What Does a PMP Make: A Look at the Average Salaries

A project management professional or PMP is a project manager who has earned prestigious PMP certification. And PMP certification acknowledges that the project manager has trained for and passed an intense exam, and the certification is recognized worldwide. By have a worldwide standardization, companies know what they are going to get. They know that PMPs are at the top of their game and they know what information the PMP has studied. They can be assured that the PMP has the qualifications that they need to be successful. You’ll find PMPs in every industry, responsible for all aspects of project management, including project risk management, project cost management, and even project stakeholder management.

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What’s a project manager?

The project manager is the person in the company who hold responsibility for multiple projects. And, as more and more companies are moving toward running projects instead of routine operations, project management is a hot career path. It is, however, a career path where a wide range of knowledge is needed. A project manager needs to be a people person. They have to gain the trust of all members of the team for the project to run smoothly. The project manager must also be able to resolve multiple problems throughout the life of the project. And they will have to concentrate on both the big picture, the entire project, and on the minutiae of the project, the important daily tasks that may hit a snag.

Companies acknowledge that project managers are some of their most valuable employees. If there isn’t one central person to coordinate the project, there will be anarchy. Plus, the project manager can rally the troops if the project goes sideways.

A project manager not only implements a project from bringing people from all parts of a company, but leads to becoming a cohesive team and closing the project successfully. In between, the project manager must make sure all steps of the project are tackled adeptly and successfully. After the project is done, the PMP generally encourages the sharing of lessons learned. By discussing what occurred during the project and what the team learned, after the project is over, including things that went right and things that went wrong, a company can learn for the future. They can learn what to do for the next project.

PMPs can implement successful new practices that were created on the fly. But they can also try to figure out why some processes went wrong and how those processes can be done better the next time. Or, perhaps, those problem processes can be shelved, if necessary.

What kind of projects does a PMP work on?

Project managers work on a variety of unique projects from any industry you can think of. And the project has a singular goal, a goal that the entire team has to strive for. The project needs to be successful by meeting all the proscribed goals, including coming in on time and on budget. Examples of projects that need to be managed include natural disaster relief efforts, the construction of a new highway or bridge, the implementation of new software for a company, and many more. Construction project definitely have to come in on time, as in certain parts of the country, the change of seasons mean that construction will have to stop. You may not be able to build a new highway in November, so if the project is supposed to be successfully completed in October, well, the project manager must guide the project with expertise. So, each project comes with different challenges.

What does a PMP make: Salary Averages

PMP salaries vary wildly based on geography. We combed through average base salary figures for a number of states in every region as well as for the U.S. as a whole to find out what does a PMP make as a salary. And, although salaries for PMPs do different, you have to remember that, when comparing the cost of living between two states or two regions, those can vary considerably. So, that could be the reason why the salaries between regions differ. It’s just a good thing to keep in mind if you’re thinking about relocating.

First, we’ll show you want the average salary of a project management profession is in the United States. Per Glassdoor, nationwide, PMP salaries average out to $66,137 per year, with highs reaching $107,000 and lows, $46,000. It’s a pretty good living. And, if you’ve got a specific location you’d like to work in, check out the salaries below from different parts of the country. We’ll also discuss if a certification in PMP is worth it. And then we’ll talk about whether there is still demand for PMP certification is still in demand so you can land a job with your PMP Certification!

But, let’s start with PMP salaries:

PMP salary per state

Here’s what you’ll make as a PMP in different states:

New York City

The average base pay for a PMP is $70,400 per year, which is 6% above the national average. However, wages can go as low as $47,000 per year and as high as $110,000 per year, thought that high range is pretty rare, we found.


Project Manager Professionals make 8% less in Detroit than the national average at $60,667. The lowest salary we saw was $40,000 per year and the highest was $95,000 per year. The cost of living is lower in the Great Lakes State, so keep that in mind when looking at salaries.


If you want to have a career as a PMP in Houston, you’ll be happy to know that the average base by is $68,775, which is 4% above the national average. And, if you’re lucky, you could make as high as $108,000. And, the lowest pay we found in Houston was $46,000.

Miami-Fort Lauderdale

Miami-Fort Lauderdale average PMP salary is on the low side, right around Detroit’s at 8% below national average. PMP average base pay is $61,161, though salaries to range from a low of $40,000 to a high of $96,000, which is enough to have some fun in the sun!

Los Angeles

Travel out west to Los Angeles and you’ll make 6% above the national average as a PMP, with an average base pay of $69,878. But that could go as high as $108,000 and as low as $46,000. Don’t forget, with higher average salaries, you’ll generally see higher costs of living.


