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As far as I know, project management requires proper certification. Above all, applying for a professional position as project manager, one also needs at least three years of experience and good credentials from former employees. I don`t know if I dare to target such a position at a first glance, yet I am planning on finishing my online university and then taking it step by step into building a career.
Agree with the comments here. The PM certification process doesn't give you any more knowledge than you already have, and if you've been doing it for a while already and aren't planning on switching jobs any time soon, then there's no pressing reason to get the certification. That said however, the job market is to say the least, a little iffy, so it never hurts to be prepared. Remember that in big companies, resumes often go through a keyword reader before a human reads it, so just having the key phrase "PMI certification" on the resume will get you through the first hurdle. And, even if you're not planning on switching jobs, taking the initiative to get the certification will make you look good when it comes time for handing out the raises and promotions.
The most important thing is to continue growing your skills. Many areas of IT are still really learned by apprenticeship and this is more true of project management than most other disciplines. Maybe that's because of the lack of formal authority PM's have, maybe it's because soft skill assessment and coaching doesn't come out of a book very well. Who knows?
Certification offers two things, one trivial but practical and the other fundamental but non-flashy. The trivial use is to satisfy people looking for a certification acronym on your resume, whether for new jobs or promotions. If you're a drop dead expert in PM, take the exam and show us how smart you are. No problem, check that off your list.
The fundamental benefit is that for those who have learned the trade informally, studying for the certification (especially with a group) will give you a base of formal knowledge to grow from and a set standard tools to use when you find yourself trying to avoid or get out of sticky situations. This can only be a benefit to your career long term. I always encourage my staff to get the certs, in this and other areas.
This is actually a great area of debate among many project professionals. There are many highly skilled and capable project managers who do not have any certification. In fact, many experience a very successful career without certification. That said, many organizations and hiring managers today look for certification as a litmus test for hiring or promotion. I believe this is misguided.
Certification implies a fundamental understanding of project management, not necessarily expertise (most of us wouldn't expect an engineering student fresh out of college to build a large suspension bridge). The key for success in project management is an understanding of best practice and the ability to lead people.