Updated: Sep 23
Filling out the PMP application form and getting approved by PMI is one of the first hurdles you must cross to become a PMP. Hence, it's imperative to understand how to correctly fill out the PMP application to enhance your chances of approval. In the article below, I've explained how to write your PMP application step by step and provided multiple PMP experience examples so that you are able to get your application approved on the first attempt.
Additionally, we offer a full PMP application review and rewrite service if you're feeling anxious or unsure about how to write the PMP application in 2023. We've written PMP applications for hundreds of PMP exam applicants and helped all of them get approved on the first try.
Getting to the application form
To get to the application form, first, visit pmi.org and register on their website. The registration process is pretty simple and is similar to registering with an email address and password on any other website. Once you have completed registration and logged into your dashboard under the 'myPMI' section, you need to navigate to the 'PMP application' home page and click on "Apply now for your PMP". Once you do this, you will be directed to the page where you must start documenting your project management education and experience details.
How many sections does the PMP application have?
The PMP application primarily has four sections that should be completed: Academic Education, Professional Education, Experience, and Exam details.
#1 Completing the Academic Education Information section
The first section to complete is the academic education information section.
This is the first section where your PMP exam eligibility is reviewed. Hence, you must review the criteria for your eligibility for the PMP exam.
You must enter the highest level of education you have attained (e.g., Master's or Bachelor's degree), the starting and ending years of your education, the country, and the institution's name in which you received your education.
#2 Completing the Professional Education section
The Professional Education section is where you need to demonstrate your Project Management education, i.e., provide evidence of 35 contact hours you would've acquired from your PMP training provider.
Here are all the different ways you can earn the 35 contact hours required for your PMP exam application:
A. Physical/Virtual or self-paced courses from training companies offering project management courses.
C. PMI Authorized training partners (ATPs)
D. PMI Chapters
E. Employer-sponsored programs.
F. University or college programs related to project management/PMP.
To fill this section, you must document the course title, the name of the training provider, the start and end dates of the course, and the qualifying hours (typically, this will be 35 hours). Make sure you have these details with you when you get to this section. When you complete a course with a training provider, they will provide you with a contact hours certificate. However, you don't have to upload your training certificates in this section but they will be needed if your application is selected for an audit.
#3 Completing PMP Project Experience section
The PMP application experience section is the hardest to fill for the majority of the candidates. PMI will scrutinize your PMP project descriptions very carefully prior to approval. Therefore, you must expect to spend the maximum time filling out this section since getting this right is your doorway to application approval.
Here are the sections you need to fill out in the PMP application:
Organization where the project was carried out
Functional Reporting Area; the organizational department where the project was carried out.
The primary focus area of the organization.
The project approach used (Traditional, Agile, or Hybrid).
Project Team size
Project Start and End dates
Project Description; A high-level summary of your experience includes the project objective, outcome, role on the project, and responsibilities and deliverables. The standard response, according to PMI is between 200 to 500 words, although people have written more than 500 words of description. Be as concise as you can since someone will read your application.
While filling out the application, you cannot have overlapping months of experience. This means that if you've been working on two projects simultaneously, you can only count experience towards one project for the months they were overlapping.
For example, if Project 1 lasted from Jan 2020 to April 2020 and Project 2 from Feb 2020 to June 2020, you can count Project 1 experience from January–April, a total of 4 months, and Project 2 experience only from May and June, a total of 2 months. Adding the experience of Project 1 and 2 sums up to 6 months of total experience.
Here are some tips to consider while documenting your project management work experience:
Understand what PMI considers a project and how it differs from operational activities.
Use project management terminology as provided in the PMBOK while writing your project descriptions.
Include projects where you've played the role of a Project or Program Manager or led and directed.
Focus more on what you did on the project. Make sure to highlight what you did on the project from a leading and directing perspective. See PMP project description examples below.
Start from the current project and work backward until you've reached the total months required.
Demonstrate your project management experience and skills across a wide range of domains and activities from the PMBOK. For example, you can write specific actions you performed across the five process groups: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing a project.
Note that project management experience is required in each process area when all projects are totalled, but not necessarily on each project.
Check spelling and grammar using an app like grammarly.com.
Stick to the PMI suggested word limit.
Let's try to see two PMP experience examples written by one of the candidates. This PMP project description example contains elements of both waterfall and agile.
Project Objective: To research, design, and deliver a new IT training course to the marketing and sales teams for a global launch.
Project Outcome: An IT training product ready for global launch by the company.
Role on the Project: My role on the project was that of a Project Manager.
Responsibilities: I evaluated the feasibility of the new course and, based on the results, created a Project charter along with the sponsor. I identified major stakeholders whose involvement would have an impact on the project and vice versa. Since the project used an agile approach for product development, I gathered high-level requirements from the stakeholders, determined the 'must have' and 'should have' user stories that the IT training product must contain, and created a release schedule and project budget. I set up a risk register, identified high-level risks that we might encounter during the iterations, and a risk management plan to deal with them. I acquired the team and the resources to execute the project, facilitated the various agile meetings for the teams, removed impediments that obstructed the team, and resolved team conflicts. I closely monitored the project's progress to keep it within project timelines and budget. I also worked with stakeholders and the team to incorporate any changes required to the product during the project. I worked with the sponsor and the subject matter experts to get formal acceptance of the IT training product and handed over the product to the sales and marketing teams for the global launch.
PMP application project description example for a Predictive Project.
Project Objective: Design, Deployment, and deliver a Learning Management System (LMS) across various internal organizational departments.
Project Outcome: Provide a more user-centric and engaging learning experience for the employees of the organization.
Role on the Project: I led the successful creation and delivery of the Learning Management System (LMS)
Responsibilities: Created a business case to justify the investment in developing a Learning Management System (LMS) for the organization. Created measurable success criteria for the project and a benefits measurement plan. Identified vital project stakeholders and documented their expectations in a stakeholder register. Determined the scope, time, cost, quality, and risks affecting the project and created the project management plan with its components plans. Got the plan formally approved by the project sponsor and held a kick-off meeting before the project execution. During execution, delegated work packages to various teams, evaluated individual and team performance, and led team-building activities. Evaluated and mitigated the risks affecting the project. Provided regular project progress reports to sponsor and senior stakeholders and facilitated product approval meetings with reviewers and customer representatives. Continuously monitored the project against its performance baselines and managed the change control process in collaboration with teams and stakeholders. Gained final acceptance of the end product from the customers and solicited feedback about project quality and performance. Consolidated lessons learned into an organizational knowledge base. Archived project documents and records.
#4 Completing the exam section
The final section of the PMP application online form is the exam details section. In this section, you'll need to complete all the information related to the PMP exam and provide your contact information.
You'll need to enter the following information:
Your name in the form as it appears on your ID
Your name exactly as you want it to appear on your certificate.
Your email address
Your phone number
The country where you want to take the exam.
You'll also be asked to state if you wish to request any exam accommodations, for example, due to disability and/or other conditions that may impair your ability to take the exam.
#5 Commonly asked PMP application questions
Here is a list of commonly asked questions we encounter from candidates working on their PMP applications. We've categorized the questions under different categories such as PMP application process, 35 contact hours, project descriptions, project experience, and rejected and audited application questions.
PMP Application Process and Approval Questions
Within how many days should I finish my application once started?
Once you start the PMP application, you have 90 days to complete the online application form. You cannot cancel the application once begun.
Can I edit my PMP application?
PMP applications can be edited as often as needed before submission to PMI. Once submitted, the submission is final, and no edits are allowed.
How long does PMP application approval take?
PMI needs a maximum of five business days to review the contents of your application and provide their decision. PMI may randomly select PMP applications for audit. Should that happen, you will have 90 days to respond to PMI with the requested documents and references.
PMP 35 contact hours questions
What exactly are 35 contact hours for PMP?
PMI has mandated that students accumulate 35 contact hours to apply for the PMP certification exam. Therefore, PMP applications can't be submitted without the contact hours.
Generally, 1 hour of project management training equals 1 contact hour. Contact hours are different from Professional development units (PDUs). PDUs are required after passing the PMP to maintain your PMP designation. Contact hours must be accumulated before applying for the PMP certification exam.
