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Do you excel in managing others, delegating tasks and meeting deadlines? Then you might be suited to a career in project management.
If you want to get into or advance your career in the field of project management, consider pursuing Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. PMP certification is globally recognized and can set you apart from other candidates for jobs in health consultation, construction, information technology and business, among other industries.
What is PMP certification? Read on to learn about how to get PMP certification and how this credential can boost your career.
What Is PMP Certification?
PMP is a widely respected credential that many project managers earn to boost their resumes and credibility. To obtain PMP certification, you must pass a rigorous exam. But this test is just the last step on a much longer road to earning the PMP title.
Before they can even sit for the exam, prospective PMPs with bachelor’s degrees must have at least 36 months of experience leading projects. Candidates with high school diplomas or associate degrees need a minimum of 60 months.
Aside from work experience, PMP candidates must complete 35 hours of formal project management training, also called “contact hours.” You can complete your contact hours through training courses. Alternatively, you may earn the Certified Associate in Project Management® certification instead of contact hours.
Benefits of PMP Certification
Benefits of PMP certification include industry recognition, learning new skills, increased job prospects and higher earning potential. According to a report from the Project Management Institute (PMI), PMPs in the US earn a median annual salary of $123,000. Their non-certified colleagues make a median wage of $93,000.
Strengthen Your Project Management Skills
Since PMP certification requirements involve building deep knowledge of your field, the certification process allows you to hone your skills in project management. When preparing for the PMP exam, you can learn how to recruit resources and talent for projects, form a human resource plan, allocate resources properly and choose the right technologies and tools for each project.
Preparing for the PMP exam also teaches you about the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). The PMBOK guide, published by PMI, covers the guidelines, principles and techniques of project management specialists use to effectively manage projects, programs and portfolios. Since PMI administers the PMP exam, a great deal of the exam is based on the PMBOK guide.
Increase Your Network Connections
PMP certification can help expand not just your network, but your company’s network as well. Becoming a PMP can lead to more challenging projects and give you an edge over other candidates. The PMP is a globally recognized credential as well, meaning your skills will be valued in countries around the world.
Make Your Resume Stand Out
PMP certification can help you stand out as you apply for jobs. Having this designation on your resume can make the difference between scoring the first interview and never hearing back about your job application. Many employers now require project management candidates to hold PMP certification, so make sure to list this credential at the top of your resume.
What to Consider Before Earning PMP Certification
Can You Meet the Required Time Commitment?
How long does it take to get PMP certification? The process entails 36 to 60 months of experience leading projects, depending on what type of degree you hold, along with 35 contact hours of professional development courses. Meeting these requirements takes several years overall.
You might also want to set aside extra time to study for the PMP exam. How much time you should spend studying depends on your learning style and may range from a few weeks to a few months.
Can You Afford It?
Consider whether you can afford the PMP certification cost. The courses you take to complete your contact hours may cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on the provider. Free PMP certification training courses are available, but usually for just a short trial period.
PMP exam prep resources vary in cost as well. The official PMBOK guidebook, for example, costs $99. The PMI-authorized online PMP practice exam also costs $99.
The PMP certification exam itself costs $405 for those with PMI membership, or $555 for everyone else.
Does Your Company or Future Career Value or Require This Credential?
PMP certification is always a nice resume booster, and some companies and industries even require it. Highly regulated industries—like those in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, defense contracting and financial services—must align with government compliance with regulations and meet specific security standards. For this reason, these types of companies may not consider candidates or subcontractors who do not hold PMP certification.
Will Your PMP Certification Pay off?
Globally, PMPs make 16% more than their non-certified peers, according to a PMI salary survey. In the US, this number increases to 32%—PMP-certified project managers make a median annual salary of $123,000, compared to $93,000 for non-certified project management specialists.
Given your prospective salary increase with PMP certification, the credential should pay for itself within a few years. To make sure, try multiplying your current salary by 1.32 (if you’re in the US) to get an idea of how much more you might earn as a PMP.
Frequently Asked Questions About PMP Certification
This depends on how prepared you are. The PMP exam comprises 180 questions covering topics like people (leading and building teams), process (seeing a topic through to completion) and business (compliance and delivering value). PMP test-takers get 230 minutes to complete the exam, plus two 10-minute breaks.
Is a PMP the same as a master’s degree?
A PMP certification is different from a master of project management (MPM) degree. PMP certification is a professional distinction, and an MPM is an academic one.
How much does the PMP exam cost?
The PMP certification exam costs $405 for PMI members and $555 for nonmembers. Retakes cost $275 for PMI members and $375 for nonmembers.