With most industries getting fairly competitive, the role of a project manager is becoming more important. If you’re already working in a project manager role, a PMP® certification will help you advance your career even further. So, is the PMP® Certification Cost worth the perks?

Well, let’s just say that if you appreciate a fairly hefty annual income, then yes. It’s worth every penny. Even though it varies from sector to sector, you can expect an approximate 25% salary increase with a PMI Certification.

But how does the PMI certification affect your salary range, and why is it so important to get one? Let’s find out.

The Impact Having A PMP® Certification Has On Your Salary

It’s important to remember that there’s already pretty high demand in the market for qualified project managers, regardless of whether they are PMI certified or not.

A good project manager can lead a team to unimaginable heights. And companies around the world acknowledge and highly appreciate this impact. This is why project managers are sought after professionals despite the high cost of wages.

Take this data from The Bureau Of Labour Statistics, for example. On average, the median-level American Worker earned about $47,788 in the third quarter of 2019.

Meanwhile, for the same period, professionals in project management brought home about $92,000. If it’s not obvious already, that’s almost double the salary!

Now mind us, this is the average salary of a project manager with and without the PMP® Certification. So you can imagine how high the pay becomes for a PMP®-certified professional.

That being said, getting a PMP® certification is no easy task. This is why only a fraction of the project managers out there are qualified enough for getting this certification. You need to sit for a quite difficult exam following a vigorous training session of six months.

But the effort you put in to achieve the certification is well worth it. On average, PMP®-certified professionals bring in an almost 20% higher salary compared to the ones without the credentials.

So, if you think uncertified project managers are earning a lot, add this 20% increment to the equation. The number becomes even more lucrative when you compare it against the salary of an average median-level worker.

Will A PMP® Certification Increase Your Existing Salary?

Yes. A PMP® certification should help you increase your existing salary. It’s like the equivalent of a Ph.D. in an academic career. The higher your credentials are, the higher rank you get to reach (i.e., get a better salary).

If you are already working in a project management role at a company, you can expect a substantial increase in your salary. However, some companies may want you to reconsider your position and roles before bringing in the new changes.

You might see the expectations increase over time as well. Professionals who have maintained PMI for over twenty years can expect to get a higher salary than those with lesser experience.

So, not only do you have to get a PMI certification, but you also have to strictly maintain it. The longer you hold on to it, the more your credibility increases. And eventually, your demand as a project management professional will continue to skyrocket.

What Factors Do The Increment Of Salary Depend On?

As mentioned earlier, the increment of salary isn’t consistent for everyone. A lot of factors play into it that may overplay or downplay the situation.

Here’s a brief overview of the most common factors that influence the increment of salary of a PMP®-certified professional.

Job Location

At the end of the day, the country you’re living in plays a key role in determining your salary. Geographically, professionals in developed countries tend to get a much better salary than the others.

Which shouldn’t be surprising due to the high level of competition in these countries.

According to multiple surveys, Switzerland, Australia, and the USA are the three countries that pay their project managers the most.

These countries are the best at acknowledging the importance and contribution of project managers to work management. 

Job Title

Apart from job location, job title also plays an important role in determining how much you’ll earn annually. Some of the fields are more progressive than others, which require more assistance and guidance.

Working in such high-profile fields will improve your salary range by a lot. For instance – digital marketing sectors are currently way ahead in terms of salaries due to the existing high demand.

If your company focuses on fields like digital marketing, you can expect a substantial increase in your salary. 

Project management roles can exist in a company in the forms of portfolio manager, project management specialist, and more.

The biochemical and pharmaceutical companies are also doing pretty well nowadays as well. If you have a STEM background with a knack for project management, you might consider these industries as well. 

Company Credentials

Having a high-level job title isn’t worth much if you work for a start-up company that’s showing little to no potential for growth. In fact, the project manager is responsible for properly facilitating the growth of start-ups and initiatives.

If you’ve recently entered the job market, you can try sticking to a company with good growth potential and contribute to its growth. Over time, you’ll be able to prove yourself as an asset and end up achieving a key role within the company.

But, if you’re already qualified enough with good experience, you can work up the corporate ladder and land a project management role in a large company. 

With a PMI certification, you can then quickly rise to the ranks and unlock the path to a range of bonuses and benefits.

Experience Level

The more experienced you are in the field, the more value you can offer to an organization, which will eventually make way for better offers.

However, shifting multiple jobs in a short span of time can backfire on you pretty badly. 

So, it is wise to think in advance what roles will suit you the most and whether you can see yourself growing in the company. Try to build at least a few years of experience in a job to gain more credibility.

