Project Managers know about planning and if you are planning on going forward with receiving your Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate, there are some key requirements that you need to know. Each of these requirements has been carefully thought out, reviewed, and revised as necessary to keep PMP the top project management certification internationally.
The PMP Certification Process
Every action has an equal and an opposite reaction. Each action below will get you one step further to the positive reaction desired, the PMP certificate. Some of the requirements are already at hand, your education or experience, and the final two, 35 contact hours and the exam are well within your reach.
The process is straightforward. It isn’t always simple, but you have the ability to work through it all.
What is PMP?
Project Management Professionals have met the requirements and sat through the certification exam provided by Project Management Institute (PMI).
PMI sets standards and expects candidates to meet the PMP eligibility requirements set out prior to scheduling and sitting for the exam. The following steps will provide you with the information you need to see if going after PMP certification is right for you and how you can achieve that goal if it is.
Education & Experience
An education level of a bachelor’s degree, or above requires experience within the field of a minimum of 36 months, or 4,500 hours. This can be for leading projects that meet the experience requirement for those individuals or in the project manager role.
If you have been working in the field, either as a project manager, or even a team leader, you may not have received a bachelor’s degree or above. Many individuals have worked their way up in companies to take on the role of Project Manager and that experience can translate to the knowledge required for the exam. As long as you have received your high school diploma or the equivalent, or an associate degree, you can apply for certification if you have a minimum of 60 months leading projects, or 7,500 hours of project management experience.
Remember, holding the title of Project Manager isn’t proof that you’re a great Project Manager nor does it guarantee that you’ll pass the PMP certification exam.
However, being part of a team, leading projects for 36 or 60 months respectively, will definitely be a contributing factor for passing the exam. In fact, you need that before PMI will allow you to take the PMP certification exam. This works out to about 5
years of full-time experience. Typically, you can count time that you’ve led
within a project, or supervision of other team members as work experience.
Years of Experience
Hours of Experience
5 years (60 months)
Bachelors or above
3 years (36 months)
Formal Training or Contact Hours Requirement
Whatever your level of education, whether number 1 or 2, you must document 35 contact hours of Project Management education (also called 35 education hours) before you can take the exam.
There are some great (and inexpensive) online courses that will satisfy the 35 hours of project management education requirement and prepare you for the PMP certification exam. Some of them even include a pass guarantee, meaning if you don’t pass the exam after taking their course, they’ll provide additional support and ultimately give the money back on your course purchase. Of the online courses available,we strongly recommend Brain Sensei’s Self-Paced PMP Exam Prep course. They include a pass guarantee, money-back guarantee, and access to the entire course with unlimited practice questions for an entire year. For those who prefer the guidance of an instructor, they also have live virtual classes.
Tools & Techniques of PMP Certification Process
Now is a good time to talk a little bit more about PMI. Being a member of PMI not only reduces your fees for certification, but it also allows you access to a wide variety of tools and materials that can help you through your studies. Whatever formal training you choose, PMI can provide you with the PMBOK, Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide in a variety of languages to assist you. PMI members have access to download the guide as well as 1,000’s of tools and templates.
Depending on your learning style and what areas of the PMBOK you need to focus on, you may want to have flash cards, math books, flow charts, or mind maps. Most online courses provide you with exam simulators and sample questions and answers. You may want to become part of a study group, in person or online, and being a PMI member, you can also join a local chapter and find a mentor to help guide you.
PMP Certification Process Steps
Once you have completed PMI’s requirements, the next step is to schedule, prepare, study, and schedule the exam.
Step 1: Application
PMI has the application form online. You will need to enter your contact information, as well as your educational requirements information, High School diploma or above. You can then go forward in entering your experience. Remember, you don’t have to hold a Project Manager title, but you do have to perform tasks within the knowledge areas of the PMBOK. Each of the five process groups are counted:
- Monitoring & Controlling and
Finally, enter in the formal coursework, 35 contact hours, that you have taken. Make sure you have received a course completion certificate.
Submit the application and you will then get information regarding your exam fee. Again, PMI members pay a reduced rate for the exam itself.
Be aware that you may or may not be chosen for an audit. If you are chosen you will have 90 days after receiving a link to the audit to complete whatever PMI requires. The sooner you get this done the better. PMI generally has an answer regarding the audit for you within 5 – 7 days upon receipt.
Once you have submitted the application and if you have gone through the audit, you will then need to pay the exam fee. Non PMI members pay $555 for the exam and members will pay $405 plus $10. You will need to have your membership ID in order to receive the discount.
Finally, you’ve completed the requirements and paid the fee and now you can schedule your exam. Make sure to accurately and honestly evaluate how well you have done on practice exams and in the exam simulators before you schedule the date. You want to give yourself plenty of time to study without losing the information that you’ve retained.
You must schedule your exam within one calendar year after you receive your eligibility ID. So, plan accordingly. After you get the confirmation of fee payment, your next step in the PMP Certification Process is to schedule your exam. But, this generally depends on the preparation that you have done so far in terms of study. Normally, schedule the exam date based on the score you get in your practice tests.
But, if you are the type driven by the date, do a reverse scheduling in the PMP Certification Process. Meaning, fix the date and accordingly prepare for the exam.
The PMP Certification process helps you understand the checkpoints to focus on. One such point is to check if you are within one year from the time you get your eligibility ID before scheduling the exam.
Book your exam date to a Pearson VUE center close to your location. As of April 14th, 2020, PMI has begun offering the exam online as well. Choose your venue and schedule your exam. Remember there may be penalties if you cancel or reschedule your exam within a month of the scheduled date. PMI does understand extingent circumstances so make sure to inform them if there is any reason that you can’t attend.
Step 2: Preparing for the Exam
This is where the Formal Training you received, those 35 contact hours, really comes into play. You know where you need to focus and what you need to nail down in order to pass. You have taken sample exams, used the exam simulator and come up with a well thought out study guide. No need to cram because you know you are about to be a project management professional and you have all of your tools at the ready.
The PMBOK has been hammered into your way of thinking, either through a bootcamp, a tutor, or a self-paced learning program. You know the knowledge areas, understand how the questions are asked, and what types of questions will be asked.
Continue to use the study exams, particularly those sample questions and answers that focus on areas you may need to brush up on. Get a study partner. Join a study group.
Make sure to understand the tools & techniques that the PMBOK recommends to get the desired outcomes. All 47 of the processes can be accessed in the 10 knowledge areas. By understanding these you can know the information as well as how to approach it within the exam.
Step 3: The PMP Certification Exam
There are 180 questions and 4 hours between you and your PMP certificate. All of the steps up to this point have prepared you to answer the questions by applying your understanding of project management and project data. You know how to apply the data to achieve the required results.
All of the exam simulators have prepared you for how to manage your time throughout the exam. You are ready. You have the knowledge as well as the ability and you can get through this. It’s only 180 questions. You have a little over one minute to answer each question. Plenty of time.
Let the work begin!
You’re done. All of your work has paid off and you’re a certified project manager. You are now one of an elite group of world renowned professionals. You now have more access to better pay, and bigger and better projects.
Your next step is to keep up with your knowledge. Keep working to update your knowledge through Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) in order to renew your certificate in 3 years.
All of this for following 3 simple steps. Apply, Prepare, CERTIFY!!