By Gay Bruhn

The simple answer is yes. The reasons are many. In addition to professional recognition and development, research shows that people with certification are hired first and leave last; they start with a higher salary and are promoted earlier (Runyard, 2010).

Especially in today’s job market, anything that separates you from the crowd is career critical (Zupek, 2009). For example, not only are CPTs required by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Human and Institutional Development (HICD) projects and eligible for the highest hourly rates, USAID considers the CPT designation equivalent to 8 years of experience (2012).

Microsoft (2007) found the added market value certification can bring is as high as 30% to 40% with an average of 5% to 11% across all certifications. In a more current study. the Project Management Institute (PMI) found that project management professionals (PMP)® in the United States earned an average of 16% more than their non-credentialed peers. PMI also reported that 71% of project managers saw an increase in compensation in the last six months (Learnard & Kelly, 2011).

In 2008 ISPI members reported similar salary differences. In an online survey, ISPI members reported that overall CPT salaries ranged at least $20,000 more than those of non-CPT respondents. Non-certified ISPI members topped at $100,000 while CPTs started at $100,000 and capped at $120,000 (Miller, 2008).

In a study of employers, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 91% of employers state that a certified human resource professional is more likely to be considered for promotion and 81% believed that they had greater job security (Runyard, 2010).

Using the 2011 median annual professional salary of $78,490 (US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration) and median percent benefit of 16%, the annual salary of a CPT would be $12,558 higher than that of a non-CPT. The cost of certification, including time to learn and time to write, is $4,095. The short-term return-on-investment (ROI) calculation (Phillips & Phillips, n.d.) results in a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 3.16 and an ROI of 216% (see Figure 1). Using the BCR, we then can estimate that for each dollar invested in certification, we can expect $3.16 in return. Using the ROI, we can estimate that each dollar invested in certification results in a return of $2.16 in net return after costs are recovered.

BCR = Benefit of Increased Salary/Cost of Certification

= $12,558 / $4,095

BCR = 3.16:1

ROI  = Net Benefits/Cost x 100

= $8,865 / $4,095

= 2.16 x 100

ROI  = 216%


Figure 1: BCR and ROI Calculation

What would the ROI be for a corporation? If the cost for one CPT is $4,095 and he or she leads one project that saves hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, then the BCR or ROI would be almost priceless.


Learnard, C., & Kelly, M. (2011). Want to earn six figures? Become a project manager [Press Release]. Retrieved from

Microsoft®. (2007). The value of certification: Connecting the dots between employers and employees. Retrieved from

Miller, K. (2008). What is a Certified Performance Technologist? Retrieved from

Phillips, J., & Phillips, P. (n.d.). Measuring return on investment in HR: A global initiative for HR strategy. Retrieved from

Runyan, S. (2010). The value of certification [PowerPoint]. Retrieved from

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment. (2012). RFP SOL-OAA-12-000103: Human and Institutional Capacity Development for non-Critical Priority Countries (HICDpro for non-CPCs). Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Wages and employment trends. Retrieved from

Zupek, R. (2009). Does your resume need new acronyms. Retrieved from

Congratulations to the following individuals who became CPTs in the last two months:

Robert J. Asselin, Jr., CPT; Ronald Bartolo, CPT, MAS; Matthew R. Bond, CPT; Keri Culver, CPT; Danielle Carolyn De Garcia, CPT; Keith D. Doxtater , CPT; Brian J. Foster, CPT; Carrie Foti, CPT; Micah Frumkin, CPT; Joan M. Goodin, CPT; Andrew Griminger, CPT; Suan Lin Hanson, CPT; Kelly Heindel, CPT; Elizabeth Hughes, CPT; Hisham A. Jabi, CPT; Michael Jack, CPT; Joel M. Jutkowitz, CPT; Howard B. Lewis, CPT, PhD; Molly E. Loomis, CPT; Michael Nicholson, CPT; John Palmucci, CPT; Adam W. Peterson, CPT, PhD; Daniela Robu, CPT; Janet Sprimont, CPT; Randal Joy Thompson, CPT; Malene O. Townsend, CPT; and Martin Zink, CPT, SPHR.

