What Is the PMP® Certification?
The PMP is the gold standard of project management certification. Recognized and demanded by organizations worldwide, the PMP validates your competence to perform in the role of a project manager, leading and directing projects and teams.
PMI® is the leader and the most widely recognized organization in terms of promoting project management best practices. PMI® strives to maintain and endorse standards and ethics in this field and offers publications, training, seminars, chapters, special interest groups, and colleges to further the project management discipline.
PMI® was founded in 1969 and first started offering the PMP® certification exam in 1984. PMI is accredited as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards developer and also has the distinction of being the first organization to have its certification program attain International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 recognition.
PMI® boasts a worldwide membership of more than 470,000, with members from 207 countries and territories around the globe. Local PMI chapters meet regularly and allow project managers to exchange information and learn about new tools and techniques of project management or new ways to use established techniques.
Why Become PMP® Certified?
The following benefits are associated with becoming PMP certified:
- It demonstrates proof of professional achievement: Globally recognized and demanded, the PMP certification demonstrates to employers, clients and colleagues that a project manager possesses project management knowledge, experience and skills to bring projects to successful completion. PMP® certification is a rigorous process that documents your achievements in the field of project management. The exam tests your knowledge of the disciplined approaches, methodologies, and project management practices as described in the PMBOK Guide. You are required to have several years of experience in project management before sitting for the exam, as well as 35 hours of formal project management education. Your certification assures employers and customers that you are well grounded in project management practices and disciplines. It shows that you have the hands-on experience and a mastery of the processes and disciplines to manage projects effectively and motivate teams to produce successful results.
- It increases your marketability: As the demand for skilled project managers is at a critically urgent level, practitioners who hold the PMP certification are well positioned to provide the professional skills necessary to lead project teams and achieve successful project results. Many industries are realizing the importance of project management and its role in the organization. They are also seeing that simply proclaiming a head technician to be a “project manager” does not make it so. Project management, just like engineering, information technology, and a host of other trades, has its own specific qualifications and skills. Certification tells potential employers that you have the skills, experience, and knowledge to drive successful projects and ultimately improve the company’s bottom line. A certification will always make you stand out above the competition. If you’re a PMP® credential holder and you’re competing against a project manager without certification, chances are you’ll come out as the top pick. As a hiring manager, all other things being equal, I will usually opt for the candidate who has certification over the candidate who doesn’t have it. Certification tells potential employers you have gone the extra mile. You’ve spent time studying techniques and methods as well as employing them in practice. It shows dedication to your own professional
- It provides greater opportunity for advancement in your field: PMP® certification displays your willingness to pursue growth in your professional career and shows that you’re not afraid of a little hard work to get what you want. Potential employers will interpret your pursuit of this certification as a high-energy, success-driven, can-do attitude on your part. They’ll see that you’re likely to display these same characteristics on the job, which will help make the company successful. Your certification displays a success-oriented, motivated attitude that will open up opportunities for future career advancements in your current field as well as in new areas you might want to explore.
- It raises customer confidence in you and in your company’s services: Just as the PMP® certification assures employers that you’ve got the background and experience to handle project management, it assures customers that they have a competent, experienced project manager at the helm. Certification will help your organization sell customers on your ability to manage their projects. Customers, like potential employers, want the reassurance that those working for them have the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out the duties of the position and that professionalism and personal integrity are of utmost importance. Individuals who hold these ideals will translate their ethics and professionalism to their work. This enhances the trust customers will have in you, which in turn will give you the ability to influence them on important project issues.
PMP Eligibility Requirements -How to Become PMP Certified
To be eligible for the PMP certification, you must meet certain educational and professional experience requirements. All project management experience must have been accrued within the last eight consecutive years prior to your application submission. PMI has detailed the certification process quite extensively at its website. Go to www.pmi.org and click the Certifications tab to get the latest information on certification procedures and requirements.
You are required to fill out an application to sit for the PMP exam. You can submit this application online at the PMI website. You also need to document 35 hours of formal project management education. This might include college classes, seminars, workshops, and training sessions. Be prepared to list the class titles, location, date, and content.
In addition to filling out the application and documenting your formal project management training, there is one set of criteria you’ll need to meet to sit for the exam. The criteria in this set fall into two categories. You need to meet the requirements for only one of these categories:
- Category 1 is for those who have a baccalaureate degree. You’ll need to provide proof, via transcripts, of your degree with your application. In addition, you’ll need to complete verification forms—found at the PMI website—that show 4,500 hours of project management experience that spans a minimum of three years.
- Category 2 is for those who do not have a baccalaureate degree but do hold a high school diploma or equivalent. You’ll need to complete verification forms documenting 7,500 hours of project management experience that spans a minimum of five years.
The exam fee is $405 for PMI members in good standing and $555 for non-PMI members. Testing is conducted at Prometric testing centers. You can find a center near you on the Prometric center website, but you will not be able to schedule your exam until your application is approved by PMI . You have one year from the time PMI receives and approves your completed application to take the exam. You’ll need to bring two forms of identification, such as a driver’s license and a credit card in your name, with you to the Prometric testing center on the test day. You will not be allowed to take anything with you into the testing room and will be provided with a locker to store your personal belongings. You will be given a calculator, pencils, and scrap paper. You will turn in all scrap paper, including the notes and squiggles you’ve jotted during the test, to the center upon completion of the exam.
The exam is scored immediately, so you will know whether you’ve passed at the conclusion of the test. You’re given four hours to complete the exam, which consists of 200 randomly generated questions. Only 175 of the 200 questions are scored. Twenty-five of the 200 questions are “pretest” questions that will appear randomly throughout the exam. These 25 questions are used by PMI to determine statistical information and to determine whether they can or should be used on future exams. You will receive a score of Proficient, Moderately Proficient, or Below Proficient for each exam domain, as well as a Pass or Fail score. Because PMI uses psychometric analysis to determine whether you have passed the exam, a passing score is not published. The questions on the exam cover the five process groups and professional responsibility. You’ll answer questions on the following:
- Monitoring and Controlling
- Professional Responsibility
Questions pertaining to professional responsibility on the exam will be intermixed with questions for all the process groups. You won’t see a section or set of questions devoted solely to professional responsibility, but you will need to understand all of the concepts in this area.
All unanswered questions are scored as wrong answers, so it benefits you to guess at an answer if you’re stumped on a question.
After you’ve received your certification, you’ll be required to earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) every three years to maintain certification. Approximately one hour of structured learning translates to one PDU. The PMI website details what activities constitute a PDU, how many PDUs each activity earns, and how to register your PDUs with PMI to maintain your certification. As an example, attendance at a local chapter meeting earns one PDU.