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The project management field has experienced a great deal of growth and change in recent years. As companies move to project-based scheduling and orientation, project management skills are seeing strong demand, according to the Project Management Institute (PMI).
If you’re considering becoming a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)®, now is a great time to do so. PMP certification takes hard work, but it brings many benefits as well, including greater earning power. This article explores PMP certification requirements and PMP certification salary averages.
What Is PMP Certification?
PMP is considered the gold standard in the field of project management. PMI, the leading organization in project management, administers this certification. PMI publishes the Project Management Book of Knowledge, which establishes best practices for project management specialists.
PMP certification demonstrates that you have up-to-date knowledge of modern concepts in project management and scheduling. This credential is widely recognized and can help you stand out against other project management workers.
Getting PMP-certified can help you learn about concepts like Agile, waterfall project scheduling, leadership and business management. Moreover, PMI reports that globally, project managers who hold PMP certification make about 16% more each year than their non-certified peers. In the U.S., PMPs make 32% more than non-certified project management specialists.
PMP Certification Salary
PMP certification salary statistics show that this certification is well worth the effort for many professionals. According to PMI, non-certified project managers in the U.S. earn a median annual salary of $93,000. PMPs earn a median wage of $123,000 per year—a 32% increase over their non-certified colleagues.
This PMP certification salary increase is justified by the following:
- PMP certification equips you to effectively lead a team.
- PMP certification gives you the skills to reduce project spending and increase company profits.
- Most companies are relying more heavily on project-oriented scheduling and task distribution.
- PMP certification can help you lead your company to a higher return on their investment.
PMP Certification Requirements
The PMP certification process involves a combination of work experience, targeted training and a certification exam. Below, we’ll break down how to get PMP certification, including the experience and credentials required.
The PMP certification process begins with several years of relevant work experience. Candidates with high school diplomas or associate degrees must have five years of experience leading projects before they can apply to take the PMP exam. Those with bachelor’s degrees need only three years of project management experience.
Project Management Training
Before sitting for the PMP exam, you must complete 35 “contact hours,” or professional development through a PMP certification training course. You may complete these hours either online or in person. Tuition rates for these courses vary. Free PMP certification training is available, but usually on a trial basis only.
Application Processing Time
How long does it take to get PMP certification exam-approved? Once you’re ready to sit for the PMP exam, you must apply to do so through PMI. This process involves submitting a PDF application along with documentation to show relevant work experience. It typically takes three to five days to hear back from PMI regarding the status of your application.
Once you’ve met the experience and education requirements for the PMP exam, you should set aside additional time to study for the exam. While there’s no set or “correct” amount of time to spend on PMP exam prep, you should prepare yourself as much as possible by browsing a study guide and taking practice exams.
FAQ About PMP Certification Requirements and Salary
Can I take the PMP exam without experience?
No. The Project Management Institute does not allow people to sit for the PMP exam if they have not completed three to five years of professional experience leading projects, with exact requirements depending on candidates’ education level.
How much experience do you need for PMP certification?
If you hold a high school diploma or associate degree, PMI requires you to have five years of experience leading projects, including 7,500 hours of project management work. If you have a bachelor’s degree, this requirement reduces to three years and 4,500 hours of project management experience.
Do I need to be a project manager to get a PMP certification?
Not necessarily. Working as a project manager can help you meet PMP certification requirements, but PMI only requires that you have professional experience leading projects—it does not specify what your title should be. Taking the lead on a particular task or overseeing a minor project can count as relevant leadership experience.
Do I have to be a PMI member to earn PMP certification?
No, you don’t have to be a PMI member to earn PMP certification. However, PMI membership can save you money when you register for the exam. The PMP exam cost is $405 for PMI members or $555 for non-members. Retaking the exam costs $275 for PMI members and $375 for non-members. PMP renewal fees are cheaper for PMI members as well.
How long does it take to process the PMP application?
Once you apply to PMI for permission to take the exam, it typically takes three to five days to hear back.
Do I need to renew my PMP certification?
Yes, you must renew your PMP certification every three years. During those three years, you must complete 60 professional development units. PMI members pay a renewal fee of $60, and non-members pay $150.