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How to Meet PMP Certification Requirements? All your questions answered

Updated: Jul 12




When you think of pursuing the PMP certification, one of the most crucial things that you must consider is the PMP certification requirements. This is because one of the major requirements for the PMP certification is to have demonstrated work experience in project management. While you may have several years of overall work experience, you will need to verify if you have the minimum hours of project management experience to fulfil the PMP experience requirements.


In this detailed blog post, we will dive into the PMP certification requirements and provide you with the vital information that would enable you to navigate this aspect of the PMP certification exam process.


Why does PMI have PMP certification requirements in the first place?


PMP is an immensely popular certification and has high credibility globally. With only a tiny percentage of the world's people holding the PMP certification, PMP project managers are in high demand in several industries and organizations. Due to the credibility and recognition of the PMP certification globally, PMI wants to ensure that only the most deserving people qualify for this project management certification. If anyone can easily attain the PMP certification without the requisite project experience, then it would diminish the reputation of the PMP certification, thus impacting its credibility.


Therefore, PMI created the PMP certification requirements criteria to meet the certification standards.


What are the requirements for the PMP certification?


To fulfil the PMP certification eligibility, you must have accumulated a certain amount of professional experience in leading and directing projects.


Here's a simple and concise breakdown of the requirements for the PMP certification:

  1. For anyone with a 4 year Bachelor's degree or higher, the PMP experience requirement is 36 months of managing, leading and directing projects.

  2. For anything less than a 4 year Bachelor's degree, such as a high school diploma or an Associate's degree, the PMP experience requirements are 60 months of managing, leading and directing projects.

In addition to the project management experience requirements, you must complete a PMP training, which earns you the 35 contact hours required for the PMP application process mandated by the project management institute (PMI).


What Qualifies as Project Management Experience?


Simply put, a project is a temporary endeavour to accomplish a goal or an objective that can be carried out individually. However, it is often preferable to have a team involved. PMI expects that your PMP application meets their PMP certification requirements criteria which include aspects of team management and leadership that align with their requirements of 'leading and directing projects'.


Projects can be carried out in almost any sector or industry; they differ from regular business activities, commonly known as 'business as usual (BAU), which tend to be repetitive and consistent. Our extensive experience providing PMP application assistance to hundreds of project management professionals has enabled them to identify and differentiate between operational and project work.


In our experience, we have observed that numerous individuals need help to properly articulate their project management experience, thus, failing to meet the PMP experience requirements and getting their applications rejected.


How to determine my PMP eligibility?


To determine if you fulfil PMP certification requirements, reflect on the experience you've accumulated over the years and identify which would qualify as projects.


While keeping in mind the project definition provided earlier, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Did I build a new product?

  2. Did I improve processes within my organization?

  3. Did I enhance an existing product?

  4. Did I organize events, conferences, workshops, trainings etc., which brought about positive change in my organization?

  5. Did I introduce new practices within my team?

  6. Did I undertake specific project management tasks to increase sales or improve business performance?

  7. Did I undertake activities to fix/resolve problems within my organization?

  8. Did I undertake activities so that my organization meets regulations or compliance?

  9. Did I participate in projects to increase social good, such as providing potable water systems, education, sanitation or addressing community-related issues or challenges?

  10. Did I apply new business processes and practices to improve my team's or the organization's work efficiency?

If you answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, you have been involved in projects and meet the PMP eligibility. Please note that these questions only represent a partial list of work that qualifies as projects, and there could be other activities you have participated in throughout your project management career.


How do I show my experience to fulfil the requirements for PMP certification?


To show your relevant experience in project management, you must draft it in the project description format recommended by PMI. To give you a deeper understanding, we have created a comprehensive article that showcases PMP experience examples and demonstrates how to fulfil the requirements for PMP certification.


As a general requirement, all project management professionals applying for PMP must write the project objective, outcomes, role, responsibilities and deliverables for every project included in their application. This is a required format that allows you to demonstrate your experience in order to fulfill the PMP experience requirement.


What is the Application Process for PMP Certification?


Once you've confirmed that you satisfy the PMP certification requirements, your next action entails completing the PMP application process to get PMP certified.


Here is a breakdown of the steps involved:


1. Register on the PMI Website:

Create a free account on the PMI website and access the online appliƒcation for PMP certification.


2. Complete the PMP Application:


Include the required information in the application, including your project management experience details, academic and project management education, contact hours, and professional background.


3. Review and Submit:

Thoroughly review your application to ensure accuracy and completeness, and submit it to PMI.


4. Once your PMP application is approved, pay the PMP exam fees.


Can I show volunteer hours as a project manager? Does it meet PMP certification requirements?


PMI recommends that it is essential to have experience managing and directing projects within a professional environment. Therefore, accepting volunteer work depends on the nature of projects you've undertaken. For example, if your project was done in a business setting or had a positive societal impact, PMI is likely to accept it. The approval of other types of projects is at the discretion of your application reviewer.


