Why the PMP® Certification Matters

Strengthen your career’s sustainability with this exam

For those of you who are not yet PMP®-certified and are considering whether to take that next step in your career, now is the time to get going.

As employers assess their project management workforce and needs, they will be looking for professionals who demonstrate critical project management skills and experience. Part of their decision-making criteria include PMP® certification.

Put yourself in the strongest possible position by preparing for and passing the PMP® Exam.


The value of the PMP® certification has been proven over time.

1. Salary surveys show PMP®-certified project managers earn 23 percent or more than non-certified counterparts.

2. As you search for work, having the PMP® certification on your résumé adds additional recognition of your prowess in order to land interviews.

3. In your current position, you may be given opportunities to grow in your organization based on your credentials.

4. You’ll command respect from your peers and leaders.

Who is Qualified to Take the PMP® Exam?

First, we suggest visiting the PMP exam page to get detailed information.

In general, someone with a 4-year degree (or higher) must meet these criteria:

  • Three years or 4,500 hours of experience leading projects;
  • 35 hours of formal project management training

If you do not have a 4-year degree, you will need to show five years or 7,500 hours of experience in leading projects.

How Do You Prepare for the PMP® Exam?

Your experience leading projects and project management training matters, but you still need to carefully prepare for the exam. Taking a PMP® Exam preparation course is standard advice that everyone should follow. The exam requires deep knowledge, test-taking strategy and skills, and plenty of practice to succeed.

Your options include:

  • Many PMI® chapters (including SFBAC) offer discounted sections of PMP® prep courses to its members.
  • Many local colleges and universities—including ourselves—have well-established prep courses.
  • Commercial exam preparation providers.

Check out our latest Project Management Career Night recap where esteemed panelists discussed how they prepared to successfully pass this exam. (Infographic also available.)

What About the New PMP® Exam Requirements?

You may already know that the PMI® will be updating the PMP® exam in the near future—currently scheduled for Jan. 2, 2021.

Whereas the current exam focuses on questions that map to the five project management process groups (Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closure), the new exam introduces two significant changes:

  • Half of the exam will focus on predictive project management (what most of us have come to associate with the PMBOK®), while the other 50 percent will focus on Agile and hybrid project management approaches.
  • The distribution of questions will also change: 42 percent will relate to people and leadership, 50 percent to processes and 8 percent to business context.

The PMI has published a content outline to describe the new exam.

Reasons to Take the PMP® Exam Now

Here are some good reasons to take and pass the exam now:

1. The current exam is well understood.

2. All of your previous training is aligned to the exam.

3. Current prep courses should prepare you well.

4. You’ll have your credential sooner and can start leveraging its benefits immediately.

Reasons to Wait Before Taking the PMP® Exam

If you aren’t in a hurry to pass the exam, think about waiting. Why stress yourself out?

But there are some risks with this strategy:

  • It is possible the PMI® may delay yet again the go-live date for the new exam format.
  • Every time the exam changes, there is an element of risk involved, including how well designed the exam will be.

We are currently examining our instructional strategy for the updated PMP® exam. Stay tuned for more information.

Whether you decide to take the exam now or later, having the PMP® certification is an important credential for your career. There is no wrong choice on when you take the exam, so base your decision on your needs and preferences.

Finally, good luck! When you do pass the exam, update your LinkedIn profile and résumé, tell your boss, and celebrate!

And don’t forget to let us know so we can offer our heartfelt congratulations.