Are you ready to take your project management career to the next level? Obtaining the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification can open up a world of opportunities. In this PMP certification guide, we will outline the five essential steps to help you achieve your PMP certification and advance your career in project management.
3 Reasons to Get a PMP Certification
PMI defines Project Management as “use of specific knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to deliver something of value to people.” No matter the industry, projects are started to create a product, service, or achieve a result that will add value to the industry. Project managers are tasked to see the project through until the goal is achieved. But why is certification important?
- The field of project management is growing. The projections are that it won’t stop. The estimates are that within the next 5 years there will be 22 million new jobs created. That breaks down to 88 million people in project-oriented jobs. With around 1,000,000 individuals currently holding a PMP certification, even if the rate of growth is equal to the amount of jobs, there will still be less than 7,500,000 project managers that are certified, leaving those that have taken that extra step ahead of the game.
- Some people think of a project manager being that person that pulls together the contractors and builders for a new real estate development. Some think it’s the individual that puts together all of the pieces to provide a new social media platform. Whether it’s the upcoming green initiatives that require many businesses to convert to sustainable energy, or a marketing company that is taking on a new client’s social media marketing, project managers provide professional service in a variety of industries.
Knowing how PMP can benefit those industries that you’re interested in can help you decide where your future lies.
- Show You The Money!PMI’s exam jobs report shows that even with the current situation throughout the globe, there will be at least 25 million new project management positions in the next 7 years. Globally those with PMP Certification find a median salary increase of 16% higher than those without a PMP. In the U.S. that percentage is usually around 20% with many Project Management Professionals reporting an additional hike between 7 and 12% within the first year.
A few more things before we move on. A PMP allows your skills and knowledge to be recognized. If you’ve been working in a company as a project manager, by taking that extra step, it shows the leader you are, providing you with the recognition that leads to promotion. If you are applying for a new job, and there are expected to be millions out there in the next few years, the PMP certificate will give you a notch in your belt.
One last reason that you may want to get that PMP is that you will be sought after. Clients, companies, stakeholders, they will know that you have gone the distance to better your skills and your knowledge. Your efforts will be rewarded.
Approaching the Project – Getting PMP Certification
Let’s break you in. By applying project management principles, we can determine if this project is viable for you.
Step 1: Initiating
By this point you are ready to move forward and see if you can reach the goal. You have been provided with a basic understanding of the reasons why and the benefits of getting PMP certification.
Financial Appraisal: Cost Vs. Benefit
The coursework, or 35 contact hours, can cost anywhere from around $400 to upwards of $2,000, depending on which option you choose. There are a variety of courses to meet your financial needs as well as your learning style. The PMP first time exam costs $555 for non-members and $405 for PMI members. If your salary would increase by 20% right now, is $1,000 at the low-end worth it? Cost analysis 101.
If you have a four-year degree and have been working in the field you may already have met all of the educational and experience requirements. All that’s left is the 35 contact hours and the exam. If you are able to take off a full week, you can attend a bootcamp and get your exam scheduled pretty fast. If you want to go a little slower to work around projects you are already contributing to, you can opt for an online self-paced course. Determining what your deadline is requires examining your means, motives, and masterplan.
Have you set a deadline to complete your training? Is there a job that you know is opening up, or a project that is in the works that you want to be the head of? These are milestones.
Good online PMP certifications programs provide you with the support and training you need, when you need it to get the job done
Your company, your colleagues, and your family are all stakeholders in this project. Make sure to discuss the costs to them as well as the benefits. Time is as important as money, especially with your most important stakeholders.
Step 2: Planning
A planning guide can help you approach PMP certification methodically.
Creating a PMP Study Plan
A study plan is essential in studying for your PMP exam. It assists you in managing your time and provides you with room to focus on areas that need more study. Knowing what, when, and how should all be included in the plan.
Knowing what your family, boss, trainers, and friends expect is key to making the time to prepare for your PMP exam and training. Let those around you know what your schedule is and stick to it, for your sake and theirs.
