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PMP certification: Are you eligible?

The first step of your journey towards PMP certification is finding out if you are eligible for it.

There are two requirements that you as a candidate need to fulfill before you are even allowed to pay for the privilege of taking the exam. Those requirements are:

  1. Project management experience
  2. Project management education

The details of the first PMP certification requirement will differ depending on your educational background.

Eligibility Requirement 1: Project Management Experience

If you have a high school diploma, you are required to have a minimum of five years or 60 months of project management experience, during which at least 7,500 hours were spent leading and directing the project.

(If you don't have a high school diploma, you are out of luck, no PMP certification for you. No CAPM for you, either, as it also requires high school at a minimum.)

However, if you have a four-year degree, then only three years or 36 months of experience are required, with at least 4,500 hours spent leading and directing the project.

In both cases this experience must have been accumulated within eight years prior to your application submission.

What kind of experiences are acceptable?

The experience in your application should cover all five process groups as defined in the PMBOK Guide. (But not necessarily all in one single project.)

For example, here are some of the tasks that you may have been performing and which would be acceptable:

  • "Define the high-level scope of the project based on the business and compliance requirements, in order to meet the customer's project expectations."
  • "Present the project plan to the key stakeholders (if required), in order to obtain approval to execute the project."
  • "Execute the tasks as defined in the project plan, in order to achieve the project deliverables within budget and schedule."
  • "Communicate project status to stakeholders for their feedback, in order to ensure the project aligns with business needs."
  • "Obtain final acceptance of the project deliverables by working with the sponsor and/or customer, in order to confirm that project scope and deliverables were met."

A full list of acceptable tasks, knowledge and skills is specified in PMI's PMP Examination Content Outline, but the main point is that you DON'T need to have had a job named "Project Manager" or something similar. It is about what you did, and not about how people called you while you were doing it.

If you don't have enough experience right now, here are some ideas how to gather it as quickly as possible.

Eligibility Requirement 2: Project Management Education

This requirement asks for 35 contact hours of formal project management education, and it is not limited only to last eight years. Even the older ones count. But the course must be completed at the time you submit the application.

Course content may include one or more of these topics:

  • project quality
  • project scope
  • project schedule
  • project budget
  • project communications
  • project risk
  • project procurement
  • project integration management

Basically, these are the PMBOK Guide knowledge areas, with the exception of project human resources, for some reason.

Here is a list of types of education providers that can provide the accepted courses, workshops or training sessions:

  1. PMI Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.s)
  2. PMI chapters
  3. Employer/company-sponsored programs
  4. Training companies or consultants (e.g. training schools)
  5. Distance-learning companies, including an end-of-course assessment
  6. University/college academic and continuing education programs

One hour of classroom instruction equals one contact hour, and you can only count the hours that are spent on project management topics.

Are You Eligible for PMP certification?

So after reading this, what do you say, are you eligible to take the PMP exam?

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