Congratulations also to the following individuals who recertified:

Jeanne Anderson, CPT, Phd; Dr. Dee Andrews, CPT; Debbie Bell, CPT; Carole Berkson-Ross, CPT, PMP; Conrad Bills, CPT; Rebecca Bondero, CPT; Lisa Bradley-Mitchell, CPT; Gina Thompson Brooks, CPT; Nancy Burns, CPT, PhD, MRA, PMP; Ralph N. Cain, CPT; Julia A. Capsambelis, CPT; Christine K. Cavanaugh, CPT; Christina Coffin, CPT; Warren E. Cohen, CPT; Maurie Coleman, CPT, PhD; Betty L. Cotton, CPT; Donna Crisp, CPT; Sue M. Czeropski, CPT, PhD; Lorretta J. Davis, CPT, PhD, SPHR; David Divesta, CPT; June Fair, CPT; Martin P. Finkle, CPT; John T. Fox, CPT; Naomi Farwell George, CPT; Chuck Georgo, CPT; Lisette Gerald-Yamasaki, CPT; James A. Gottlieb, CPT; Bonnie Grabenhofer, CPT; David Green, CPT; Mark L. Grover, CPT; Wesley C. Hansen, CPT; Nancy L.P. Harkness, CPT; Margaret Herrel, CPT; Michael C. Hinebrook, CPT; Vaughan P. Houger, CPT, PhD; Peter Hybert, CPT; Lya M. Icaza, CPT, SPHR; Mark Isabella, CPT; Sandra J. Jessen, CPT; Smith W. Kalita, CPT; Jerry Kaminski, CPT; Sandy Keeher, CPT; Hozumi N. Kessler, CPT; Leigha Kinnear, CPT; Roy L. Knicley, Jr., CPT; Denise Lamonte, CPT; Dean R. Larson, CPT; Jean-Claude H. Latter, CPT; Anne Marie Laures, CPT; Margaret E. Lindeman, CPT; Geri A. Lopker, CPT; Doug Lucas, CPT; Carol Sue Luusua-Warning, CPT; Ada Lyle, CPT; Edward (Ward) Mann, CPT; Eileen D. Maeso, CPT; Timothy A. McClain, CPT, PHR, MCSE, MCSA; Sosse Menakian, CPT; Andrea Moore, CPT; James E. Morrison, CPT; Kery S. Mortenson, CPT, MS; Tony M. Muschara, CPT; Fred Nichols, CPT; Barry Nickerson, CPT; Rose M. Noxon, CPT, PhD, PMP, ITILv3; Alaster Nyande, CPT; Wessel Van Reede Van Oudtshoorn, CPT; James R. Parry, CPT; Susan Pavelek, CPT; Connie Perren, CPT; Liza J. Prendergast, CPT; Walter W. Ratcliff, CPT; Randy L. Riggs, CPT; Todd R. Ritter, CPT; Wanda Ritter, CPT; Don G. Robison, CPT; Paula Rose, CPT; Katica Roy, CPT; Amy Ryan, CPT; Christopher A. Saeger, CPT; Luise Schneider, CPT; Debbie Seneway, CPT; W.J. Sewell, CPT; Robert B. Simington, CPT; Tracy K. Smith, CPT; Pamela J. Sommer, CPT; Bonnie L. Stone, CPT; Donald L. Steiner, CPT, CLU, CPCU; Francesco Sisto, CPT; Christian Andrew Stover, CPT; Michael Tapia, CPT; Tara Townsend, CPT; Anieti Sunday Ukpe, CPT; Karen VanKampen, CPT; Gina Walker, CPT; Corey M. Welch, CPT; Jack R. Welsh, CPT; Ken Westerlund, CPT; Debra Ann Wier, CPT; Micheal Winder, CPT; and Ann D. Yakimovicz, CPT, PhD.