PMP Advantages and Disadvantages

Introduction

The Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification from the international Project Management Institute (pmi.org) is widely considered by many in the project management world to be the premier certification that proves you have the experience and competency, along with best practices in the field of project management.

To ensure that currency, the exam is regularly updated to reflect the most recent version of PMI’s Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). The PMBOK® Guide includes The Standard for Project Management, and through attaining Professional Development Units (PDU’s), which means PMP® holders need to remain current in the profession by being actively involved and continuing to upskill to maintain their certification.

Thanks to a growing recognition that project management is now a known set of desirable skills, techniques, and knowledge, along with its international stature, and its relevance across many industries, interest is growing in the PMP® certification in many countries and sectors. 

All that said, it is always important to look at the advantages and disadvantages of PMP and indeed any certification, so that you have a balanced view.

Advantages of PMP Certification (Pros)

1. Proven knowledge of project management principles

The PMP® exam is always based on the most recent PMBOK® Guide, which is updated regularly with input from practicing project managers from a wide variety of industries ranging from construction to software development, to event management. PMP shows that you have the ability to manage projects, along with the expertise in project management.

It therefore spans the widest range of successful approaches or methodologies possible (e.g., waterfall, agile, and hybrid) and it affords the opportunity to gain comprehensive project management knowledge beyond what you might encounter in a specific job role, and expose you to a variety of project management tools. 

In other words, the PMBOK® Guide provides universally applicable knowledge. 

2. Getting PMP certified demonstrates commitment to the profession

In addition to proving currency and competence in the practice of project management, the rigorous training and study required to pass the PMP® exam demonstrates dedication and commitment and will set certified professionals apart from their peers.

Gainiing one of the most pretigious certifications is no walk in the park. The PMP exam is hard and requires preparation. Your experience alone will not be sufficient to pass the exam. The Millpond PMP exam preparation course is designed around globally recognized standards for Project Managers and covers specific techniques and methodologies you will encounter in the exam.

Be prepared to study and spend around 30 and 45 hours outside of the 35 hours of project management education. Make sure to read up on PMP FAQ’s and completing your PMP exam application to help you ace the PMP exam.

3. Increase your career opportunities

There is high demand for skilled project managers. Forbes has reported “25 Million Project Managers In Demand As Median Salaries Soar To $120,000”.

CIO also projects that by 2027 that “the demand for project managers will grow to 87.7 million” and PMP appears on the list of top project management certifications.

Whichever statistic you read regarding the worth of getting PMP certified, it’s clear that many organisations prioritise PMP® certification during hiring and the PMP certification opens opportunities for career growth.

4. Receive universal recognition

In contrast to many other project management certifications, designed with specific industries and specific countries in mind, and due to PMI’s international reach, PMP®’s appeal is global and not just limited to specific industries or domains. If you invest time and stay current with your PMP, you will receive respect and recognition.

PMP is globally recogised and the PMBOK Guide provides universally applicable knowledge and you can find a really good video here on You Tube by Ricardo Vargas.

5. A valued addition to your CV

The PMP® certification can differentiate a candidate in the job market because it is a widely known and respected certification. Some organisations require their project managers to be PMP® certified due to the robustness of the framework and the standard it ensures.

6. Improve your potential for a salary increase

According to PMI, PMP® certified project managers often earn more comapired to their non-certified counterparts.

PMI’s Twelfth Edition (2021) Salary survey found that the median salary for PMP® holders globally is 16% higher (and 32% higher in the USA) than those without certification. Source: Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey – Twelfth Edition.

Disadvantages of PMP Certification (Cons)

1. High costs of PMP training and exam

The total cost of getting your PMP® certification can be as high as NZ$4,500, depending on what path you would like to take and the current exchange rate.

