What is PMP Certification and Do You Need It?

PMP Certification Beginner's Guide

If you are a project manager you will concur that rising through the ranks is a daunting task. Indeed, taking the next step in your career in project management is harder than in other professions. Nevertheless, things are looking up because research shows that certification in any discipline is a sure way of earning that much needed promotion.

If your career as a project manager is stagnating there is no better place to start than with Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. PMP is the buzzword in this field and for many good reasons. It is the most crucial industry-recognized certification for every project manager and it empowers you to work in any industry.

But things get even better; a salary review study by Project Management Institute (PMI) in 2011 which sampled 30,000 project management experts in the U.S. showed that those with PMP certification earned $111,824 annually compared to $97,829 for those without. In the same study 76% of the respondents were confident that their pay would increase within a year.

A Cut above the Rest

The globally recognized PMP credential demonstrates to employers and clients that you possess the prerequisite skills, expertise and experience to bring projects of any magnitude to the expected end. In an increasingly competitive discipline PMP certification gives you a competitive edge at a global level.

A 2014 report by Anderson Economic Group says that over 1.5 million Project management jobs need to be filled through to 2025 which highlights the demand for professional project managers. With PMP certification offered by the Project Management Institute you will be a cut above the rest and will be in a position to tap into these invaluable opportunities.  Such certification also gives you a sense of prestige within the project management community in general.

Qualification for PMP Certification

As mentioned above PMP certification is the sure path to career success for any professional who wants to broaden their vista in project management. If your career goals are within project management there are no two ways about it; you need the PMP credential to augment your expertise and experience in the field.

How then do you attain this all-important certification? Like they say ‘nothing good comes easy’ and you will have to go through a rigorous auditing process. Before applying for this certification you also need to meet these eligibility requirements:

  • A Bachelor’s degree or a recognized global equivalent.
  • 4,500 (36 months) hours of leading and directing projects attained in not less than 3 years.
  • 7,500 hours (30 months) experience if you possess an associate degree or high school diploma.
  • 35 hours of project management additional training.

If you meet this criterion it is time to join PMI as a member to get more benefits from the program. At the moment the PMP certification costs around US$405 for members and US$555 for non-members but these prices are subject to change. With over 500,000 professionals holding this credential according to PMI, you will have a large network of professionals to learn from as a member. You will also be able to access more learning resources from the members’ forums.

The application process is done online and once verification is complete you can choose the exam center nearest to you. From here it is all systems go for your PMP certification process. You can either choose to learn independently or join a PMP boot camp based on your schedule.

Is PMP Certification Worth it?

In every project management forum this is the major questions that members ask. This is more so for younger managers who want to expedite their rise in the profession. If you are looking to validate your project management skills PMP certification is the way to go. To appreciate the importance of going through this process for your career take a look at some of these benefits:

  1. Augmenting your resume: To make it in this competitive discipline you need something more than your degree. Indeed, Rosemary Guzman a professional recruiter argues that some employers are now overlooking master’s degree in project management. According to Rosemary, PMP certification proves that you have experience in the field.
  2. Versatile credential: Whether you are in the pharmaceutical industry, IT, aerospace or the financial sector the skills learnt during certification are still applicable. The idea in PMP certification is to expose you to mainstream thinking on standards, techniques and trends in project management.
  3. Better remuneration: While intrinsic motivation has been cited as more important than money there is no denying that every professional wants a good return on their investment in educational training. As of 2008 PMP was the highest paid IT certification according to a Tech Republic Review. With such certification it is obvious that you will be in a better place to earn more than your colleagues which is definitely a motivation.
  4. Networking capabilities: With close to half a million PMP certification holders you have an invaluable network with a global reach. You can learn of new opportunities in the field, latest developments among other pertinent professional matters.
  5. Proof of commitment to project management: Assume you are looking for a family dentist, would you go for one with a just a general degree or one who has multiple certifications in different dental procedures? Of course you would look for a professional with expert knowledge and this also applies to project management. An employer will be more than happy to work with a professional who is committed to the discipline.
  6. Professional articulation: Every profession has its unique jargon and a certified PMP professional is better placed to communicate with all stakeholders using commonly accepted industry language. Understanding how the framework of project management works goes a long way in helping you communicate with clients and vendors at the same level.

There is no denying that project management has now gone global.  Most likely you are managing teams in different time zones and in different cultural setups. By acquiring this globally recognized certification you will be able to overcome all hurdles arising from such a setup because you have the prerequisite tools and skills to work effectively.

Final Thought

Back to the question; do you really need PMP certification as a project manager? This is a no-brainer in a world that is driven by skills and specialization. Gaining this credential proves that you are a grounded project manager with the requisite training and experience. The cost and hours you need to put into the certification process are not too much to ask from any ambitious project manager.

Isn’t it time you got down to starting your PMP certification?

Image: Amir Abbas Kaka Khel via VisualHunt


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