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Is PMP Certification Worth It Given Its Ridiculously Exorbitant Cost?

is pmp certification worth it

Is PMP certification worth it? Is PMP certification valuable enough to give a good salary?

In this post, you will find a comparison of the expenses involved in PMP (exam fee and all the other costs) against the potential increase in the income.

You might be contemplating about pursuing the PMP certification. But, you know that the cost of doing PMP is extremely high. You are stumped because of the expenditure involved. You have hit a pause button as you don’t want to spend so much money.

Frankly speaking, the value of PMP should not be measured by its cost. It should be measured by its potential benefits – specifically, the monetary benefits.

Let us scientifically analyze the value of PMP credential and do a cost-benefit analysis to determine the true worth of PMP certification.

Note: This post just talks about the potential monetary benefits of getting the PMP certification. It does not talk about the various other advantages of PMP.

Is PMP Certification Worth It?

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

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

PMP Certification Cost

In my previous post, I discussed about the different expenses involved in pursuing and maintaining the PMP credential. It provides details of 8 different cost components, including exam fee and training expenses.

The same post also talks about the various factors that influence the total cost of doing PMP. The main 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. It assumes that you are living in a western country and you are willing to spend on the best preparation resources that includes a good PMP boot camp. The total cost comes out to be USD 2900 as per Scenario I.

USD 2900 is the higher end of the spectrum. 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 be your peculiar situation; it is highly improbable that you would need to spend anything more than USD 2900 for getting the credential. So, let us do a cost-benefit analysis considering USD 2900 as the total cost of doing PMP.

PMP Certification Salary

Let us look at 2 quotes from PMI Salary Survey

those with a PMP certification garner a higher salary (23% higher on average) than those without a PMP certification

the median annual salary, across all countries, roles and experience levels, is $80,000 (USD)

PMI’s Survey

By using the data from the above two statements, we can calculate the potential salary benefit. If someone is drawing a salary of USD 80000 per year, then she/he can potentially earn USD 98400 after doing PMP. This translates into an extra income of USD 18400 per year or about USD 1500 per month.

[pullquote align=”normal”]A person drawing a median salary can potentially earn USD 1500 extra per month after getting the PMP certificate. [/pullquote]

Cost Benefit Analysis

Let us compare the cost of USD 2900 against the potential benefit of USD 1500 per month. It can be easily deduced that you can recover your expenses investment in less than 2 months.

[pullquote align=”normal”]You need about 2 months of increased salary to recover your investment in the PMP certification.[/pullquote]

Worth Of The PMP Certification – Salary vs Cost

For doing the cost-benefit analysis, I have taken global median salary and an average increase in salary as per the PMI report. 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.

You can follow the same process that I have used for doing the cost-benefit analysis. Here is what you should do:

  1. Write down how much you are currently earning.
  2. Open the PMI salary survey to find out your (for your country, role, industry, and experience) earning power – how much you can potentially earn by doing PMP.
  3. Find out the potential increase in your salary i.e. the difference between #2 and #1.

This way you can do your own analysis to determine if PMP is worth for you 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 PMP credential.

You should not worry about the cost of the PMP certification. 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.

[pullquote align=”normal”]Don’t lose sleep over the cost of PMP certification. You are losing lot of money by delaying it.[/pullquote]

Over To You

What is your take on the overall cost of doing PMP? 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?

I would love to hear from you.

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6 thoughts on “Is PMP Certification Worth It Given Its Ridiculously Exorbitant Cost?”

  1. The article is more a marketing material than an actual cost benefit analysis. In order for this to be an actual article, the following information should have been assessed in it:
    1. Other certifications out there.
    2. How true is the PMI statement around the higher salary? Should you rely on the promo material?
    3. Did you take into account taxes on the increased portion of the salary? You are comparing taxable income to the potentially non-taxable expense.

    Very shallow analysis of the situation.

    1. Loved this response and agree 100%, was going to write up a response but yours actually says much of it already. This write up also excludes the time involved spent jumping through these hoops to get this, which is a huge gap in analyzing the true final cost. This is a persuasive piece meant to prop up this money grab…not to mention, many degree programs already have program management built in but this cert route has become trendy and now it is self- propagandizing itself into “necessity”.

      1. Hi G, Probably you are mistaken. I am not selling anything here so this article is not a money grab as you say. I would suggest you to to read it again because it provides a statistical analysis.

    2. Hi Duncan,

      Thank you for your comment. I would love to hear more from you. Maybe you know a little more. It will help not only me but also other readers of the blog. You can write an article and I will share it as a part of this article.

      Let me share my take on your 3 points.
      1. It is a PMP specific article. Just look at the title of this article. I have nowhere suggested that this article is for comparing certification. Its only purpose is, “is PMP worth the expenditure”.
      2. I don’t know how true is PMI statement. I believe PMI’s data is the only scientific statistical data out there. Please share why you think PMI’s statement is not true or if you think that they have published promo material.
      3. Regarding taxes – I am no tax expert and this blog is not about taxable income. But, many countries do provide tax deductions to professionals for educational expenses. Furthermore, if someone starts thinking about taxes, she/he will never strive for an increase in salary.

      Will look forward for your comments.

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