As of December 2023, you can expect to pay some or all of the following fees:

35-hour PMP® Exam Preparation Training Course through a PMI Accredited Training Provider (ATP)

  •       In person: NZ$3,500 ex GST
  •       Virtual (live): NZ$1,999 ex GST

PMI Membership (optional as you do not need to be a member to be certified):

  •       Global membership with pmi.org: US$139
  •       Local PMI Chapter membership (PMI New Zealand Chapter): US$60

The benefits of PMI membership can be found here, but in summary; PMI members get access to a free PDF of the current PMBOK® Guide, Agile Practice Guide and many other standards and publications, plus discounted exam fees (as detailed below). Members will also get local benefits, such as a 10% discount on Millpond’s PMI-related exam preparation training courses.

PMP® Exam fee:

  •       PMI members: US$405
  •       Non-members: US$555

2. Extensive preparation and study time required

In addition to the 35 hours of course time to meet the pmi.org prerequisite for PMP® exam eligibility of formal project management education/training or CAPM® Certification, exam delegates should expect to spend 4-8 hours between each session revising and preparing for the next session and a further 20 – 30 hours studying for the exam itself. i.e., to ensure the best possible chance of success in the exam, we recommend a total time investment of 65 – 95 hours of preparation.

There is also a need to invest time in the PMP certification process, as exam takers need to complete an application form. Expect to spend at least 1 – 2 hours completing this.

Naturally enough, students should consider the potential short-term sacrifices that this may mean, such as; family or recreation time, and even potential impacts on their work schedule.

3. There are no guaranteed outcomes with becoming PMP certified

As with any other certification, PMP® certification doesn’t guarantee the holder a job, promotion, or a salary hike. Yet the time and effort taken to obtain any qualifications are useful and there is generally no substitute for experience, no matter what the industry.

4. Renewal requirements to keep your PMP certification valid

The PMP® certification is valid for 3 years and is renewed by being actively involved in the profession and upskilling along the way.

As noted in Maintaining Your PMP Certification – Millpond, every three years to maintain your PMP certification and keep it active, you need to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) across a three year cycle. 1 PDU = 1 hour of effort.

There is a small inherent administration effort to maintain these professional development units, but no financial cost outside of the price you might pay to attend a training course or buy a book to read.

5. Specific experience prerequisites are required

The PMP® exam is one of the few international project management certifications which has specific experience requirements before you can sit the exam. The PMP certification is not for beginners.

It’s not just a ‘study and sit’ prove-your-knowledge-only test. One of the advantages of the PMP® certification is that it incorporates proof of educational attainment and actual project management experience in the application process to sit the exam. This can however also act as a barrier for those people who might have difficulty finding acceptable evidence of formal education, especially those who do not have a University degree, and who have between 36 months and 60 months of experience.

For those with a four-year college / University Degree, you will need to show 36 months of project management experience leading projects within the past eight years.

However, if your highest qualification is a high school or secondary school Diploma, you will need to show 60 months of project management experience leading projects within the past eight years.

6. PMP is not universally valued by some companies

Some companies, especially startups, may prioritise other skills or certifications because they have a specific technical skill set that they need in the early days, rather than a more generalist skill set such as project management. However, anyone who has been involved in a large project or programme of work will soon tell you that many moving parts requires dedicated and skilled project management resource to ensure success.

The shift towards Agile techniques such as SCRUM, Kanban and so on in many technology companies has been confused by some as a move away from the general usefulness of the PMP® certification, but this ignores the fact that the PMP® curriculum covers these techniques and more. In fact, it places these tools and techniques in the context of the overarching project framework and therefore assists in the appropriate use of these techniques.

Indeed, recent feedback to PMI suggests that PMP® includes too much Agile and not enough traditional or waterfall content for those working in less volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments.

Conclusion

In summary, the value provided by the study dedicated to passing the PMP® is inherently valuable at any stage in a project manager’s career. Individuals will need to weigh the pros and cons of pmp certification and take this into consideration based on their personal career goals and circumstances.

We encourage readers to conduct further research on the value of the PMP certification and consider your unique situation and if you’d like to reach out to discuss this further with us, please get in touch. We are always happy to chat!

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