Is PMP Certification Worth It?

Will the PMP® certification be worth it for you? Here are the questions you should be asking.

Many websites want to say PMP Certification is always worth it. Our answer? It depends.

While you don’t have to be a titled Project Manager to take or benefit from this certification, you want to ensure that pursuing this credential aligns with your goals and that the skills you’re developing will be frequently used in your job.

If pursuing this credential does make sense for you, pursuing PMP certification could be one of the best decisions of your career.

Why do people get PMP certified?

The PMP® credential is one way to demonstrate to potential employers that you have the experience, education, and competency needed to lead projects.

The PMP is considered the “gold standard” in project management certifications, though others do exist through both PMI and various awarding bodies. The PMP is industry agnostic, which means that to earn it, you won’t need specialized knowledge about engineering, construction, IT, marketing, or any other specific field.

Who should apply for the PMP credential?

PMP certification is great for any professional who wants to show employers that they can successfully lead projects. To be eligible, you will need some project management experience (for details, see: The requirements section). PMP credential holders may earn increased promotions and salary increases and stand out as even more viable candidates for competitive employment opportunities.

For example, many employers search for PMP accreditation on resumes, and if your application has it, it is more likely to rise to the top. Project management is an in-demand skill across many industries, so it may help you more seamlessly shift to a new industry or change careers entirely.

In short, the PMP designation demonstrates powerful credibility to employers who want people with a track record for getting things done.


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What is the difference between CAPM and PMP certification?

Unlike the PMP, the CAPM® (which stands for Certified Associate in Project Management) is considered entry-level, since it does not have a project management experience requirement. The CAPM exam is also a bit easier and less expensive than the PMP. For recent college graduates, or non-project management professionals who want to transition to a project-oriented role, the CAPM may be a good choice.

However, if you have at least three years experience managing projects (even without the “project manager” title), the PMP certification is better known and more likely to help you command a higher salary.

Is PMP certification worth it?

PMP certification makes a lot of sense for practicing project managers and those who manage projects as part of their job.

Why? Evidence shows that across the world, PMP certification holders have higher median salaries. As the certification continues to gain popularity, it can also help you land more competitive job opportunities via automatic application systems.  

Often, even those who invest in a PMP® exam prep course to earn their certification make their time, energy, and money back– and much more.

Is the PMP only for “titled” project managers?

No! It’s not necessary to have the job title of project manager to earn your certification, but you do need to have the required experience performing the role of a project manager. A project manager is defined as, “the person hired by the performing organization to lead the team that is responsible for achieving the project objectives.”

If the work you’ve done meets that role definition—and you meet the other minimum qualifications to earn the credential—you might benefit from formal training and certification in project management. In fact, many of today’s project managers were “accidental”—people with technical or business expertise in another area who gradually developed a reputation for successfully leading projects within their department.

Do people with PMP certification make more money?

It might! The impact correlation between obtaining your PMP® and salary increase varies by industry, geography, level of education, and years of experience. PMI publishes an annual salary survey that reports data on project manager salaries across many industries, regions, education, and experience levels. Note that if you are a PMI member, you’ll have free access to this document when you log into your account after clicking the link.

PMP® certification holders report higher median salaries in most countries included in the study. As of 2022, PMP® holders earned 25% more than non-PMPs in the United States. In certain countries, PMP® holders report a median salary over 40% higher than those without certification. 


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Is my PMP certification good outside the United States?

Yes, it’s a global certification. PMP® holders have knowledge that is recognized by organizations all over the world. That must be why there are over one million PMP® certification holders worldwide.

What is required to get certified?

The Project Management Institute states that the requirements for certification are as follows:

A four-year degree
36 months leading projects
35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® Certification
— OR —
A high school diploma or an associate’s degree (or global equivalent)
60 months leading projects
35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® Certification

How expensive is it to get certified?

As of 2024, the exam fee is as follows:
Member Price: $405
Non-Member Price: $575
The PMP® exam fee is due after your application is accepted and PMI has confirmed your eligibility to take the exam. 

How many people pass the PMP exam the first time?

Since PMI doesn’t release data regarding pass/fail rates, we don’t know how many people pass the exam the first time. You may see some guesses about pass rates online, but only PMI has the actual data. However, the PMP exam has a reputation for being a very difficult test that requires intense and thoughtful preparation, including careful study and taking practice tests, for most people to find success at all, especially on their first try.

What do I need to do to maintain my PMP® certification, after I pass?

In order to keep your PMP certification active, you need to earn 60 PDUs (Professional Development Units) over a three-year cycle. So, maintaining your PMP begins right after you pass the exam. This requirement is designed to keep you up-to-date with the ever-evolving Project Management Body of Knowledge® so you stay effective over the long term.


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