PMP Certification: Facts and Thoughts

A couple of weeks ago, I asked fellow PMs in three LinkedIn groups to share basic data on their academic background. I received 280 responses, out of which 268 contained meaningful data. As promised, I am sharing some results with you.

84% of the respondents are certified professionals (PMI or PRINCE2).

The educational attainment of the respondents – both certified and non-certified – is quite impressive:

about 90% have a university education

(only about 10% of PMs have no academic degree, whether certified or not).

Contrary to the opinion stated by one of the respondents ( “Most who earned a master’s degree earned the PMP first”),

the majority (57%) of PMs got their professional certification
after having obtained a Master’s degree

or even after a PhD in one instance, while only 34% obtained the certification after Bachelor’s.

This finding raises doubts about a popular worldwide claim that certified PMs are paid considerably (about 10%) better than their non-certified colleagues. That may well be the truth, but

If certified PMs happen to have a higher educational level,
would you not expect them to get a better pay?

Moreover, out of the PMs who got their certification before any other degree (11% of all responses) only 12% continued their academic development, while 29% of PMs certified after obtaining their Bachelors eventually received their MSc, MBA or PhD degrees.

I think that it is the background and education that make certified PMs better paid on the average, not the other way round. Personally, after 20 years in project management, I cannot say that the PMP credentials have changed anything for me. In my case it was just a concurrence of propitious circumstances: sufficient practical experience, strong management background and the blessing of meeting an exceptional person – Frank Payne, the Project Management Evangelist. He took me through his PM Boot Camp and had me converted once and forever in no time. Thank you, Frank!

What was your reason to get a PM certification?

1. Job security
2. Mandatory requirement
3. Personal development need
4. Favorable circumstances
5. Other (please specify)

As we cannot set up a poll on LinkedIn any longer, please leave a comment with the appropriate reason number. Again, I will share the results as soon as I collect enough responses.