- All things Scope start with the PMBOK, PMI’s Project Management Book of Knowledge. You can check the exam questions as well as study the key knowledge areas required to pass the exam.
- Know where you are on the path. If you still require 500 hours of experience, or if you can’t take time away for boot camp for a couple of months, make sure to work that into your scope of work.
- Each phase requires planning. Keep it Simple, but make it concise.
- You can choose to focus on the study guide or the PMBOK. The choice relies on which will provide you the most benefit for achieving your goal.
- Change driven or Plan driven are two of the methods to approach your project. A predictive plan or Plan driven approach tries to identify the entire scope from the beginning. While an adaptive plan or Change driven approach is just that, it adapts and changes based on what is occurring around the project.
- A key to reaching any goal is PDCA, Plan-Do-Check-Act. Plan the project, do the project, check the project, get the certificate!
Scheduling & Cost
- Many online courses provide self-service sample exams. They can give you a look into the wording and how to determine the answers, allowing you to know what knowledge areas you may be lacking in. Decide what comes first, the study guide or the PMBOK and then work through the exam.
- Studying the relationships of the dependencies on your project, whether it’s Finish to Start (FS), Finish to Finish (FF), Start to Start (SS), or Start to Finish (SF) can let you plan and schedule optimally.
- Examine your resources. Resources are any person, place or thing that can help you complete your project. Make sure that you have set aside time with your significant other if you want them to quiz you, or that you have the living room to yourself when you need quiet to study.
- Scheduling takes the activity, dependency, and an estimate of time available into account. When you make a schedule try and stick to it to keep the project on track. Deviations can set you back.
- Practice exams show you where you have gone off the rails and what you need to focus your study on. So many knowledge areas are co-dependent so taking the time to improve your knowledge in one often helps you with the others.
- Time, budget, location, action, all are parts of your plan that require careful monitoring to keep you on track.
Planning your schedule will help you achieve your goal.
Execution, Monitoring & Control PMP Certification Step 3&4:
Attending the course
It’s time to start. You have the provider. You have the dates set. Go forward and learn the Project Management Knowledge Areas. It’s the next step to getting your PMP certification.
PMP Application Process
Once your PMP 35 hour coursework is started, go forward with the application process. Take time to go over the application process. Do you have all of the requirements? You need to have times, project names, your role in the projects, your title, the name of the organization you worked for. Make sure you have the name and contact information required for the projects, how many hours you worked on the five process groups. This where you can avoid an audit of your experience, by supplying the information completely and concisely. You’re about to be a certified project manager and this is just part of the project.
By completing this portion of the application before or during your training, if you are selected for an audit you have plenty of time allotted in your schedule to handle it.
Once you’re ready to go
- Apply on the PMI website
- Pay the PMP certification exam fee: $555 for non-members or $405 for PMI members. Remember, membership with PMI is $139and the benefits are worth the price.
- Get your eligibility ID from PMI, and schedule your exam.
Closing PMP Certification Step 5:
It’s all over. Now is the time to sit back, but only for a minute. You have work to do.
Go over your project. Think about what you’ve learned and how it benefits you. Think about the resources you utilized and what ones you can recommend to the people who don’t have their certification yet. You are now part of a global community that strives for excellence.
Sign-up for a 7-day free trial! Try the first two modules of Brain Sensei’s story-based PMP and CAPM Exam Prep courses and a mini practice exam and see how it all works
Sign-up for a 7-day free trial!
Try the first two modules of Brain Sensei’s story-based PMP and CAPM Exam Prep courses and a mini practice exam and see how it all works
Obtaining your PMP certification is a significant achievement that can propel your project management career to new heights. By following the five steps outlined in this PMP certification guide, you will be well-prepared to tackle the exam, meet the certification requirements, and maintain your professional status. Start your journey today and unlock the doors to exciting opportunities in the field of project management.
Have you led projects and are looking to earn a project management certification? You might be interested in learning about how lucrative this can be. Check out these articles.
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