It’s best to work for the PMP® certification while having a job. This rules out the possibility of losing time between achieving the certification and putting it to work.

Professionals holding the PMP® certification for over ten years are expected to earn 5-6 thousand dollars more per month than newly certified professionals. For professionals having experience of more than twenty years, the range will go up to about 9 to 16k USD for every paycheck.

5 Highest Paying Jobs For Someone With A PMP® Certification

Now that you know how the PMP® Certification boosts your credentials, time to go into specifics. Here are the 5 highest paying jobs for PMP®-certified professionals.

 1. Project Manager: Engineering

The demand for project managers in the engineering field is on the rise in recent years and understandably so. The value of versatility in the workforce is at an all-time high, and project managers are some of the most versatile professionals out there.

A project manager brings efficiency by controlling all the project deadlines in time, making the process of completing thousands of projects look automatic.

A PMP®-certified engineering professional can earn up to $124,434 annually in the United States. It’s a little higher in Australia and Canada, but more or less in the same vicinity.

2. Project Manager: Aerospace

Aerospace offers the fourth-largest opportunities for PMP® professionals. Considering specifications, project management jobs in the aerospace industry are pretty similar to the ones in engineering.

The pay grade for aerospace PMP® professionals stands at around $129,732 annually in the United States. And that’s a little higher than what you’ll get in regular engineering fields.

3. Project Manager: Pharmaceutical

Pharmacy is another one of the industries that are evolving to adapt to the increasing demand. Managing a team of researchers working on sensitive research projects comes with a whole other set of responsibilities.

It’s important to note that a background in medical science or any relevant field can be a huge factor in landing a project management role in the pharmaceutical industry.

As for the pay grade, it jumps up to about $133,246 annually in the USA. For an industry that earns trillions in sales, it’s safe to say that this doesn’t come as a surprise.

4. Project Manager: Consultation

A PMP® project manager working as an independent consultant can expect to take home about $134,149 every year in the United States. They usually work with companies across multiple fields and industries.

Hiring Independent consultants may be expensive for a company, but they are highly appreciated nonetheless. 

 5. Project Manager: Resources

It might come as a surprise that PMP®-certified professionals working in the resources industry take home the most money every year. These industries usually deal with agriculture, mineral, forestry, and types of natural resources.

PMP® professionals working in the resources industry can expect to earn up to $134,577 in annual salary. You can earn even higher if you can build considerable experience in the industry.

PMP® Salary By Industry

Here’s a salary comparison for PMP®-certified professionals working in various industries.

Industry Salary
Aerospace Starting from $120,000
Engineering Starting from $125,000
Pharmaceutical Starting from $130,000
Resources Starting from $130,000
Consultation Starting from $130,000
Freelance Starting from $100,000

Keep in mind that salaries can widely vary based on experience level and company credentials.

PMP® Salary By City

Here’s a shortlist of the ten topmost cities that pay top dollars to PMP®-certified project managers. 

City Salary Range
San Diego $80,000 – $125,000
San Francisco $80,000 – $125,000
Arlington $80,000 – $180,000
Austin $75,000 – $110,000
Houston $80,000 – $180,000
Chicago $80,000 – $115,000
Atlanta $80,000 – $160,000
New York $85,800 – $115,000
Seattle $85,000 – $120,000
Washington DC $90,000 – $115,200

How Much Do You Have To Spend To Get PMP®-Certified?

Here’s the thing – PMP® Certification doesn’t come cheap. Not to mention that you have to spend months preparing yourself before sitting for the arduous final exam, which requires you to answer 200 questions and continues for four long hours. 

Passing the PMP® certification exam is no easy task. Your best bet is to create a proper study plan and follow it to the dot until the day of the exam.

As for the cost, it can be divided into three sectors. Firstly, the preparation phase will cost you about $200-$300. And then the 35-hour training courses will take anywhere from $500 to $2500.

Finally, the cost for the exam itself. For the first-timers, it’s $555. For others, it is $375. It will cost a little less if you have a PMI membership.

Overall, you will need to spend about $2500-3000, if not more. That’s a lot of money for a one-time investment. But considering the upgrade in your salary range, it’s worth it in the long run. 


So, what do you think? Is the PMP® Certification cost worth the salary? If you ask us, we’ll say go for it!

A PMP® certification will put you miles ahead of your competition, getting you better job offers and opportunities. 

If you feel like you’re qualified enough to take the exam, go for it straight away. Best of luck!

To learn how you can pass your PMP® certification exam in the next 6 weeks, sign up for a free class to get a study plan + valuable tips & tricks!

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Learn how you can get PMP certified in the next 6 weeks. Sign up for a free class & get our free study plan.