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Does PMP Improve your Salary?

Getting a PMP certification is expensive, time consuming and a big commitment. Is it worth it? 

Experts say absolutely! Even though there is a lot of work that goes into becoming a Project Management Professional (PMP), the return on investment is definitely worth the time and money put into it.

What is PMP and who can get it?

Let's start with the basics. What is PMP?

The PMP accreditation, offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), is a certification designed for project managers. Now recognized in nearly every sector, the PMP accreditation has become a benchmark for project management excellence. 

These days project managers are found in every kind of organization: finance, insurance, travel, healthcare, IT etc.

Their main responsibility is to handle projects inside the company and ensure that all tasks are carried out correctly and on time. This includes keeping track of the people working on the project, ensuring deadlines are met, making sure the budget is controlled, and more.

Needless to say, it is not a simple job. So, if you could make more money doing the exact same job by taking a test, why wouldn’t you?

Does PMP improve your salary?

There are many rumors floating around that having a PMP qualification means a big salary raise. Are the rumors true? To be blunt, yes.

There are many benefits to becoming PMP certified and a higher salary is certainly one of them. According to smartsheet's 2018 Comparison of PMP Salary Sources and Surveys, getting a PMP certification in the United States results in 22% more salary than those without it.

According to smartsheet, if you work as a project manager in the financial and insurance industries and are a PMP, you can expect to make between $114,000 and $144,000 – this being a 20-22% increase over non-PMP project manager salaries.

Chris Daniel, PMP and Principal of Regroup Consulting says that he has seen people who can make $38,000 more a year after getting the accreditation.

Salary growth however can vary depending on the industry and current position that you are in. According to Knowledgehut the top job profiles that gain the most worth from being PMP certified are IT Project Manager, IT Senior Project Manager, Software Development Manager, Program Manager, and Engineering Operations Manager.

Why does PMP result in a bigger salary?

The concept behind PMP is that even though you are doing the same work, after becoming certified you are able to do it with a lot more competence and consistency. It basically validates your project management skill set.

The five phases of project management include:

  • Project Initiation: The project manager is responsible for preparing all work before the start of a project and leads the initiation.
  • Planning: The project manager plans the entire lifecycle of the project and finds fitting resources such as supplies, workforce etc.
  • Executing: The project manager guides the team through completing tasks and reaching goals.
  • Monitoring: The project manager makes sure that project deliverables stay on track and handles all possible changes.
  • Closing: The project manager ensures that the project is completed and wraps up any final details.

The PMP certificate ensures that you know what you are doing through the 5 phases and provides the needed knowledge to execute them in any organization and in any industry.

According to Tim Wasserman, Program Director of Sandford’s Advanced Project Management Program, highly regulated industries especially “value the PMP certification because it shows an ability to adhere to strictly defined processes – a valuable skill when overseeing extremely sensitive and regulated projects.”

Although you do not have to be PMP certified to work as a project manager, having the accreditation shows employers that you have the skills, knowledge and experience to complete projects to a certain standard.

Is it hard to become PMP certified?

In order to become a Project Management Professional, you have to pass the PMP exam. Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple – hence the pay raise that comes with it.  

According to PMI, those that are eligible to apply for the PMP are experienced project managers who are responsible for all aspects of project delivery, leading and directing cross-function teams.

Depending on if you have a secondary degree or a four-year degree, eligible candidates must either have 4,500 hours or 7,500 hours of experience leading and directing projects, along with 35 hours of project management education.

After project managers meet these qualifications, that are allowed to take the exam. The cost of the PMP exam is $404.00 for members and $555.00 for non-members.

As explained in the beginning, this so not a cheap or easy certification to obtain, but if you weigh the costs against the benefits, the benefits always come out on top.

Is PMP worth it?

Project management is no longer considered to be just a profession, it is a strategic competence that is key to the success of a business. Due to the increase in company run projects, the demand for competent and skilled project managers is continuing to grow worldwide.

With over 790,000 project managers being PMP accredited globally, becoming certified is no longer a suggestion - it's a necessity. Those that are not certified will find themselves at a great disadvantage when it comes to job opportunities, career advancement and salary growth. 

Labeled as "the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers" by the Project Management Institute, PMP is the top way to differentiate yourself from others and grow faster as a project manager.

Last updated: 01 Mar 2019

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