PMP certification is one of the most popular and highest paying credential in the world. In order to apply for the PMP exam, you should meet the basic eligibility criteria as prescribed by the Project Management Institute (PMI).
You will find detailed explanation of PMP certification requirements in this post. It will help you in understanding the prerequisites for the PMP exam, which include educational qualification, project management experience, and formal training.
After reading the post, you would know if you are qualified for the exam or not and whether you can fill the exam application form.
PMP Certification Requirements
There are only two requirements to apply for the PMP exam. You need to have:
- a minimum amount of Project Management (PM) experience, which depends on your educational qualification.
- 35 contact hours of formal PM education.
The following table gives a brief overview of the requirements.
|Your Educational Qualification||Requirement I – PM Experience||Requirement II – Formal PM Education|
|1.||Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent).||Min 5 years / 60 months unique non-overlapping professional PM experience & 7,500 hours spent on projects.||35 contact hours.|
|2.||4-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent).||Min 3 years / 36 months unique non-overlapping professional PM experience & 4,500 hours spent on projects.||35 contact hours|
The number of hours of PM experience depends on your educational qualification. In order to be eligible for the credential test, you need to have both minimum PM experience and 35 contact hours.
Let’s look at these requirements in detail.
I. Project Management Experience
You need a minimum number of hours of PM Experience to be eligible for the PMP exam. You would have this experience, if you have been leading and directing projects for 3-5 years.
Let us understand what is meant by “leading and directing projects”. It 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”.
PMI’s terminology can be quite confusing. Let’s understand this requirement in more detail.
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 PMP requirement, you should have worked in one or more project(s). 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. It could be from any industry or business domain.
The important thing to bear in mind is that, you should have worked at least 7500/4500 hours in a “leading and directing” role.
What is “Leading and Directing” a Project?
“Leading and directing” simply means that you should have a position of responsibility in your project(s). You should have performed the role of a project manager and managed a complete or part of your project(s).
Here are a few examples of tasks that you might have done while working in your project(s).
- Scheduling the whole or part of the project.
- Managing the whole or part of the team.
- Presenting progress reports for senior management.
- Customer interaction.
- Ensuring timelines are met.
If you are looking for a complete list of tasks that PMI considers as project management tasks then you can refer to PMP Exam Content Outline.
You are eligible for the PMP exam if you have done some of these tasks while “leading and directing” your projects(s).
Note: You can go through the entire list of tasks in Exam Content Outline to understand the significance of project management. However, this list is somewhat cryptic. So, you can just take a high level overview of tasks to understand what PMI expects from you.
There is a small additional requirement. The task list is divided into 3 performance domains. You should have experience of each domain in any one of your projects in order to be eligible for the exam. However, you do not need to have experience of all three domains on every project.
PM Experience Requirement – Key Takeaways
- You should have PM Experience of either 7500 or 4500 hours depending on your educational qualification.
- You cannot count entire working duration of a project towards 7500/4500 hours. You can count only those hours that were used to perform PM tasks.
- You can add up hours from multiple projects.
- You should have experience of all 3 domains. However, this experience is not needed in a single project.
To meet PMP certification eligibility, you should have 7500/4500 of PM Experience as defined by the tasks listed in the Exam Content Outline.
II. 35 Contact Hours of Formal Project Management Education
You require 35 contact hours of formal project management education 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 attend an 9 hour long session with breaks in-between, then you can claim (9 hours minus the break time) as contact hours.
These hours can be accrued from a classroom course or an online training workshops.
What is Formal Education?
Self-study is not counted towards the contact hours.
The hours can be attained from any PM course that includes instruction on the 10 Knowledge Areas (KA) as defined in the PMBOK Guide. These 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.
To meet PMP certification eligibility, you need 35 contact hours of formal project management education.
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.