There is nothing like the feeling of passing your first project management certification test. When you walk out of the testing facility the sky seems a little bluer, the birds sing a little sweeter, and you feel as if you can take on the world. You can’t wait to get back to the office, show everyone the passing grade on your test, login to your online PM software and get to work with your newfound knowledge and wisdom.
Your project management professional certification has been, and will continue to be, an investment. You have invested time and money in order to earn your certification. Now that you have it, you also need to treat it as a literal investment. For example, if you invest in the stock market, you don’t just let your investment sit in one place while the market goes through its upheavals and gyrations. Either yourself or your financial advisor keep an eye on the market and then look for areas where you can get the greatest return on your investment.
Think it’s a stretch to view your project management certification as an investment that can provide a substantial ROI? Consider this example. Depending upon which path you choose for studying for your certification exam (self directed, classroom, or a combination of both) the cost of certification could run hundreds to thousands of dollars. However, recent salary surveys indicate that a Project Manager with a Project Management Certification will earn on average $9,000 / year more than a non-certified Project Manager. That adds up to a decent return on your investment over a career that spans many years in project management.
Despite this financial reality, some project managers will just park their project management certification and do nothing with it. The following are a number of ways you can lose money on your project management certification program and what you can do to prevent this from happening:
1. Let it Lapse
There are ongoing education requirements to keep your project management certification current. These are typically not onerous, nor costly, to complete. The biggest challenge is to find the time necessary to take ongoing project management training and develop a good schedule so you are not scrambling at the last minute.
Many will find themselves in the situation of getting behind and let their certification lapse. There are usually time extensions available to allow for recovery in a short-period of time but this usually comes at a premium price and plays havoc on people’s already busy schedules.
Unfortunately what some will do is throw away the time and money they have invested and find themselves having to start from scratch all over again.A better solution? Certification time periods usually range over a number of years. Break down the requirements to a monthly basis with bite-size certification chunks and you’ll find yourself in a much better certification (and financial) position at the end of that time period.
2. Hide It
Now that you have this shiny new certification, you should be telling the world about it. Some choose to not tell a soul! They don’t include their certification designation after their name in the email signatures, or update their LinkedIn profile, or have a new set of business cards printed with their designation.Could you imagine going to a doctor that didn’t have M.D. or Ph.D. or other designation after their name?
Of course not. These are professional certifications that mean they have not only spent the time necessary to obtain their professional designation in the first place but have remained current over the years. It gives you the level of confidence you need to know that they will take care of your medical needs.
The same principle holds true with a project management certification. Having this designation after your name brings with it a level of confidence in your project management experience and skill set right out of the gate. Include this designation wherever your name is found. This can range from PowerPoint presentations, Agendas, business cards, email signatures, resumes, social media accounts, etc. There’s no need to view it as being self-promoting, but rather your way of branding yourself and letting others know that their project is in good hands.
3. Discount It
Some may reason that “it’s just a project management certification. It’s not like I’m a doctor or anything”. True. But, there is real value to holding a project management certification. We’ve already discussed the financial upside of holding a certification. There is also the “opportunity” upside that holding a certification provides.When Hiring Managers put the word out they are looking for a Project Manager, they will many times get hundreds of resumes in response to their request. Hundreds of resumes with 3-4 pages each can quickly add up to 1,000 or more pages to sift through.
Where to start? Most hiring managers will apply a filter to their search that starts with “find anyone that has a project management certification after their name”. You need to be in a position to take advantage of this filtering opportunity and find yourself in the right stack of resumes. If you don’t think your certification is important, or let it lapse, or hide it…then you will quickly find yourself overlooked. Who knows, this new position could have added another $10,000-$15,000 to your annual salary of which you will not be able to benefit.
The ROI you receive on your project management certification investment goes beyond just money and opportunity. There is also much to be said to keeping up to date with the latest and greatest in project management skills, technology, thinking, and best practices. The way project managers operate today is VERY different than how they operated just five years ago. New development methodologies, communication vehicles, and project management resources are available now that were unheard of just a few years ago. The ongoing education requirements necessary to keep your project management certification current will keep you abreast of these changes.
Nobody likes to lose money on their financial investments. You should feel the same way about your investment in project management course. Treat your certification as the asset it is and keep it current, tell others about, and appreciate its value.
Check out the resource section of this website for free project management training videos or to try the latest and greatest when it comes to managing your projects online? Try ProjectManager.com free for 30 days and see how easy it is to share project plans, manage your teams, track progress daily, and organize your work!