Which is Better PMP or PgMP - PgMP vs PMP

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Jul 20, 2022

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The art and science of project/ program management are so fierce and unforgiving that you, as a professional, must indulge in continuous professional advancement and keep pace with the latest developments and industry trends. One way to advance in your career is by earning prestigious certifications. Though you do not need them to be project/ program management certification, having them increases your chances of securing a high-paid job, getting a promotion, or earning more than your non-certified counterparts. For professionals in this field, the certifications administered by PMI (Project Management Institute)- PMP (Project Management Professional) and PgMP (Program Management Professional)- are the gold standards. However, practitioners often find it confusing and exasperating to choose the best fit for their career. Therefore, in this article, we will talk about PgMP vs PMP, comparing and contrasting them using multiple criteria.

Difference Between PMP and PgMP

To understand the difference between PMP and PgMP, we must first understand the difference between a project and a program. A project is a time-bound venture to produce a good/ service/ result. On the other hand, a program is a pool of inter-related and inter-dependent projects channeled to deliver a particular outcome that is more than the sum of outcomes of individual projects. PMP is an internationally sought-after certificate recognizing your competence as a project management professional. Having this certificate proves that you have mastered the three domains of this discipline- people, process, and business environment. It showcases your ability to manage, organize, and successfully lead complex projects. Therefore, you are the best fit for PMP if you possess the requisite skills, determination, and perseverance to achieve project objectives. PgMP is a globally revered certification that appreciates your mastery in managing and supervising multiple projects and linking each project to the greater organizational goal. It exhibits your prowess in producing benefits more than the cumulative outcome of multiple projects. Hence, if you can align multiple projects with the strategic goals of an organization and oversee its success as a program, PgMP is ideal for you. Requirements To obtain these certifications, you must have a few robust academic and professional qualifications.

 PMP  PgMP  
Project management education (in hours)35 or CAPM35 or CAPM35 or CAPMNANANA
Project management experience (in years)5324 or PMP4 or PMP3 or PMP
Program management experience (in years)NANANA743


Evaluating PgMP vs PMP eligibility criteria, we can say that meeting PgMP's prerequisites is more difficult. Though you may not need education in project/ program management, you require years of experience managing/ leading/ organizing both projects and programs for PgMP.

Interestingly, you can substitute project management experience with PMP, signifying that you need something more than PMP to be eligible for PgMP. In addition, PMI only considers experience amassed over the past fifteen consecutive years for PgMP and eight years for PMP. In essence, PMI does not count any experience falling beyond the scope of this period.


You can apply for the required certification if you possess the requisite qualifications. PMI will clear your application if you transcend the hilly terrain of eligibility. After this, you will be eligible for one year to take the test not more than three times. If you fail to clear the test after three attempts or the expiry of the eligibility period, you shall apply again.

You have to pass a 230-minute test for PMP. There will be 180 questions from three knowledge areas- people (42%), process (50%), and business environment (8%)- that will assess your industry skills, experience, and expertise.

On the other hand, you have to overcome dual evaluation phases for PgMP. First, you will have to qualify for a blind audit/ panel review where a professional panel will assess your audit materials, which you must prepare and send within three months of clearing your application.

You can appear for the test only if you clear the panel review. The 240-minute test will have 170 questions from five knowledge areas- strategic platform management (15%), program life cycle (44%), benefits management (11%), stakeholder management (16%), and governance (14%).

Both PgMP and PMP are valid for 36 months, and you must amass 60 PDUs before expiry for renewal. However, after analyzing PgMP vs PMP evaluation processes, we can say that getting PgMP is more difficult as you will have to clear a panel review in addition to the test to obtain the certification. Fee

Members405 USD800 USD
Non-Members555 USD1,000 USD

Looking at the PgMP vs PMP test fee, you have to pay nearly 1.8 times more to attend the PgMP test when compared to PMP. One reason behind this might be the comprehensive evaluation process involving two stages.

Which is Better- PMP or PgMP?

To sum up, PMP proves your ability, as a professional, to manage, lead, and organize time-bound projects, and achieve the outlined objectives. On the other hand, PgMP proves that you can link many such projects to an organization's strategic vision and mission and produce benefits more than the sum of the benefits of individual projects. In other words, you must generate benefits that multiple standalone projects cannot create.

Both PgMP and PMP are indispensable qualifications in the industry. As mentioned before, both certifications can significantly boost your professional life. For instance, both have the potential to raise your pay. PMP professionals earn 32% more than their non-PMP counterparts, and PgMP professionals earn 42% more than non-PgMP program managers in the US.

But which is better? There are around a million PMP holders worldwide. On the other hand, there are only about three thousand PgMP holders. That is, for every PgMP holder, there are 333 PMP holders. Therefore, getting a PgMP is a bigger deal and thus holds greater weight than a PMP. Moreover, we have seen that PgMP qualifications and evaluation are more stringent than PMP. Hence, PgMP commands more respect in the industry compared to PMP.

Also, the annual average base pay for a PMP professional in the US is 111,000 USD, and that of a PgMP professional is 122,000 USD. In other words, on average, PgMP holders earn around 10% more than PMP professionals. Analyzing this PgMP vs PMP salary gap, we can say that PgMP holders earn more than PMP professionals. Hence, PgMP certification is more valuable than PMP.

Both PMP and PgMP are highly esteemed in the project/program management industry. Both PgMP certification and PMP certification are prestigious certifications and are globally revered by recruiters. Moreover, they are avenues of continuous career development.

By 2030, the global economy will need 25 million new professionals in the project industry, including roles in project and program management. Considering the abysmal figures of the current PMP and PgMP holders, it is a colossal gulf to bridge, and these certifications will help you meet the growing demands.

Also Read: PMP vs Six Sigma


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