Project Management Certification: Requirements, Cost, and Where To Get It

Project Management Certification: Requirements, Cost and Where To Get It

Project management certification programs come with many professional benefits. By earning the PMP credential, you will be recognized by many organizations around the world as a certified project manager with extensive knowledge in directing teams and handling projects.

Learning about project management certification costs, training, and requirements can help you plan your journey to becoming a certified project manager. 

History of the Project Management Certification

In August 1983, the Project Management Quarterly published an ESA report in their journal. It detailed a framework for project management standards, ethics, and accreditation, as well as the minimum entry requirements to take on the role of a project manager. 

They also identified key areas of knowledge for project management, including: 

  • Human Resources Management 
  • Cost Management 
  • Time Management 
  • Communication Management 
  • Scope Management
  • Quality Management

The first project management certification exam took place on October 6, 1984. A total of 56 people participated in the exam, and 43 of them successfully passed the test to become the first Project Management Professionals (PMPs) in history.

Project Management Certification Requirements

Although project management certification requirements are quite extensive, completing them successfully can increase your earning potential and develop your overall understanding of different projects. 

Associate's Degree or Global Equivalent

To obtain a PMP credential, one method is to get an Associate’s Degree or the global equivalent. 

In addition, you will also need a minimum of 5 years of project management experience with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education. 

Bachelor’s Degree or Global Equivalent

Another method of project management certification training is completing a four-year Bachelor's Degree or Global Equivalent. 

In addition, you will also need a minimum of 3 years of project management experience, with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

Post Graduate Degree from a GAC accredited program 

If you choose to obtain a Bachelor's Degree or Post-Graduate Degree from a GAC accredited program instead or the global equivalent, you will only need a minimum of 2 years of professional project management experience and 35 hours of project management education.

The Cost to Become a Project Management Professional

In addition to extensive project management certification training demands, there are plenty of costs involved, such as pre-exam costs, exam costs, and post-exam costs that aspiring PMPs don’t usually consider. 

Costs Pre-Exam

To complete the 35 hours of project management education, you have several options: One of the most affordable options is online courses, which can cost under $500. On the other hand, classroom training can cost about $200 to $2,500, while hiring an instructor may cost around $1,000 to $2,000. 

CPA Exam Cost

To save money on CPA exam costs, it may be worth it to register to become a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI). First-time membership costs $139 but the standard non-member exam fee is $555. Meanwhile, the PMI member price is $405.

If you do not pass, you will also have to pay $275 (member fee) or $375 (non-member fee) per exam retake attempt.

Costs Post-Exam

To maintain your PMP certification, you will need to earn Professional Development Units (PDUs). These are PMI-approved activities that update your project management skills and industry knowledge. You must earn 60 PDUs every 3 years from the day you pass the PMP certification exam.

You will also need to pay a $150 PMI non-member renewal fee in order to stay current or a $60 PMI member renewal fee. PDUs can cost around $25 to $100 depending on the type you choose. This means you will need to pay around $3,000 per year in order to maintain your PMP certification.

The Overall Cost: Is It Worth it?

The final project management certification cost estimate is around $3,000 per year, plus a minimum of about $1,500 to study for and pass the test in addition to degree fees.  Since these can quickly add up, there may be some debate on whether a PMP certification is worth the cost. 

However, a recent PMI survey shows clear value and importance to those in the project management field. It stated that respondents with a PMP certification earn higher median salaries than those without a PMP certification — 16% higher on average across the 40 countries included in the survey. Because of this, it is arguably worth the cost. 

Where To Get A PMP Certification

If you’re wondering how to get a project management certification, several sources can help you get started. 

The PMI provides plenty of resources for project management certification programs, including PMI Authorized On-demand PMP Exam Prep, Instructor-led Training, and access to a PMP Practice Exam. You can also apply to take your exam on their website and validate your existing project management experience and education.

They are also currently offering PMP exams that can be taken online at your own convenience with an online proctor. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re still unsure how to get a project management certification, here are some frequently asked questions by prospective PMPs. 

Is a PMI membership worth the cost?

For the first year, you will save $150 on the exam fee which can make it worth the cost of joining the PMI. ​​

Is it hard to get PMP certification?

Although the PMI doesn’t provide statistics on the pass/fail rate of the exam, it is known for being difficult. 

How long will it take to get PMP certification?

In addition to your educational requirements, project management certification training takes around 3 to 5 years of professional experience and several months of study.

How many attempts are allowed for PMP?

You are allowed 3 attempts to take the PMP exam, then you will need to wait one year from the date of the last examination you took to reapply for the certification.

What is the failure rate of the PMP exam?

PMI published a PMP exam pass rate of 61% in 2005, but they have not released any updated information since then. 

Project Management Certification In A Nutshell

Due to the significant cost and length of time involved, the PMP certification is the best fit for someone who is not yet fully established in their career and wants to learn more about the various areas of project management. However, a job growth report notes that employers will need to fill almost 2.2 million new project-oriented roles each year through 2027, meaning there will be a consistent demand for project managers in the future. 

Read on to learn more about other types of professional certification that can aid your career progression at Reliable Certified! 

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