Is PMP Certification Worth It Given Its Ridiculously Exorbitant Cost?

is pmp certification worth it

In this post, I have done cost-benefit analysis to determine the worth and value of PMP certification. I have tried to answer “Is PMP certification worth it?” by comparing the PMP certification cost (exam fee and other costs) and potential salary increase.

This post just talks about potential monetary benefits of getting the credential. It does not talk about the various other sundry benefits of PMP. You can read benefits of PMP to understand the other advantages.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA)

So, you have been contemplating about pursuing the PMP. But you are stumped because of the expenses. You have hit a pause button as you don’t want to pay so much money.

There is no denying the fact that the cost of pursuing the credential is extremely high. But cost is one one side of the equation. As a project manager, you should weigh the cost against the potential benefits. You should ask yourself – Can I recover the money after becoming PMP certified?

Let’s see how the potential salary benefits outweigh the cost involved.

PMP Certification Cost

In the previous post, I discussed about the different expenses involved in pursuing and maintaining the PMP credential. The article provides details of 8 different cost components, which includes exam fee and training expenses. It suggests that the total cost depends on many factors. The main influencing factors are country of your residence, mode of training, and choice of study material. The total cost can vary from about USD 550 to a few thousand dollars.

Let us refer to the Scenario I from the previous post. Scenario I assumes that you are living in a western country and you are willing to spend on the best preparation resources that includes a good boot camp. In such a scenario, your cost might go as high as USD 2900. However, if you decide to pursue an online course instead of a classroom course, then your total cost can drastically reduce to USD 1200.

Whatever may your peculiar situation may be; it is highly improbable that you would need to spend anything more than USD 2900 for getting the credential. So, let us do CBA considering USD 2900 as the total cost of PMP certification.

Salary Benefit Of PMP Certification

Let us look at 2 quotes from PMI Salary Survey

those with a PMP certification garner a higher salary (20% higher on average) than those without a PMP certification

the median annual salary, across all countries, roles and experience levels, is $81,000 (USD)

PMI’s Survey

By using the data from the above two statements, we can calculate the potential benefit. If someone is drawing a salary of USD 81000 per year, then she/he can potentially earn USD 16200 extra per year after getting the certificate. This translates into a monthly salary increase of USD 1350.

A person drawing a median salary can potentially earn USD 1350 extra per month after getting the PMP certificate.

The Final Analysis

Let us compare the cost of USD 2900 against the potential benefit of USD 1350 per month. It can be easily deduced that you can recover your expenses investment in about 2 months.

You need about 2 months of increased salary to recover your investment in PMP certification.

PMP Certification Is Worth It

I have taken global median salary and an average increase in salary as per the PMI report for doing the CBA. These figures may not hold true for you. Depending on your industry, geography, & role; your current emoluments might be less or more than the global median salary. Your capacity to spend money for the credential would also be different.

But you can follow the same process that I have used for doing the CBA. You would know how much are you earning today and how much can you invest in PMP. You can look at the PMI report and find out your own potential earning power. Once you have these figures, you can do your own analysis to determine “is PMP certification worth it or not?”.

Some of you may feel that PMI’s report may be biased for its own credential. So, let me show you some quotes from other independent sources to help you in expediting your decision.

Salary ranges represent a 20-22 percent increase over non-PMP project manager salaries.


Not earning your PMP is expensive. PMPs typically earn $10,000 more a year than their non-PMP counterparts.


Final Thoughts

We have deduced that one can recover the investment in a few months. Our calculation suggests that the recovery can be done in little more than 2 months. In my opinion, you should set aside a budget equivalent to 3 months of potential increase in your emoluments for attaining the credential. You should buy only good quality study material otherwise it could lead to the failure in the exam. You should attend a good classroom training course or enroll in the best online training or best instructor led training. You should read the best study books and do mock tests from the best simulator.

Don’t lose sleep over cost of the PMP certification. You are losing lot of money by delaying it.

Over To You

What is your take on overall cost? Is it too high? Does potential salary increase justify pursuing this credential? Or, do you think there are better ways to get a salary boost?

Please leave a comment.

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Praveen Malik, PMP

​Praveen Malik ​is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) with a rich 23+ years of experience. He is a leading Project Management Instructor, Coach and ​Advisor. He ​has successfully trained thousands of aspirants for the PM certification exams.

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