PMP (Project Management Professional) is a coveted certification for the practicing project managers. It can become a stepping stone in your career and enhance your earning potential. The certificate is awarded by PMI (Project Management Institute) to candidates who successfully pass the PMP certification exam.
The whole PMI certification process is kind of cumbersome. You need to fulfil PMP certification requirements in order to apply for the credential exam.
Following are the two prerequisites to meet the PMP eligibility criteria:
- minimum project management experience of 36 months or 60 months, which depends on your educational background.
- 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) certification.
As per the first requirement, PMP examination is can be taken only by the experienced project management practitioners.
The second requirement is easy. If you have the required project experience then you can join our PMP certification training course to get 35 hours training certificate. A training will also help you in the PMP exam prep.
The above two requirements are described in PMP handbook published by PMI. Let’s understand these requirements and the process of PMP certification in detail.
What is PMP Certification?
PMP is a globally recognized project management certificate. PMP certified individuals are sought after in practically every major industry.
We will suggest you to attain the certification soon as it will help you in your career. Here are some interesting facts about PMP:
- 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.
- The median salary of PMP certified professionals is 16% higher than non-certified project managers.
PMP certification is administered by PMI. It is awarded to candidates who successfully pass the PMP credential exam.
The exam is mainly structured around the project management concepts written in two PMI publications – PMBOK Guide (A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge) and Agile Practice Guide. You can download these books free of cost by becoming a PMI member.
PMP Certification Requirements
1. PMP Experience Requirement
PMI requires you to have experience of directing and leading projects before you can apply for the PMP exam. Simple experience of working in projects doesn’t count.
The magnitude of experience depends upon your educational qualifications. You need unique non-overlapping professional project management experience of:
- 3 years or 36 months if you have a 4-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent).
- 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 managing projects which includes initiating, planning, 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.
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
You’ll need to list your projects along with their duration in the PMP application. You will also need to describe your involvement and responsibilities in each project.
Here are some sample responsibilities that are construed as project management tasks by PMI:
- Creation or help in creation of project charter.
- Collecting and documenting requirements.
- Developing Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
- Defining scope of the project.
- Developing project schedule and budget.
- Preparing quality management plans.
- Giving walk-through of different artifacts to stakeholders and obtaining approval from them.
- Allocating work to the project team members.
- Guiding team to perform the necessary work for creating the project deliverables and achieving project objectives.
- Tracking and monitoring project progress.
- Managing risks and changes throughout the project.
- Creating work performance reports and sharing them with the stakeholders.
- Managing stakeholders’ expectations.
- Obtaining acceptance for deliverables.
- Finalizing all activities and archiving documents.
- Communicating project closure.
Project Management Domains
There are three performance domains People, Process, and Business Environment. You should have experience in all of these domains to qualify for the certification but it is not necessary that you have experience of all three domains in all your projects.
- 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.
- Process – It covers the technical skills which are required for completing the project. For example, quality management, risk management, stakeholder management, schedule management etc.
- 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 can refer to PMP Eaxm Content Outline (ECO) for a complete list of tasks in the above 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.
Historically 35 contact hours mean 35 hours of class room instruction but things have changed in the Internet world.
Today one contact hour is equal to one hour of classroom instruction or its equivalent., which means that you can attend an 35 hours of online workshop to fulfil the training need.
How to get 35 Contact Hours?
For your PMP exam preparation, 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.
- Self-directed online courses will give you flexibility of time and location. You can learn at your own pace. They are much cheaper than other forms of training.
- 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 than self-directed training.
- Classroom courses are not flexible but they give you face time with the instructor. They are much more costly than the other formats of training.
You can attend a training program from any training provider as long as they issue a 35 hours certificate. They need not be a PMI Authorized Training Partner (ATP).
It is a general fallacy that only ATPs can award a 35 hours training certificate. The certificate can be awarded by any training institute who holds a training on project management concepts. In fact, as per PMIs mandate, ATPs cannot sell self-directed online courses.
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 own does not count towards contact hours.
Note: You can read our article on formal project management training to understand the different ways to acquire 35 contact hours.
Combining Contact Hours from Multiple Training Courses
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 duration (40 hours) of these training program to fulfil 35 hours requirement.
If you already have 35 hours of project management education from college courses or from another training, you do not need to spend money on a PMP oriented course. However, we will still advice you to join a formal PMP facilitation course as it will acclimatize you with the PMBOK Guide concepts and will prepare you for the exam. Additionally, it will give you tips and tricks that are necessary for passing the exam.
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?
Passing the PMP exam is tough job. 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.
How to become PMP Certified?
Passing the PMP exam is a tedious process. You have to toil hard while studying for the exam. Here is a step-by-step process to crack the exam and become a certified project manager:
- Ascertain your eligibility for the exam – If you are not eligible for the PMP exam, you can opt for CAPM certification exam.
- Determine your budget – PMP certification cost varies with country. You can attain PMP by spending anything between $800-$3000. You can read our detailed article on PMP expenses to determine your budget.
- Enrol into a PMP exam prep training course and study for the credential test.
- Apply for the PMP exam – Filling PMP application is a lengthy and tiresome process. You can read our article of PMP application to understand a step-by step process for filling the application.
- Take and pass the PMP certification exam.
You can also read our other article to find out a detailed step-by-step process to attain PMP certification.
Even though PMP is an expensive exam, 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 149 in the USA. You can contact us if you have any questions about the PMP requirements. We will be happy to answer your queries.
Do you have any questions about the eligibility criteria for PMP exam? You can leave a comment below and we will answer your question.