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PMP Certification Requirements & Eligibility Criteria [2022]

pmp certification requirements/exam prerequisites

There are two requirements for becoming eligible and applying to the PMP certification exam:

  1. Depending on your educational qualifications, you should either have 36 months or 60 months of project management (PM) experience.
  2. 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 are 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.

  1. Identifying, collecting, and documenting project requirements.
  2. Estimating duration, effort, cost, and resources.
  3. Identifying, documenting, and tracking assumptions and constraints.
  4. Scheduling the whole or part of the project.
  5. Identifying quality requirements and creating quality plan.
  6. Performing quality assurance and quality control activities.
  7. Managing the whole or part of the project team.
  8. Identifying quality requirements and creating quality plan.
  9. Performing activities related to procurement management.
  10. Identify and prioritizing risks.
  11. Creating risk repose plans and taking action when necessary.
  12. Ensuring that the project timelines are met.
  13. Identifying changes and taking them through the change control process.
  14. Preparing and presenting progress reports to senior management.
  15. 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

  1. You should have PM Experience of either 3 years or 5 years depending on your educational qualification.
  2. While filling up your application form, you have to list all your projects along with the number of worked in those projects.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

PMI’s PMP Handbook

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?

A formal education could include a traditional classroom training, an instructor led virtual training, or a self-learning online training.

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

  1. You should have a formal PM education of 35 contact hours or more.
  2. You can utilize the hours accrued from multiple training programs that total up to 35 hours.
  3. You could use educational hours from your college programs.
  4. 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.

You can find a few good options for training here and here.

Let me clarify a bit more by answering some frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions


​Yes, you can. The type of projects or industry does not matter. Your projects should conform to the PMI’s definition of a project.

​As per PMI, “a project is a temporary endeavor to create a unique product, service or result”. In simple words, it means that you are creating something new in a ​defined time period.

Yes. Absolutely. Projects happen in all kind of industries. You can look at my article on ​value of doing PMP​. It provides statistical evidence of salary advantage of doing PMP across different industries. I have shared a link to Global PMP salary survey in that article. You should read the report to check the salary benefit of doing PMP in your country and for your industry. Otherwise also, PMP certification is considered to be one of the most popular and highest paying credential in the world.

You might be eligible for the exam. Total number of years of experience does not matter. You need to have experience of managing projects. It means that you should have contributed at least 4500/7500 hours in managing projects or part of projects.

Yes. You can apply for the exam if you have the minimum PM experience. You designation or title in an organization has ​little significance.

It means that you should have held a position of responsibility in your project(s). e.g you might be managing a ​team, taking decisions related to schedule, cost, or risk, involved in client engagement, managing vendor(s) etc. You can refer to exam content outline for a complete list of project management tasks.

No. Simply working in projects as a team member is not enough. You should ​have worked in a leading or directing role.

Yes. ​As long as you have the requisite PM experience, you can apply for the exam. ​It does not matter if you have ​​managed ​a​complete o​r partial ​​project.

​No. You should have project management experience. Working in operations or managing them is not considered as project management.

​Yes. As long as you have the requisite PM experience, you can apply for the exam.

​​Yes. You can use any previous project management training ​to apply for the exam.

​Yes. You can use hours from your educational degree program.

​Yes. The contact hours from a ATP are pre-approved for the exam but any PM training form any training provider can be used to apply for the exam.

​PMI verifies the information only if your application is audited. You can ​be asked to ​submit a copy of your training certificate and ​experience certificate(s). You would have to get the experience certificates signed from your manager(s) or ​any other organization’s representative.

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.

19 thoughts on “PMP Certification Requirements & Eligibility Criteria [2022]”

  1. Hi Sir,

    I am working as a technical lead in a software company. I have more than 8 years of experience.From last 4 years i am working as a lead. I am completely managing a project. Do i need to provide work experience document for this.

    Thanks in advance.

    Regards
    Subrat

  2. Hi prabin,

    I’m currently working as a project manager in a data collection firm from last 2 years. Am i eligible for pmp or capm?

  3. Hello sir,

    I had 6 years of experience in R&D in biopharma industry. Can i apply for project management certification? If yes, could you please let me know the best PMP certification offering institute in bangalore through online and offline?

    Thanks and Regards,
    vasu

  4. Hi prabin,

    I have done MCA. Currently I am working as designation of AM(Assistant Manager – IT) but am leading software project from last two year. Previous my designation is as SSE(Senior Software Engineer) but am leading software project from 3 year. I would like to know below :

    1. Am I eligible for PMP as am leading IT-Software Project(But Designation is not project manager).

    2. As MCA is 3 year course then how much project management exp required, 4500 Hr or 7500 Hr.

    Thanks.

    Regards,
    Mukul Chandra

  5. Hello Praveen ji,

    I m having more than 12 year experience in operation and maintenance in telecom (infra and utility maintenance), where I m taking care of network operation with a team of 50+ team member. I M willing to pursue career in any other industry. Am I eligible for PMP certification. And after certification how it would help me for my career growth.

  6. Hi Praveen,
    I am a Qualified Chartered Accountant with 6years of working experience in SAP FI(two projects), Accounting, Reporting and want to pursue PMP.

    Just want to know if I am eligible??

    Thanks
    Priyanka

  7. Hi Praveen,

    I have done MCA and working as a Software Developer since last 7 years. Can I use any other Industry’s PM Experience of 4500 Hrs?

  8. Hi Praveen,

    I have worked partially on projects. I also recently set up an event management company which I organize/coordinate events such as birthdays/weddings amongst others. I sometimes co-manage events with a sister company. Can this count towards the 4500 hrs

    Regards

  9. Good day sir,

    I have about 15 years industry experience in the oil and gas downstream, and, Project monitoring/public services sector. I am a mechanical engineer though I have a MSC in project management.

    I’m interested in PMP certification.

    Please advice.

    Chibuzor

  10. Hello,

    I am diplomat and working professional since last 15 years in engineering industry as Mechanical Product Application Engineering, Proposals. Will PMP certification will be helpful ? Please guide.

  11. Hi,

    I have been working as a Project Engineer since 2015. All the decisions taken by management related to Engineering is through my opinion. I have been a core team member for taking decisions and leading the team underneath. So do I qualify for the criteria set by PMI for taking an exam?

    Best Regards,
    Jubeir Ahmad

  12. Hi Praveen – Thanks for sharing the information above. I want to ask if there is any limitation on how far back can one go to claim their PM experience if they have been a non-PM role since the last couple of years? Specifically, would I be eligible for PMP if I have 4500 hours of PM experience from 2014 till 2018 and post that I moved to a non-PM role? Thanks!

    1. Suyash, All project management experience must have been accrued within the last eight consecutive years prior to your application submission.

      BR.

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