PMP Certification Application Process

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

Project management professionals world over have a  desire to attain the PMP certification. PMI Today May 2017 edition puts the total active holders of PMP credential to 761,905. Thus, making it by far one of the most sought after professional credential world over. Having a PMP certification showcases that the project manger has deep insight of the subject matter. It further helps in smooth delivery of the projects. This results in benefits to both individual as well as the organization. Certainly, the Project Management Professional (PMP)® handbook available on PMI website is must read for all aspirants. However, in this post I have attempted to outline the PMP certification process in a simple manner.

PMP Certification Eligibility Criteria.

Important point is that the project management experience must have accrued within eight consecutive years prior to submission of application. Following is the detailed eligibility criteria.

If you have a four year degree:

  • A 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:

  • A 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 Application Process.

Following steps may be helpful in completing the application process.

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

  • Use a valid email address.
  • 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 till you finish 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.
  • A PMI member payes a discounted exam fee.
  • 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.
  • For serious project manager I strongly recommend to become a member. I also recommend to continue membership on a yearly basis.

Step – 5: Submit the online application form

  • 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 have to submit details of your superior, client etc with whom you have interacted. Ensure that you give the correct email id, phone numbers etc.
  • Another important point of online application is filling up the project management experience section, highlighting hours spent in various process groups like initiation, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling and finally closing. For this you have to calculate the hours spent in each process group and indicate in relevant section.
  • Next, develop a nice brief of your project in approximately 550 characters describing the salient aspects.
  • PMI does not all applications. However, keep audit material ready if PMI selects your application for audit.
  • Enter your name correctly as you wish it to appear on PMP certificate.
  • Finally, download the saved application. Check all details and then submit the application.
  • You have 90 days to submit the application. If you fail to do so then you will have to start all over again.

Step – 6: Schedule the test

The PMP exam handbook consists of the complete flow chart of the application process. Following are the important steps

  • On successful submission of the application, PMI takes 5 days to review it. PMI intimates you if you can schedule the exam.
  • Your one year eligibility to take the test starts from the day you receive the PMI acceptance email.
  • PMI will send you the acceptance within 5 days, pay your exam fee to schedule your exam.
  • Upon successful payment PMI will send you an ID required to schedule the exam. Thereafter, locate your nearest test center and use your PMI ID to schedule the exam.
  • If PMI selects your application for audit then you have 90 days to send the audit material. Additionally, you have 5-7 days for the review of application. Moreover, your one year eligibility criteria starts only after successful completion of the audit.
  • You can reschedule your exam free of cost more than 30 calendar days before the appointment.

PMP Certification Cost.

The following is the cost breakup of PMP 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)
  6. Hotel charges (in case you decide to stay overnight near the test center to avoid early morning rush)

PMP Certification Timeline.

Understanding the nuances of PMBOK, the related standards, and guides requires considerable time and efforts. PMP certification requires a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 5 months. The timeline largely depends on factors such as work schedule, travel requirements, etc. 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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