What is the PMP certification exam about?
Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), with industry standards, is used as the guide for testing aspirants. The PMP exam tests the applicants on tasks out of five performance domains
1. Initiating the project (13%)
2. Planning the project (24%)
3. Executing the project (31%)
4. Monitoring and controlling the project (25%)
5. Closing the project (7%)
The number in parentheses indicates the weightage given to each domain in the exam.
The exam has about 200 multiple-choice questions. Out of these, 25 are not counted towards the final score. These are used as pilot questions to improve the standard of the exam. But, one cannot know what the sample questions are as they are placed randomly throughout the exam. Also, it is a closed book test. It means that no reference material will be allowed to be used by the applicant during the test.
What are the PMP exam requirements?
To the question of who should apply, PMI states:
“If you are an experienced project manager responsible for all aspects of project delivery, leading and directing cross-functional teams, then the PMP is the right choice for you.
More importantly, there are certain prerequisites one should meet to be certified. A candidate must have either
1. Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate degree or the global equivalent.
2. 7,500 hours leading and directing projects
3. 35 hours of project management education
1. Four-year degree
2. 4,500 hours leading and directing projects
Is PMP certification worth it?
Now that we understood what PMP is all about, let’s come back to the original question. Should you get a PMP certification? There are both costs and benefits to getting the PMP certification. But many hiring experts and certified professionals agree that benefits far outweigh the costs.
First, let us look at some of the problems cited with PMP certification.
1.It is expensive
If you are not a member of PMI, the cost of the PMP certification is 550 US dollars. However, if you are a member then you just need to spend 405 US dollars to write the exam. But PMI membership itself costs 139 US dollars. Though you save only 11 USD by becoming the PMI member, there is a host of other benefits that are associated with the membership. Hence, it is highly suggested that you become a member of PMI before registering for the exam.
Additionally, if you fail in your first attempt and want to retake the exam, you need to pay 275 USD if you are a PMI member and 375 USD if you are not a PMI member.
Apart from the cost of the exam, there are several other costs that one incurs during the preparation. These include the cost of PM training sessions, preparatory books, sample questions, etc. Considering all these, one needs to spend at least 750 USD to gain this certification. Yet almost all the experts agree that this cost is nothing compared to the career growth that one can have through this certification.
2.It is difficult
Most people agree that PMP is a difficult exam. Some even say that it is the hardest exam that they have ever taken. The difficulty lies in the fact that the exam tests not only the memory of the concepts but the practical application of them. When you add the pressure of time (you need to answer 200 questions in 240 minutes), it becomes terrifying for even a seasoned project manager. Also, there are individual differences in how long one takes to succeed in the exam. Some take two to three months to succeed. Others cannot get certified even after preparing for years.
But the point is if the exam were a cakewalk and anyone could pass it easily, would it be as valued as it is today? Definitely not! The prestige of this certification lies in the tough standards required to clear and maintain the certification. Thus, PMP certification does need hard work from your end. But the good news is the fruits of this effort will be sweet.
3.It is time-consuming
Yes, there is a financial cost. But, for most people, the bigger problem is the cost of time. They complain about the number of hours it requires to get PMP certified.
A part of it has to do with preparation itself. As the exam is difficult, you need to set aside some time daily to master the PMBOK guide. But, most people agree that’s not all. You need to read up several other guides, attend preparatory sessions (if you join any) and write sample tests as part of your preparation. All these activities do take up considerable time. Since most aspirants are currently employed, they feel even more crunched for time.
Alongside, the PMP application needs you to document all the projects you executed. That too, you need to write the minutest detail about these projects. Sounds simple, but it is not easy and requires a lot of time. Also, one cannot take this activity casually. That is because PMI conducts an audit process to establish the authenticity of applications.
Yes, these problems look intimidating. But, in the face of the advantages of PMP certification, these seem almost irrelevant. Let us now read about the pros of PMP certification.
Benefits of doing a PMP certification
1.Adds value to the resume
There are several professional certifications that you can pursue throughout your career. But, among all of those, PMP certification is the most valuable certificate programme. Interviewers looking to fill in a position of a project manager understand this. Hence, they tend to prioritize profiles with PMP certification over those which do not have such certification.
Project management jobs are high in demand. So, in most cases, several people apply for these jobs. It is time and resource-consuming for the company to interview and assess the potential of all the applicants. As such, they like to filter out as many people as possible before the project management interview process. This is where the PMP certification proves beneficial as it is one of the most objective ways in which one can shortlist the candidates.
Furthermore, many companies are making it mandatory to have a PMP certification. It means you cannot even apply for some positions without these credentials.
PMP certification can also be extremely valuable if you plan to advance in the current company you are working at. It puts you way ahead of your colleagues in terms of moving up the career ladder. Also, a certified manager can do much better in a grueling project management interview than a non-certified one.
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2.Provides Industry recognition
PMP certification is universally recognized. Many certification programmes focus only on a specific domain or geography. PMP on the other hand is global and works with any industry and in any location. So, regardless of the professional background and industry, you can gain by adding the certification to your resume.
