Is Getting Your PMP Worth It? Research Results Are In

November 11, 2014

Is getting the project management professional PMP certification worth it

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.

Does PMP certification help your career? Survey says yes.

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

How does PMP certification help your career?


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:

Construction is one field where getting the project management certification makes sense.

  • Construction
  • Finance
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • Technology


Who was most likely to say the PMP was mandatory in their field?

government was also a field where project management certification is often mandatory.

  • Government
  • Technology
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Telecommunications


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.

59.2% of people who did not have their PMP said they were considering getting it.


Should You Get Your PMP Certification?

Knowing whether others have found value in getting their PMP is helpful; but if you’re still not sure, try asking yourself these 9 questions to determine if getting the PMP is right for you. You might also benefit from taking a sample test to see how you do. Take advantage of free resources like the AMA PMP® Exam Prep Toolkit.


How Do I Get My PMP Certification?

If you are thinking about getting your PMP certification, or are debating whether to keep it up with PDU’s, we can help. AMA is an approved education provider for PMI, and more than 80 of our courses offer PDU credits. We have a PMP Exam Prep Class with 100% pass rate, as well as communication and leadership classes that offer PDUs.


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About The Author

Christina Parisi is Director of Digital Content at the American Management Association. Previously she was an Executive Editor at AMACOM Books and the Director of AMA Self-Studies.


  1. avatar

    […] of respondents to an AMA survey of projects said that being PMP certified helped them geta  job. 68% of respondents had this […]

  2. avatar

    It’s a good way of backing up the validity of the PMP certification in the working life of a project manager.

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