Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is the highest industry-recognized project management credential. The PMP recognizes individuals who have demonstrated competencies and experience in leading project initiatives. Along with documented experience and education, candidates for the PMP must pass a rigorous 200-question exam.
Step 1: Evaluate Your Experience
The first step toward obtaining your PMP certification is to evaluate your project management experience. That experience must be within the last eight years and within a professional context, meaning you were compensated for your work. Projects are considered temporary initiatives that create unique products, services, or results. If you have a four-year degree or higher, you will need to document 4,500 hours / 36 months of project experience. Without a four-year degree, the experience requirement increases to 7,500 hours / 60 months of project experience. You will also need 35 hours of project management education or a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification.
Step 2: Submit Your Application
Once you have confirmed that you meet all requirements, you can complete your application on the Project Management Institute (PMI) website. It is highly recommended that you have all your information gathered and handy when you start your application. The application will stay open for 90 days for you to enter the required information. After 90 days, it will close.
PMI will conduct an application review to verify that what you submitted on your application is appropriate and valid. The application process typically takes about five days, at which time you will be notified via email of the result. PMI may contact you for additional information during this time, or you may be selected for an audit.
If you are selected for an audit, you will be instructed to provide proof of the work and education that you submitted on your application. Education audit requirements are fulfilled by supplying a copy of your training transcript, certificates of completion, or copies of your diploma. A supervisor or manager will be required to submit signed experience verification forms confirming that your experience is accurate. All audit materials must be submitted to PMI in a hard-copy format.
Step 3: Schedule Your Exam
Once your application is approved, you can pay your PMP exam fees. As of April 2020, the PMP exam fee is $405 for PMI members and $555 for non-PMI members. Your eligibility year begins on the day PMI approves your application. After your fees are paid, PMI will email you your eligibility ID, which is required to schedule your exam at a local Pearson VUE location.
Step 4: Complete Your Exam
The four-hour PMP exam is administered by Pearson VUE and consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. Of the 200 questions, 25 are considered pretest, meaning they do not count against you if you miss them. However, there is no indication during the exam regarding which questions are pretest.
Before beginning your exam, you will have 15 minutes during which you will take the test tutorial. After the tutorial, you can start your test. You will be given one question at a time and will have the option to answer the question, leave it blank, or answer it and mark it for review. After the last question, you will be provided with a review screen, indicating which questions you have answered and which have been left blank or marked for review. Be sure to answer all questions, as those left blank will count against you.
When you have answered all questions, submit your exam. The testing system will evaluate your exam answers and return your pass or fail results. The exam proctor will provide you with a hard copy of your test results. In addition to the pass or fail, you will receive one of four proficiency ratings for each domain: above target, at target, below target, or needs improvement. If you do not pass your exam on the first try, you will have two additional attempts available within your eligibility year.
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Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) are registered trademarks of Project Management Institute, Inc.