"Let me help you get control back - today!"
Service Menu

Contact me or schedule your $265 Project Assessment today!

Results??? Doing nothing means nothing will change for you. Call or email right now to take advantage of my onsite evaluation. You won't believe what you're missing!

"Our system is working great thanks to you..."
Lynn B.
Read what other satisfied clients have to say....

Winning Project Management
Secrets - Revealed!


Is PMI PMP Certification Worth It? Pros and Cons.

Our online world is constantly evolving and we must grow and change along with it. Here are some thoughts to help make a decision about pursuing a PMP certification from PMI (the Project Management Institute).

A lot of employers and clients see PMP certification as a positive and for good reason. It is always great to have a solid foundation in the technical skills of one's chosen profession. Other employers and clients are a bit more "meh" about the whole certification idea.

So, we must ask ourselves some critical questions before jumping into any education program.

Does the cost benefit analysis make it worthwhile? Does it actually make me better at my job? Can I get the same or substantially similar information elsewhere at a lower cost? Does it close as many doors as it opens? Tough questions like these will be discussed below to help you in the decision making process.

First, let's see what's involved in becoming a PMI certified Project Management Professional.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers PMP (Project Management Professional) certification as the gold standard of skills and professionalism in the project management discipline. PMP certification is recognized and demanded worldwide. It costs $555 to sit for the test and requires a minimum of a secondary degree (Associates degree or two years of college). If you stopped you education at the Associate level, you will need 7,500 hours of experience leading and directing projects and 35 hours of PM education to sit for the test. If you've completed a four year college degree or higher, you will need 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of PM education to sit for the test. To maintain PMP status, you must complete 60 professional development units every 3 years.

Let's do the math and see what it roughly costs to be PMP certified for 3 years.

These numbers assume you already have a four year degree and will be eligible for the test after 4,500 hours of experience. If not, add in the cost to get your Bachelors or add the hands on management time to make up the difference of only having the Associates degree.

If you work as a PM 40 hours a week, it will take you 4500/40 or 113 weeks of hands on experience. Most of us work a max of 50 weeks a year so at minimum you will need 2 1/4 years of experience and all this experience must be non-overlapping (can't double dip for simultaneous projects) and all project experience must be fresher than 8 years old from the date you apply.

To sit for the test, you must meet the experience and education requirements. The formal education requirement is 35 hours of professional PM instruction from an REP (registered education provider) who can issue PDUs (professional development units).

PMeducate.com is currently offering the PMP exam prep online course which gives 45 PDUs for the sale price of $300 which gives you 90 days of access to the material online.

Once you apply for the test and document your experience and hours you will have one year to pass the test. You may take it up to three times in that one year period and each time you take it it costs $550 for non PMI members ($405 for members). There are cancellation fees if you cannot make the test date you scheduled.

PMI membership is $139 to join and $129 per year to renew. Membership gets you access to local chapters, a free copy of the PMBOK (project management body of knowledge) Guide in PDF format and other things like free PDUs.

The test itself is a 200 question, multiple choice test you will have 4 hours to complete.

To maintain your certification past three years of the test date, you must get your 60 professional development units from an REP. These usually cost around $350 for 35 online contact hours or $1000 for live classes plus travel, hotel and meals.

So, assuming you join PMI, have a bachelors degree already in pocket and have the required time leading projects, do only online CBT (computer based training) and pass the test the first time, here's the cost summary for 3 years of PMP certification:

Join PMI first year $139
Maintain membership year 2 $129
Maintain membership year 3 $129
Buy a study book $60
Attend 35 hours of online test prep to get your PDUs $300
Sit for the test, don't cancel or change the date and pass it the first time $405
Get your 60 PDUs over 3 years with zero travel using only online courses $700
Time lost from work studying and sitting for test and maintaining your PDUs (95 PDUs total) if your employer won't pay for your certification and you make $60 an hour as a contractor $5400
Total $7,262

These costs can easily double or triple if you are traveling for live courses, have to retake the test, miss an important deadline or have to start over and re-apply due to personal circumstances. But this is a good starting point if you do everything right. Subtract $5,400 if you employer is paying you to study and sit for the test and maintain your professional development in years 2 and 3. But add on the overtime you will be working to get your normal job done while you are diverting your energy towards the test date and studying to maintain certification (lucky you!).