PMP salaries in Seattle are around New York City numbers, at 8% above the national average. $71,148 is the average base salary, $110,000 is the highest, and $47,000 is the lowest. At 8% above the national average, you could buy coffee for the entire office!

St. Louis

At 7% below national average, the base salary for a PMP in St. Louis is $61,345, while PMP salaries range from $95,000 at the high end to $40,000 at the low end.


Heading back out west, a PMP will see a base salary that is 6% below the national average, reaching around $62,045. The highest salary we saw was $96,000 and the lowest, $41,000.


And, we’re back out East again, where PMPs can earn 3% above the national average for base pay at $68,067. And, if the stars align, they may find themselves earning as much as $106,000 per year. The lower end of the scale starts out at $45,000 per year. Three percent will still get you a lot of clam chowder!


PMPs seem to earn a bit less in the Midwest, with Chicagoans earning 1% below the national average at $65,680. No fear, however, because some PMPs earn up to $102,000 per year, so keep those deep-dish pizza coming! The lowest wages we found for PMPs started at $44,000 per year. Although Chicago does have a slightly higher cost of living than Detroit, it’s still less expensive in the Midwest, which could be the reason for the lower salaries.

Is the PMP exam difficult?

The PMP exam is a difficult undertaking. But please don’t let that deter you from reaching for your dreams. If you’ve reached the place in your career when you’re thinking about the PMP exam, you’ve already spent years studying and working. So you know you can do it. You’ve achieved so much already. With a good work ethic you could pass with flying colors.


There are prerequisites to taking the exam, however:

  • Four-year degree
  • 36 months leading projects
  • 35 hours of project management education/training


  • A high school diploma
  • An associate’s degree or global equivalent
  • 60 months leading projects
  • 35 hours of project management education/training

What will you study?

Let’s discuss what kinds of project management fundamentals you’ll be tackling on the PMP exam and how much each topic will be covered on the exam, percentagewise.

Initiating – 13%

You’ll need to be skilled in analytics, benefits analysis, project charters, estimation tools and techniques and strategic management.

Planning – 24%

To succeed in the Planning section, you’ll need a wide variety of skills including planning in human resources, procurement, risk management, stakeholder management, scope management and much more.

Executing – 31%

You’ll need to know project budgeting and quality standard tools, continuous improvement processes, vendor management techniques and more.

Monitoring and Controlling – 25%

Topics covered in this section will include process analysis and risk identification techniques, performance measurement and tracking, project finance principles, etc.

Closing – 7%

Subjects you’ll need to know include archiving practices and statutes, compliance, closure requirements, feedback techniques, KPI and key success factors, etc.

Is PMP really worth it?

The PMP certification exam costs $405 for members of the Project Management Institute. And membership in the professional organization will cost you $129 per year. Luckily, you can still take the exam if you are not a member, but it will cost you $555.

“Is it worth it?”, is the big question. When you look at our other big question: “What does a PMP make in salary?”, we believe it is definitely worth it. Here are few reasons why we think it is worth it to get your PMP certification:

  1. The median salary for project management professionals worldwide is 25% higher for those with certification compared to those without.
  2. Your certification is valid in any industry and any geographical area.
  3. Companies are more successful with certified PMPs, so it will make you more attractive to hiring managers.
  4. The exam preparation will give you the information you need to excel in your career.
  5. Certification will open the door to more professional development opportunities through the Project Management Institute.
  6. You’ll also have networking opportunities through the Project Management Institute after you get your PMP certification.
  7. You’ll become a better leader after studying for the PMP as you’ll gain vital management information.

Is PMP still in demand?

With almost a million active PMP-certified project management professionals worldwide, it’s still a relevant certification. Industry members point out that although quite a bit of business is being automated, you can’t automate project management. You still need the human touch. And PMP certification consistently ranks high in surveys of the top certifications.

No more robots

Until robots can be programmed to managed projects, there will always be a need for certified project management professionals. Plus, project management professional certification will always be attractive to project managers as they can earn considerably more than those without certification. And your career will be so much the better for becoming certified. You be more valuable to your company and your company will become more valuable the more PMPs they hire. Plus, your leadership skills will be second to none. And, don’t forget that your certification will be valid around the world, if you decide to relocate. And, speaking of relocating, there are quite a few places in the U.S. where you can make an excellent salary as a project management professional. Lastly, if you’re worried that the PMP certification exam is too difficult, you’ve would have already succeeded at school and work for years by the time you’re ready for the test. There’s no doubt you can do it. Give it a try!