Becoming A Professional Certified Marketer™-My Personal Experience

Last week I have officially become a Professional Certified Marketer™. This marketing certification is offered by the American Marketing Association as a way of “enhancing your skills and highlighting your accomplishments”. According to AMA “PCM program meets strict national professional certification criteria and standards for excellence in marketing”.

While these are all nice words, during my preparation for the test I was looking for real-life feedback from people who have taken the exam and became certified. Honestly I couldn’t find a lot of info, so I decided to write about my personal experience preparing and passing the exam.

Professional Certified Marketer™: First Steps

In order to be accepted for the exam you have to hold a Bachelor’s Degree and have 4 years of work experience or a Master’s Degree and 2 years of work experience. I don’t think the education or work experiece have to be in the Marketing field, however I would confirm with AMA before submitting the documents and paying the registration fee.

You will become Professional Certified Marketer™ by successfully completing an online test at one of the Prometric examination centres in the US and Canada. The test consists of 210 multiple choice questions and must be completed in 5 hours. Unscheduled breaks are allowed during the exam, however the time will be deducted from the 5 hours you have to complete the test.

You can schedule the test by phone or online by visiting Prometric Services. On the Home page choose the NET Certification from the Academic, Professional, Government &Corporate drop down menu and follow the steps.

Preparing for the Exam

The exam is very comprehensive and covers all areas of marketing, as listed on the AMA website:

  • Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Marketing
  • Use of the Marketing Mix
  • Relationship, Information, and Resource Management
  • Assessment and Planning of the Strategic Marketing Process
  • Marketing Evaluation

There is no mandatory training or reading material required to take the exam. Every marketer is free to schedule the exam whenever he/she feels prepared.

I used a single book to review the marketing concepts and, most importantly, definitions: Philip Kotler’s Marketing Management. I felt prepared for the questions regarding real life marketing decisions as during my everyday job I have good exposure to key areas such as as marketing mix, marketing planning, product development, distribution, brand positioning, and market segmentation. It comes done to a personal assessment of your knowledge and experience to gauge the level or theoretical study needed.

Potential Career Benefits Of Becoming Professional Certified Marketer™

Below are some examples of how this certification might be beneficial for you:

  • Building credibility. We are surrounded by so-called “marketing gurus”. This certification might be a way to set yourself appart and demonstrates that you have the expertise to look at a project from different angles.
  • Changing your career. I read online that people with an Engineering or Sales background decided to take the certification to increase their chances of working in the Marketing field.
  • Advancing in your career. Usually a move up to a better Marketing position involves managing a brand from multiple perspectives, including research, product development, marketing mix and advertising. Passing the exam might be proof that you have the knowledge and experience and are ready for the next step.
  • Expanding your Marketing knowledge. During my preparation for the exam I learned new things and remember tools and techniques that I have forgotten since my days in university.

The Exam-Personal Impressions

The exam was exactly as I expected from reading the sample questions provided by the American Marketing Association. The questions were a blend of theoretical knowledge of Marketing concepts, practical experience and common sense. My biggest issue was that although I apply the concepts in my everyday job I didn’t always remember how they’re called in the Marketing book. For this reason reading Phillip Kotler’s Marketing Management book helped me a lot. It took me 2 hours to answer all 210 questions and one hour reviewing everything. The final result are provided instantaneously once you click the “Submit” button.

The Bottom Line

I guess the question most of you have is: will this designation help in your Marketing career? Like most things in life, only time will tell. I will continue to share my experiences with you but it’s up to you to decide if pursuing this designation is worth your effort.

Feel free to contact me with your questions regarding this designation.

For the official PCM booklet click here:


  1. It’s been 4 and a half years sine you got your designation… Has it been valuable, and if so, how how has it been valuable?

  2. Hi .. my understanding is that you took the exam around 3 years ago! So what would be the impact of the certification on your practical life?

  3. Hi Kelly,

    I did go over the tests in the study package. The actual exam questions were similar-but remember, the test package it’s just a small sample of what’s to be expected at the exam.
    Good luck with the exam. Let me know how it went.


  4. Hello. I am preparing to take this exam in the next day or two. Did you do the study package with the sample tests? I have done them all and have printed them and studied them. I am nervous to pull the trigger on the testing because of the costs involved. My question is if you did the study package and how similar was it to the actual exam. Thank for any input you have.

  5. Hi Mimi,

    I would say it really depends how much time and effort you need to invest to pass the exam.

    If you are already familiar with the marketing concepts required to pass the certification and all you need to do is review them, I would say go for it. But if you need to start from 0, my suggestion is to focus on your MBA studies.


  6. Michael,

    Thank you so much for writing about your experience! I, too, have found a surprising lack on information on this subject, and your article has been the most helpful “third party” resource I’ve found.

    As an incoming MBA student with a “non-traditional” background, I thought it might give me an edge to get my certification prior to starting my MBA program. My rationale is that this could boost my credibility when talking to recruiters at the beginning of school. Do you think a certification would help with this?

  7. Michael says:

    Hi Ganesh,

    First I apologize for my late reply-for some reason I din’t notice your comment in time.

    It’s hard to quantify the benefits the PCM certification brings to one’s marketing career. I personally think it brings credibility in a profession that is not regulated (hence the influx of marketing “specialists”). I also believe the American Marketing Association should do a better job of raising awareness and building prestige for this certification, which is not easy to obtain.


  8. Hi Michael

    Could you help me assess the impact of PCM certification on the marketing career.

    How will it essentially boost career growth and attract more opportunities? (I still do not see much ‘requirements’ in the market with a PCM certification. Hence asked)

    (I currently have more than 5 years of marketing experience and am wondering if I should consider a PCM certification for career growth)

  9. Hi Jeri,

    I personally took the exam at a testing centre in Toronto. However it looks like the exam is now offered online, according to AMA’s most recent Handbook (see page 8):
    If you still have trouble registering for the exam let me know and I will contact AMA directly.

    I hope this helps.

  10. I am curious, did you take the test at a testing center? I am trying to find information on scheduling the exam and am not having any luck, and I am not getting a response from the AMA. Thanks!

  11. I am curious, did you go to a testing center to take your exam? I have reached out several times to the AMA for information on scheduling my exam and am not having any luck getting a response. My deadline is fast approaching and I can’t find any information on scheduling my exam. Thanks for any help!

  12. Hi Divya,

    Sorry for my late reply. The PCM exam is pretty comprehensive and will test your knowledge on all aspects of marketing. So my suggestion would be to study the entire book, unless you have specific areas that you feel you have enough knowledge about.

  13. Divya Mishra says:

    I am preparing for the PCM AMA certification. I am referring the Phillip Kotler’s Marketing Management book. Sometime during the course of my preparation I get confused of what to study and what not. Can you provide me some guideline regarding this.

  14. Hi Awad,

    The book I read in preparation for the exam was Philip Kotler’s Marketing Management. For the suggested reading see the AMA’s application kit:

  15. what the books ihave to sutidy to get pcm
    or trining kit


  1. […] very common question I receive from my readers is about my Professional Certified Marketer designation. More specifically, what kind of impact did it have on my professional […]

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