So, now you know the costs and time associated with PMP certification. Let's discuss some of the pros and cons.

PMI can be compared to any typical higher education institution such as a college or university. They have a vested interest in enforcing the value of their education by maintaining scarcity of product (certification) to defend their cost (profit) structure. The main problem with this model is the Internet and the access to FREE information it provides. Anything you can learn from a PMI REP, can also be found online for free or at your local library for the cost of a library card. Additionally, much of the PM software and tools we use daily to manage projects come with many of the PM hard skills coded in. These two factors must be considered when running your cost benefit analysis.

Now, a PMP certification can certainly open some doors and get you into projects that would be closed to you without the certification. It may also lead to higher salary and compensation packages that can more than cover the costs associated with getting and maintaining the certification. Highly structured and detailed organizations put a premium on having letters after your name (Ph.D., MSCE, PMP, PE, etc.) and if you work with, or want to work with, these companies (think Aerospace, Defense, Federal and State primes and subs, Health care, Medical and the like) you will probably need to figure out a way to stay certified if you wish to advance your career.

But, if you wish to work for leaner, younger, fast paced companies you may find that the PMP certification is superfluous and that the management places a higher value on people skills, empathy, panache and getting the job done over having letters after your name. PMP certification and the salary premium it demands may also price you out of these markets as an "over qualified" employee.

Another important consideration is the U. S. government is incentivizing the PMP. Before leaving the Oval Office, former President Obama signed in the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA). Any government agency that is required to have a CFO are mandated to appoint a Program Management Improvement Officer. PMIAA creates an increased awareness of the need for certified experienced PM professionals across America.

Does certification make you a better PM? Well, I would qualify the answer in several ways. First, it certainly CAN make you a better employee and PM. If your PM skills are less robust to begin with, and you pay attention to the course work, you can certainly learn a lot. But, is it better than learning the same material on your own from other sources? That depends on your learning style, motivation and ability to track down answers to your questions and problems on your own. It certainly is possible to learn the same material at a lower cost but at the expense of not getting the certification of a third party for your skills and experience.

To summarize, here is a table of the main Pros and Cons of becoming PMP certified.

Pros Cons
  • Solid educational foundation in project management principles and hard skills
  • Cost (test prep, test sitting, ongoing education units, studying can all add up)
  • Forces ongoing education to stay certified and up to date.
  • Time consuming when you may have a lot of other responsibilities on your plate
  • Can open lots of doors especially for government, aerospace/defense and other highly structured organizations
  • Lots of the information is available online for free to anybody who can Google
  • A truly global standard recognized world wide.
  • May make your compensation requirements higher and may show you as over qualified for some positions
  • May qualify you for 20% salary premium over non certified project managers
  • Many of the hard PM skills are coded into the software we use to manage projects. Thus, the softer skills are the ones more needed by today's PM's and they are not emphasized in the PMP certification.
  • Encourages you to keep skills sharp, bond and cross train with like minded professionals, and local PMI chapters are good networking tool.
  • Doesn't train for skills like empathy, coaching, visualizing success, team and relationship building, negotiation, business acumen, adapting to change, personality types, ego management, etc.

So, what to tell employers or clients who think they want the PMP letters after your name? I usually start by explaining my research on the topic above and helping them understand the pros and cons. I explain that I am not currently certified but that I am willing to become certified if that is important to their business model and needs.

"Project management is my life. I love what I do!"

I will measurably enhance your project budgets and solve the biggest problems on your plate with real-world efficiency gains by empowering others and applying over 23 years of strategic and critical decision making experience.

Phone/MMS/TXT: (620) 870-0206 | FAX: (866) 871-2924
©Copyright 1998 - 2018, ProActivate.com, LLC All rights reserved.