With over 750,000 professionals with Project Management Professional (PMP) certification across the world, the popularity of the diploma is clear, but what exactly is a PMP certification? The short answer is that it is a professional certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). According to research from PMI, the project management industry only stands to grow in the 2020s. Consider the following project management career statistics:
- The project management-oriented labor force in seven project-oriented sectors is predicted to grow by 33 percent by 2027. That’s 22 million new jobs.
- By 2027, employers will need about 88 million individuals to fill project management roles.
- Talent shortages in project management can create risks of up to US$208 billion in GDP in 11 countries through 2027.
In other words, demand for project management professionals (PMPs) is growing.
The need for more PMPs doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no competition, however. It’s natural for aspiring project managers to want to look for ways to differentiate themselves in the job market, and getting a PMP certification from the Project Management Institute is one of the most effective ways to do that. While there are many more PMP-certified project managers today than there were just a few years ago, a project management professional certification is still a mark of distinction.
If you’re wondering whether getting a PMP certification will improve your prospects, it’s important to understand what you’ll need to do in order to earn one, and weigh the time and effort against the potential benefits in salary and opportunities.
What’s Involved in Getting a PMP Certification?
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about the PMP certification process is that it isn’t intended for new college graduates or other project management rookies. Instead, it’s designed for those with substantial experience in the project management field who want to advance (not start) their careers.
Project Management Professional Certification Requirements
- At least three (3) years of professional experience, including at least 4,500 hours of direct project management experience. (For applicants without college degrees, it’s five (5) years of experience and at least 7,500 hours managing projects
- 35 hours of specialized project management education
- Passing scores on a 200-question multiple choice exam, which comes with a fee in the $400-$600 range depending on the applicant’s country of residence
Once you’re certified, you’ll need to earn professional development units every three years to maintain your PMP status. Depending on how you earn your development units, maintaining your certification can be a fairly expensive process in itself.
What Benefits Can You Expect with PMP Certification?
While earning a PMP is no easy task, most project managers find that the benefits outweigh the costs. We’ll explore a few below.
In most cases, your earning potential will increase significantly once you can put “PMP” after your name– in fact, a recent PMI project management salary survey indicated that certified project managers make an average of 20 percent more than their non-certified counterparts.
PMP certification will also put you in the running for higher-profile and more interesting projects, and can improve your chances of getting hired by one of the increasing number of organizations that consider certification on a resume a prerequisite for a project management role.
Improved Skill Set
In the long term, the biggest benefit of certification may show itself in your own job performance. The knowledge you gain by studying for the PMP exam, and by earning your ongoing professional development units, will make it easier for you to lead your teams through complex projects. Chances are, building a reputation as someone who can be trusted with highly visible, mission-critical projects will do more to improve your earning potential and career opportunities than earning the certification itself.
So, is PMP certification worth it?
In the end, figuring out whether the PMP certification is worth it depends on your unique circumstances. But a little information goes a long way. To learn more about project management as a career, keep exploring the Planview AdaptiveWork blog.