You might be thinking of attaining the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification and want to gauge how long does it take to pass the PMP exam.
Most aspirants need about 150 hours of study time over a period of 2-3 months (8-12 weeks) to prepare and pass the PMP certification exam.
However, you might need less or more time than 150 hours. The duration required for the certification depends on several factors like time you can devote for the studies on a daily basis, your reading & grasping speed, your educational background and your project management experience.
It is always a good idea to estimate the duration and effort of an endeavor before starting it. So, let’s look at different steps involved in attaining the PMP certificate and figure out how much time you would need for each step.
How Long Does It Take to Get PMP Certification?
There are a series of steps that you would need to go through in order to prepare for and pass the PMP examination. The following Gantt chart provides a quick overview of each step and time involved in it.
Let’s understand these steps in detail and find out how much time is required for each one of them.
1. What is PMP and what are its Benefits?
Before beginning the journey, you must ascertain that PMP is the right project management certification for you and it will help you in achieving your career goals.
If you understand what PMP is then you can skip this step. Otherwise, you will need about 2-4 hours to complete this step, which should not take you more than one evening.
You will need about 2-4 hours to complete this step
PMP is a globally recognized certification. It is awarded to the aspirants who successfully pass the PMP exam. The exam is conducted by Project Management Institute (PMI) to test your project management knowledge. Project management is the process of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing a project.
Having PMP credential can be valuable for your career as it demonstrates that you have a strong foundation in project management principles and you have a proven ability to apply them effectively.
As a project manager, PMP certification can benefit you in several ways. It can help you in demonstrating your expertise in project management to your colleagues, senior managers, and customers.
The certification will give you an advantage over other candidates while applying for a project management job as many employers and recruiters specifically look for project managers who hold this certification.
Overall, PMP certification is a way for project managers to demonstrate and express their knowledge, skills, expertise and commitment in the field of project management.
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2. What are the Eligibility Requirements for the PMP Exam?
Before you can apply for the PMP exam, you need to meet certain basic requirements related to your education and project experience.
If you are already aware of PMP qualification criteria then you can skip this step. Otherwise, you will need about 2-4 hours to complete this step, which should not take you more than one evening.
You will need about 2-4 hours to complete this step
The PMP certification requirements are described in the following table.
|Project Management Experience
|Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent)
|Minimum five years/60 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience
|Four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent)
|Minimum three years/36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience
|Bachelor’s or post-graduate degree from a GAC accredited program *
(bachelor’s degree or master’s or global equivalent)
|Minimum two years/24 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience
If you qualify for the first requirement then you can join a good PMP training program like ours to complete the second requirement.
In addition to what I have written above, we would recommend you to read our articles on PMP Qualification Criteria and Can you do PMP without project management experience to get an in-depth understanding of this step. You can pursue CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) If you are not eligible for the PMP exam.
3. Become a PMI Member
Many people believe that PMI membership should be taken just before applying for the exam. However, we feel that you should become a PMI member at an early stage of your exam preparation.
You will need about 30 minutes to complete this step. This again should not take you more than one evening.
You will need about 30 minutes to complete this step
After becoming a member, you can download licensed pdf copies of PMBOK Guide, Agile Practice Guide, and Process Group Practice Guide free of cost from pmi.org. These PMI publications are essential for the PMP exam prep.
If you are accustomed to reading a paper book then you can buy these books from Amazon.
Even if you want to spend on paper books then also taking PMI membership is useful because, as a PMI member, you get discount on the exam fee.
Apart from the free access to PMI publications and discounted fee, there are several other benefits to taking the PMI membership for the project managers. Here is a brief overview of these benefits:
- Access to free resources: You can enjoy reading/downloading various free resources, like online tools, templates, white papers, and many other publications that can help you improve your project management skills and stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends.
- Networking: Connect with other project managers in your industry and in your region through local chapter events, online forums, and other networking events.
- Professional development: You can pursue ongoing professional development by attending conferences, seminars, and other educational events.
Becoming a PMI member is a fairly easy. Here are the steps that you can follow to become a member:
- Visit the PMI website: Go to www.pmi.org and click on the “Join” button at the top of the page.
- Fill the application form
- Pay membership fee
- Receive confirmation and start downloading helpful resources.
The membership is valid for one year from the date of joining. If you want, you can easily renew your membership by paying the annual membership fee.
In addition to what I have written above, you can read our other article on PMI membership to understand its benefits and fee structure in detail.
Overall, PMI membership can be a valuable resource for project managers who want to stay current with best practices, expand their professional network, and advance their career.
4. Enroll into a 35 Contact Hours PMP Training Program
Refer to #2 above. You need to undergo a 35 contact hours project management training program in order to apply for the PMP exam. You can easily do so by joining any PMP exam preparation facilitation program.
You will need about 4-8 hours to do research and enroll into a PMP certification training program. This can be done over a weekend.
You will need about 4-8 hours to enroll into a PMP training program
There are three different types of PMP facilitation training programs. You can choose any one of them. We have written a detailed article to help you understand the significance of 35 contact hours training and pros & cons of different types of PMP training programs. You can read this article before shortlisting and investing in a training program.
Here are few other things that you should do before investing in a PMP training:
- Research different training providers: Do some research on the Internet and look for reputable training providers that offer PMP certification courses.
- Interact with the support team: This will give you a good idea of the support system because you will need periodic support while studying for the exam.
- Review the course content: Ensure that the course content covers all the necessary PMP exam topics. Additionally, make sure that the training course is comprehensive and includes everything you need for passing the PMP exam.
- Check profile of instructors: Check qualifications and experience of the training instructors who will be delivering the training. Make sure that the instructors are PMP certified professionals and have relevant project management experience & knowledge about the PMP exam.
