In the field of Project Management, no matter the industry or how long you’ve been working, going forward with Project Management Professional (PMP) certification can increase your chances of getting more and bigger projects, a better job, and a better salary.
The project management field is constantly growing, and globally it has maintained growth throughout industries. Unfortunately, for employers, there is a gap between what they expect and what they are being offered. That’s one of the many reasons that becoming a PMP certificate holder will help you land a job with a better salary. Worldwide, employers know that a PMP certificate holder is worth the money.
To PMP or Not to PMP
The education requirements for getting PMP certification are simple. If you already have a 4-year degree or above you need to document 4500 hours or 3 years of experience. If you have a secondary degree, high school diploma or global equivalent, but have yet to receive your bachelor’s degree, you need to have 7500 hours 5 years of documented experience. Both educational requirements also require 35 contact hours which can be obtained through a PMI certified PMP training program.
The coursework, or 35 contact hours, can cost anywhere from around $400 to upwards of $2,000, depending on which option you choose. There are a variety of courses to meet your financial needs as well as your learning style. The PMP first time exam costs $555 for non-members and $405 for PMI members.
PMI is the leading project management association, promoting and encouraging growth, ethical standards, and governance throughout the profession worldwide. PMI not only certifies project managers through PMP exams, they also provide educational platforms for Agile methodology, including Scrum, and CAPM, the Certified Associate in Project Management certification. Their guidelines and standards provide PMPs with best practices to guide them, which is why more employers are requiring certification.
An individual that holds a PMP certification can increase their salary by up to 32%, which in any job is an impressive raise. The Project Management Institute (PMI) regularly conducts salary surveys for the project management field to determine what the current salary trends are internationally. Check out the latest PMI salary survey here.
On average the PMP certification will give a newly certified project manager a 22% increase in their salary in the U.S. The United States has the second highest median salaries in the world for PMP holders. Depending on the industry, the median starting salary with a PMP certificate is $116,000 vs. $84,000 for project managers without it. Currently, Switzerland still holds the title of the highest salaries for PMP project managers, around $132,000 and Australia comes in third at roughly $101,000. Even countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines report salaries for PMP holders at 80% over those that haven’t received the certification.
Not only is there usually an increase in salary, over 70% of the survey participants reported at minimum an additional 5% increase in salary and benefits year over year.
Salaries by country
Throughout the world, PMP certification is the standard that shows companies that candidates are ready to receive those increases with their knowledge and ethical standards.
The table below represents the top three countries with the best median salary for Project Manager 1 positions. Please note these figures are salary alone.
Median PMP Salary
The figures come from PMIs 2021 “Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey”. The survey is conducted with over 30,000 project managers, in over 40 countries, and includes a variety of industries.
From the chart above, you see that if you are in Switzerland, you get the highest salary as PMP. While the United States comes third, however, the amount of positions available in Switzerland are far less than in the U.S.
The United States also comes in 3rd in the amount of project manager positions. In 2017, the U.S. had over 6.7 Million positions. The expectation by 2027 is over 8.8 million positions. Worldwide there are only an estimated 600,000 PMP certificate holders, in 208 countries and territories. This makes having that certificate even more valuable, now and in the future.
Salaries are also based on the amount of experience you have in the field. A project manager who has held a PMP for more than five years, will command a higher salary.
The following chart shows the average salaries (both PMP and Non-PMP) by experience:
5–10 YEARS Experience
Salaries by Industry
Project managers in the tech industry command a different salary than project managers in the construction industry. Each industry comes with their own set of guidelines and expectations above and beyond the knowledge required to become a PMP.
The following chart shows some of the average median salaries (both PMP and Non-PMP) by Industry in the United States:
Project Manager (General)
From the chart above you can see that project managers in the Engineering field command more salary than those in Information Technology. Engineering project managers tend to have a minimum of a master’s degree which also accounts for a larger salary.
Salary by Project Size
The larger the projects that a company has the more they pay for their project managers. More responsibility and more team members means more work for the project manager.
The following chart shows some of the average median salaries (both PMP and Non-PMP) by the size of the project in the United States:
As you can see from all of the information above, Project Manager salaries are based on a variety of factors:
- Country of employment
- Experience in terms of years of project management experience
- Project size (number of team members, and project budget).
All of the information above is from the PMI 2021 “Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey”. However you add it up, an increase in salary of up to 22% with a PMP and on average of an additional 5% within the first year in benefits and salary, make the cost of certification well worth the time and money.
More positions are available every day. The project management field is growing more than most occupations. There are new opportunities for sustainable energy, aerospace, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and information technology.
Not only is obtaining your PMP good for you and your future, maintaining it allows you to keep up with current trends for and within your position and industry.
PMI provides you with the initial certification as well as the tools to continue committing yourself to the best practices of the field. Employers know that if you have that certificate, you are not only a trained project manager, you are a professional. For that, they are willing to pay.
Have you led projects and are looking to earn a project management certification? You might be interested in learning about how lucrative this can be. Check out these articles.
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