What is the PMP certification value in the market? Data show that as the number of certified project managers increases within a company, the success rate of projects also increases. Also, the companies recognize that certified managers are better at completing the project on time and within the budget.
If you are just starting out your career in project management, then PMP certification will make up for the lack of experience. Say you are experienced and have a proven track record of your work. Then PMBOK certification can take you to the next level in your company.
3.Helps you learn important skills
There are many project managers out there in the job market. In such a scenario, how do you stand out from the crowd? What better way to do it than by becoming PMP certified? It makes your resume more attractive to companies. More significantly, PMBOK certification teaches you important skills to excel in your career.
PMP certification has high standards. As such, it is not easy to clear this exam without extensive preparation. Moreover, it requires you to master the practical application of the material. Attaining a PMP credential will include learning several hard and soft skills. It builds the knowledge of fundamental project management processes tools & techniques and methodologies. Further, it exposes you to best practices and current trends in project management. You can also learn new tricks and techniques in project management activities.
Want to keep growing in your career? You cannot do it without becoming better at what you are doing currently. Experience may teach you to improve how you manage projects. But certification can do the same thing in a lesser span of time.
4.Contributes to higher income
The biggest draw of PMP certification is the higher salary it can bring to the project managers. Across the industry, the average salary of certified project managers is considerably higher. A recent PMI survey states that the average median salary for a project manager with certification is $ 1,08,000. In contrast, the median income for a non-certified project manager is only $91,000.
Another survey shows that certified project managers earn almost 20% more than non-certified ones. This trend can be seen all over the world including in Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Among women, PMP certified holders earn a lot more than female, certified professionals in other fields.
What’s more? PMP has consistently been the highest-paid IT certification. Also, the trend indicates that PMP salaries will only continue to grow in the future.
Apart from higher-income, PMP certification improves your job security. Some companies value the core competencies learned through certification during downtime. Hence, a PMP credential helps you fight a potential layoff better than not having one.
5.Provides networking opportunities
PMI currently has about 773,840 active PMP certification holders across the world. When you sign up as a PMI member, you become part of that club. PMI arranges frequent meetings for members in major cities across the world. These meetings are also arranged to help the members earn Professional Development Units (PDUs). These units are needed to fulfill Continuous Credential Requirements, also called as CCRs. These are essential to keep the certification for three years.
The benefits of such networking sessions are many. During these meetings, one can get to know about any new job opportunities that are shared by people who value this certification. PMI meetings allot specific time to advertise such jobs. And there are other online and offline communities through which PMPs interact with each other. These communities help in building professional networks. Further, this certification allows a person to mentor the other PMI PMP aspirants.
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6.Validates your dedication to the job
As mentioned above, there are certain conditions which are needed to be met before getting PMP certified. If you are an associate, you require 60 months of experience to be eligible. On the other hand, a person with a bachelor’s degree requires 36 months of work experience. PMP certification has high standards. A potential employer understands that clearing the exam takes dedication to the job. It indicates that you are serious about making project management your long-term career path.
An employee who invests in learning is a big asset for the company. A PMP certification symbolizes your drive towards improving your professional abilities, credentials, knowledge. It also helps you command respect among peers and team members.
We asked some of the certified project managers the question ‘Is PMP worth it?’
This is what they had to say:
“My answer is yes. PMP certification provides credibility, enhances employment opportunities and growth, and gives an edge. It helped me learn techniques like EVM, Critical Path, etc, These, in turn, helped me manage, lead, and direct projects in a better way. Also, the global project management community helps you stay updated with new methodologies. To sum up, PMP certification enhances one’s knowledge and increases project success rate”.
“PMP certificate shows that you have the skills and knowledge that match all the PM prerequisites. Your capabilities as a certified PMP enable you to contribute to the organization’s strategies. Well-adapted and executed project management principles can lead an organization to success. This is the reason most organizations are making PMP certificate an important criterion. PMI – PMP certification is a globally recognized certificate. So, go ahead to take PMP certification and explore the opportunities in project management!” – Ankit Rastogi, PMP
In summary, some people might view PMP certification as expensive, time-consuming, and difficult. But many hiring experts treat PMP certification as an important credential that adds credibility to your resume. Further, it helps you build essential skills required to excel in your career.
So yes! PMP certification is worth the effort.
Is PMP Certification Worth It In 2021? Salary vs Cost
You might be wondering if PMP certification is worth it and if it is valuable for your career.
In my experience, PMP certification is worth it. There are numerous advantages and benefits of becoming certified. PMI salary survey suggests that project managers with PMP credentials earn 20% more than non-credentialed professionals.
Even after knowing the salary benefits, you still might have doubts. You would say that the salary increase will happen only after you pass the exam and before that you will have to go through the grind of passing the exam. You would ask if it were worth the trouble given that the PMP exam is costly and expensive and it requires a lot of time and effort.
Your doubts are well-founded. Salary and emoluments tell us only half of the story. The other half is the cost of preparation and taking the exam. So, let us compare input vs output. Let us determine cost vs potential increase in earnings to determine if PMP is worth it or not.
