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The Project Management Institute has granted PMP certification to more than 750,000 professionals in 210 countries as the most trusted, industry-recognized of their eight credentials. A Project Management Professional (PMP) is an experienced project manager who has passed a four-hour exam to verify their ability to direct multidisciplinary teams toward a project goal. Becoming a PMP is recommended to communicate your reputation to employers, stay abreast of new developments, network with certified colleagues, and snag the best project prospects. One PwC survey found that 80 percent of high-performing projects were coordinated by PMP-certified managers. These business operations specialists will find that jobs will grow by 12 percent through 2024 too. Here's everything you should know before deciding if the PMP distinction is your right match.

What PMP-Certified Managers Do

Project Management Professionals are organized, detail-oriented change agents who have verified their skills to strategically keep their assigned projects running smoothly. PMPs can effectively handle all of the project logistics, such as setting timelines, arranging work spaces, establishing cost-effective budgets, tracking spending on spreadsheets, and compiling contracts. Project managers with PMP credentialing are skilled communicators who can keep executive up-to-date on progress and successfully present project results. They're natural leaders who compile work from multidisciplinary teams into a cohesive product that fits clients' demands. By passing the PMP exam, managers validate their ability to initiate, plan, execute, monitor, and control all factors involved in corporate projects with expert ease.

Careers Available with the PMP Certification

Between 2010 and 2020, it's been projected that the project management industry will grow by $6.61 trillion and add 6.2 million jobs globally. Eighty-three percent of organizations reported understaffing in some project management level. Biggest growth is expected in China, India, the United States, Japan, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. PMP-certified managers know the best practices for coordinating projects in diverse industries, including energy/utilities, retail, aerospace, government, construction, IT, finance, healthcare, digital media, and manufacturing. Some PMPs also work independently as management consultants for for-profit or nonprofit corporations. Currently, the PMI Institute Job Board has 496 listings from Sacramento to Coral Gables where PMP designation is preferred.

Steps to Become Certified as a PMP

Two pathways exist for becoming a Project Management Professional with the PMI. The first is finishing a high school diploma or associate degree with 7,500 hours of experience leading projects. The other is graduating from an accredited four-year college with a bachelor's degree and finishing 4,500 project lead hours. Both will require 35 hours of project management education to fulfill the nine knowledge areas tested. Once eligibility is gained, applicants must answer 200 multiple-choice questions at a Prometric testing center. Approximately three-fourths of test content comes from the PMBOK Guide and Standards, so review it carefully. Those who pass must maintain PMP credentialing by finishing 60 CEUs every three years.

Recommended: Top 20 Cheap Online Master's and MBA in Project Management Degrees

Getting credentialed as a Project Management Professional isn't exactly cheap since it costs members $405 and non-members $555 upfront. Live exam prep classes from the Project Management Institute have a price tag of $894 or higher too. Having the PMP abbreviation on your resume adds 20 percent to your salary potential on average though. Certified PMPs report a median yearly wage of $110,000. Let PMP certification speak to employers on behalf of your project management expertise to land profitable, in-demand jobs.

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