Should You Get Your Project Management Professional (PMP®) Certification?
Will getting the PMP® certification improve your career? Is it helpful for everyone, or do factors like budgets, project complexity, and number of concurrent projects affect how useful it is? AMA decided to find out by asking project managers themselves.
We conducted a 12-question survey of project managers from October 24 through November 7, 2014. The survey was intended to uncover whether there were tangible benefits of getting the Project Management Professional (PMP®)certification and whether it improves career prospects. A total of 326 respondents completed the survey, with 68.4% holding a PMP Certification.
Who Is Most Likely to Get Their PMP?
Here is a breakdown of the variables we investigated:
Project budget. The higher your project budget is, the more likely you are to have a PMP: 83.5% of people who have their PMP are managing projects that have budgets of $100,000 or more.
Number of projects. The number of projects the person handles seems to have no bearing on whether that person decided to get their PMP certification: 70.8% of people who have their PMP and 69.9% of those who don’t manage 2-6 projects or more.
Size of company. Those who worked for an extremely large company were slightly more likely to get their PMP certification, but otherwise size did not seem to be a factor: 35% of professionals who have their PMP work in companies with more than 10,000 employees. The rest of the respondents were spread among other brackets, with the second-largest group (18.8%) working in companies with between 1,001-5,000 employees.
Project timeline. According to respondents, 89% of those who have their PMP manage projects with timelines of less than 3 years, further broken down into 40.4% who have projects with lifecycles of less than a year, and 48.4% with projects lasting between 1 and 3 years.
Is Getting the PMP Certification Worth It?
According to respondents who had their PMP, the answer is overwhelmingly yes. Exactly 92.6% said getting the PMP certification helped their career.
PMP Certification Linked to Career Advancement
Not only did people who have the PMP endorse getting it, many of them could point to specific recognition and career advancement they received after getting their PMP with:
41.4% saying it helped them get a job
31.5% said it helped them get promoted
17.3% said it got them a raise
Industry May Be a Factor
Respondents were spread among the industries, and we did not reach statistical significance on which industries value the PMP certification the most. However, there were a few industries that were more likely to find the certification useful:
Which fields were most likely to show positive career benefits:
Who was most likely to say the PMP was mandatory in their field?
Perceived Value Among Project Managers Who Are Not Certified
Participants who did not have their PMP also indicated they felt it was valuable: 59.2% were seriously considering getting it and cited career benefits as the main reason. Even those who indicated they were not interested in getting the PMP gave answers like: “I am interested to have my team certified.” Those who said they were not interested in getting PMP certified most commonly cited lack of time and the fact that it was not required within their industry.
Don’t underestimate feedback. As Marshall Goldsmith said, “People will do something—including changing their behavior—only if it can be demonstrated that doing so is in their own best interests as defined by their own values.”