The PMP credential is the most widely recognized certification in project management throughout the world. To earn it, you have to go through a lengthy process and attempt a test. Once you pass this test, you are a PMP.
The cost of attaining the PMP certification is not cheap. It can cost you thousands of dollars if you do not plan well.
Many aspirants do not realize that they have to pay more than just the exam fee.
In fact, I regularly receive emails from aspirants asking the total cost of the PMP exam certification process.
I always respond to these queries, though it is difficult to explain all the information in an email, so I am writing this blog post to go over the total cost of getting this certification, so you can be financially prepared.
What is the Cost of the PMP Certification Exam?
The total amount you will spend on PMP certification depends on your circumstances. However, I can give you a general idea of how much each step costs.
You can divide the PMP certification cost into five categories:
- Practice Questions
- Exam Cost
- Other Costs
PMP Certification Cost # 1: Training
You must earn 35 contact hours of formal education in project management to apply for the PMP exam. This is mandatory; you cannot avoid this cost in most cases.
It is possible that some on the job training or college education can count towards some or your entire contact hour requirement. If this is the case, you can count your hours spent reading about project management concepts that are aligned with the PMBOK Guide.
If your experience has covered the complete syllabus, you are good to go.
However, this is usually not the case. Although you may have been taught a few concepts from the PMBOK Guide, it is rare for any university to cover the complete 35 contact hours requirement. Therefore, I recommend you join an online program and get formal training.
Online training programs are affordable, can be joined from anywhere, and you can complete the course at your pace. This will make your life easier and the contact hours certificate presented by your training provider will be enough to get you through an audit, if you are selected for one.
If you do not plan carefully, this step can be considerably more expensive. Training programs can cost between hundreds and thousands of dollars, depending on the provider you select.
The price ranges for each type of training provider are as follows:
- Online training programs generally start from 150 USD.
- Live virtual classes vary between 500 to 1,000 USD.
- Classroom programs starting at 1,000 USD.
This is an incredibly wide range, anywhere from 150 USD to more than 1,000 USD.
PMP Certification Cost # 2: Books
Ideally, you should study at least three books during your PMP exam prep. The first should be the PMBOK Guide, and the other two can be any reputable PMP exam references. The cost of the two reference books is between 80 USD to 220 USD.
If you are a PMI member, you can download the PMBOK Guide for free, otherwise you will have to pay around 60 USD.
Many people use one reference book and the PMBOK Guide, but I suggest you use two to give you multiple perspectives.
I have seen many professionals who have never gone through the PMBOK Guide and were still able to pass the exam, but I do not recommend this. Although you may initially find the PMBOK Guide tedious, it becomes more enjoyable the more you understand it.
Many questions on the exam are directly from the guide, so it would benefit you to know it well.
PMP Certification Cost # 3: Practice Questions
You have to answer 200 questions in four hours on your PMP examination. You must practice to be able to do so.
There are several reputable PMP exam simulators with and practice question providers.
The cost of these simulators varies between 139 USD (PM-Exam Simulator) to 299 USD (Rita Fast Track).
These practice tests have more than 1,500 sample questions. You can subscribe to any of them and use the sample questions.
PMP Certification Cost # 4: Exam Cost
This is a non-negotiable cost that you will pay to PMI to take the PMP exam. The cost of the PMP exam is 405 USD for PMI members and 555 USD for everyone else.
|PMI Membership||Membership Fee||Exam Fee||Total Cost|
|No||0||555 USD||555 USD|
|Yes||139 USD||405 USD||544 USD|
If become a PMI member before applying for the PMP exam, you can save 11 USD, and you can download the PMBOK Guide for free.
If you fail the test on your first attempt, you can attempt it two more times within one year. The re-attempt fee for PMI members is 275 USD and for non-members it is 375 USD. Therefore, I suggest you join PMI before applying for the exam.
PMP Certification Cost # 5: Other Costs
The other costs include optional materials for the exam; PMP Formula Guide, PMP Exam Preparation Tool, etc.
This part is optional, so I won’t be giving an estimate as you may not need extra materials.
These calculations do not include of travel, lodging, food, or other costs incurred by selecting a classroom training program outside your immediate area. You can avoid these costs easily by opting for online training programs.
Total Cost for the PMP Certification
Let’s summarize the total cost for the PMP exam preparation.
|S. No.||Item||Minimum Cost||Maximum Cost|
|1||Training||150 USD||>1000 USD|
|2||Books||80 USD||220 USD|
|3||Practice Questions||139 USD||299 USD|
|4||Exam Fee||405 USD||555 USD|
|5||PMI Membership||139 USD||–|
|Total Cost||913 USD||>2,074 USD|
From the table above, you can see that the cost of attaining the PMP certification can vary from 913 USD to more than 2,074 USD.
So, if you want to become PMP certified, you are expected to spend at least 913 USD.
PMP Credential Renewal Fee
Before completing this blog post, I would like to discuss the cost of renewing the PMP certification.
The PMP certification is valid for three years and if you want to maintain your credential for another three years, you must renew it before its expiry. The PMP credential renewal fee for PMI members is 60 USD and 150 USD for non-members.
To renew your credential, you will have to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) in the three years and you will need to report them to the PMI. After doing so, your credential will be renewed.
The cost of these PDUs can vary from zero to thousands of dollars.
The cost of attaining the PMP certification is not cheap, but it is worthwhile. The calculations given here are for you to make an informed decision. Costs can vary from person to person, and depending on what country you live in. For instance, if you live in India, you can attend live classroom training for less than 500 USD and find cheaper versions of the books.
Have you attempted the PMP exam? How much did you spend in the process? Let me know in the comments section below.
This is the fourth blog post in a series of five posts.
The other posts are as follows: