How To Earn PMI Certifications

A PMI certification could advance your career, lead to higher pay, and give you an edge in the job market. Here's what you need to know.

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by Sharon Wilfong

Published on June 14, 2022

Edited by Giselle M. Cancio
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How To Earn PMI Certifications
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that project manager jobs pay well across the United States. In May 2021, project managers earned a median annual wage of $94,500. Industries such as computer systems design and financial investment services pay well over $100,000 per year, depending on experience.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) provides certifications that help professionals prepare for these lucrative careers. PMI certifications help give you a competitive edge to advance into roles with higher salaries. There's a certificate for all experience levels, from entry-level to specializations in risk management and organizational transformation.

What Are the Requirements for a PMI Certification?

PMI certifications provide a framework to build upon, starting with the PMI project management ready certification. This beginner-level project management certification doesn't require a degree or previous experience. However, educational requirements and work experience vary depending on the certification.

In addition, your level of education affects how much work experience you'll need. Here are some of PMI's certification options.

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP):


Project Management Professional (PMP):


PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA):


PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP):


PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP):


Program Management Professional (PgMP):


Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP):

What Skills Will I Learn With a PMI Certification?

PMI certification helps professionals develop transferable skills in predictive, agile, and design thinking. Learners hone power skills such as an innovative mindset, collaborative leadership, and communication. In addition, professionals develop business acumen, while cultivating an understanding of how a project aligns with organizational strategy.

Is a PMI Certification Worth It?

The Project Management Institute is an internationally recognized leader in the industry. A PMI certification is a reliable way to validate your project management knowledge and professional experience. It also emphasizes your commitment to continuous professional growth and keeps your skills relevant.

In addition, a PMI certification doesn't focus on a specific industry or methodology. Instead, you have a framework to build upon as you pursue a college education and gain work experience. For example, you could start with the PMI project management ready certification if you have no prior experience in the field.

Most of the certifications require at least a bachelor's degree. It could help you prepare for advanced certifications to gain work experience while you attend school. If you already have some project management experience and a bachelor's degree, you might start with a CAPM or PMP certification.

What Jobs Can I Get With a PMI Certification?

Project Manager: A project manager oversees company projects, planning strategy, defining and setting goals, and creating a project timeline. These professionals coordinate, assign, and document tasks for the team. They also provide support, manage the budget and resources, and report to stakeholders.

Information Technology (IT): IT project managers create, develop, coordinate, and maintain information technology projects. They develop and ensure quality standards, communicate with stakeholders, delegate tasks, determine milestone dates, and oversee resource allocation. IT project managers may also evaluate employees and leadership for areas of improvement to achieve organizational goals.

Risk Management: A risk manager may work with one or several managers or companies, researching issues from financial to material risks. They create reports, develop databases, and perform spontaneous checks and audits to ensure safety standards. They often recommend policy changes, develop new standards, and train staff.

ScrumMaster: These professionals oversee the day-to-day operations related to software development, ensuring efficiency and timely delivery of all tasks and projects. They're in charge of driving daily scrums, tracking progress, and completing performance reviews. In addition, these professionals typically have over five years of experience in IT project management.

Project Management Officer: Project management officers identify project needs, coordinate the team, and develop a detailed timeline with delegated tasks. They work with other divisions in their organization and outside vendors, and create reports for upper management. Project management officers must multitask on different projects and activities while ensuring all projects meet their deadlines.

How Much Money Can I Make With a PMI Certification?

According to Payscale May 2022 data, a general project manager can earn between $50,000 and $115,000 per year. The PMP certification validates project management education and experience. However, years of experience and the industry will also affect earnings.

Payscale found professionals with between 1-4 years of experience averaged $66,380 per year in May 2022. In comparison, a mid-career project manager with between 5-9 years of experience earned an average of $79,100.

Frequently Asked Questions About a PMI Certification

true What is the difference between PMI and PMP certification?

The Project Management Institute is a nonprofit organization that grants internationally recognized certifications. PMI provides a framework for project management professionals to ensure they continuously build and update their skills. The PMP certification is one of the building blocks in the PMI framework.

A PMP certification focuses on traditional project management methodology for general project managers. Professionals typically have a bachelor's degree and at least three years of experience before pursuing the PMP certificate. Other PMI certifications focus on technology and agile solutions for complex and dynamic projects requiring flexibility at different stages.

true What are the 8 PMI certifications?
  1. The CAPM is an entry-level certification demonstrating your fundamental knowledge of project management.
  2. PMI-ACP certification verifies that you understand agile approaches and tools such as Scrum and Kanban.
  3. PMP certification validates you as an experienced project manager who can lead and direct teams.
  4. PMI-PBA certification validates your business analysis and requirements management expertise.
  5. The PMI-RMP certification demonstrates specialized knowledge in assessing and identifying project risks.
  6. PMI-SP certifications recognize advanced specialized experience in creating and maintaining project schedules.
  7. PgMP certification is for managers who oversee multiple, complex projects.
  8. A PfMP certification demonstrates your ability to coordinate portfolio management to achieve organizational objectives.
true How hard is it to get PMI certified?

Earning a PMI certification is a commitment that is well worth it if you plan to make project management a career. You can earn a basic CAPM certification with a high school diploma and less than three years of experience. However, you need a combination of 3-8 years of work experience and ongoing education to achieve most certifications.

The Project Management Institute provides a framework to build upon as you reach new levels in your career. Each certification requires an exam once you've completed the required coursework. There are also maintenance requirements that you must meet to keep the certification.

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