The most common reasons I hear regarding why people study for PMP Certification are: 1) my company requires it: 2) I have been promoted to a management position and need to learn more about running projects; or 3) I think the certification is good for my career. All these reasons, plus a few less common ones I have heard, are all valid, but it is best for everyone becoming a PMP to have a bit of Reason No. 3 in their wheelhouse. And that is because although the exam is not impossible to pass, obviously, it is also not an easy one. Therefore, it makes it easier to get motivated to prepare for it if you recognize the professional and personal benefits gained from becoming certified. Also, being PMP certified, if done correctly, is an ongoing process. For example, you have to continue your professional development, which means amassing 60 hours (professional development units – PDUs) every three years. Now, you can go through the motions and listen to a webinar or two per month, or you can make those hours truly count.
For many of us, becoming PMP certified is just the next step in our careers and, at times, personal lives. The certification is one of many tools we can use to improve our management skills, become better leaders, work and within our communities, and enhance our working relationships with the many stakeholders we all have. However, a tool’s effectiveness is directly proportional to the user’s skills, so the aforementioned PDUs are so critical. It would be rather counterproductive to pass the test and forget about gaining new knowledge. As we have all seen, the PMBOK keeps getting updated, for example, because the project management field keeps evolving. And that is one of the great things about getting certified. You not only gain an added level of professional recognition, but you also become part of a community that tries to stay relevant as industries, as well as their outputs, change.
Some people see the 60 PDUs as a drill to get through every three years or as an added task that can seem burdensome at times. However, the upside of the PDUs and assisting us in staying relevant is that they can also be used to contribute to our communities. For example, at PM Workshops, we set aside time and resources every year to provide pro bono training and consulting to non-profit agencies. These hours help our staff meet the PDU requirement, but it also allows them to gain experience in the non-profit sector and take pride in the fact they have contributed to the improvement and well-being of our communities. Therefore, whether you are considering becoming PMP Certified, or you are already in possession of this certification, remember that that piece of paper you receive, as well as the three letters at the end of your name, meaning that you have the experience and training to run projects effectively and efficiently, but also that you are a continuing student in the project management field. And what you learn and accomplish as a continuing student through the PDUs is up to you.
What does it mean to be PMP Certified?