pmp certification requirements eligibility criteria

PMP Certification Requirements & Exam Eligibility Criteria

You need to fulfill PMP certification requirements in order to qualify for the PMI credential exam. There are only two prerequisites to meet the eligibility criteria. These are:

  1. minimum project management experience of 36 months or 60 months depending on your basic education.
  2. 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM certification.

If you have the required project management experience then you can join our PMP training course to get 35 hours training certificate in order to qualify for the exam. Otherwise, you can pursue CAPM certification.

We will suggest you to attain the certification soon as it will help you in your career. Here are some interesting facts about PMP:

  1. There are about 1 million certified PMPs in the world but employees will need about 2.2 million professionals each year through 2027 to fill project management roles.
  2. The median salary of certified PMPs around the globe is 16% higher than non-certified project managers.

Let’s understand the above two qualification requirements for the PMP certification in detail.

Note: You can also read our other article to understand how you can attain PMP certification.

PMP Certification Requirements

1. PMP Experience Requirement

You should have experience of leading and directing projects before you can apply for the PMP exam. The quantum of experience depends upon your educational qualifications.

You need unique non-overlapping professional project management experience of:

  1. 3 years or 36 months if you have a 4-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent).
  2. 5 years or 60 months if you have a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent).

Experience in project management doesn’t mean that your designation or job-title should be project manager. It just means that you should have spent time in initiating, planning, leading, directing, monitoring, controlling, and closing the projects.

The nature, size, industry, technology of your project(s) also does not matter as long as the project are done in a professional setup. The project can be big or small and from any domain or industry.

The following diagram shows an example of project management experience.

pmp experience requirement

The diagram depicts two projects that were managed in a year – Project X from February to September for 8 months and Project Y from June to December 2020 for 7 months. The two projects had an overlap of 4 months between June and September, which will be counted only once. The total non-overlapping experience will be 11 months.

Project Management Tasks

There are three performance domains People, Process, and Business Environment. You should have experience in all of these domains to qualify for the certification. It is not necessary that you have experience of all three domains in your all projects.

  1. People – It covers the soft skills which are required to be a good project manager. For example leadership, mentoring, motivating team members, managing expectations, and engagement with stakeholders.
  2. Process – It covers the technical skills which are required for completing the project. For example quality management, risk management, stakeholder management, schedule management etc.
  3. Business Environment – It covers the skills which are required to perform tasks within your organization and industry. For example managing organizational change, making changes in the project, and tracking benefits.

You’ll need to list your projects along with their duration in the PMP application. While filling the application form, you should highlight your involvement and responsibilities in each project.

Here are some sample tasks that that can be construed as project management tasks:

  1. Creation or help in creation of project charter.
  2. Collecting and documenting requirements.
  3. Developing Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
  4. Defining scope of the project.
  5. Developing project schedule and budget.
  6. Preparing quality management plans.
  7. Giving walk-through of different artifacts to stakeholders and obtaining approval from them.
  8. Allocating work to the project team members.
  9. Guiding team to perform the necessary work for creating the project deliverables and achieving project objectives.
  10. Tracking and monitoring project progress.
  11. Managing risks and changes throughout the project.
  12. Creating work performance reports and sharing them with the stakeholders.
  13. Managing stakeholders’ expectations.
  14. Obtaining acceptance for deliverables.
  15. Finalizing all activities and archiving documents.
  16. Communicating project closure.

You can refer to PMP Eaxm Content Outline (ECO) for a complete list of tasks in the three domains.

2. PMP Training Requirement

PMI needs you to have 35 contact hours of formal project management education/training before you can apply for the exam. The 35 hours training requirement is waived off for CAPM certification holders.

One contact hour is equal to one hour of classroom instruction or its equivalent. You can add hours from multiple training programs to complete 35 contact hours. You can also add educational hours from project management related courses that you might have attended in your college.

The diagram below depicts that a person has attended three project management training programs in different years – Training 1, 2 and 3 for 10, 15, and 20 hours respectively. You can use the total time (40 hours) of these training program to fulfill 35 hours requirement.

pmp training requirement

Educational hours are considered as contact hours only if you have attended a formal training/course and your time spent in learning activities is recorded. Watching YouTube videos and studying the PMBOK Guide on your ow does not count towards contact hours.

You can attend 35 hours training in any format viz. self-directed online, instructor-led online or classroom.  You can choose the format as per your comfort and budget.

  1. Self-directed online courses will give you flexibility of time and location. You can learn at your own pace. They are much cheaper then other forms of training.
  2. Instructor-led online courses will give you flexibility of location but not time. You can learn for the comfort of your home while will being guided by an instructor. They are more costly then self-directed training.
  3. Classroom courses are not flexible but they give you face time with the instructor. They are much more costly then the other formats of training.

You can attend a training program from any training provider as long as they issue a 35 hours certificate. The provider need not be a Authorized Training Provider (ATP). As per PMIs mandate, ATPs cannot sell self-directed online courses.

