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Friday, 23 February 2007 08:49

PMP VS. Masters Degree

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Original Question: One of my friends is going for masters in project management from University of Calgary, Canada. Even though, the reputation of university is first-rate as it is one of the top universities in North America for Project Management. However, UofC is not among the accredited schools of PM from PMI perspective. What is your opinion about non-accredited schools of PMI? In addition, how do you see the graduates from UofC getting jobs in Canada & around the world?

I would appreciate your valuable advice.

You pose an interesting set of questions. While I am not an expert in Canadian culture, economy, education or employment I will offer this:

PMP certification is certainly valuable in today's job market, and the fact that the University of Calgary is not currently listed as an accredited institution with PMI is not necessarily relevant.


A recent poll showed that 60% of employers no longer prefer PMP Certification, they require it. PMI is well positioned globally as the standard methodology to project management. For an experienced Project Manager the certification is probably a much quicker and easier path to walk. In addition, if you search any major job board and it should solidy for you that today's PM career requirements are certification and I believe your short-term educational decisions should be somewhat market driven. There are no on-thejob experience prerequisites for earning a Masters Degree where as for a PMP certification has requirements around experience. So the question becomes "How long can PMI sustain the value of the PMP certification?"

It can be submitted that a PMP and a Master's degree aren't even comparable. MBA programs are the foundation of business knowledge and they transcend job verticals (they are not PM specific). The PMP can be thought of as more of a short term goal while the MBA is a long term goal. The job market of today may require PMP certification, but the market will soon be saturated with PMP's. Today PMP Certification gets you through the door for an interview much the same as a bachelors degree used to. If we think about it critically, at the pace in which the certification mills are pumping out certified PMP's, it's not unreasonable to think that the playing field will level out soon. My point is, the PMP Certification is valuable today but that will liekly change over time. The industry educational requirements for top-level jobs will likely include both Certification and Masters degree. As a final thought on the value of a Masters Degree, you don't see the plethora of businesses peforming 3 and 4 day exam prep boot camp classes to help you pass your Masters Final exam... the longer term - more valuable credential from a business perspective is absolutely a Masters degree.

You can never go wrong with Both...
As far the job market itself is concernd, professionals with both a degree and a certification, particulary the PMP, are positioned well to attain the best paying jobs. The ideal candidate for top level positions would hold both a masters and a PMP or equivalent certification. Employers look for things they need - not just credentials and certificates.

Your friend, if he meets the application requirements, should attain the PMP certification now and then pursue the Masters Degree, in my opinion. If an accredited institution is required, your friend should consider the University of Québec (Date PMI Accredited: December 2003)


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