Question for the PMP's out there....

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Jigamafloo, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. Jigamafloo

    Jigamafloo New Member

    I'm at a "career crossroads", so to speak. As background, I'm a 19 year MSgt (E-7) in the AF, within a year of retirement (if I elect to punch out at that time), and weighing several options.

    My entire career, I've been a comm-computer/IT project manager (AFSC 3C371 for those literate in the arcane AFSC lingo), and racked up quite a bit of "real world" experience in the art of managing people and resources. I'll have my undergraduate degree finished by Apr 2006, and therein lays the source of my dilemma.

    From that point on, I’m trying to get the most “bang for the buck” out of the military tuition reimbursement prior to retirement. What I’m wondering is the value of a Graduate degree vs. the PMP certification. I could realistically achieve one or the other (but not both) prior to retirement. Ideally, the goal is to complete both, but I’m looking at the immediate future.

    To date, I’ve managed to get the local PMI chapter (San Antonio) to fund a portion of my degree via scholarship, based on documented experience and what they consider potential. The contacts I’ve made there are pushing for the certification, but I wanted to submit the question to this learned group.

    To recap, if forced to choose between the PMP certification (i.e. the prep classes leading to it) and the Graduate degree, which offers the best “bang for the buck”?

    RUKIDNME98 New Member

    Here is my 2 cents..........

    do both......may sound like a lot but I did it. I got my PMP cert in 2002. Finisihed my BS degree in management from CCU last year. Along with a Six Sigma cert to add to the list. I would recommend that you get your PMP cert first. Don't underestimate the time it takes to prepare for the 4 hour roller coaster ride of an exam. When you have that in hand or even during take the plunge into a DL degree.

    The best advise I got was on this very site a few years back.

    "what are you waiting for....just do it"......

    3 years later, which go by quick, I have both. If you need any details of either, let me know and "just do it" and BTW...thanks for serving for our country.
  3. -kevin-

    -kevin- Resident Redneck

    If the search function is working you can do a search on PMP or project management and find some good stuff related to your question.

    If not, check out Amberton as you can get a graduate certificate in PM and then apply these classes (which can be had as undergraduate or graduate credit) towards one of the Masters programs as management classes.

    If you get your PMP then UW-Plattville has a DL Masters in PM and will give you 6 credits for the PMP.

    Aspen University (DETC accredited) will give you 9 hours.

    My favorite program is the MBA from Mississippi State with a PM concentration.

    As for completing both I would work on a graduate degree that contained PM classes and use these as my study towards the PMP.

    as an aside, I won't hold the 3C AFSC against you, I'm a retired 2E000. Thank you for your service and good luck with your search.
  4. RobbCD

    RobbCD New Member

  5. Jigamafloo

    Jigamafloo New Member

    Wow - OUTSTANDING advice all the way around. Thanks, folks!

    By the way Fed, God only knows we love our 2E's (somebody has to fix the stuff the operators break), but they're a little hard to housetrain :)
  6. Kirkland

    Kirkland Member

    With your experience, I would get the PMP first. It is more immediate. The process from initial contact with PMI and evaluation of your credentials, to outside training, studying, then registering for and taking the PMP exam could be six months, possibly longer. With the PMP in hand, you would have expanded marketability in your chosen field and could then pursue any graduate studies you wished without having to tie them to PMP credits, giving you some flexibility in what schools you choose for your masters.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2005
  7. Dr Rene

    Dr Rene Member


    Here is another option. Start a graduate degree program by taking a project management course or two that will prep you for the PMP exam, and then take the exam. Typically the basic PM course in a grad degree program will be enough to get you started and succesffuly pass the PMP, don't forget to concentrate on the PMBOK as well. I used the PMBOK and the Kerzner, and Meredith and Mantel textbooks to study and successfully pass the PMP back in 2000. These textbooks are typically used in a "Principles of PM" type courses.

    Once you get the cert, you can continue the graduate degree program with this course already completed. Some PM master's programs have a PMP prep course as part of the degree plan. I believe Keller Grad School of Mgt may have this for their Masters in PM program, which is also available on-line. You can check on other PM master degree programs for a PMP prep course.

    Whatever you decide, go for it and good luck. I applaud your effort in getting the PMP before you retire. I would recommend you also get the grad degree as well, before you retire.

    I retired from the Air Force (22 years-- hooah!) in 2004 and the PMP is definitely a valuable credential. I know some of the people at the San Antonio PMI Chapter--I was born and raised in the Alamo city and was stationed at Randolph, and Laughlin down the road--Go Spurs!
  8. Jigamafloo

    Jigamafloo New Member

    Again, to everyone, thanks for the great advice. Apparently, there are a lot of career and educational options available that I hadn't previously considered - this board is a valuable resource.

    Dr. Rene - the "Go Spurs!" definitely verified your credentials as a native San Antonian! Think they'll repeat this year?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2005
  9. Jigamafloo

    Jigamafloo New Member

    Apparently fate fines a way! I was reassigned (kicking and screaming) to AFRC (Air Force Reserve Command - not a good fit for an active duty SNCO) in Robins AFB, GA.

    Upon sitting down with my brand spankin' new civilian supervisor, the first words out his mouth were "We've instituted a policy where we want all of our project managers to be PMP certified, so we'll provide you training materials, send you to a prep class in six months, and pay for the test. Is that a hardship for you?"

    The question is along the lines of a stranger knocking at your door, and then saying "Hi! I'm a random philanthropist, and would love to pay off your mortgage. Is that a hardship for you?"

    Wanted to share this twist of fate, given my original question. Looks like I’ll be able to knock out both the Master’s and the PMP prior to retirement, with the PMP paid for by the government.

  10. Dr Rene

    Dr Rene Member


    Congrats on your new assignment and the opportunity for the PMP! Reminds me of when I was stationed in Minot N.D. and the Air Force said "We would like to pay for your MBA, and make your class schedule a part of your regular duty schedule. Will that be a problem?"

    Aim High!

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