Note: There are many other benefits of doing the certification. You can read my other post to understand these PMP benefits. In this post, you will find an analysis of cost vs salary increase.
Is PMP Certification Worth It for Your Career?
There is no second thought that the cost of PMP certification is high. You might have temporarily delayed the thought of clearing the PMP exam. But I must tell you that you are potentially losing a 20% increase in your salary by dealing with PMP.
The featured attraction of this certificate is the higher salary offered to the PMP credentials. In various sectors, the average salary of a certified manager is substantially higher.
PMI salary survey suggests that project managers with PMP credentials report a higher median salary than those without it. It is also reported that there is a nearly 20% hike on average across the surveyed countries.
Let us understand the cost and benefit attached to this certification. The PMP examination fee is $405(Rs.29,694) for PMI members and $555(Rs.40,697) for non-PMI members, according to the current exchange rate excluding all other costs like training fee, study material cost, etc.
There is a clear difference in the cost for members and non-members of PMI. This difference also appears if candidates take re-examinations or opt to renew the certificate. Members can also download the PMBOK for free, whereas non-member will have to pay a certain amount to get the PMBOK.
The total cost for PMI members comes out to be Rs.47,809($652) and Rs.79,606 ($1086) for non-PMI members. Refer to the table.1 for a complete analysis of the cost for the certification.
Exam Administration TypePMI Member StatusUS DollarsINR
|CCR certification renewal(once in 3 years)||Member||$60||Rs.4,315|
|CCR certification renewal(once in 3 years)||Non-member*||$150||Rs.10,785|
|Study Material & Training fee||For all||$187 – $381||Rs.13500 – Rs.27400|
Join PMI, which costs $129, and $119 to renew each year.
India ranks at number 38 on the global salary survey map with an average median salary of up to Rs.28,750. This translates into an extra income of Rs.3,45,000 per year or about Rs.28,750 per month.
That means if you clear the PMP exam you are very likely to get an increment of 20% on the current salary package, which is also quoted by the certificate providing institute.
The PMP exam is indeed expensive and difficult but this cost, which should be quoted as an investment, can be recovered from 2 to 3 months of successfully clearing the exam, which marks one amongst the benefits of PMP certification.
If you are thinking of appearing for PMP then it’s better to take good training and good study material for your preparation. The chances of you succeeding at the very first attempt depend on quality training and your study.
Because every time you appear for the exam you must pay the exam fee. Good study material means a good amount of money but ultimately it leads to success.
Depending on your sector, geography, role; your current salary might be more or less than the global
People working in the project management field have PMP Certifications as the highest valued qualification. So what is the cost of doing PMP certification? Actually, PMP certification cost have the following major component
Training for 35 contact hours.
According to PMI, the PMP fee is $555 (non-member) and $405 (a member of PMI). The study material and the training cost may vary from which country you belong to. Usually, the training cost may range from $500 to $1500.
No doubt the salary scale of PMPs is higher than the one without the certification. The PMP certification not only boosts your career, your network but also increases your salary significantly. The major significance of PMP certification on salary is listed below.
- The salary of a PMP certificate holder increases to 20%.
- If a person working in the USA, the median salary increase would be $116,000.
- Likewise, if a person working in India now earns (say)Rs.55k the potential salary increase would be Rs.83k.
- The countries where project professionals report the highest median salary are Switzerland (US$132,086), the United States (US$116,000), whereas the countries reporting the lowest median salary are Pakistan (US$14,914) and Egypt (US$13,933).
- The PMP exam has both benefits and costs attached to it and the benefits always overpower the cost of the exam.
PMP Cost Vs. Salary
Let us understand the difference between PMP salary vs. PMP cost. if suppose the total cost of PMP training and study material comes around $1500 and after good preparation candidate could clear the exam. The PMP-certified candidate will see a 20% growth in their salary. Let us understand this with an example, a non-certified person earns $70,000 and after clearing the PMP exam he will earn $85,000 over a period of 1 year, which means an increment of $1,250 each month.
Thus, he can recover the cost of PMP with a span of 3 months from clearing the exam. Hence, the salary benefit will outperform the cost of appearing for the PMP exam.
Contrary to many other certifications that target a particular domain or geography, PMP has its worth in many industries in almost every major country in the World.
There is a growing demand for project managers throughout the world. As a matter of fact, many corporations are training their employees for PMP certification. This information is leading to an increased need and demand for proficient and skilled managers.
We have given you an idea about how much your certification will cost you and how you will manage the expenses that you spend on your certification.
PMP exam no doubt is one of the toughest exams and requires a good amount of hard work and your hard work will surely pay off. By increment your salary, you can easily pay the amount that you spend on your certification.
This is not an impossible task but a task that can be done with proper planning. PMP exam must not be delayed merely because of the cost involved but it must be considered as the benefit associated with it.
Apart from increased income, PMP certification improves your job security. Some companies value the core expertise and skill accomplished through certification. Hence, the PMP credential will pay you. It is better than not having one.