PMP certification can open doors.The Project Management Institute’s Project Management Professional (PMP) credential is the industry leader in certification for project managers. Recognized globally, PMP certifies that one has the experience, education and competency to lead and direct projects.

Public and private organizations worldwide utilize PMP certified managers to improve the success rates of their projects by applying a standardized set of project management principles formulated by Project Management Institute (PMI) officials

PMPs are in high demand and typically command higher salaries than non-certified project managers. In 2014, PMP was ranked number one for the most valuable and highest paid IT certification by IT Career Finder.

Having a PMP doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a good project manager, but it does indicate that you have a standardized set of tools and knowledge pertaining to project management. Whether you are a good project manager, or can manage a given project in the best manner possible, depends on how well you apply the knowledge and skills gained form this certification.

Before we get to the pros and cons of earning a PMP, let’s have a little background.

Why PMP certification?

PMP is mainly for professionals who are already in or want to get into project management. It’s a valuable tool in a project manager’s repertoire. If a professional has a PMP certification, it gives him an edge over competitors.

PMP certification can fetch you a higher-than-average salary. Though compensation varies on a case-by-case basis, PMP-certified project managers, as a rule of thumb, do earn higher salaries than those who lack certification. With PMP training under your belt, you are better able to train others in utilizing project management tools. In addition to helping you work efficiently and with increased output, PMP assists you in evaluating subordinates in a better manner.

How do you qualify for PMP certification?

If you are a project manager or trying to get into project management, and if you satisfy the criteria laid down by PMI, then you can take the exam. To apply for PMP you need to have either:

  • “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.OR
  • 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.”

Candidates must also have 35 hours of project management education, i.e. 35 Professional Development Units (PDUs). There are several ways to earn these PDUs.

Once PMP certified, one must be a part of PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) program. This active participation ensures an active certification status. Each PMP cycle lasts three years. Within these three years, it’s expected that one will attain at least 60 PDUs to stay certified. The details of “How to stay certified?” are provided in the PMP Handbook.

How much will the PMP Certification cost you?

PMP certification can open doors.While PMI membership is not mandatory for PMP certification, it is advised. PMI membership costs approximately ₹ 8,800 ($139 U.S.). The cost of PMP for PMI members is around ₹ 25,600 ($405 U.S.). For non-members, the cost is a bit more than ₹ 35,000 ($555 U.S.).

PMI membership gives you access to a sea of project management documentation and reference materials through the website. The most important aspect of membership is, the PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge) which is not available for free, but can be downloaded by the members. Individual copies are marked with the member’s name to reduce piracy and can be downloaded from the PMI website.

So, effectively; if you take the PMI membership the total cost including the membership fee would be ₹ 34,400 ($544 U.S.). The benefits of membership are obvious.

PMP pros:

  • PMP is a globally renowned credential. It provides a much needed boost to one’s resume. Especially if you are looking to embrace project management as a career path.
  • The training aimed at getting 35 hours PDUs helps fill any gaps of knowledge. With these PDUs, project managers can kick start their quest to get PMP certified.
  • PMP requires less time and money than an advanced degree. Just remember, there is no replacement for study and hard-work.
  • Many organizations require PMP certified managers for their challenging projects. It provides some level of security to them as there is the feeling that the project is in safe and able hands.
  • More professionals taking up PMP means more chances of networking and even finding study partners to prepare for certification.
  • You don’t need a truck load of books to clear this certification. Studying just one book, the PMBOK can get you certified.
  • Because certification is not based on any specific methodology, the knowledge gained from PMP can be applied across industries and is not limited to any specific sector or area.
  • Continuous improvement is needed to cope with constant change. The system deployed to ensure that you maintain your PMP certification also ensures continuous improvement.

PMP cons:

  • The PMP exam is a closed book test where much study is required. The exam doesn’t depend on the practical knowledge, wisdom and skill of an individual. Instead it depends more on study and how well one can remember something studied.
  • Certification doesn’t provide the common sense needed for project management. It enables the professional to get bookish knowledge of project management. The responsibility of applying it in an efficient manner lies with the individual.
  • A project can be PRINCE2 or agile in nature. It can’t be PMP in nature as PMP is a project manager’s credential and not an accreditation for project.
  • The PMP exam is stressful. Failure will set you back by a considerable amount.
  • With the buzz around PMP certification, many training institutes and organizations have blossomed in the market to provide questions for the certification exam. These questions are not legitimate and can be misleading to candidates. With such cases increasing, there are likely chances of some of the PMP aspirants losing money.
  • PMBOK is quite lengthy and has a lot of information. With such vast courseware, there are likely chances of missing important topics while studying.

Conclusion:

As seen above, PMP has its pros and cons. If you aspire to become one of the best project managers in business, doing PMP will help, but it won’t suffice. Being a successful project manager requires a blend of knowledge, skills, domain expertise, experience, calmness and common sense.

PMP certification is certainly an indispensable value add. To survive in any industry, however, one also has to be savvy enough to grab opportunities coming their way and make them count.