Cost of PMP

How Much Does a PMP Certification Cost?

Are you among the many professionals considering earning a PMP certification? Before you begin preparing for the Project Management Professional certification exam, you should know what you’re getting into in terms of cost. Learn more about the costs associated with the PMP exam, and how to plan for these expenses. 

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How Much Does the PMP Exam Cost?

The PMP exam is $405 for those with a PMI (Project Management Institute) membership and $575 for those without a membership. While the cost may seem steep, this is a door to a new phase in your career. 

In addition to the monetary cost, you also need to consider the time investment. To be eligible to take this exam, you need to have earned either 36 months or 60 months of project management experience, based on whether or not you have a secondary degree. This is a major time commitment. Though these hours are usually earned by daily work as in the project management field, it’s still a big-time dedication in terms of your career. 

How Much Does PMP Exam Training Cost?

PMP exam training requires an investment as well, both in terms of PMP certification requirements and time commitment. First, let’s look at what the training requirements entail. To be eligible for the exam, you must earn 35 hours of project management education OR CAPM certification. These training courses generally cost around $2,000. Although there is some work to do to maintain your PMP certification, this initial training cost is likely the highest PMP-related cost you’ll have to pay.

From a time perspective, you can expect to spend about an hour for every project management education earned (around 35 hours in total). While 35 hours seems like a lot of training, you’ll leave these sessions having fulfilled your training requirements and also feeling prepared to sit for your PMP exam. 

To ensure that you’re making a sound investment in your PMP training, you should work with a reputable training provider. When you apply to take the PMP exam, you must show proof that you completed the training requirements. PMI has the right to audit your materials at any time, which makes it important that your training provider choice is the right one. Top PMP training partners will help you with the audit, which saves you the time and the inconvenience of managing an audit yourself. 

A top training provider will also help protect your investment from another perspective – a money-back guarantee. Project Management Academy, for example, offers a 100 percent refund if you fail to pass your PMP exam. Training providers that do this demonstrates both confidence in their course and how well they are able to prepare PMP certification candidates. Think of this as an insurance policy on your investment in PMP training. 

PMP Certification Cost
PMP Certification Cost

How Much Does Maintaining Your PMP Certification Cost?

Earning your PMP certification is not something you do once and never think about again. PMI wants to ensure that all PMP certification holders are up to date on their project management tactics and approaches. Thus, you must renew your certification every three years to maintain your PMP certification status. To maintain your certification, you need to earn 60 PDUs every three years. So, this could require an investment in other project management training courses. There is also a renewal fee with PMI of $150 if you are not a member, and $60 if you are.

While training courses are the easiest way to re-earn your certification, they aren’t the only way. You can engage in public speaking, become an author of project management topics, or participate in industry events, among other options. Although there is no base cost for certification renewal, like the exam fee you pay for initial certification, you may have to spend some money to earn high-quality PDUs.

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Is a PMI Membership Worth the Cost?

Holding a PMI membership is $139 per year, plus a one-time $10 application fee. Is this worth the cost? Having this membership does allow you to save on the cost of certification exams, including the PMP certification. If you have a membership, you’ll save $150, which is more than the annual cost of the membership. For project management professionals who plan to earn one or more certification, this can definitely be worth the investment. 

In addition to the certification savings, you also have access to a number of PMI benefits, including content, events, tools, templates, and even a copy of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). If you plan to continue a lifelong career as a project manager, this is a membership you will likely value in years to come.

Is a PMP Certification Worth the Cost?

After an in-depth look at the costs associated with earning your PMP certification, it’s time to ask the big question: is earning your PMP certification worth the cost? In total, you could be facing a cost of about $2,400 to $2,500. Obviously these costs may vary based on your training choices, but overall this is the amount you can expect to pay. 

However, to put it in perspective, PMI estimates that project managers who have their certification make about 20 percent more than their peers without a certification. So, a minimal investment now will pay off in the future as you continue to increase your earning potential. 

One option you can consider is talking to your employer about the cost of the certification exam. Many companies may cover some or part of your PMP certification cost. It’s in the best interest of your employer to have trained project management professionals on their team, so they have the incentive to help.

Ultimately, earning your PMP certification is a smart decision and a wise move for your career. When you consider the high return on this investment is your future as a project management professional, pursuing this path is worth the cost and effort. 

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Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO
Director of Product Development at
Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO