A Step-by-Step Guide To PMP Certification

Step-by-Step Guide to PMP Certification
Step-by-Step Guide to PMP Certification

Project management professionals engaged in managing projects big or small, simple or complex have a  desire to attain the PMP certification. PMI Today May 2017 edition puts the total active holders of PMP credential to 761,905,  making it by far one of the most sought after professional credential world over. It not only showcases that the project manger has a deep insight of the subject matter but also helps in smooth delivery of the projects hence the pmp certification provides benefits to both the individual as well as the organization. Project Management Professional (PMP)® handbook which is available on PMI website is must read for all aspirants however, in this post I have attempted to furnish the information related to PMP certification requirements in a simplified manner.

PMP Certification Eligibility Criteria.

The most important point to be noted with respect to eligibility criteria is that the project management experience must have accrued with in eight consecutive years prior to submission of the application. The detailed eligibility criteria is as follows.

If you have a four year degree:

  • Minimum 3 years / 36 months of unique non-overlapping professional project management experience.
  • At least 4500 hrs of experience in leading and directing the project.
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education.

If you don’t have a four year degree:

  • Minimum 5 years / 60 months of unique non-overlapping professional project management experience.
  • At least 7500 hrs of experience in leading and directing the project.
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education.

PMP Certification Requirements.

Once you have ensured that you meet the eligibility criteria and have decided to appear for the examination following are the steps that may be helpful in completing the application process.

Step – 1: Sign up with pmi.org to create your profile.

  • Make sure you use a valid e-mail id as this e-mail id will be used for all future correspondence.
  • Fill complete details of home / work address as this will save time while filling the application form.

Step – 2: Download the (PMP)® examination handbook.

  • This is an essential resource and is required until you finish taking the test.

Step – 3: Attend formal education of 35 Contact Hours.

  • Take up the mandatory project management education course and get your certificate for 35 contact hours of formal education.

Step – 4: Obtain PMI Membership (Optional).

  • The cost of individual membership is USD 139.
  • As a member of PMI you are entitled to a discount while scheduling your exam.
  • As a member you have access to some important resources and publications like the latest edition of PMBOK, foundation standards, practice standards & framework like EVM, WBS, Scheduling etc and practice guides which are required to prepare for the exam.
  • Though this is not a mandatory requirement but if you are a serious project manager I will strongly recommend to become a member and even continue your membership on a yearly basis.

Step – 5: Fill the online application

  • You have 90 days to complete the online application from the day you start working on it.
  • You may not be able to complete the application in one go hence you can save the application and come back later to complete it.
  • You will be required to submit details of your superior, client etc whom you have interacted with during the course of the project execution. Ensure that you give the correct email id, phone numbers etc.
  • The important part of the online application is filling up the project management experience section wherein you have to disclose the hours spent in various process groups like initiation, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling and finally closing. Depending upon the nature of the project work that you are involved, you need to calculate the hours spent in each process group and indicate in the application form.
  • Develop a nice brief of your project as you have to describe the salient aspects of your project in approximately 550 characters.
  • All applications are not audited but do keep in mind that your application could be the one selected for the audit.
  • Make sure that you have entered the name correctly that you desire to be printed on the certificate.
  • The recent saved application can be downloaded and once you have checked and ensured that all details are correct you may go ahead and submit the application.
  • If you do not submit the application with in the stipulated time frame of 90 days then you will have to start all over again.

Step – 6: Submit the Application

  • The complete flow chart of the application process is mentioned in the handbook. Once the application is submitted PMI takes 5 days to review the application and intimate to you if you can schedule your exam.
  • Your one year eligibility to take the test starts from the day you receive the PMI acceptance of your application.
  • PMI will send you the acceptance within 5 days, you can now pay your exam fee to schedule your exam.
  • Upon successful payment you will receive PMI ID which is required for scheduling the exam. Your application may be selected for the audit process. If your application is selected for the audit process you have 90 days to send the audit material and additional 5-7 days for the review of application. Your one year eligibility criteria starts only after successful completion of the audit.
  • You can now schedule the exam based on the availability at your nearest test centre and your level of preparedness.
  • You can reschedule your exam free of cost more than 30 calendar days before the appointment.

PMP Certification Cost.

The following are the costs associated with the certification process

  1. Exam Fee for (CBT) – USD 405 (for PMI Members) / USD 555 (for Non Members)
  2. PMI Membership Fee – USD 139
  3. Cost of Training for 35 contact hours
  4. Cost of Study Material
  5. Travel Cost (if the test center is not located in your city of residence)
  6. Hotel charges (in case you decide to stay overnight near the test center to avoid early morning rush hour)

PMP Certification Timeline.

Considerable time is required to understand the nuances of PMBOK and the related standards and guides. According to me a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 5 months is required to attain the certification. This largely depends on your work schedule, travel requirements, the amount of time you can set aside every day for the preparation of the exam. In any case do not extend beyond 5 months as you may wear out till then.

The Next Step.

There are other aspects of certification like the right choice of resources to study for the test, the study plan, types of questions etc, may be I will cover these topics in my next post.

For a detailed understanding of various benefits that PMP certification offers please read my post

To understand the changes to the Sixth edition of PMBOK Guide also visit

Worked out examples of critical path method schedule analysis and earned value management will be beneficial for pmp aspirants

You may also visit the resources page and download

I have tried to include almost everything from my previous experience of applying for the PMP certification. In case I have missed out something then kindly drop me a line. To get in touch with me you can use the comment box or the contact form.

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