Project Management Degree vs. PMP Certification
Project management is a rapidly growing and quickly evolving industry. A recent study from The Project Management Institute (PMI) found that the project management profession will outperform total US job growth over the next decade, creating millions of new positions. As careers in project management become more competitive, it’s important to set yourself up for long-term success with the right educational background, on-the-job experience, and relevant certifications.
What is Project Management?
Project managers play a critical role in ensuring that businesses stay profitable by keeping projects on time and on budget. A “project” is essentially a business endeavor that has a start and a finish, and is designed to bring about a specific outcome. This endeavor could be the launch of a new website, the construction of a new elementary school, or a business opening their first store in a new country. While the projects themselves may be different, a project manager relies on a key set of skills and considerations to keep the projects on track. Successful project managers are extremely organized, capable of staying cool under pressure, communicating clearly with a variety of people in stressful situations, and providing motivation when the going gets tough. Additionally, project managers are able to see both the big picture as well as the smallest of details, keeping an eye on both and ensuring each are well-tended throughout the duration of the project.
Project Management Degree vs. Project Management Certification
Project Management Degree
If you’re new to the project management field, a BA in Project Management will provide the necessary foundation from which to build a career. In an undergraduate program in project management, you can expect to learn critical skills related to leadership, team development, risk analysis, project cost management, schedule and task organization, effective communication, and quality control. PM certifications typically require a set number of hours spent in the field leading projects, so a great way to accelerate your success is to choose an online project management degree program when beginning your career. That way, you can try to work in an entry-level project management position while earning practical hours toward an eventual certification.
Is a Degree in Project Management Worth it?
While it can depend on your specific personal and career goals, dedicating your time and energy to a specific field such as project management can be a rewarding journey. Becoming a subject matter expert in a specific area can often times be a competitive advantage when seeking out careers. As we touched on earlier, pursuing a project management degree can accelerate your path to becoming PMP certified if you really want to become an expert in the field. Even if you decide to pursue a different path, you will learn skills that can be applicable to a variety of different careers and industries.
The Project Management Professional (PMP) is an internationally recognized professional designation offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). To apply, you’ll need either a secondary or four-year college degree, plus a varying number of education and work hours. The PMP certification validates your subject-matter expertise, and is often preferred by employers compared to other certifications. By planning to achieve a project management degree and practical hours early in your career, you can see how applying for the PMP certification later on may become an easier task.
Is a PMP Certification Worth it?
Earning your PMP certification can be truly worth it if you are willing to spend the money and time. While there are some requirements and fees associated with the certification, if you pass, it can lead to some attractive benefits that can help your PM career. Those who complete their PMP certification learn universally recognized knowledge and often experience increases to their salaries. Additionally, if you are looking to rise up in the ranks in your current job, obtaining the PMP certification can often times be a mandatory requirement that most companies specify for career advancement.
Ashford’s Online Project Management Degree
The Associate Dean in the Forbes School of Business & Technology, Dr. Ray Powers, has more than forty years corporate experience in business and technology, allowing him to impart much of his practical knowledge into the degree curriculum. Classes related to the project management degree are also often taught by professors who are also project managers. Getting access to the real, working backgrounds and perspectives of expert instructors helps students learn about project management as it exists in the field today, not simply from a textbook.
Written by Ashford University staff