Is PMP Certification Worth It Given Its Ridiculously Exorbitant Cost?

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 PMP certification cost (exam fee and other costs) and the 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. To understand the various advantages and benefits, you should read my other post.


is pmp certification worth it


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 because you are not ready to pay so much money.

There is no denying the fact that the cost of pursuing the credential is extremely high. But as a project manager, you should weigh your cost against the potential benefits. You should treat the cost as an investment in yourself that can be recouped in a short span of time.

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 credential. It is quite apparent from the article that the major expenditure comes because of the exam fee and 35 contact hours training.

Let us refer to the Scenario I from the previous post. Let us assume that you are living in a western country and you are willing to spend on the higher side. As per the calculation in the previous post, you would spend about USD 2900 to get the certificate.

Of course this amount could vary based on the mode of training and place of your residence. E.g. if you decide to pursue an online course instead of a classroom course, then the training expense would be in the range of USD 300. If you are staying in South Asia then even a classroom course will cost you less than USD 300.

It is highly improbable that you would be spending more than USD 2900 for getting the credential. So, let us consider USD 2900 as the cost of doing the PMP certification for doing our CBA.


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 annum, then she/he can potentially earn USD 16200 more per annum after getting the certificate. This translates into a monthly figure of USD 1350.


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


The Analysis

Let us compare the cost of USD 2900 against the potential benefit of USD 1350 per month. It can be easily deduced that the credential holder can recoup her/his expenses in about 2 months.


You need about 2 months of increased salary to recover the cost of PMP certification.

PMP Certification Is Worth It

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

But nothing stops you to follow the same process that I have followed to do the CBA. You can look at the PMI report and find out your own potential earning power. You can do your own analysis to determine “is PMP certification worth it?”.

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 expenses in 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 failure in the exam. You should attend the best online training or best instructor led training, do mock tests from the best simulator, and read the best study books.

Don’t lose sleep over cost of PMP certification. You are losing 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 is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) with a rich 23+ years of experience. He is a leading Project Management Instructor and Consultant. He regularly conducts Project Management workshops in India & abroad.

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