pmp certification exam without project management experience

PMP Certification Without Project Management Experience

Is project management experience necessary for the PMP certification?. Can I take the PMP exam without being a project manager?”

If these questions are constantly crossing your mind, then I would like to clear your thoughts with one single word – NO.  You can’t get the PMP certificate without relevant experience.

Don’t feel disheartened and discouraged as you can’t appear for PMP without experience. But you can certainly gain experience before sitting for the exam. Meanwhile you can look at CAPM certification, which can become a stepping stone for passing the PMP exam.

In this article, I will clear your doubts and misunderstanding related to the PMP experience and its requirements. I will also tell how PMI define the overlapping experience for 4500 / 7500 hours of requirement.

Experience For Taking The PMP Exam

As the certification itself is highly valued, the requirements are high too. Hence, PMI requires that you have at least 2 to 4 years of experience under the project management domain as per your education.

To be eligible for the PMP certification, you must meet certain educational and professional experience requirements as stated by PMI, which are also tabulated below. All experience must have occurred within the last 8 years before taking the PMP.

Educational BackgroundPM ExperiencePMP Education
Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent).Min 5 years / 60 months unique non-overlapping professional PM experience & 7,500 hours spent for the project.35 contact hours of education.
OR
4-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent).Min 3 years / 36 months unique non-overlapping professional PM experience & 4,500 hours spent for the project.35 contact hours of education.

Experience in project management refers to time spent performing various steps in the entire duration of the project.

Let us understand the relations of your work-done (4,500 / 7,500 hours) to the time allocated to complete that work (5 / 3) years and the concept of overlapping which is necessary for a PMP aspirant to understand before counting the work done in hours.

  • Case I: Suppose you have been assigned a project which was eventually completed in 4,500 hours taking 3 to 3.5 years for completion. This scenario looks good and yes, it will be accepted by PMI too.
  • Case II: Consider you undertook a project which had a requirement of 4,500 hours but the project completed in 1.5 years of the period time. According to PMI guidelines, you have fulfilled one requirement but fall short for another one. So, I suggest you undertake another project which you can complete in the remaining time.
  • Case III: Imagine you were assigned two projects and it took you 4,500 hours to complete project α – and 2,000 hours to complete project β. This project seems to be accepted by PMI on the work done basis but the period time for both the project co-incidences. So overall this will not be accepted.

The reason for the rejection of such a type of project lies in the time required to complete the projects. The last case had shown a classic example of time overlapping in 2 different projects.

PMI has strictly mentioned that your experience must be non-overlapping which means you only count the time spent on ONE of those projects toward fulfilling your eligibility requirements.

If you only have a secondary degree or high school diploma, you can still be eligible for PMP. The requirement for such cases is towards the higher side. You need to provide the experience of working for project management for 7500 hours for at least 5 years.

Examples of 4500 Hours of Project Management Experience

Project management is an integral part of any industry today. Industries like FMCG, Defence, Construction, Finance, Information Technology, Energy, or Health Care depend largely on Project management for cutting down Operational Cost, helping them complete big and comparatively time-consuming projects.

So any professional working in the above industry or any other sector is still eligible for taking the PMP Examination. Since different industries have different tasks and projects to handle.

The project handled by you may be large or small depending on the time required to complete them. While supervising a project you must also have experience in the 5 process group: Planning, Leading, Execution, Budget, Documentation, Maintenance, and Coordination.

  • Planning: Project managers create a blueprint of the entire project. Every detail of how the plan will move forward is defined in this very first step. This includes the main aim, Resources needed, estimated time frame, a plan B, in case there are any deviations and more.
  • Leading: Project managers lead the project team by communicating with them, the necessary details and ensuring that everyone is clear about basically everything.
  • Execution: Once the plans have been made, it’s time for executing them. A project manager has to make sure that the plans are laid accordingly.
  • Budget: A key responsibility for project managers includes coming up with — and sticking to — a budget for the project. If unexpected financial issues arise, it’s up to the project manager to manage them and reallocate resources where necessary.
  • Documentation: Project managers keep a record of each project’s progress with tools such as data collection and status reports.
  • Maintenance: It’s crucial to come up with a plan for the ongoing success of the deliverable; this includes troubleshooting and maintenance.
  • Coordination: Project managers should be able to maintain harmony between her/his teammates and resolve conflicts if any.

These are some typical responsibilities of a project manager. Participating in any of these activities can qualify as experience in project management.

Don’t worry if you have not performed related tasks as mentioned already. Handling some parts of projects like a functional leader, team management; scheduling will also help you clear that eligible bar set by PMI because you don’t have to have “project manager” in your job title to get project management experience.

Why do you need Project Management Experience?

While aiming to become PMP (Project Management Professional) certified, you must have a good understanding of both technical and practical approaches to project management.

For doing PMP certification it is essential and said to have project management experience.

PMI makes it very clear that the certified PMP delivers what they have learnt into real-life practice. Only passing the exam without any relevant experience will take you anywhere in the path of becoming PMP certified.

Co-relate this to a situation where you would not want a heart surgeon who has only passed the written test and has no practical knowledge to be allowed to operate you. Rather you would prefer a doctor who has successfully passed the written tests and has a very good record with heart surgeries and with his/her patients too.

PMI guidelines convey that one must have experience of 2- 4 years relevant to their educational background.

Proof of Project Management Experience

PMP credential is globally recognized for project management skills and experience. Hence this must not surprise you that PMI undergoes extensive measures to verify the applications. They randomly review applications before you go for the PMP Examination.

If your application comes under audit, PMI can ask for proof of educational qualification or proof of contact hours.

CAPM Certification Exam

If you don’t fulfil the requirements for PMP certification then don’t worry and don’t feel down. PMI has some basic level certification for professionals who have less experience. If you are someone with less experience than you can go for some other certification like CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) and till then fulfill your PMP requirements.

In this way, you can fulfil both PMP requirements and gain a professional certification too.

Conclusion

I have explained to you what the PMI guidelines for any individual to appear for the PMP exam. Since the PMP Exam is renowned and worldwide accepted so they have some sets of requirements that change with an individual’s educational background.

One must also take into consideration the overlapping aspect of the project. The overlapping concept has its benefits and also has a very important role in the PMP Exam; failing to complete may be one of the reasons for you to not appear for the PMP Exam.

So, the experience is what is the most important feature and requirement of the PMP exam. If you fail to match up with the requirements, PMI has another set of exams for you.

Over To You

So what is your opinion about the PMP certification experience? What’s your plan? Please do let us know in the comment section below.

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