Are you thinking about taking the PMP exam? Are you ready to take the next step in your project management career, but asking yourself, “Is the PMP certification worth the cost?” My short answer is YES, the cost is worth the benefits you will receive.
Let’s spend some time understanding the costs of the exam and then outline the benefits that you receive once you become PMP certified.
PMP Certification Costs
I wish explaining the costs of the PMP exam were as simple as just giving you the cost of the exam. However, there are a few additional items to consider when deciding if the PMP certification is worth the cost.
To become PMP certified you may want to join the PMI network; you must complete 35 hours of project management education, which typically comes with a cost; and then pay for the exam itself.
PMI or the Project Management Institute is the governing body of the PMP exam. In addition to providing governance for all related project management certifications, PMI is also an international organization with over 450,000 members.
Access to this network of individuals, not to mention the free professional development options, and project management resources the organization provides is almost priceless for your future in project management. If you join PMI while you are preparing for your exam, you will get a discount of roughly $150 on the exam.
The cost to join PMI ranges from $32 (for students) to $129 (for individuals). In addition, you will also get the option during registration to join your local chapter of PMI. That may cost an additional $25 for additional local resources and contacts. Good news, though: a lot of companies are willing to reimburse for these costs so check with your supervisor or HR contact.
Thus, joining the organization while you prepare for the exam can give you access to important prep material and save you money on the exam.
PMP Prep Course
To sit for the PMP you must complete 35 hours of project management course work. For most, this 35 hours is achieved through a PMP prep course. To learn more about all your prep options read, “How to Chose a PMP Prep Course.”
These PMP prep courses can range in costs. Based on my history I would budget around $2,000 for this requirement. However, if you are fortunate, your employer might be willing to reimburse you for this expense. Similar to your membership expense, be sure you ask your supervisor or HR contact if this is a potential option for you.
PMP Exam Cost
Now to the exam cost itself. If you are a PMI member, the exam will cost $405, while if you aren’t the exam will cost $555. As we discussed above, this $150 saving is a good reason to consider being a member.
Similar to the PMI membership and Prep Course, if your organization is invested in professional development they might cover the cost of the exam fee. Again, be sure to check with your supervisor or HR contact.
In total the PMP Exam could cost you roughly $3,000; however, if you have an employer that will help, the exam could cost you $0. For purpose of proving the benefits let’s assume you have to cover all the costs on your own.
So at this point, you have spent $3000. Bow what’s in it for you?
Outside of the benefits my peer does an excellent job outlining in “What are the Benefits of Project Management?” there are a few key items that I believe make the cost of PMP certification worth it. I will outline the salary and professional benefits, both reputation and continuing education, next.
As PMI explains there are clear salary benefits for you if you obtain your PMP. PMI notes that certified PMPs typically make 20% more than their peers who are not certified.
For a full understanding of the salary benefits and how it improves with years of experience, read PMI’s salary survey report. This report outlines salaries all around the globe.
The global median salary for a Project Manager ranges from $53,000 – $110,000. While a median salary for a PMP in the United States is $111,000. That simple stat shows you that the PMP is a valued certification.
Because the PMP is a recognized and trusted certification, you gain an extra level of clout by passing this exam. Remember in the blog, “What are the PMP Prerequisites?” we discussed all of the items you need to demonstrate to qualify to sit for the exam? Well now is when all of that work pays off.
Adding the PMP certification – with your certification number – to your resume will boost your candidacy. You are now a trusted expert in the field of project management.
Professional Development and Continuing Education
Finally, becoming a certified PMP you will receive the push you need to continue learning about your field. As part of maintaining your certification, you will need to complete professional development or continuing education opportunities.
Learn a little bit more about the maintenance of certification by reading, “What is the PMP Certification?”
To have access to the same free resources you used to prepare for your exam, which you will need again complete this requirement, you will likely want to maintain your PMI membership. This will cost you roughly $150 a year (if you also join your local chapter). I only note this as it is one last cost to consider.
The PMP Certification Cost IS worth it
Ultimately, at the high end, $3,000 is a lot of money. However, there are clear benefits for you, if you chose to complete this journey. There are monetary and professional benefits demonstrated through factual research, not just someone saying so. Which means a lot to me, and hopefully to you.
I hope this information has helped you see that there is clearly great benefits to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”
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