Is Earning the PMP® Worth It?
Megan Bell, MPM, PMP

By: Megan Bell, MPM, PMP on November 11th, 2020

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Is Earning the PMP® Worth It?

PMP Certification

One of the most powerful advantages of being a Project Manager is that it is a skill set not confined to any industry or business type. The Project Management Institute (PMI) research indicates that project management-oriented careers in seven sectors are expected to grow by 33%, or nearly 22 million jobs, through 2027. In the next seven years, that means employers will need 88 million people for project management jobs; that is great news for job seekers and also indicative of a very competitive landscape. All levels and tenures of Project Managers should actively seek training and Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification to maintain their professional edge.

Before you take the exam, download this guide containing secrets to help you pass.


Who Manages the PMP® Certification?

The PMI, a global non-profit organization formed in 1969, uses education, networking and standardized resources to manage project management standards for over 3 million members and over 1 million active certification holders, including the prestigious Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification.


How the PMP® Certification Boosts Careers

If you are driven to advance your project management career at a bigger company or with high-budget/complex projects, the PMP® certification can help make that happen. Research from the PMI and third-party employment sites (e.g. provides insights into the specific benefits enjoyed by PMP® certification holders no matter the industry in which they practice:

  • PMP Worth It 1Adds value to resume
  • Confirms industry recognition
  • Validates skills and knowledge
  • Increases income potential
  • Expands professional networking
  • Increases employment opportunities
  • Demonstrates focus on profession

Some suggest that the PMP® certification is “>the most significant, industry-recognized certification for project managers worldwide.”

Speaking from my own 25+ year career, including as a hiring manager, contractor, and fulltime employee, I have seen how industry credentials can open career doors. When multiple qualified applicants are being reviewed for that single job opening, education and Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification can be the differentiator.

In the annual survey report, the PMI collected self-reported data from 32,000 Project Managers from 42 countries indicating that those with a PMP® certification earn 22% more

What Industries Have Project Managers?

Transportation, healthcare, technology, construction, manufacturing, marketing, banking, architecture, and information technology are a few industries with active Project Management careers. In fact, CIO magazine listed the PMI’s PMP® certification in its top 13 Project Management Certifications. Within the provided November 2020 job listings example from for U.S. Project Managers, major companies from very different industries have active job listings.

PMP Worth It 2Source:

The wide range of industries seeking Project Managers is good news for those in the profession. It also means that the standards for experience and qualifications are higher and competition for jobs fiercer. Those that earn and maintain their Project Management Professional (PMP ®) certification will qualify for more advanced jobs and likely enjoy more choices in job openings.


Salary Impact of PMP® Certification

There is a lot of data around Project Management jobs, encompassing the many titles for the skill set, and comparing those with professional certifications and without. In the leading job posting site,, their November 5, 2020, data reflects input from 23.4 salaries reported:

The average annual salary for a project manager in the U.S. is $ 86,087 with a $ 13,500 bonus for total compensation of $99,587.


The PMI’s 11th edition of Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey, 32,000+ project managers from 42 countries includes an interactive map of earning potential across the globe.PMP Worth It 3


The PMI’s salary data is significant for its global reach and that the 82% of respondents with PMP® certification earn an average 22% more than counterparts without it. The PMI states that in the U.S., the median salary for Project Managers is $ 116,000.


Access to the salary report data base is available to PMI members and includes breakdowns by title and geographic regions. As of November 2020, the PMI reports average salary with bonus for the US as shown.

PMP Worth It 4

PMP® Certification Can Take Your Career Further

Project Managers are passionate, driven types who guide work from mere ideas to finalized deliverables, products, and services. No matter the industry in which you practice your Project Management skills, having a current Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification is definitive evidence of your focus on being the best.


It definitely requires hard work and study, yet the long-lasting career and salary potential possible only with a PMP® certification make it worth the effort.

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About Megan Bell, MPM, PMP

A multi-hyphenate of corporate training, higher education, and creative agency work, Bell’s passion for connecting people to impactful information fuels an evolving career journey. Her portfolio includes conducting learning analytic research and reporting, managing a corporate mentoring program, authoring a blog series, facilitating leadership and career programs, serving on a non-profit board, and even occasional voice work. Bell’s education background encompasses UNC-Chapel Hill, Western Carolina University, and North Carolina State University.