Project Management Certification: Does it Really Matter?

Whether or not project management certification really matters is a highly debated topic. While some employers believe that certified professionals can bring more discipline in project management, others value natural leadership skills over certification.

According to Erik Hamburger, Project Director,Ambidexter Management, “Knowing what you should do as a project manager and being able to do that in the real world are two completely different things.” On the other hand, Steve DelGrosso, Director of Project Management Center of Excellence, IBM Global Business Services, once said, “There is a qualitative difference overall between a pool of certified and non-certified candidates for a position.”

Despite this controversy, the demand for certified project managers is increasing at a rapid pace. According to DelGrosso, “IBM has seen requests for proposals where the clients are demanding certified project managers be part of the proposal.” Furthermore, according to a 2009 research conducted by the Standish Group, 31 percent of the CIOs preferred certified project managers. In this article, we will get an insight into the importance of project management certification in order understand whether it really matters.

Importance of Project Management Certification

Based on your requirements, you can choose to join any of the different certification programs, such as the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), Program Management Professional (PgMP), PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP), and the Project Management Professional (PMP). A certification may convey the following four major messages to an employer:

  1. Commitment towards the career

A certification is a testimony to the fact that you are passionate about building your career in this field. Furthermore, for the PMP certification, a candidate needs at least 4,500 hours of experience. So, employers can be more confident about the experience and skills of a certified project manager.

  1. Up-to-date skill

A project manager should have excellent organizational, leadership, communication and interpersonal skills. Going through an organized course of study helps a candidate to grow their skill sets. It may be a chance for you to move on to the next level. Furthermore, while interacting with industry experienced teachers and professionals, students of acclaimed institutions, such as PMI can keep in touch with the global trends in project management. Thus, employers generally expect up-to-date skills in certified project managers.

  1. Reasonable salary package

According to, PMP certified project managers usually get 30 percent higher salary packages than non-PMPs. Interestingly, most of the employers do not mind paying a higher package only because they expect better performance from the certified project managers.

  1. Organizational growth

According to Steve DelGrosso, having project management certification “indicates that you have a certain level of knowledge and expertise, and that you can work proficiently in a project environment.” Moreover, certified managers can instill a good team spirit in the team members, which eventually increases productivity and contributes to organizational growth.

For all the above reasons, more and more employers are considering certification as a major factor when hiring project managers. Although it is not necessarily true that all the certified managers are good managers, a certification may contribute largely to the reputation of your candidature, thereby giving you an edge over your competitors.


What are your views on whether a certification is a must have?  Leave a comment and let us know.


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  1 comment for “Project Management Certification: Does it Really Matter?

  1. Amar Amoun
    April 21, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I want subscibe to recieve peoject development literture. Can you epriodically send me some.

    Amar Amoun

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