PMI Membership and PMP Certification – by the Numbers
By: Collin Quiring
Ever since I started looking at obtaining a certification as a Project Management Professional I was interested in knowing how many people had the certification already. I have blogged about certifications in previous posts so I won’t get into all my reasons for getting a certification but one of those reasons is to make sure that that it is recognized by potential employers. Another reason is to make sure that not “everybody” has it because that might indicate it is one of those “take 3 hours and $50 and become certified” kind of certifications. Large numbers of people holding a certification don’t scare me when it makes sense but if “anybody” can get a certification then I get nervous.
I am also interested in knowing how many people don’t maintain their certification because that tells me something about the value that people put on the certification once they have it. The number of PMP certifications was in the 180,000 range (PMI calls them Active PMP’s) when I took my test and became a PMP and my number starts with a 249xxx so that means that about 70,000 people had let their certifications expire. Since PMP certifications started in 1984 that makes me feel ok about this number of people– with job movement, priority shifting, economy issues and some passing away I think that a 70,000 difference is quite acceptable.
Since I obtained my certification, I have watched the monthly numbers closely. This is just one indicator to me of the health of the organization and the certification overall. (FYI – I do carry another certification where the numbers got so bad that the certifying organization discontinued the certification entirely.) I thought that I was pretty much alone in my fascination of the numbers (other than PMI tracking it for their reasons) and then I across this article from Derek Huether at “The Critical Path”. (http://thecriticalpath.info/2010/09/30/august-pmp-certification-numbers/) He has been tracking the monthly numbers since September, 2006, and he was willing to share his numbers with me for this post. He deserves full credit for the monthly chart below. Once I had his data, I started searching around and found some other information of PMP certification and PMI membership. A good chunk of that comes from PMI Today, August 2004 edition. The other parts I found here and there mentioned in old articles.
I charted the number of PMI members and the number of PMP certifications by year. The first year for PMP certification was 1984 and 43 of the people that took the test became certified that year. Also, I never found any certification numbers for 1985 or 1987-1992. What intrigues me is that the number of PMP certified individuals is greater than the number of PMI members.
For those that like numbers:
This chart uses Derek’s Monthly Numbers since September, 2006.
Same chart, but with numbers:
And, because Derek was kind of enough to share it, here is some bonus information. This is the number of NEW PMP’s by month and the total number of CAPM certifications as well (by month).