How to get 35 contact hours for the PMP application professional education requirements?
If you've undergone project management training in university or college, in that case, you can use the training received to fulfil the 35 contact hours requirement. Other ways to obtain contact hours are as follows:
1. Get a PMP e-learning course.
2. Go through a PMP classroom course (usually sold as PMP boot camps of 4-5 days).
3. Register for CareerSprints.com PMP Blended course (includes application review, rewrite and help with PMP preparation)
PMP Project Description Questions
How should I write my project descriptions for the PMP application?
In general, PMP application project descriptions must contain the project's objective, a project outcome, your role on the project, your responsibilities and a short description of the project deliverables produced. However, these must be expressed in PMI language, increasing your chances of application approval. We've helped several PMP exam candidates write their PMP project descriptions and get their PMP applications approved from all industries.
Can I have similar project descriptions on my PMP application? Would it be perceived as operational work and not project work?
A project is a unique endeavour undertaken to fulfil an objective. Going by this definition, each project must be unique in some way reflected in the project objective. Showing similar projects might also indicate to PMI that most of your project work was, instead, operational work. PMI rejects applications that cannot demonstrate project work and come across as operational work.
Our application writing services include multiple PMP application project description examples from various industries, a comprehensive PMP Application Review and Rewrite and exceptional support until PMI approves your application. We've had extremely high success rates with various types of PMP applications from several industries.
PMP Project Experience Questions
How do I very if I meet PMP eligibility requirements before investing my time and money to get 35 hours of education?
A common question among PMP exam candidates is, 'Am I eligible for the PMP certification?'. There are 2 parts when it comes to answering this question.
The first thing to check is your overall experience. Do you have at least 3 or 5 years of work experience? If you have anything less than a 4 years Bachelor's Degree, then you need to have worked for at least 5 years. If you have the 4 years Bachelor's Degree or anything higher such as a Master's Degree, then you need 3 years of work experience.
The second part is to check how much of your experience is project management experience. In summary, Project Management experience involves working on a project collaborating with teams and stakeholders, making decisions and giving the project some direction. Therefore, it's critical to determine how much of your work is related to a project vs. operations. As long as you can justify that the work you did was in a 'project environment' and your 'managed' the project, you can apply for the PMP.
As part of our PMP application review service, we've helped many students determine what part of their work can qualify as a project and how much of it can be justified as project management work. If you are worried about meeting the PMP certification requirements, then feel free to reach out to us and we would be happy to help you out.
How many projects must be shown on the PMP application? Is there a minimum and maximum number?
As a minimum, at least one project must be shown on the application where you've worked across all process groups. There's no maximum limit. The sum total of the time spent on all projects shown must add up to the total project management time required for your application. As general advice, try not to show too many projects on the application because it can get repetitive and tiresome for the person reading and approving your application.
Can I have multiple projects on my PMP application? For example, would several 1, 2 or 3 months projects work?
When submitting your PMP application, you'll need to show that you've worked across all process groups in your projects. In a project that lasted just 1 month, you must ask yourself how much work you did and if you have substantial information to show for the project. Multiple projects are not a problem, but it would be better to combine related projects into a single project to show on your PMP application. There's always a possibility that too many similar projects may be perceived as operational work rather than projects. If this is a concern, we've helped several PMP aspirants evaluate their projects and combine related ones into a single project.
How do I get 4500 hours of project management work experience for PMP?
We meet several PMP exam candidates who need help to prove their 4500 hours of project management experience. Assuming all you did was project management in a calendar year, with average working hours of 2000 hours per year, you will be able to show 4500 hours within two years and a quarter. However, most candidates may not be fully involved in project management and would be spending time on operational work. Also, PMI only considers project experience accumulated within the last 8 years, not before that. Thus, you can look at all the projects you did within the previous 8 years and the time you spent managing them. Your total project experience must add up to 4500 hours of leading, directing or managing projects.
Do I need to be a project manager to apply for PMP?
No, You do not need a project manager job or project management title to apply for PMP, but you must have project management experience. For example, you could be called a 'Marketing Manager' in your company, but as long as you've managed marketing projects and can articulate that information on your application, it would qualify towards your PM experience.
