PMP® Certification Salary: Increase Your Earning Potential -- Updated for 2021
Have you considered earning your Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification? This is the gold standard of project management certifications and comes with a number of benefits for those who pass the exam. Explore this article to learn more about these benefits and the steps you must take to earn your PMP certification.
Increase Your Earning Potential with A PMP Certification
While earning your PMP certification requires a major investment of time and effort, the monetary benefit is worth the hard work. Earning a certification shows that you have the necessary skills to lead a team. In fact, hiring a PMP certification holder can yield a high return on a company’s investment. If you’re hired by a company to successfully manage and deliver projects and you use the PMP certification skills you’ve gained, you can reduce project spend and increase profitability for your employer.
Plus, the role of PMP certification holders is carrying greater weight than ever as companies adopt more project-oriented modes of operation. So, as processes and business strategies change, the need for project managers, change managers, project analysts, and the like will only increase. Another factor that could play into this demand for PMP credential holders is high retirement or attrition numbers. As an older generation of the workforce leaves, this industry vacuum contributes to the need to hire PMP credential holders more than ever.
PMP Certification Salary Range
Because PMP credential holders offer so much value to companies, you can expect to earn more in your project management role compared to your previous salary or the salaries of your non-certified peers. PMI estimates that project managers who do not hold a certification in the U.S. earn, on average, approximately $95,000 per year. Project managers that do hold their PMP certification instead earn $120,000 per year. That’s about a 25% salary increase based on the PMP certification factor. Plus, you can expect to continually increase your earnings as your career in project management progresses and matures.
As stated in PMI’s Project Management Salary Survey 10th Edition, most project managers surveyed “(70%) report that their total compensation (including salary, bonus, and other forms of compensation) increased over the 12 months prior to completing the salary survey. About one-quarter (26%) reported increases of at least 5% over that time period.”
Why Does a PMP Credential Holder Earn More?
Whether a company wants to implement a new organization-wide software solution or coordinate an entire organizational restructuring, PMP credential holders are the people for the job. Those with the PMP certification are valuable assets – and, it looks like companies worldwide are getting the hint.
It’s estimated by 2027, there will be 90 million project management-related job roles that need to be filled, according to the Project Management Institute’s (PMI)® Earning Power Report. So, in less than a decade, there will be a staggeringly high demand for PMP certified individuals, but will there be a workforce to fill them? This need is why many project managers are pursuing the certification.
The PMP Provides Global, Professional Recognition
The PMP certification is the most widely recognized project management certification in the world. When you hold this certification, you’ll definitely earn a higher average salary, like we mentioned above. But, you’ll also earn the respect of your peers, employers, and clients. You can use this certification to propel your career to new heights.
One way to broaden your career horizons is to hold a certification that provides both domestic and international recognition. The PMP certification is recognized on a global scale, holding value in both the U.S. and abroad. Why is the global appeal valuable? Living in the digital age has facilitated a new level of globalization. It’s easier than ever for companies to reach into new markets and engage with international clients. So, by holding an internationally recognized and respected PMP certification, you can easily demonstrate your value in a global market.
Creates New Career Opportunities
Companies and clients alike are quick to recognize the benefits of having a PMP certification holder on their team. PMP credential holders have a demonstrated knowledge of proven project management strategies, and they are presumably equipped to complete projects on time and on budget. Thus, if you’re looking for opportunities to take on more responsibility, having a PMP certification on your resume can certainly open these doors.
As part of the recognition you receive as a PMP certification holder, you also likely benefit from greater job security. Companies don’t want to invest in major projects only to see them fail when leadership changes hands. When you have the skills to consistently deliver projects on time and on budget, the value of having you on the team increases, and so does your job security.
It’s also important to note that the average salary range can be greatly impacted by two key factors: experience, and project scope. Now that you have a better understanding as to why those who are PMP credential holders earn more, let’s evaluate these two factors that further impact earning potential.
Earning Potential by Experience
Logically, it only makes sense that someone with more experience has greater earning potential. But, how much of an earnings increase can PMP certification holders expect based on experience? Like many other industries, PMP credential holders with experience can expect higher average salaries as they move up in the workforce. But, it’s essential that these PMP credential holders maintain their certification to stay competitive in the industry.
The PMP certification requires ongoing maintenance, including the completion of 60 professional development units (PDUs) and payment of a renewal fee every three years. While this may seem like a lot of work or a big investment, you can expect the return on your investment to increase the longer you have your PMP credential.
The PMI report shared some findings to support the case for maintaining the PMP certification. Those who held their PMP credential for five and up to ten years earn a median base salary of $113,000. For PMP credential holders who have maintained their certification for ten and up to 20 years earn an average base salary of $120,000.
By maintaining the certification, credential holders demonstrate to their employers that they’re up-to-date on the lately project management strategies. Renewing certification coupled with years of applicable experience make PMP certification holders valuable assets to any organization.
Earning Potential by Size and Scope of Projects
In addition to gaining and maintaining certification, the size and scope of projects you manage can have a positive effect on your PMP credential salary expectations. Not all projects demand the same level of attention to detail or mass coordination. And with greater experience comes a greater capability to manage even the most complex, time-intensive projects.
Ultimately, PMP credential holders share the same goals – complete projects on time, in scope, and under budget. With larger, more complex projects, the need to effectively manage them intensifies. For PMP credential holders who work on complex, international, or large projects with large budgets, you can expect your post-PMP certification salary to reflect the greater effort put into your work.
As PMP credential holders progress in the workforce, they’re likely to take on more and grow their skill set equipping them to manage large-scale projects.
With the projected increase in need for PMP credential holders, now is the right time to pursue or renew your certification. You’ll have the benefit of job security moving forward, and the opportunity to earn more as you maintain your active PMP certification status over the upcoming years. PMP certification salary expectations should be high because the demand for the profession is here and growing. Take advantage of the opportunities afforded to PMP credential holders and take the next step to maximize your earning potential.
Motivates Learning and Improvement
Both when you initially take the PMP certification exam and as you work to maintain your certification, being a PMP credential holder encourages you to learn more about project management strategies and take steps to improve your skills. PMP certification holders value education, learning new skills, and renewing their understanding of project management strategies.
If all of these benefits sound appealing, earning your PMP certification may be the ideal next step for your career. To start the process of earning your certification, the first thing you need to do is find the right training partner. Training for your certification is essential, because you want to get it right the first time. So, be sure to research your options and partner with the training provider who can equip you to pass the exam.
How Do You Earn Your PMP Certification?
Earning your Project Management Professional certification takes hard work and a financial commitment. Before you can take the exam, there are a few requirements you must meet. You have two paths to choose from, depending on your experience as a project manager and your educational background.
If you have a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent), you must earn:
- 60 months leading projects
- 35 hours of project management education or possess your Certified Associated in Project Management (CAPM)®certification
If you have a four-year degree, you must earn:
- 36 months leading projects
- 35 hours of project management education or possess your CAPM certification
Learn more about the benefits of earning a PMP certification. Download this comprehensive guide to the PMP certification process now.