Increase Your Income 20%-40% Without Leaving Your Job (Part 2)

Increase Your Income 20%-40% Without Leaving Your Job (Part 2)

Chris Daniel was working for the federal government in Washington, D.C., making $60,000 a year when he first learned about the Project Management Professional Certification (PMP). This discovery would lead him to a promotion and a $31,000 increase in salary within 15 months of completion.

In Part 1 of this series, we covered how to turbocharge your career with professional certifications and boost earnings at your current job without having to get another degree. In this article, Chris Daniel walks us through the process.

First, there are two commitments you must take into consideration

Time and cost. There’s no skirting around it, the PMP certification is a rigorous process requiring a serious time commitment and some upfront costs. The return on investment, however, is immediate and lasting. Chris says 6 months after passing his certification he received a $15,000 raise and if you remember from Part 1, the PMP credential is a lifetime, global credential.

What do you have to lose by going after a PMP certification?

If you responded time, let’s discuss it. Chris says that some people may shy away from certification because of the misconception that it’s a time-consuming process. It’s not. He explains that most candidates have already logged the time through work experience (attending meetings, managing others, and meeting project deliverables and goals).

You can even get credit for managing projects outside of work

Examples include, and are not limited to, tasks such as:

  • facilitating a team meeting to accomplish a goal
  • serving on a committee to review a new technology
  • providing recommendations for next steps to an executive team
  • volunteering to help build a ramp for an impaired person with your local civic group

A college degree is not required but is recommended. PMP candidates with a college degree require 4,500 hours (3-4 years) of project management experience to sit for the exam. Those without a degree require 7,500 hours (6-7 years) experience. Again, some of this is work experience you already have.

With work experience under your belt, you are in the homestretch

Next steps include completing the 35 contact hour requirement, which Chris explains HERE. Chris offers a boot camp that includes time to walk you through completing the PMP application which takes anywhere from 8-10 hours to complete. Chris calls it the litmus test for aspiring project managers because it requires a deep dive into your project management experience. He has a 97% participant pass rate for the boot camp and 99% for the application.

The last step in this process is passing the exam

The exam itself is a four-hour exam, with a running clock. It’s a 200-question, multiple choice computer-based exam. Chris says that most of the fear associated with the exam derives from sitting in front of a computer for four hours. He reminds us that people who manage projects are used to handling this type of pressure.

Finally, let’s look at the investment

The costs associated with certification are nominal, especially given the immediate and lasting return on investment. On average, the one-time fee including materials, application and boot camp, cost up to $3,000 and you’ll never have to test again for this lifetime credential.

In closing, Chris reminds us that in one month of studying and preparation, in addition to your years of experience, you can positively impact your income and your life.

To learn more, find Chris Daniel, PMP at or follow him on Twitter @consultnjeans. Chris is the author of 26-Days to Your PMP Certification. Chris offers programs for professionals in the workplace, who already manage projects and aren’t earning what they should.




Elisha Lowe is a registered nurse, business strategist, writer, entrepreneur, and inspirational speaker with two decades of experience in healthcare. She works with top healthcare organizations to grow novel products that support better patient outcomes in hospitals while engaging in entrepreneurial pursuits. You can follow her on Twitter @ElishaLoweRN or learn more at