Can I use industry jargon or technical terms in my PMP application?
Using general, easy-to-understand, business-like language on your application is better than technical or industry jargon. This is because your application reviewer may not know or understand a specific industry jargon commonly used in your sector. So, for example, instead of using 'Amazon EC2', it might be better to write 'virtual server.'
Would personal work experience qualify for PMP? Should it only be employment-related experience?
The PMP handbook describes qualifying project management experience as: "The experience does not necessarily have to be paid work, but it does need to be in a professional setting. Activities such as school projects or planning personal events would not qualify.'
Simply stated, personal work not done in a professional setting would not qualify. For example, organizing a party or building a deck in your home would not qualify as professional work.
Will volunteer experience or charity work qualify as projects on the PMP application?
As stated earlier, PMI accepts any work done in a professional setting. A professional setting would mean that you were responsible for various project aspects such as defining requirements, determining scope, scheduling, budgeting, team management, deliverable production, resource management, stakeholder management etc. For example, this could work such as research projects, community services, or work done for non-profits.
Since PMI is unclear in explaining what would qualify as work in a professional setting, we recommend running your application through us using our PMP application review and rewrite service to avoid audits and rejections.
Where can I get a PMP Application template for writing my PMP application?
While writing your application, it's a good idea to use a PMP application template that you can fill in before submitting your final version to PMI. As part of our PMP application review and rewrite service, we provide you with a PMP application template which you can use to document your project experience and calculate your project months. Additionally, our template contains helpful advice on the Dos and Don'ts to follow when writing your PMP application which helps you to avoid mistakes commonly made by several aspiring PMP candidates.
How can I prove my work experience as a self-employed individual on my PMP application?
As a self-employed individual who runs a small business or you're an owner/operator, you can still apply for the PMP certification. You will need to ensure that you document the projects you've either done internally within your company or the ones you've done for your clients. Internal projects could be setting up processes, improving processes, carrying out marketing or sales initiatives, product development etc. External projects could be from any industry for single or multiple clients. As a self-employed individual, you can pick up a wide range of projects you executed to run your business successfully.
Many self-employed individuals have applied for the PMP and have had their applications approved on the first try.
How can I get PMP Application examples for military work?
To qualify your military leadership experience for the PMP application, you need to translate your military project management experience into PMI language. While serving in the military, you may have worked in different areas, and, therefore, you must ensure that your military project management experience is articulated properly and shows that you led and directed projects. Further, the information must be presented in an easy-to-understand language and should not seem too technical. We provide several military PMP Application examples as part of our PMP Application review and rewrite service and can also assist with writing your entire application.
How to fill out the PMP Application with teaching experience?
Like any other professional, teachers also execute projects as part of their job. For example, developing a course curriculum or improving a course curriculum is an example of a project. Teaching experience can qualify as project management experience as long as it involves using project management principles and concepts. Examples of project management work in teaching include developing plans, monitoring project progress, managing project teams etc. and you must be able to elucidate this in your application. Kindly note that this applies to teachers, trainers, coaches or people involved in any instructional work. If you are unsure about how to translate your teaching experience into PMI language or need help with it, then you can reach out to us, and we can help you with it.
Can I include projects which haven't gone through project closure in the experience section of the PMP application? Will it affect my application negatively?
Yes, you can mention projects that are yet to be closed or haven't gone through the closing a project process on your PMP application. In this case, you wouldn't mention any responsibilities or tasks related to closing a project. However, it's important also to consider that while the entire project may not have been closed, you may have closed a major phase of the project. Therefore, you can mention tasks and activities related to closing a phase, such as releasing phase-end deliverables or other formal activities carried out to close the project.
How does PMI verify work experience on my PMP application?
For PMI to verify your work experience, PMI conducts a PMP application audit. The application audit involves contacting your references via email and asking them to confirm the project management experience shown on your application. You can list anyone as a reference on your application, such as your manager, supervisor, colleague, or anyone intimately familiar with your project management experience. Once your references validate your work experience and PMI is satisfied with the verification, they will inform you via email that you have successfully passed the audit, and you proceed to book your PMP exam.