- Look for learning interactions: Ensure that the course includes interactive learning elements like quizzes, exercises, and simulations. These elements will validate your understanding of the PMP exam material.
- Consider cost and convenience: Consider the cost and convenience of the training course. Look for a course that fits your budget and schedule, and offers flexible learning options such as self-paced training.
- 100% money-back guarantee: Finally, look for 100% money-back guarantee as it provides a risk-free investment option. It tells you that the training provider is confident about their study material, which will help you pass the exam in your first attempt.
In addition to the above points, you can check is your shortlisted training provider is a PMI Authorized Training Partner (ATP) or not. This is only applicable if you want to join a live training program as only live training providers can become PMI ATP.
By following the above guidelines, you should be able to shortlist a good training course that meets your needs and preferences.
We would suggest you to serious consider our PMP online training program because it fares well on all the above parameters.
5. Prepare for the PMP Exam
This is the most time-consuming step for attaining the PMP certification.
You will need to study the training content, refer PMI publications, and do about 2000 practice questions to complete this step.
Overall, you will need about 150 hours of study time that can be spent over a period of 8-12 weeks. The total duration can vary based on your daily study schedule, your reading & grasping speed, and quantum of study material.
You will need about 150 hours to prepare for the PMP exam
Here is a breakdown of the total time required for the PMP exam prep.
5a. PMP Training
A PMP training is mandated to be 35 hours long but it could be longer than that also. Depending on how long the training course is and how much you revisit the training content, you would need about 40-50 hours to complete a good course.
5b. PMI Publications
Refer to #3 above. You would need to study PMBOK Guide, Agile Practice Guide, and Process Group Practice Guide in order to prepare for the exam.
Out of these, Agile Practice Guide is less than 90 pages long. The other two books have about 300 pages of study content.
The amount of time you need to spend to read these books will depend on your level of experience and familiarity with project management. Depending on your reading speed and comprehension level, you would need about 50-60 hours to complete these books.
You can read these books side by side while going through your chosen training program. While going through the training content and studying the books, I would advise you to review specific sections and make your own notes.
5c. Practice Exams
Going through practice exams is an essential part of the PMP certification process. They help you to gauge your readiness for the actual exam and identify areas where you need improvement.
Some aspirants start feeling confident after practicing 1000 questions while others need 3000 questions. However, on an average, a PMP aspirant needs to practice about 2000 questions to fully prepare for the exam.
You would need to spend time for doing practice tests and reviewing them afterwards. On average, it will take you two minutes to complete a question and then review it afterwards. In all, you would need 4000 minutes or 65 hours to do 2000 practice questions.
Some experts suggest that an aspirant should read additional reference books apart from studying PMI publications as PMI publications alone may not be sufficient for passing the exam. PMI publications provide a framework for best practices in project management, but they do not cover all exam topics.
However, if you take a good course like ours, you will not need any additional reference book. The choice is entirely up to you but if you want to go through additional reference books then you should budget addtional time for that as well.
6. Fill Application Form
You need to formally apply for the PMP exam before you can take it. The process of exam application is relatively easy. You just need to go to pmi.org and fill out a form and submit it to PMI for their approval. This includes submitting your application, providing proof of education and experience, and paying the exam fee.
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Filling out the application form can about 1-2 hours but information gathering may take about 4-8 hours. The whole process can be completed over a weekend.
You will need about 6-10 hours to complete this step
In order to complete the application, you will need to provide information about your basic education, project management experience, and 35 contact hours education. The project management experience should describe your role in directing and leading projects.
I would recommend you to gather all the necessary information before starting the application form. This way you will save a lot of time while filling the application form.
I would also recommend you to carefully review the application before submitting it. Errors, omissions or false information can delay the approval process. So, take time to review the application and ensure that all the information you have provided is accurate and complete.
In addition to what I have written above, you can read our article on PMP registration process to understand more details about this step.
7. Wait for PMI’s Approval
PMI takes a maximum of 5 business days to review and approve a PMP application. However, the actual processing time may vary from application to application. The time would depend on volume of applications received and accuracy & completeness of your application.
You will need to wait for about 5 business days to get an approval from PMI
Additionally, if your application is selected for a PMI audit then the processing time will be more. During the audit PMI will ask you to provide additional documentation to support the information that you provided in your application. PMI will approve your application only after it is satisfied with the documentation that you have provided.
I would again recommend you to carefully review you application before submitting it. You should ensure that it is complete in all respects. This is likely to minimize the probability of an audit and expedite the processing time.
As part of our training program, we offer complimentary review of our students’ applications. So, I would advise you to check out our PMP training before investing in one.
PMI will send you an email notification after approving your application. Thereafter, you can schedule your exam at a time of your convenience and location of your choice.
Even though you get one year to schedule and take the exam after your application is approved, we would advise you to schedule the exam as soon as possible since you have already completed your exam preparation.
8. Pass the Exam
On the D-day, you just need to take the PMP exam and pass it. The exam lasts for 250 minutes, which include 230 minutes exam time and two 10 minutes breaks. You need to answer 180 questions in order to complete the exam.
You will need about 4 hours to pass the PMP exam
The exam is a Computer Based Test (CBT) and exam results are declared immediately after you finish your exam.
The process for becoming PMP certified is a longish process. Overall, it can take about 8-12 weeks to become a certified PMP. The time period depends on several factors, such as your daily routine & study schedule, the quantum of study material, your speed of study & comprehension level experience.
As part of our PMP training program, we help our students to prepare a study schedule. We would suggest you to take a look at our training program as it comes with a lot of other features that are not provided by other training companies.
Let us know how much time are you planning to take for the PMP exam prep. Do you think 8-12 weeks is a reasonable time frame? Or, do you think it will require more time?
All the best.
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