Do projects involving a side hustle count towards fulfilling PMP experience requirements?


If a side gig or a hustle involved playing a project management role and utilizing project management skills, the hours worked can be counted towards meeting the PMP certification requirements for experience. A side hustle can encompass various activities, such as running a business with a team and coordinating with vendors, managing investment portfolios, or working as a consultant.


Additionally, while managing small projects or large ones, performing various project management tasks, making project-related decisions and applying project management expertise can be shown, allowing you to meet the PMP experience requirement.


Can I get the PMP without experience?


Meeting the PMP certification requirements without project management experience is mostly difficult. Additionally, it's important to note that falsifying one's professional employment or work history in order to meet the PMP experience requirements would be a violation of the PMI code of ethics.


However, if you have worked for a significant number of years, you must get a PMP eligibility check to determine if you qualify for the PMP. As part of our PMP application review and rewrite service, we help people determine if they have relevant experience for the PMP.


Do I Have to be a PMI Member to apply for the PMP?


Some people have a misconception that a PMI membership is a prerequisite to applying for the PMP certification. You do not necessarily need to be a PMI member to apply for the PMP certification, although it would be helpful to get it.


The Project Management Institute (PMI) membership is beneficial to get a discount on the PMP exam. PMI members enjoy access to valuable resources, networking opportunities and reduced PMI member prices for exams.


What is the PMP Exam Cost?


Everyone who wants to get the PMP certification must pay the PMP exam fees. The PMI certification costs vary based on your PMI membership status. PMI members receive a discounted rate of USD 405.00, and non-members pay a higher price of USD 555.00. The cost of the PMI membership is USD 139 all-inclusive, and sometimes you may also find discounts on the membership and exam costs online.


Therefore, it's worth considering becoming a PMI member to take advantage of the discounted exam fee and other key membership benefits.


Can I satisfy the PMP experience requirement if I haven't managed all parts of a project?


As a project management professional, it's common to work in specific areas rather than cover all project aspects. PMI recognizes that PMP certification applicants may have experience in only some areas in a single project and allows you to consolidate your relevant project management experience from diverse projects to meet the PMP experience requirements.


What is the required number of contact hours for PMP eligibility?


To be able to fulfil the PMP certification requirements, it's required that you complete 35 hours of formal project management training, which you can obtain in a classroom environment, a self-paced course or a blended environment. It's important to note that you should enroll in PMP training courses that explicitly covers the PMP exam syllabus rather than a general project management course.


The PMP training provider which delivers the course to you must be able to provide a 35 contact hours certificate to help you fulfil PMP eligibility while submitting the PMP application to PMI.


Can I Apply for the Exam Prior to Attending a Course?


PMI mandates that you should have completed a project management training course and acquired the 35 contact certificate before applying for the PMP certification. You will need to enter your course start and end dates in the PMI portal while filling out the PMP application. PMP certification training providers will provide you with the contact hours certificate after you enrol and complete the course, which you must submit in case of a PMI audit.


Additionally, enrolling in a PMP exam prep course helps you not only meet PMP requirements but also enhances your chances of success in the PMP exam.


How long do I have to complete the PMP Exam after application approval?


Once your PMP application is approved, PMI gives you a one-year window to take the PMP examination and complete it. Within the 1 year period, you're allowed to sit for the exam a total of 3 times in case of failure.


What Should I Do if I cannot Meet PMP Certification Requirements?


It's better to get a PMP eligibility check before assuming that you do not meet the PMP certification requirements. Most people get their PMP application rejected due to a lack of relevant or enough work experience. If you realize that you do not meet the project management experience criteria, consider getting additional experience managing projects.

Alternatively, consider obtaining the CAPM certification exam, which is also a widely known certification, if you do not satisfy the PMP experience requirements.


I don't work as a project management professional—should I get the PMP certification?


Ideally, if you do not have any experience leading projects, you may not be eligible for the PMP. However, if you possess at least 3 or 5 years of work experience as a team leader or functional manager, it may be worthwhile to consider applying to PMI with your work experience details and see if you meet their approval criteria.


As long as you can demonstrate that you led and managed teams, engaged with stakeholders, created project documentation and took important project decisions which fall under project management activities, you can get approved for the PMP certification exam. You do not need to hold a project management job to qualify for the PMP; rather, demonstrate project management skills.


If you're looking for an end-to-end PMP prep solution which helps you pass the PMP certification exam on the first try, we offer a comprehensive PMP Blended Programme that includes personalized coaching, support, exam guidance and mentorship from a PMP coach. Additionally, we provide more than 40 hours of detailed course videos, tailored study plans, assistance with PMP application approval, 35 contact hours, lots of practice exams and classroom training 2-3 times per month.


If you have any other questions about your PMP Application, please email us at info@careersprints.com.

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