PMP Application Rejected Questions
I was provided with a PMP application rejected response by PMI. How do I get my PMP application approved?
PMP application rejections are pretty common. For example, they may get rejected because your work experience seems more operational than project work. Here's a video that explains the ‘6 reasons why your PMP might get rejected'. We’ve worked with various PMP application rejected candidates and gotten their PMP application approved through our PMP application review and rewrite service. Our success rates with PMP application approvals are incredibly high.
What happens if my PMP application is rejected? Can I reapply immediately?
If your PMP application is rejected, you can reapply immediately with new project descriptions and related information. However, it's important to note that once your PMP application is denied, it will be selected by PMI for an audit and thoroughly scrutinized after you resubmit your project information. In this case, you must follow the audit process, which we've explained in answer to the question below.
PMP Application Audit Questions
Do all PMP applications get audited?
No, not all PMP applications get audited. A PMP application audit aims to verify if your educational and work experience credentials are authentic. Although all PMP applications are subject to an audit, only a minor percentage of applications may be selected for an audit. PMP application audits are generally random, but specific scenarios exist where your application may get selected for an audit. For example, if PMI is doubtful about your project management work experience, they may choose your application for an audit. In our experience, several PMP applications were rejected after an audit because PMI wasn't convinced about the candidate's work experience. In such cases, it is best to get your PMP application reviewed and rewritten by experts to avoid audits or rejections.
What happens during a PMP applicant audit?
Amongst the plethora of PMP applications received by PMI, a handful may be selected for PMI audit.
PMI does not disclose how it selects applications for audit, and the application selections are mostly random. PMP applications selected for audit are informed immediately upon application submission on the next screen and via email.
Since anyone's PMP application can be selected for audit, it's best to know what you should do if your application is chosen for an audit.
You will need to submit the following documents to complete the audit process:
Copies of your education qualifications (e.g., degree/diploma certificates).
Signatures from your supervisor(s)/references for the project(s) are recorded in the experience section.
A copy of your contact hours certificate from the training institute.
You have 90 days to provide all the documentation to PMI. The audit itself takes only 5-7 business days to complete. Ask your references to send you their signed copies of the project management experience verification, and you can pack all the documents in a single envelope and send it to PMI at this address:
PMI Attn: Certification Audit
14 Campus Blvd.
Newtown Square, PA 19073-3299
What are my references supposed to do once PMI reaches out to them for a PMP application audit?
When your application is selected for a PMI audit, your references will receive an email from PMI asking them to verify your project experience. Your references will need to click the link sent via email by PMI. They will be directed to DocuSign to digitally sign off the documents containing your work experience information. Once your references verify your PMP application experience description, PMI will approve your application within a maximum period of 2-3 business days.
What should I do if my PMP application has expired? Can I reopen my closed PMP application?
If the PMI dashboard indicates that your PMP application has expired, then you can just initiate a fresh application and enter your details all over again. PMI encourages you to complete filling out your PMP application within the 90 days window. Reopening your expired PMP application will not have a negative impact on your application but it is still recommended that you complete it before your PMP application is closed. Additionally, you can capture the information in a separate Word document, and once you are satisfied, you can later on move it to the PMI portal.
In conclusion, filling out the PMP application can simultaneously be exciting and daunting. Exciting because you now have the opportunity to demonstrate your body of PM work which you have accumulated over the years, and daunting because you might feel overwhelmed about how to effectively capture and document all of your valuable experience and achievements.
If you are feeling stuck while writing the PMP application, feel free to reach out to us via our PMP Application writing service. We will be happy to provide our expert guidance and support so that you can breeze through the application process and make your project management dream a reality.
With our PMP Blended Programme, the application review and rewrite are included as a free service. Additionally, we provide 35 contact hours you need for the application, all necessary materials, videos and tests and fully personalized PMP coaching until you are completely ready for the exam. The PMP Blended programme is our flagship program that has helped hundreds of students pass the PMP certification exam on the first try.
If you have further questions about PMP application reviews or the PMP Blended Programme, you can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.