Project managers don’t need a PMP to do project management work, but having the certification will significantly improve opportunities for substantial increases in pay. Why? The certification carries weight in organizations and companies because it codifies how a project manager works. Some companies may even require a certification, as most federal workplaces do since 2016.
Let’s look at the benefits of a PMP certification, what’s required to get it, and what kind of work and salary to expect afterwards.
The Benefits of a PMP Certification
Last year, President Obama signed into law the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act. The aim was for federal government employees to be more efficient in their jobs, by codifying and standardizing the training of project managers. As a result, more federal jobs now require an official PMP certification of any project and program manager seeking to work in the federal government.
But the benefits are not limited to work in the U.S. The PMP certification is global. Unlike many other certifications that focus on a particular geography or domain, a PMP can work in virtually any industry and in any location. And PMPs are sought after by employers. Studies show that when more than one-third of their project managers are certified, more of their projects are completed on time and on budget, as well as meeting the original goals.
A significant advantage when it comes to salary and earning potential may be the strongest incentive to get certified. Project managers with a PMP certification generate a salary 20 percent higher on average, compared to those without a PMP certification.
How to obtain a PMP certification
Are you an experienced project manager responsible for all aspects of project delivery, leading and directing cross-functional teams? Do you have a secondary degree such as high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent, along with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education? Or, alternatively, a four-year degree, 4,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education? Good news, because then you are qualified to take the PMP Exam.
Practitioners from around the world author the exam questions, along with the new edition of the PMBOK® Guide, to make sure it remains relevant and reflects current practice. The PMP exam is constantly evolving along with project management as a profession, and a new, updated version of the test is due soon.
The cost of the test is $405.00 for PMI members and $555.00 for non-members, and most students opt to spend additional money on PMP online training to ensure they pass. However, keeping the anticipated 20 percent salary increase in mind, it’s well worth the investment.
Jobs and salaries for PMP certified project managers
Smartsheet aggregated the salary information for project managers from companies including PMI, PayScale, Glassdoor, Indeed, Salary.com, Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, the Robert Half Company and Angel List, to show the salary ranges that a PMP project manager can expect to make, by industry, in 2017:
PMP salaries 2017 (10-22 percent higher than non-certified project managers)
- General: $55,000 – $125,000
- Financial & Insurance: $114,000-$144,000
- Tech & IT: $64,000-$145,000
- Healthcare: $80,000-$86,000
- Staffing & Consulting: $111,000-$121,000
- Travel Services: $83,000-$90,000
Geographically, salary ranges are higher for project manager PMPs in big cities and along the West and Northeast coasts. In Washington, D.C. for example, project manager PMPs can make upwards of $130,000 a year. However, women still earn less than men.
More than one million people earn a postsecondary certificate every year! A specialized certification is a smart way to jumpstart a career without having to return for a full degree. Project management is a booming profession with work opportunities in all industries A PMP certification is often listed among the best certificates to future-proof job opportunities and careers.
A PMP certificate is a small investment with the potential to generate a great return. That makes the PMP Exam a recommended step on any project manager’s career ladder.