The Value of PMP

November 10, 2010

First, what is the PMP?

Project Management Professional (PMP) is a credential offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

The PMP consists of 200 multiple-choice questions written against six domains. Most of the questions reference the Project Management Body of Knowledge more commonly known as the PMBOK.

Candidates must verify a high school diploma or an associate’s degree with 60 months (7,500 hours) of project management experience, or a bachelor’s degree with 36 months (4,500 hours) of project management experience. In both cases, candidates must also have 35 contact hours of project management education. The application for the exam and verification of education and experience are done online at the PMI website.

To maintain the PMP qualification, 60 professional development units must be earned over a three-year cycle, from activities such as researching, authoring articles, speaking on project management-related topics, or being engaged full time in project management. (1)

Weighing the value of achieving PMP certification

This article originally appeared on TechRepublic. Project management veteran Tom Mochal is director of internal development at a software company in Atlanta.

“The PMP certification process seems intensive, time-consuming, and expensive. Based on your personal and professional experience, is the certification process valuable?—Mike

I think the perception and the value of a PMP certification has changed during the past few years. When I was looking for a job eight years ago, I noticed that a few project management positions indicated that a PMP certification would be advantageous, but I don’t remember any position where it was a requirement.

The market has changed. Two years ago, when I was again evaluating the job market, I noticed a sizable number of openings that were requesting or requiring the PMP credentials. Ultimately, I didn’t need the PMP certification for the position I accepted, but my observation of the marketplace led me to look more closely at the requirements for the PMP. My thought was that if the time came when I needed to look for a new position, I didn’t want the requirements of the project management marketplace to have moved ahead of my resume.

Many of the individuals also said that their companies would no longer hire project managers who weren’t certified. In fact, my classmates’ own positions were less secure if they were not PMPs. The fear of being left behind within their own company was a powerful motivating influence for many of the people in the room.” (1)

Is it Really Worth the Headache

“Overall, I believe the PMP certification distinguishes you from other project management candidates, even if your company does not require it. I see it becoming more and more popular as a screening tool for companies looking for project management candidates.

Over time, I think it will become as important as a college degree is today. By that, I mean that it won’t be a requirement for every project management position, but it would be more common for a company to require the PMP than to not require it. From a purely materialistic standpoint, I also believe that employers are willing to pay more money for a PMP-certified professional. This stems from the belief that, although there are never any guarantees, a PMP-certified person probably has a background and skill level that is higher than his or her noncertified peers.” (2)

On the other Hand

Other professionals in the field of project management disagree. Bob Tarne, PMP/CSM/CSSBB, a management consultant at Lombardi, a BPM software provider, said “not necessarily.” He got his PMP certification eight years ago and is now in the position to hire project managers. “To me, the PMP is just a box to check off,” he said. “If you claim to be a project manager and you don’t have your PMP, I won’t consider you for a position. However, I don’t think it means that you are qualified―that will come out in an interview.” Companies are now looking for much more than a PMP. They are looking to grab individuals with lean project management and six- sigma experience, just to name a few. (3)

Yes, No, or Maybe

Overall, I feel that the PMP would be a great asset to a project management professional’s career. Although this is true, you should assess your return expected on the time and money spent earning it. Another point to add is that in a world where competition amongst qualified individuals is high some employers may use this certification to narrow down their prospects. “These days you just never know what might happen (in any company) or what turns your career will take. That’s when you’ll be glad you put the time, money and effort into those little initials behind your name.”(4) Good Luck!



By: Jamilah Vester

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