Although you do not need to spend money on a PMP oriented course if you already have 35 hours of education from college or from another training but we will advice you to enroll into a formal PMP course. A formal PMP course will acclimatize you with the PMBOK Guide and will prepare you for the exam. It will give you tips and tricks that are necessary for passing the exam.

You can read our article on formal project management training to understand the different ways to acquire 35 contact hours.

FAQ about PMP Eligibility Criteria

Q. What is the difference between project management experience and 35 hours of education?

Project management experience means the number of months that you have spent in leading and directing projects whereas 35 contact hours is the amount of time that you have spent in attending a formal project management training.

Q. Do I need to have job title of Project Manager to be eligible for the exam?

No. It doesn’t matter what your job title is in your company. You are eligible for the exam as long as you have at least 36/60 months of project management Experience.

Q. What are the experience requirements so stringent?

PMP is a hard exam. PMI wants you to fully appreciate project management concepts before applying for the exam. That’s why they have made the requirements very stringent. For more details, refer to our other article on how to become a project manager without experience.

Q. What happens if I haven’t done all the tasks as defined in ECO?

It does not matter. You can apply for the exam if you have 36/60 months of project management experience

Q. What happens if I have worked in only one project?

It does not matter. You can apply for the exam if you have done some of the project management tasks as defined in ECO.

Q. I have some work experience from a company that is no more in business. How can I provide evidence of that experience?

You can get in touch with a former official representative of the company and ask him to verify your experience. If you cannot find an official representative then you can ask a former colleague or co-worker to verify your experience. In extreme cases, PMI recognizes that not all project work or experience can be validated.

Q Why PMI has made 35 hours training mandatory?

Although project management experience is a huge asset, it does not mean that you understand project management concepts and best practices as described by the PMI. A formal training is required to update and refresh your project management knowledge and make you ready for the exam.

Q. Do I need to undergo a 35 hours training if I am CAPM certified?

No. The 35 hours training requirement is waived off for CAPM certification holders.

Q. What is considered a contact hour?

One hour of classroom instruction or its equivalent is considered as one contact hour.

Q. Does PMI consider self study activities for completing 35 hours requirement?

No. Self-study in any form does not count towards PMI’s requirement for contact hours.

Q. What should I do if I do not have contact hours certificate from a training that I attended in my company?

You can ask your HR or L&D department to issue you a certificate.

Q. Is it mandatory to get trained by a PMI ATP for getting 35 hours certificate?

No. You can get a 35 hours certificate from any formal project management training. You can refer to page 17 of this PMI document for more details. As a matter of fact, ATPs are not allowed to sell self-directed online courses.

Q. What topics should be included in a formal project management training?

The formal training should include traditional and agile project management topics like scope, schedule, cost, quality, resources, communication, risk, procurement, stakeholder, and integration management.

Q After how long does a 35 hours certificate expire?

The certificate does not expire. But you need to keep the certificate or proof of your contact hours and the contact hours must be earned before you submit your application in order to be eligible for the PMP. If you have completed the contact hours in 2019, you can take the exam in 2020.

Q. Do I need 35 hours certificate from one training course on project management?

No. You can combine hours from number of different courses on project management that total up to or are more than 35 hours. The example in section 2 has three courses.

Q. Do I need to have 35 hours training before submitting my PMP application?

Yes. This is mandatory. Before submitting the PMP application, you will need to provide the details of the 35 hours course and its date of completion.

Q. What’s the best way to get 35 hours certificate?

An online training is the best way to get 35 hours as it is cheapest and most flexible.

Q. Do I need to become a PMI member to apply for the exam?

No. PMI membership has certain benefits but it is not mandatory to apply for the exam. The main advantage of membership if that members get discount on the exam application fees and can download PMBOK Guide free of cost.

Q. How much time does PMI take to process the exam application?

Online applications usually take less than 5 business days to process. Individual and corporate applications that are sent through post can take longer. You do not need to pay anything till your application is processed. You can make the payment and schedule your exam after you application has been processed and approved.

Q. How long do I get to take the exam after my application is approved?

Your application remains valid for one year from the date of approval. Applicants who fail in the initial attempt can attempt the exam two more times during the validity period.

Q. What can I do if I’m not eligible for the PMP exam?

You can apply for the CAPM certification, which can be later used to apply for the PMP exam.


PMP is a very expensive exam, but the value of PMP far exceeds the cost. It is well-respected, highly regarded, and widely accepted. Therefore, the eligibility criteria are somewhat stringent.

If you are eligible for the exam then you should look at our PMP 35 online training course. It is designed to prepare you for the PMP exam. It includes every study aid possible to help you pass the exam in your first try.

Our training is unparalleled in the industry. It comes with 100% pass guarantee. If you fail, we will refund 100% of your training fee.

You can buy our PMP program for as low as USD 99 in the USA. Contact us if you have any questions about the PMP requirements. We will be happy to answer them.

Over to You

Do you have any questions about the eligibility criteria for PMP exam? You can leave a comment below and we will answer your question.

10 thoughts on “PMP Certification Requirements & Exam Eligibility Criteria”

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  4. Hi,

    I have 10 years of experience in application development and now i would like to move towards the project management.

    So am i eligible for the PMP examination.?

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