Project Management Professional Development Costs and Personal Development Tax Cap

Ongoing professional development for a project management consultant can mean winning and losing business. The Australian Labour government has plans to place an annual cap of $2,000 on professional development tax rebates. For project management consultants and project professionals this could considerably hinder their professional growth.

As a project management consultant, I make it a priority to continue my professional development and learn new and cutting edge concepts and processes for my clients. As a case study, lets look at what I typically spend each year on professional development, the costs associated, including the loss of income whilst attending professional development activities.

Project Management Professional Association Fees

I choose to be a member of the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) which comes at an annual cost of $365, there is also a one off fee on the year you join of $155.

So for the first year of membership alone our first cost isĀ $520.

Project Management Certification Fees

The next key cost for a professional project manager is likely to gain professional certification, as a member of the Australian Institute of Project Management, I chose to gain their Certified Practicing Project Manager (CPPM) certification.

The Fees for CPPM certification are an initial assessment of $175 and should you deemed to be at a competent enough level to undergo the rigorous certification program, than the fee range is somewhere between $1,100 and $1,300 depending on how much of the assessors time is required to formally provide the assessment.

This gives us a first year cost for CPPM certification of between $1,275 and $1,475.

Attendance Of Professional CPD Event Fees

In order to maintain my CPPM status, I must earn at least 60 Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points, through attending training events, presentations, conferences and critiquing papers.

Every month the AIPM runs a CPD night at an average cost of $35. Assuming I can attend each month, this would be an annual cost of $420.

Advanced Project Management Training Course

Attending monthly events is good to gain general insights and concepts from other project managers and industries, but in order to gain real knowledge, I like to attend 1 advanced course each year. These advanced courses are normally dedicated to 1 area or project management such as Risk Management, Governance, Procurement etc.

The AIPM are running national advanced courses with an average fee of $770 for members that run over 2 days. If we also assume 2 days of lost income at an average rate of $1200 per day plus travel and $400 and accommodation for 1 night at $200, this gives a total cost of $2,570.

Australian Institute of Project Management National Conference

Each year the AIPM (or your project management professional association of choice) runs an annual national conference where Industry experts nationally and international present on important issues and emerging topics around project management, I presented last year in Melbourne.

The national conference runs over 4 days at a cost of $1,250, if we add loss of income (using the same rates above) over these 4 days would total $4,800, add flights (Return to Perth) $800 and accommodation for 4 nights at $800, gives a grand total of $6,400.

International Project Management Association Conference (International)

As a professional project management consultant I believe it is important to not only learn from other practitioners nationally, but also some of the leading project managers around the world, sharing their project lessons learnt, discussing what worked well and what didn’t. It is after all, this knowledge that our clients are paying for. With that in mind, I make sure to try and attend 1 international conference per year.

I choose to attend the International Project Management Association Conferences, which are held in a different city each year. Last year the conference was held in Greece, where I presentedĀ Stakeholder Engagement Using Cloud Project Management and Social Media, this year it s being held in Croatia.

This national conference is an average cost of $1,200 and runs over 4 days. If we include flights (Return to Europe) $4,000 and accommodation over 6 night (allowing for a day either side to rest) is $1200 and loss of income for the week would be $6,000.

This gives a total cost for attending an international conference of $12,400.

Labour Government Changes To Professional Development Tax Rebates Implications

The Australian Labour Party propose to place a “cap” on what can be claimed as “Professional Development” costs at $2,000 per year. We can see from the list above, I typically spend on average $23,785 and I imagine most project management consultants would spend similar amounts to stay active in there field.

If the Professional Development tax rebate is capped at $2,000 then this means, in order to stay within that limit I could only afford to attend monthly local AIPM events and possibly 1 professional course each year. I would not have the opportunity to attend, learn or present at conferences nationally or internationally. This would mean I would not earn enough CPD points in order to retain my CPPM status and ultimately not pass on the latest information and techniques to my projects and clients.

Share this if you would like to fight the $2,000 Professional Development tax rebate cut.

How much do you spend each year on professional development and what will the professional development rebate mean for you and your clients?


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Who Wrote This Article? ...(It was: Chris O'Halloran)

I'm "Chris O". I've managed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of projects since the inception of my career. I love helping others figure out the intricacies of project management on any scale. Come find me on twitter or google+

Comments That Have Been Left So Far:

  1. Dr. Neil Pearson said:

    Chris, I concur with you on this one. I must equally spend the same amount of money on PD activities all of which without I would not be able to practice as a Facilitator, Trainer and Consultant.

    Dr. Neil.

    • Thanks Neil, it quickly adds up and I fear that the only people to lose out on this are then end users (our clients) and the performance of their projects… Don’t forget to share this and lets get the word out!

  2. Thanks Chris
    The AIPM is careful in selecting issues for representation. We want to ensure that we stick to core business and that, when we represent publicly, that we do faithfully represent the broad opinion of our membership. I am pleased to say that this is one issue that certainly met this criteria and as a result the AIPM has made almost exactly the point that Chris has made in its representation to the federal authorities.

    • Hi David, Thanks for your comments, I certainly welcome the AIPM National President to my small project management blog anytime! It is great to hear that the peak industry body in Australia (APIM) is already onto this issue and pressing the government for a suitable resolution. In our space, staying active and certified is a key enabler to project success.

  3. Thanks for your good share with their charges. its been too good to estimate expenditure for planing so now onwards i can get benefit of it.

  4. Nice Nice Post thanks Chris O’Halloran

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