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We Asked People Why They Earned the PMP® Credential

By J. LeRoy Ward,  PMP, PgMP, PfMP, CSM, CSPO   |   Executive Vice President – Enterprise Solutions, IIL  Why do people earn the Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential? Is it because, as the Project Management Institute (PMI)® reported in its 10th Annual Salary Survey, that PMPs earn 23% more than those who don’t hold the certificate? Perhaps. Is it because it is the most ubiquitous and desired credential on earth, with PMI Today® reporting that as of April 30, 2018, there were 871,893 active PMPs? Maybe. Or is it because, as PMI® suggests, it is not based on any specific methodology and it can be easily transferred between industries, market segments, and geographic locations? Is it because  PMI conducts in-depth studies to ensure the PMP reflects current skills, knowledge and best practices; and, the credential encourages professional growth through a continuing credentialing requirement? Of course.

But to understand why people earn the credential, we need to ask them. That’s just what I did.

A while ago, I posted the following question in one of the many LinkedIn groups I belong to: What do you think is the main benefit you realized as a result of earning the PMP?  Here’s a selection of responses from real people:

“Was [a] culmination of proof to myself that I have the knowledge to do the work”
“Don’t forget the ongoing education (requirement). There’s a degree of commitment to the PMP that adds to its validity.”
“It changed my perspective of handling projects. It gives a structured way to approach pretty much everything we do.”
“To stay competitive in the job market. Period.”
“…the certification…will…get rid of various addictions, to recycle and learn the practices another way.”
“Not all carpenters are alike. The certification gives those hiring you a comfort level that you’re serious about your profession.”
“..when I prepared for the certification, I learned about some topics …I didn’t know about. Gave me self-confidence..in spite of certifications being considered ‘a paper’ for some clients.”
“The greatest value for me was learning a more systematic approach than the way the Army was doing things.”
“Wanted to shape a project culture in the company and talking all with the same language.”
“The PMP gave me a guide to follow.”
“..most of all, it gave me the confidence to look for a new job. And of course, it helped me get that next job….and the next.”
“The association with PMI chapters brings greater value for your career.”

Based on all the responses I received, I can say with confidence that there are two primary reasons real people earn the PMP:

  • They see it as a challenge to meet the highest levels of professional standards
  • They want greater access to jobs and higher salaries

You can’t blame them, can you? Look at it another way—can 871,893 people be wrong? Ready to earn your PMP? IIL can help. Learn more about our PMP Certification Prep course or request a free consultation PMP, PMI and PMI Today are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 


J. LeRoy Ward is a highly respected consultant and adviser to Global Fortune 500 Corporations and government agencies in the areas of project, program, and portfolio management. With more than 38 years of government and private sector experience, LeRoy specializes in working with senior executives to understand their role in project and program sponsorship, governance, portfolio management and the strategic execution of projects and programs.

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