If you're an experienced, professional project manager, you may qualify to earn your PMP certification. You will need to meet both project management experience and project management education requirements in order to take the exam. Keep in mind that you do not have to hold a formal project manager title. You do, however, have to be in a position of responsibility for leading and directing project activities or a subset of project activities.
A project with a unique outcome is considered a temporary initiative. Eligible projects are those conducted within a professional setting for which you were compensated. In other words, personal and volunteer projects would not be applicable.
Depending on your achieved college education, there are two sets of PMP certification requirements. If you hold a four-year degree or higher, you will need three years of experience (4,500 hours) leading and directing project activities in addition to 35 hours of project management education or a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification. Without a four-year degree, the experience requirement increases to five years (7,500 hours) leading and directing projects along with the 35 hours of education or CAPM.
Your experience must be within the last eight years and does not need to be sequential. Although you may work overtime on your projects, Project Management Institute (PMI) will allow you to claim no more than 40 hours per week toward the eligibility requirement. Your projects must not only span the calendar months required (36 or 60) but also provide you with the requisite number of hours.
For example, if you managed two projects full time from January to December 2019 and split your time equally between them, you would be eligible to claim approximately 1,000 hours for each project (or 2,000 hours). However, you would only be eligible to claim 12 months of experience, as the two projects were happening concurrently.
In documenting your project management experience, you will need to demonstrate that you have work hours in each of the project management domains of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. Although you do not need hours in all domains for every project, you must cumulatively show that you have had hours across them all. For example, if you are submitting a project that is currently in process, you may have no hours in the closing domain, so you would need closing hours on another project.
Unlike your project management experience, there is no eligibility window for project management education, other than that it must be completed before submitting your application. Your project management education may be one class or a combination of courses on any project management topic. If you have your CAPM, you will not need to provide proof of education.
Upon submitting your PMP application, PMI will do a review to ensure that the experience and education you have claimed meet their criteria. This process typically takes about five calendar days. Some applications are selected for audit. To successfully and easily navigate the audit process, ensure that all information you have provided can be verified.
Once PMI approves your application, you will be instructed to pay your exam fees. PMI will then provide you with an eligibility ID, which is required to schedule your exam at a Pearson VUE location. Your eligibility year begins on the date your application is approved by PMI. The final requirement to achieving your PMP certification is passing the 200-question exam, which must be completed within your eligibility year. To maintain your PMP, you must submit 60 hours of education (professional development units) every three years.
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Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) are registered trademarks of Project Management Institute, Inc.