Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is one of those credentials that keep coming up in every ‘best paid certifications’ list. Is it really THAT good (meaning should YOU pursue it?) Let’s take a closer look.
Developed and offered by Project Management Institute (PMI), PMP has over 500,000 active certified holders. The credential is known to boost a professional career in project management industry.
In spite of the popularity of the credential, many project managers claim that high level industry knowledge and professionalism that supposedly comes from certification and translates into high salaries, does not come from the credential. Instead, it is grown by the years of hard work and professional experience. On the other hand, many object to that saying that there may be different quality to project management, e.g. managing a project for a small or even medium-sized company vs. Fortune 500 company. And PMP opens the doors to working with Fortune 500 companies.
Project management experts agree that the PMP certification establishes a common language among project managers and helps them work within a common framework. The PMP equips its holders with a better level of applying the processes, tools, and techniques to projects. It builds on Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) framework and demonstrates that through actions, you’ll build your own personal brand within the company as someone who can deliver. Consistent and successful delivery using PMBOK framework is a must for managers to be moving up the project ladder, to larger and more complex projects and more reputable business organizations. By demonstrating greater competency managing more complex projects, you’ll also be able to compete for more senior positions.
Yet, like any certification, which is basically an exam that validates academic competency, it does not guarantee the success of your career. Neither does it prove your track record of successful projects. It certainly sets successful candidates apart and makes it easier for them to secure great jobs, especially candidates with less experience, to whom the credential can be very helpful. It’s an excellent way to kick start your project management career and give it a huge boost – from getting your CV through initial HR screenings to being taken more seriously by your project team.
But what about those professionals who have been in the project management for years, and are happy with the way their career advances and do not feel the need in any formal validation of their skills? If this sounds like you, congratulations, you do not need to invest the time and money in this credential. Chances are, you doing great just wherever you are!
Yet, there is still something to consider. Many PMP holders report that the credential has really helped them in terms of perception management, of how they are viewed by other project managers and teams, and the credibility they are granted as a result. Which, once again, is especially helpful to candidates who have not worked up their name and reputation yet.
Another reason PMP is great for newer project management candidates is its networking opportunities. You get to meet other PMP holders and people working in the industry. This is the same value many get from MBA, MA or just high-end college programs – networking, getting to know people and forming the circle with high potential for excellent professional opportunities, references, endorsements etc. We all know that personal connections go a long way these days!
So, if you are ready to get around $1000 out of your pocket (PMI and PMP registration + preparation materials, courses, books etc), you better get ready to study hard. PMP exam is very complicated, and it does have a high fail rate. Yet, if a certification is associated with truly high salaries, it cannot be a piece of cake, right?
So, before you get your credit card out to pay for your PMP certification, you need to ensure that you are eligible for this credential. Candidates need to have:
A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or the global equivalent) with at least five years of project management experience, with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.
A four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent) and at least three years of project management experience, with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.
To proceed, candidates need to register with PMI and login to their online system to apply for their PMP certification. Be sure to get PMP Handbook, which will become your best friend until you pass the exam.
Summing up, PMP is definitely a high potential certification. It can be especially valuable for candidates who still have room to grow their project management career, and want to give their professional skills and reputation a boost. This is a very challenging certification, but it sure opens the doors to great future – and excellent pay slips.