When it comes to project management, you want to be sure that you understand all of the requirements before you attempt to apply for the certification exam. The good news is that it’s relatively straightforward. You can qualify by completing just a few simple requirements. These include educational requirements such as standard schooling and project management experience and specific project management education.
Once you have completed the PMP certification requirements, you can apply to take the exam. Throughout this article, we will discuss what the PMP exam is, what you can expect, how to qualify, and how to apply. That way, by the time you’re finished here, you will be comfortable preparing for and taking the exam so that you can become a certified project manager. This will give you the opportunity to begin reaping the benefits that go along with certification, such as higher pay and potentially even a promotion. So, take a look at our guide to PMP certification.
What is the PMP Exam?
Let’s start with the basics. Just what is the PMP exam, and why does it matter to you? This exam is designed to ensure that you can be a certified project manager at your place of business. It’s estimated that there will be almost 2.2 million project style jobs by 2027, and if you have the ability to take on one of those jobs, it’s going to be an excellent opportunity for you. That’s where the project management exam comes in.
This exam will test your ability to execute the tasks necessary to be an effective project manager. You’ll prove to employers and clients that you know what you’re doing and that you can easily manage projects of all types and sizes. Keep in mind that you don’t need to be titled as a project manager to get this certification.
If you want to get a promotion or a raise in your current field, however, this might be an excellent way to go. It’s going to prove that you have the skills to manage projects and lead teams, which will definitely benefit your place of work. Not only that, but you’ll have better opportunities if you should choose to go elsewhere as well. If you want to apply to other jobs, you’ll have another certification that looks good on your resume and the opportunity to do even more at your new job.
Are You Eligible for the PMP?
There are actually several ways that you could achieve PMP certification eligibility. The first one is by achieving a high school diploma, associate’s degree, or some level of global equivalent. Once you’ve done this, you will need to complete 60 months of professional project management experience. You will also need to take 35 contact hours of formal education in project management.
The second option is if you already have a bachelor’s degree or some form of global equivalent. In that case, you only need 36 months of professional project management experience. You will still need to take 35 contact hours of formal education in project management as well.
Finally, if you have a bachelor’s degree or a post-graduate degree from a program that is GAC accredited, you have a separate option. You will need 24 months of professional project management experience. You will also need 35 hours of contact formal education in project management. With this method, however, you will also need 4,500 hours of leading and directing projects.
Once you have achieved any of these three options, you will be eligible to take the PMP exam. Keep in mind that you will still need to work hard actually to pass the exam. These hours of education and experience will not be sufficient to help you pass the exam on their own. You will still want to take a look at study guides and additional options to help you prepare thoroughly.
Taking a look at some of the projects you’ve done in the past, including reviewing some of the steps and processes you used, may also be helpful. This will help you to feel more confident when it comes time for your exam. Not only that, but it will help you to understand better what is likely to be on the exam. You can also look at specific study guides and materials available for those who want to spend a little more time on their preparations.
How to Get Your PMP Certification?
If you want to get your certification, you will then need to take the PMP exam. Now, at this point, you’ve already qualified for the exam, but you still need to fill out the application. We’ll talk about the process of filling out your application in the next section. For now, you need to know that you have all of the qualifications and that you’re eligible to apply.
The exam is taken through Prometric, and this is the only recognized company to produce the exam. It is also taken over a four hour period and consists of 200 different questions. You may take the exam up to three times during the period that you are eligible (one year after your application is approved). If you do not pass the exam after that time, you will be required to wait and pay a second fee to retake it.
The questions on your exam will be process-related, people-related, and business environment-related. These appear at 50%, 42%, and 8%, respectively. You’ll want to spend the most time studying the processes related to project management, but each of the areas is definitely important, and you will not want to miss out on them. Even missing a few questions in each section will affect whether you will pass the exam, so you want to be fully prepared.
How to Apply for Your PMP Certification?
Let’s start with the process of PMP exam application. If you’re ready to apply for the PMP exam, you need to start by deciding if you’re going to become a member of the Project Management Institute. If you choose not to become a member, you will pay $555 for your exam fee as a non-member. If you do decide to become a member, you will need to pay the $139 registration fee to become one. Then you will pay only $405 for your exam fees. This will save you a little money in the long run.
Once you have signed up (if you choose to do so), you can take the 35-hour formal education program. There are several different programs that you can use to qualify but make sure that you work with the Project Management Institute and Prometric to determine which ones are actually approved. You don’t want to spend all of that time studying and taking a course only to find out that it doesn’t even apply to your requirement.
Be sure you have completed the PMP certification checklist to make sure you are eligible. Before you can actually submit your application, you need to have completed the 35 contact hours. Make sure that you have this well documented before submitting your application. And remember that there is no specific timeline from when you register to when you apply for the exam. You have as much time as you need and definitely plenty of time to complete the course. You may even want to take a little extra time so you can prepare, but there is time for that after you apply as well.
Once you submit your application, the Institute will take a look and either give you an approval or denial. You will get a response within five business days. This response, if it is an approval, will include an invitation to schedule your exam and make a payment. You do not have to schedule immediately, and you will actually have one year to take your exam after you have received your approval. After that, you will need to re-apply.
During that one year period, you will have the opportunity to take the exam three times to pass. If your time expires or you do not pass after three attempts, you will need to re-apply and pay the fee for testing again. Make sure that you schedule your test through the links that you are sent and that you work with an official testing center. Once again, you do not want to pay for something that is not actually going to give you the benefits that you’re looking for. Instead, you want to make sure your results will be turned inappropriately, and you will get the certification.
Finally, you need to take the exam and make sure you pass. this is going to involve some studying and preparation, but you’re definitely going to have a great opportunity and plenty of resources available to help you with this process. Once you have achieved your PMP, you will still need to maintain the certification, which requires continuing education as long as you want to keep it active.
Can You Get PMP Certification Without Experience?
The PMP exam requires that you have a certain amount of experience before you will be eligible to sit for it. You will need to meet the qualifications that are listed above before you will be able to apply. If you don’t meet those qualifications, your application will be denied. This is meant to ensure that only those who are skilled in this area and who will be the most beneficial will be able to gain certification.
If you’re not yet qualified or you have no experience in project management, you should work on gaining experience with your place of employment or even through volunteer organizations. You will need to document your experience, but even unpaid volunteer experience in leading projects will count toward your hours. Just remember that the hours you work as a project leader must have consecutively, rather than concurrently. If you are in charge of multiple projects at the same time, only one will count toward your time requirement.
Be sure to pay attention to all opportunities where you could practice being a project manager. As well as all opportunities where you are already engaging in project management, possibly without realizing it. Those hours will count. Not to mention they could get you to your requirement quickly.
Wrapping Things Up: PMP Certification Requirements
In order to achieve your PMP certification, you will need to meet specific requirements; however, these are not designed to be complicated. Instead, they’re designed to make sure that you know what’s expected of you and that you are fully prepared for the job that you will likely be undertaking once you have completed the certification. That means you need to have education experience both in general and specifically related to project management. You also need to have practical, hands-on experience that relates to project management.
Make sure that you’re already qualified before you apply, as you will not get approved if you don’t already meet the minimum requirements. If you don’t have the experience, you will not be able to take the exam and will need to receive experience before you can. But remember that your experience doesn’t have to be related to any specific type of project, and it doesn’t need to be paid experience. Volunteer work and unpaid projects that you have been responsible for leading will still count toward your minimum.