There are two requirements for becoming eligible and applying to the PMP certification exam:
- Depending on your educational qualifications, you should either have 36 months or 60 months of project management (PM) experience.
- You should have 35 contact hours of formal project management education/training.
The following table gives a brief overview of the eligibility criteria for the PMP exam. The minimum PM experience depends on your educational qualification.
|Your Educational Qualification||PM Experience Requirement||PM Education/Training Requirement|
|1.||Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent).||5 years/60 months of experience in leading & directing projects.||35 contact hours or CAPM certification.|
|2.||4-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent).||3 years/36 months of experience in leading & directing projects.||35 contact hours or CAPM certification.|
Once you meet the above perquisites, you can sit for the PMI’s credential test. In fact, all you need to ensure is that you meet the first requirement i.e you should have the requisite PM experience. If you have the experience, you can easily get 35 hour certificate by attending a formal PMP training course.
Let me describe the eligibility criteria in detail in this article. After reading it, you would know if you are qualified for the exam or not in order to fill the PMP exam application form.
PMP Certification and Qualification Requirements
I. Project Management Experience
We already know that you need 3/5 years of experience in leading and directing projects to be eligible for the PMP exam.
“Leading and directing projects” simply means that you have gained PM experience by working as a project manager or as a part of a project management team. Essentially, it means that you should have managed either a complete project(s) or part of a project(s).
If you are working as a a project team member then it is not considered as “leading and directing projects”.
Let’s understand this requirement in more detail by looking at definition of a project.
What is a Project?
A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.
The PMBOK Guide
In order to meet the experience requirement, you should have worked in one or more projects. The type, nature and size of projects is not important. You can gain experience from any type of project.
Your project could be technology oriented or non-technical; big or small; in-house or customer-oriented etc. They can be from any industry or business domain.
The important thing to bear in mind is that, you should have worked at least 3/5 years in a “leading and directing” role.
What is “Leading and Directing” a Project?
“Leading and directing” simply means that you should have held a position of responsibility in your projects. You should have performed the role of a project manager and managed a complete or part of projects.
Here are a few examples of tasks that are considered as “leading and directing” tasks.
- Identifying, collecting, and documenting project requirements.
- Estimating duration, effort, cost, and resources.
- Identifying, documenting, and tracking assumptions and constraints.
- Scheduling the whole or part of the project.
- Identifying quality requirements and creating quality plan.
- Performing quality assurance and quality control activities.
- Managing the whole or part of the project team.
- Identifying quality requirements and creating quality plan.
- Performing activities related to procurement management.
- Identify and prioritizing risks.
- Creating risk repose plans and taking action when necessary.
- Ensuring that the project timelines are met.
- Identifying changes and taking them through the change control process.
- Preparing and presenting progress reports to senior management.
- Interacting with the customer and managing their expectations.
You would be eligible for the exam if you have done some of the above tasks while working in your projects.
The above list is an indicative list of tasks that are considered as PM activities. This is not a complete list. If you are looking for a complete list of tasks that PMI considers as PM tasks then you can refer to PMP Exam Content Outline (ECO).
There is a small associated requirement. The task list in ECO is divided into 3 performance domains. You should have experience of each domain to be eligible for the exam. However, you do not need to have experience of all three domains on every project.
Note: You can go through the entire list of tasks in ECO to understand the significance of project management but ECO is somewhat difficult to understand.
PM Experience Requirement – Key Takeaways
- You should have PM Experience of either 3 years or 5 years depending on your educational qualification.
- While filling up your application form, you have to list all your projects along with the number of worked in those projects.
- You cannot count entire working duration of a project as PM experience. Rather, you can count only those hours that were used to perform the PM tasks.
- You should have performed tasks from 3 domains while managing your projects. However, it is not necessary to have performed all 3 domain tasks in all your projects.
II. 35 Contact Hours of Formal Project Management Education
You require 35 contact hours of formal project management education/training in order to qualify for the exam. Let us understand the meaning of contact hours and formal education.
What is a Contact Hour?
One hour of Classroom instruction equals one contact hour.
If you spend 9 hours long training session with 7 hours of learning and 2 hours of break time then you can claim 7 hours as contact hours.
Although the above definition from the PMP handbook mentions classroom, 35 hours can be accrued from a classroom course or an online training workshop.
What is Formal Education?
Self-study or attending PMI chapter meetings is not counted towards contact hours.
The hours can be attained by attending any PM course that includes instruction on the 10 Knowledge Areas (KA) from the PMBOK Guide and Agile concepts from the Agile Practice Guide. The 10 KA include Integration, Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Resource, Communications, Risk, Procurement, and Stakeholder Management.
PMP Contact Hours Requirement – Key Takeaways
- You should have a formal PM education of 35 contact hours or more.
- You can utilize the hours accrued from multiple training programs that total up to 35 hours.
- You could use educational hours from your college programs.
- The 35 contact hours are valid for lifetime.
Do You Meet PMP Exam Eligibility Criteria?
By now, you would have understood the basic PMP Exam eligibility criteria. However, you still might have some lingering doubts. You might still be wondering if you meet the certification prerequisites or not.
Don’t worry. If you have the PM experience, you are on right track. After getting the requisite PM experience, you can join any recognized formal training program to complete the second requirement.
Let me clarify a bit more by answering some frequently asked questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Over To You
Are you eligible for the certification? If yes, then you should start preparing for the exam immediately. It should give a big boost to your career.
Or, are you still confused about the eligibility criteria?
Please leave a comment.