Is PMP Certification Worth It? Salary vs Investment [2023]

is pmp certificate worth it

You might be wondering if PMP certification is worth it and would it add value to your career.

PMP certification is definitely worth it – as per the PMIs’ project management salary survey PMP certified project managers get 16% higher salary than non-credentialed professionals. Additionally, project managers can get a ROI of at least 385% by doing PMP.

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There are numerous PMP certification benefits but most important reason for of PMP certification is that the certification holders tend to earn more than non-certified project managers.

It is true that certified PMP earn higher salary but salary and emoluments tell us only half of the story. The other half is the cost of preparation and taking the PMP exam. In this post, we will analyze cost vs potential increase in the earnings to determine if PMP is really worth it or not.

What is PMP (Project Management Professional) Certification?

PMP is the most reputed and sought after project management certification. PMP certificate is recognized globally. There are over a million certified PMP professionals in the world.

PMP certificate is awarded to experienced project managers after they pass the PMP certification exam. The exam is conducted by PMI (Project Management Institute).

PMP exam is considered as one of the most difficult professional exams. It tests the project management concepts written in the PMBOK Guide (A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge).

PMP certificate demonstrates that the certified project manager has knowledge, skill, and experience of managing projects. Project managers from various industries like health services, infrastructure, technology, event management, and financial services can do this certification.

Is PMP Certification Worth it for a Project Management Career?

There is no doubt that PMP certified project managers earn more than non-certified project managers but the salary increase happens only after passing the exam.

Before the salary increase, you will have to go through the grind of passing the exam:

  • Firstly, it can be taken by only those professionals who have experience of leading and directing projects.
  • Secondly, PMP exam is very tough exam. PMP exam preparation requires extensive study.
  • Lastly, it is a very costly proposition. Depending on your project management training choice, you can end up spending close to $3000 to attain the PMI certification.

Now, you might ask if PMP exam is worth the trouble, effort, and money. To answer this, let us look at the investment cost and salary benefit to analyze the value of PMP.

Note: If you do not have requisite project management experience then you can opt for CAPM certification (Certified Associate in Project Management).

PMP Cost

Refer to my other article on the cost of PMP certification. The article lists and explains seven different cost components. Out of these, the three major components are enumerated in the table below.

Table 1
Cost Component Cost Notes
Exam Fee $550 Total fees with PMI membership cost & with membership is approx. same.
Training Fee $200-$500 Fee for a good online course.
Practice Tests $60-$100 Fee for a good online simulator.
Total $810-$1150

Overall, the cost of doing PMP certification could range between $810-$1150. No doubt, it is a huge cost. However, it is only first part of the equation. Let’s look at the other part of equation i.e. potential gains that can be accrued from investing the money.

PMP Salary

PMI salary survey suggests that project managers with PMP credentials garner higher median salaries than the non-credentialed professionals –  16% higher on average.

The salary of a project managers varies from country to country. However, there is a stark similarity across countries.

The salary of a PMP holder is generally much more than the salary of a non-PMP certified professional. Let us take a few examples.

Table 2
Country Mean Salary Increase % Increase
PMP Certified Non-PMP
USA $123,000 $93,000 $30,000 32.26%
Brazil R$165,408 R$137,611 R$27,797 20.20%
India Rs.1,989,911 Rs.1,691,424 Rs.298,487 17.65%
Malaysia RM150,652 RM129,717 RM20,935 16.14%
Germany €95,612 €81,801 €13,811 16.88%

You would have noticed that across countries PMPs earn substantially higher than the non-PMPs. Now, let’s take a look at cost and salary together.

Note: Depending on your sector, geography, role and many other things; your current salary might be more or less than the mean salary written in the table above.

PMP Investment Cost Vs. Salary

You can calculate the ROI by following the steps mentioned below.

Step 1: Refer to the section on PMP Cost and determine how much you will spend to attain PMP credential.

Step 2: Refer to the section PMP salary and determine how much PMP certified project managers earn over non-PMP professionals in your country.

Step 3: Calculate the ROI by dividing potential increase in earning (step 2) by your investment (step 1).

The following table provides potential ROI for the countries mentioned in Table 2. The calculation is done by assuming that you will invest about $1000 to attain the PMP credential.

Table 3

Salary Difference (PMP & Non-PMP)

Investment ROI%
USA $30,000 $1000 3000
Brazil R$27,779 R$4700 591
India Rs.298,487 Rs.77500 385
Malaysia RM20,935 RM4300 486
Germany €13,811 €900 1534

After looking at ROI, it is apparent that the salary benefits outweigh the cost of doing PMP. Depending on the country of your residence, you can recoup your investment of in a matter of 2-3 months.

We would suggest that you should not think too much about the investment cost and start your PMP preparation immediately. You are potentially losing a lot of money by delaying your PMP certification.

You can find out your own Personal PMP ROI by downloading our calculator.

PMP ROI Calculator

Calculate "your" Return on Investment

*We respect your privacy and we will not send any spam emails.


Contrary to many other certifications that target a particular domain or particular geography, PMP has its worth in many industries in almost every major country in the World.

There is a growing demand for project managers throughout the world. As a matter of fact, many corporations are training their employees for PMP certification. This information is leading to increased need and demand for proficient and skilled managers.

There is no doubt that the cost of PMP certification is high. Furthermore, it is one of the most difficult professional exams. It requires a good amount of hard work. However, once you pass the exam, your hard work will pay off.

You can read our article on project management experience requirements to understand if you can apply for the PMP exam. After checking your eligibility, you can read our article that describes a step-by-step process for getting PMP certification.

PMP Exam Prep at Reasonable Price

Passing the exam is a tough task but not an impossible one. You can easily surmount the challenge with proper planning and perseverance.

One of the mandatory requirements to apply for the PMP exam is 35 contact hours of project management education. You can read our article on PMP exam eligibility requirements to understand other PMP prerequisites.

Our PMP 35 contact hours training can help you in passing the exam in your first try. It comes with unlimited support and 100% pass guarantee.

PMP exam must not be delayed merely because of the cost involved. The cost of delay is very high. With each passing day you are potentially losing a 16% increase in your salary.

If you don’t want to start your exam preparation now, you can enroll into our PMP certification training program.

Over To You

What is your take on the cost of PMP certification? Do you think that the cost too high?

Is certification worth the money and effort? Do you think it can give boost to your career and increase your salary?

Please share it with us in the comment section below.

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