Umer Waqar

Within the world of project management, there are many acronyms to follow. But one of them is especially important: PMP. What is the PMP certification and why is it worth pursuing? We’ll explore this topic here.

To put it simply, PMP stands for Project Management Professional. Global project management authority the Project Management Institute (PMI) offers this trademarked certification.

Getting PMP certified demonstrates your ability to manage projects and knowledge of common project management tools and procedures. The PMI awards the certification based on a combination of experience, education, and exam results.

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If you don’t want to pursue PMP, you have other options. There are several organizations that offer other project management certifications. PMI also offers a variety of certifications for professionals at different points in their careers.

PMP certification benefits

The PMP certification is considered the gold standard in project management. The certification is sought after by employers and professionals alike.

Organizations gain significant benefits from having a certified project management professional. When hiring, companies look for those who can lead projects and help their team members to stay within budget and on schedule.

Having a PMP certification helps open up more job opportunities and increases your chances of getting a salary increase. According to the PMI salary survey 2020, PMP certified project managers earn 20% more than project managers who don’t have the certification. 

PMP exam requirements

The PMP certification isn’t just available to anyone who wants to take it. If you’re interested in taking the exam to become PMP certified, you need to fulfill PMI’s prerequisites. You have to meet one of the two different sets of requirements listed below:

1. A four-year bachelor’s degree, followed by three years of project management experience with at least 4,500 hours managing projects. You also need 35 hours of project management education.

2. A high school diploma, associate’s degree, or the equivalent in your country. Next, gain a minimum of five years’ experience with at least 7,500 hours managing projects, and 35 hours of project management education.

PMP exam format

The PMP exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions, which you must complete in four hours. You’ll receive a scratch paper, but no reference materials to work with during the exam.

You’ll answer multiple-choice questions related to project management processes, tools, techniques, and domains. The questions test how you would manage different situations as a project manager and whether you would be able to arrive at the correct decision in a particular scenario. The exam challenges your understanding of project management as well as your ability as a project manager.

Most of the questions are based on the PMBOK guide, the project management body of knowledge. The PMI wrote this book and it is the go-to resource for the PMP syllabus.

To prepare for the PMP, you must complete 35 hours of project management education. You can fulfill this requirement by taking a PMP training course that covers the syllabus of the exam. You can choose to take the course online or in person.

Applying for the PMP exam

Some people find filling out the PMP application to be more intimidating than the actual exam. It’s not exactly a walk in the park, but don’t worry too much about it.

PMI wants to make sure that you have the relevant credentials before you apply for the exam.

My suggestion is to work on preparing for the exam first. Once you’ve covered all the material in the syllabus, start filling out your application.

To complete the application process:

  1. Start by signing up on the pmi.org website. 
  2. After signing up, you will provide details about your education and work experience. 
  3. PMI will then audit your application to check whether you meet their criteria or not. 
  4. Once you’ve passed the audit, you’ll get permission to take the exam. You can schedule a venue and date to take the exam. The exam costs $405 for PMI members and $555 for non-members.

What if you fail the exam?

Didn’t pass the exam? Don’t worry, you can take it again. Candidates can apply to take the exam again up to three times each year. If you want to retake the exam, PMI charges $275 to PMI members and $375 to non-members.

How to maintain PMP certification

Passed the exam and obtained your PMP certification? Congratulations! Note that you must renew your PMP certification every three years.

To renew, you’ll complete 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs). PDUs are one-hour blocks of time devoted to learning, volunteering, and instructing others.

You need to collect these PDUs over a period of three years and upload them to PMI’s dashboard. When you’ve successfully uploaded 60 PDUs, your PMP certification will be renewed for the next three years.

Your PDUs are divided into three broad domains: Technical, Leadership, and Strategic Skills. PDUs are earned through a variety of activities, including:

PMI’s research shows the demand for project managers and project management jobs is growing. The PMP looks good on your resume and demonstrates your determination and skill. Even though it is a challenging exam, the rewards are worth it.

Because of its global appeal, the PMP makes it easier to get a raise or a better-paying job anywhere in the world.

Even if you’re an entrepreneur, the PMP can reframe how you approach your business. You may not need the certification for your job, but preparing for the exam will help you develop more clarity in how you manage your business, processes, and people.To explore more about how to apply and exam content details, please read the  PMP handbook.  I wish you the very best in your pursuit of the PMP certification.

Page Last Updated: September 2020

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