Is PMP certification a requirement for a successful career in Project Management? At which point would it be appropriate for a newly starting project manager to plan to include PMP certification?

7 Answers 7


Agree with Geo. Just to amplify a bit: the PMP has some prerequisites that effectively shut out anyone who is a new project manager. From the PMP About Credentials page:

To apply for the PMP, you need to have either:

  • A four-year degree (bachelor’s or the global equivalent) and at least three years of project management experience, with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.


  • A secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent) with at least five years of project management experience, with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

A newly starting out PM won't be going after a PMP certification for several years at least. They recommend trying the CAPM if you don't meet the PMP requirements. Again from their site:

To apply for the CAPM, you need to have:

  • A secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent)


  • At least 1,500 hours experience OR 23 hours of project management education.

All this said, I strongly agree with Geo - don't get too hung up on the certification. The PMP is really intended for professional PM's to validate their experience with an internationally recognized credential.

I think a credential of any type (PMP, ITIL, PRINCE) is most valuable to an experienced PM who may be worrying about weakness in their industry, is already out of work, or is interested in moving to a different industry - say from bio tech to energy. The certification is another tool a prospective employer can use to evaluate the PM.

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    I heartily disagree. I am a software developer by trade for several years; I am also a PMP. The 3500 hours is not hard, because they accept experience working on projects, not just leading. I know, because I was audited and they accepted my experience.
    – ashes999
    Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 13:52

PMP is like any other certification. They just proof that you know x,y,z concepts in a specific context. Let me ask a rhetoric question.

Will you trust a CPA that just got his certification and just started in accounting more than a CPA that just got his certification and has 10 years of experience in accounting?

In order to be qualified to get the PMP you need certain requirements, if you meet these requirements then you probably are not starting in your PM career. I always tell my teams, don't get hangup in titles and all the attributes after the name. Common sense is the less common of all senses. Try to think and you will get ahead. Disclaimer, I have myself certifications and all these attribute after the name, but I don't think they mean that I can do a better job than one that don't.


Is PMP certification a requirement for a successful career in Project Management?

No, definitely not. I've known many successful PMs with years of experience who never got a PMP. That being said, some job listings to request or require a PMP credential, so it's not a bad thing to have if you are looking for PM jobs or plan to in the future. It also depends on where you're working now -- is the PMP considered important (valued) in your organization?

At which point would it be appropriate for a newly starting project manager to plan to include PMP certification?

It depends on what other experience you have. If you are new to project management but have plenty of other work experience, you can do the PMP. I had about 10 years' experience as a software developer when I applied to PMI. I was able use hours I had accrued in that role in my PMI application.


I disagree that PMP is only for project managers. Many are those of us PMPs who are not project managers by trade or training; yet for us, PMP is a step towards a new career, an "I know what I'm talking about."

I'm a software engineer by day, and also a PMP; I decided to change careers, and this was the first step for me. PMP serves as an excellent tool for changing careers; and it ensures you have enough project experience that you won't be stuck necessarily with entry-level project-management-career jobs.

Also, bear in mind that PMI has only been around for 40 years or so; their goal is to make project management a professional vocation, and to certify and train people. PMP is great to have, but many job listings don't even require it.

If I were you, I would get my PMP as soon as possible. It gives you a solid grounding and a decent framework from which to address project management; especially if you're not a project manager, it'll give you a run-down of the basic skills you need, and you'll know where you need to improve.


It seems to me that if it the prerequisites do not explicitly restrict you from acquiring the PMP and you have the wherewithal to do it, go for it. Learning the language of project management is valuable. However, it seems that getting a PMP certification is less of a golden ticket to landing a new career than committing yourself to an effective management framework.

  • Hi torsk, welcome to Project Management SE. The PMP requirements are documented on the pmi.org website, and I'm not sure this actually answers the question with facts, references, and specific expertise. Is there more you can add to back up the last sentence? Check out How to Answer as well as taking the tour to learn more about how our site works. Hope this helps.
    – jmort253
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 5:08

I have been a project manager in various capacities for most of my professional career. I do not believe that PMP is essential for a successful career in project management. As a hiring manager, PMP does not impress me. Many of the PMP's I have worked with have not been strong project managers and always tried to bring too much framework into a project that did not require it.

As a hiring manager, again, I care more about demonstrated ability and experience than I do letters. I have also interviewed for jobs where PMP was listed as a requirement and it never came up; recruiters tell me that it is an easy filter for employers to rule out otherwise unqualified candidates.

On the other hand, I have worked with colleagues I greatly respect, who looked on PMP certification as another tool in their professional arsenal. Or, they needed it to branch into another vertical (government, medical, etc.) In that case, then it was essential. So it largely depends on your personal goals.

I would personally recommend getting real world experience and then evaluating whether or not you wish to pursue certification after a few years, once you have a sense of what direction you want to take from a professional perspective.


PMP is good. But you need to satisfy their examination criteria to sit for the exam. But I would suggest you try out PRINCE2 as well. It has the real methodology in managing a project. PMP and PMBOK is the bible for project management with all the concepts, but you can't apply for all the projects you come though. PMP mainly tells you what you need to do in an ideal project. But PRINCE2 will give you a full understanding of how you need to manage a project, and the stages. As a newly starting PM both is required, on what to do and how to do. So doing PRINCE 2 and PMP both would give you more insights in to project management.

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