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The Benefits of Getting Certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP®)

Updated on March 4, 2013

Make Your Career Take Off!

Project management certification is a gateway to a career - anywhere in the world.
Project management certification is a gateway to a career - anywhere in the world. | Source

Professional Project Management Certifications

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the global professional association for project managers. It offers several certifications, two of which are directly related to project management. The PMP®, or Project Management Professional certification indicates a thorough and deep knowledge of project management experience and significant experience managing projects or being in a leadership position on projects and being responsible for delivering results. The CAPM®, or Certified Associate in Project Management, requires similar knowledge. You pass a similar, but shorter test. The big difference is that it requires fewer years of project management experience than is required to qualify as a full Project Management Professional. The PMI also offers certifications for project schedulers, program managers, and portfolio managers.

Project Managers in the United Kingdom are eligible for the PMP®, but they may also want to consider the British PRINCE2 Certification.

To learn more about certification requirements and how to get your PMP® certification, please read How to Become a Certified Project Management Professional. If you are an engineer, you might also want to read check out Project Engineer to PMP by SMA Frankline. This article focuses on the benefits of CAPM® and PMP® Certification.

Salary and Financial Benefits

Project managers are in high demand, and earn good money. The PMI's Salary Survey, 7th Edition, released in December 2011, shows that 71% of project managers got a raise within the last year. The median salary worldwide is $92,000, and in the US, $105,000. About 75% of project managers earn over $65,000 per year. These salaries do not include bonuses, which are frequent in some industries.

In these uncertain economic times, job availability is, perhaps, even more important than salary. Certified project managers frequently remain employed and get raises. And if their current employer fails or lays them off, there are many openings, locally and internationally.

Career Flexibility

The PMP® and CAPM® certifications are based on knowledge in the PMI's Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (®). This guide is both an in-depth introduction to the core essentials of project management and an overview of methods used in many different industries and countries. The knowledge you have as a PMP® is relevant to project management work in many different types of businesses: major corporations, government, small businesses, educational institutions, and not-for-profit organizations. It helps with everything from road-building to marketing to wedding planning. And its value is recognized across all these industries and in over 185 countries worldwide. So, if you want to move into a very different field of work, your project management certification opens many doors.

Personally, I actually taught project management for several years before getting my PMP® certification in 2004. Early on, I was so busy traveling and training that I never took the time to study for the exam. For me, the PMP® certification had an unusual value - it opened the door to greater credibility as a professional author. It also gave me many opportunities to lecture and teach and to help others get certified. It gave me the international recognition to land two major consulting contracts, one in California (all the way across the US from my home in Florida), and the other working from home for a global company.

Local Opportunities

The PMI has chapters in 78 countries, and has local chapters in all of the 50 United States and in Washington, DC. Wherever you are, you can get in touch with a local organization of professionals, many of which are working for companies that are hiring.

Being involved in a local chapter offers opportunities for low-cost, high-quality learning, as well. It also is a great network of business professionals who can assist your career development in many ways. The wide variety of fields where project management is used means that you meet a lot of interesting people doing a lot of interesting things. You can also enhance your resume by volunteering your services.

Online Learning and Continuing Education

The PMI offers many opportunities for certified professionals to keep learning and growing. In fact, continuing education is required if you want to keep your certification. More important, though, are the many web-based, local, regional, national, and international learning opportunities available. There are also over 35 learning communities, also called special interest groups (SIG). So, if you are inclined to specialize in an industry or develop project management theory, you can do it with peers.

Personally, I have found it very rewarding to write papers and present at regional conferences. When a group of top professionals recognize that I am making original and important contributions to the field of project management, it means a lot to me.

For all, the convenience of having more information about project management and project management career opportunities all available through one central web portal at the Project Management Institute is immensely valuable.

National and Global Opportunities

Is it time to move on? Then don't stay local, go global! You can research worldwide project management opportunities online, then reach out to global chapters to extend your network. It's a fascinating opportunity for travel, learning, teaching, and career growth.

It also gives you a great deal of flexibility. Want a challenge? Find out what it's like to do a project in a bankrupt nation by heading to Greece. Want to see the latest innovative technology? Interesting things are happening in New Zealand and Australia. Want to take part in the largest long-term professional growth spurt in history - check out project management in China. Want to help in developing countries, or work re-building after a war? The opportunities to learn and serve are endless.

The Gift of Professional Knowledge

As we've seen, the PMP® certification is a door to local and global career opportunities. But there is an inner gift here, as well. If we really learn the knowledge of project management, we learn to solve problems and work well with people. Even if we stay at our current job, we can transform our experience of that job. Right now, most projects fail, delivering unsatisfactory results, or delivering late or over-budget. That is a bummer for you and the whole team - not to mention the company. The professional rewards of doing the same work you're doing now, only doing it well, are amazing. Consistently delivering project success and customer delight on time and under budget is a fulfilling experience. And, if you're working for a well-managed company, the recognition, bonuses, salary increases, and promotions will follow.

The Gift of Personal Success

Project management may begin at work, but it ends at home. The abilities to get people working together and to get things done create a rewarding life. We can use our communications skills to improve our marriages and family relationships. We can teach our kids to manage their own time and work, and get their assignments done. Working alone, we can develop fun and rewarding hobbies, or do service work that helps our communities. Remember, project management is about solving problems and making dreams real. That's a lot more than just a salary.

But times are hard. Maybe you don't even have a job right now, or you are going to be laid off at the end of this project. That's okay. Project management can help. Planning and entering a new career is a project. Your next job hunt is a project. And, if you haven't already gotten certified as a Project Management Professional, getting certified is a project, too.

What are the benefits of being a certified project management professional? It's simple, but its big: you can solve your problems and make your dreams real.

What's Your Next Step?

Is Project Management Certification right for you?

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    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 5 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Thank you, Frankline. I am glad we are working together to let the world know about the PMP opportunity and its benefits. Let's keep in touch!

    • SMA Frankline profile image

      S M ANTONY FRANKLINE 5 years ago from CHENNAI, INDIA

      Thanks SidKemp for commenting on my hub, Project Engineer to PMP and refering it in your hub. Your hub has many positives on the benefits side, I have mentioned it in my hub with link, thanks again.

    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 5 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Project Management is still mostly a profession that is officially recognized in large companies and government organizations. In fact, it's prevalent in military contracting & construction. I specialized in IT PM for a number of years, and that was still mostly for governments and Fortune 500 companies.

      I'm a big champion of PM for small business; and *good* PM for small business, but that doesn't necessarily involve getting certification.

      If you think about it, Simone, you probably know lots of project managers - as well as being one yourself. You're just not a *certified* project manager.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Those are some very compelling benefits! I'm surprised that more people aren't involved with this field (perhaps I just know an unusually small number of project managers).