To be successful as a project manager, education and experience is essential. As you progress through your project management career, you may wonder if certification will give you an edge. Is it worth your time to pursue a project management certification? Will the investment improve your marketability?
Like many decisions, the answer is, it depends. If you’re just getting started in your project management career, a certification can show a certain acumen for the field. You can’t gain ten years’ experience in less than a year, but you can attain a certification. What can a project management certification offer for you?
1. Education Beyond Your Project Management Experience
Since education and experience both factor into getting a certification, once you have it, you’re telling companies that you have the skillset and experience that they need. If you want to remain competitive in the workforce, a certification can’t hurt.
2. Higher Compensation
A report recently published by Baseline Magazine found that certified project management professionals earn 24 percent more than their uncertified counterparts. And according to the Project Management Institute (PMI), industry professionals average $91,000 a year without a PMP certification and $111,000 a year with a certification. That’s a $20,000 increase! If you are still starting out in your career looking to take the next step up the ladder, a project management certification could fit the bill for you.
3. Better Communication Skills
If you are a junior-level project manager, educating yourself on the language and terminology can help. You’ll understand the standardized framework for working on large projects, allowing you to take on a larger role within your company.
4. A World of Opportunities
If you are looking to work for international clients, PMI is the first company to earn accreditation with the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) ISO/IEC 17024. ISO 17024 was developed by ISO to recognize programs that prepare project management professionals to work internationally.
Do you need certification?
To be honest – likely not. If you’re just starting out in your career, then, yes, a PMI certification can be a plus, but it’s no substitute for experience. If you’ve been a successful project manager for 10-15 years and understand PM methodologies, certification will not be the deciding factor in your next job opportunity. Hiring managers rarely consider certification mandatory (though it’s always a plus). Solid PM leadership and experience along with fitting a company’s culture are always the top priorities.
Which certification to choose?
If you decide to take the plunge and earn project management certification, the next step is figuring out which one. While the PMP certification offered by PMI is one of the most respected, it is also one of the most rigorous and difficult to obtain. There are many other options available, some of which may better suit your needs.
At PMO Partners, we understand what it takes to prepare project management professionals for the next step in their career. We can help you devise a plan to get where you want to go, whether that means working toward your PMP certification or getting essential experience. Contact us today to start exploring your options.