Port Certificate (IRPC) will help enhance the careers of low to mid level port employees/maritime professionals as well as those new to the industry.

Professional Port Manager (PPM®) Certification Program

The AAPA Professional Port Manager Program (PPM®) is an unparalleled industry credential designed to shape the future of port leadership and enhance port management professionalism. The online application for the PPM class of 2023 has closed. There will be another opportunity to apply for the class of 2025 in the fall of 2020.

If you are an active candidate in the PPM® in need help/support or If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact Andrew Cameron at

PPM Brochure


Industry Recognized Port Certificate (IRPC)

The Industry Recognized Port Certificate (IRPC) is a short-term professional certificate program focused on developing the needs of the maritime workforce. AAPA currently offers two IRPC Certificates –

Fundamentals in Port Management Certificate

The Fundamentals in Port Management Certificate focuses on enhancing the participant’s fundamental knowledge of the port industry and to introduce them to AAPA and the greater port professional community. AAPA has partnered with Lamar University’s Center for Advances in Port Management to develop relevant curriculum for the modern port professional’s needs.

To receive the IRPC, participants must complete the following:

  1. Lamar University’s Master’s Class “Ports Introduction to Port and Marine Terminal Management” (INEN-5302)
  2. Attend AAPA's Planning for Shifting Trade in-person program and participate in a special session with other IRPC candidates
  3. Write and submit a career plan/reflection of the program, including the role the IRPC has played in the execution of your plan

How to Apply

To apply to the IRPC-Fundamentals in Port Management, you must

  1. Register and pay for the IRPC on the AAPA website;
  2. Apply to the Lamar University Master's of Science in Port and Terminal Management (MPTM)*; and
  3. Submit your resume to AAPA by emailing a PDF version to Andrew Cameron,

Registration for the Fall 2020 Program is now open. If you are interested in participating in the Fall 2020 program, please contact Andrew Cameron, 

Applications for the Fall 2020 are due on Tuesday, July 28th 2020

*By applying to the MPTM program you will be enrolled into the required online course (INEN-5302), but you are not required to complete the full Master’s program. There is a $25 application fee on the website. This fee is not included in the AAPA program registration cost.

IRPC - Fundamentals in Port Management Applicant Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited university
  • Official transcripts from attended colleges or universities. Transcripts must be mailed directly from college/university to Lamar University.
  • 1 year of relevant professional experience
  • An updated resume
  • Support from your port or organization

If you have any questions about registering/paying for the IRPC, please contact Andrew Cameron,

If you have any questions about applying to the Lamar University Master’s Program, please contact Candice Moore,

Maritime Cyber Security Certificate

The IRPC – Maritime Cyber Security is designed to provide a high level overview of Cyber Security, review of requirements in the new Coast Guard NVIC for Cyber Security, details on incorporating cybersecurity in Maritime Security Plans, and familiarity with cyber terminology. The program is professor lead, includes experts in the field and allows for interaction within a cohort.

To receive the IRPC - Maritime Cyber Security, participants must complete the following:

  • Participation in the AAPA Anywhere Security Conference July 13-17;
  • Participation in 3 online sessions lead by Cyber Security Professor, Michael Mann of TNCC; and
  • Completion of a culminating paper or project which could include evaluation of a Cyber security plan.

To Register for the IRPC - Maritime Cyber Security Certificate, choose the "Seminar Attendee Registration and IRPC Certificate" registration option on the AAPA Anywhere Security Conference event page.

“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