The PMP Certification Process Overview

211 days ago 12 minute read
The PMP Certification Process Overview

If you've made the momentous decision to study for a PMP Certification, or indeed any Project Management Training Course, then you should be congratulating yourself for deciding on doing something which will absolutely help your career. However, what happens after you've made that decision? What are the steps needed to get the ball moving? What steps and processes do you need to go through to make sure that you end up with your final certification?

What's this post all about?

The PMP Certification Process and the requirements for becoming PMP Certified are quite complicated if you haven’t taken any PMI exams before. Sure, you can take a look at the PMP Handbook [PDF] but we felt that the information contained in the handbook could be better explained hence why we created the below step-by-step guide.

Quick reminder: "What is the 'PMP Certification'?

PMI's Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential ('Certification') is one of, it not the, most important industry-recognized certification for project managers and project management that you can achieve. Globally respected and demanded, the PMP illustrates that you have the experience, education and ability to lead and direct successful projects to completion. So, now that we've reminded ourselves of the enormous benefit of achieving the PMP designation, let's take a look at the required steps that we'd need to take to get ourselves this in-demand qualification.


Step 1: Eligibility

PMP Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for the PMP credential, you must meet certain educational and professional experience requirements. All project management experience must have been generated within the last eight consecutive years prior to your application submission to the Project Management Institute.


Eligibility Criteria (either/ or):

Option 1: Four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent) and three years project management experience.
Option 2: If you don't fit the above then you'll need to have a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent) and five years project management experience.


Step 2: Get 35 'contact hours'

Once you've satisfied the above initial requirement you'll also have to validate that you've accumulated 35 'contact hours'. The contact hours that PMI demands before you can even apply for the PMP exam has a tendency to cause a lot of confusion. First-off, there's a lot of them, (35 hours), and secondly, many wonder what a 'contact hour' actually is? 'Contact Hours' are hours earned by taking project management education which covers content as per the Project Management Professionals Content Outline. A program which aligns to the Project Management Body of Knowledge as defined by PMI satisfies that need of these contact hours. And to earn them, you can either attend in-person education or pursue online learning, such as our 'PMP Certification Training' course which will get you prepared. We have a ton of awesome testimonials for you to check out here.


Step 3: Apply via the PMI website

This step is straightforward, simply create an account and apply to take the PMP Exam. PMI will select candidates for audits at random. Congratulations, you've now officially started the process!


Step 4: Application fee

Five days after submission (see Step 3) you will receive confirmation that you have been permitted to provisionally take the PMP Exam as long as your evidence verifies your experience. At this stage you'll be asked to pay $405 if you're a PMI member, or $555 if you're not.


Step 5: Submit proof

You must submit verifying documents within 90 days of Step 4. The proof that's required includes: academic transcripts, your 'contact hours' (See Step 3), and experience verification forms that have to be signed by your endorsers.


Step 6: Scheduling the exam

Once you have been verified to take the PMP Exam you'll need to sit and pass it within a year. You can take the exam at any of the Prometric Testing Centers which are located throughout the world.


Step 7: Take the exam

This is the 'hard bit'! The PMP Exam is four hours long and contains 200 multiple-choice questions. Here are some sample PMP Exam questions we've included to give you a sense of what to expect. See if you can answer these correctly; simply jot down the answers on a scrap bit of paper, scroll down to the bottom of this post and check your answers!

1. An accepted deadline for a project approaches. However, the project manager realizes only 75% percent of the work has been completed. The project manager then issues a change request. What should the change request authorize?

A. Additional resources using the contingency fund
B. Escalation approval to use contingency funding
C. Team overtime to meet schedule
D. Corrective action based on causes

2. The project manager develops a process improvement plan to encourage continuous process improvement during the life of the project. Which of the following is a valid tool or technique to assist the project manager to assure the success of the process improvement plan?

A. Change control system
B. Process analysis
C. Benchmarking
D. Configuration management system

3. The project manager meets with the project team to review lessons learned from previous projects. In what activity is the team involved?

A. Performance management
B. Scope identification
C. Risk identification
D. Project team status meeting

* Answers at the bottom of the post!

Source: PMI website

What if I fail?
Don't worry - just retake it! However, be warned, you are only allowed a maximum of two attempts when taking the PMP Exam. The re-exam fee is $275 for a member or $375 for a non-member.

Step 8: You've passed! Congratulations!

You can start using the PMP credential immediately. That fact that you've reached all these steps and gone through the process of obtaining PMP Certification now means that you have a standardized knowledge set - and you have the credentials to prove it. When applying for a job (or project) against competitors, having the credentials in hand will put you ahead of those who do not. Another tremendous benefit of passing the PMP certification is that you will now, on average, (according to research by the Project Management Institute) have a base-line starting salary of $90,000 a year. Overall PMP credentials will earn you a 20 percent increase in salary over non-credentialed project managers with similar qualifications.


Step 9: Your official hard copy PMP certificate will arrive.

You will receive your hard copy certification (qualification) in the post. Frame it and enjoy!


Step 10: Stay on top of your PDUs

PDUs are an abbreviation for 'Professional Development Units', which are necessary for professionals with Project Management Institute (PMI) certified credentials. PDUs are a part of PMI's Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) program.

These are very similar to Continuing Education Credits or Continuing Education which is also often referred to as 'Continuing Professional Development' that are widely used in many other professions. Accounting (for example, CIMA, ACCA),  Finance (CFA), and Marketing (CIM) are examples of awarding bodies ('Professional Institutions') that require a certain amount of 'credits' that need to be achieved within a fixed period of time. The main reason for Continuing Education is that it demonstrates your willingness and your immersion in constantly learning new skills and techniques whilst also expanding your knowledge within the subject matter. The goal is to ensure that your certified competencies (especially within PMP) stay relevant and up-to-date. If you have any specific questions relating to accumulating PMI PDUs then we'd recommend you hit this link.

You will need to accumulate 60 PDUs per every three year cycle. One PDU is worth one hour of project management training, though there are some exceptions to this rule.

How Do You Earn PDUs?
Earning PMP PDUs isn't difficult. You can earn them from online courses such as our Project Management, Agile/Scrum and Finance courses. Other examples of how you can generate PDUs include reading books on project management (which would give you one PDU for every hour of reading), working as a project manager (which would earn you 15 PDUs in 3 years) and also attending live or recorded webinars on the PMI website (which would permit one PDU per webinar).


Step 11: Submit your PDUs

You'll need to have an account with the Project Management Institute to be able to verify and update your PDUs; all of which can be accessed here.


Step 12: Renew your credential

The cost to renew your certification is $60 for a member and $150 for non-members.

In summary

Go for it! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Project management is a field where some job opportunities are only made available to those with a PMP certification. In fact, according to the Project Management Institute, there are about 20 percent more openings than there are credentialed employees available - that sounds like good odds to us here at GoSkills! Learn more about our Project Management Courses and specifically our PMP Certification Training today and give yourself a massive career-boost.

Answers to the test

The answers are: D, B and C.

If you answered these correctly then you ought to rightly feel confident and pleased with yourself and, of course, the next logical step is to sign up for PMP Online Training today!