Project Management Professional Certification

PMP Certification Overview

As companies have more and more projects that are complex and often global, they are looking for project managers that have the skill and education to manage these projects.

The need to find qualified project managers was a top priority when The Project Management Institute created a certificate to identify qualified project managers. To address this need, they created the Project Management Professional Certificate (PMP).

The PMP Certification process will both help improve your project management skills and show others you have achieved a higher level of training and proficiency. Certification is also designed to continue your project management education and keep it current. Additionally, those who are certified become part of the PMI Online Certification Registry.  This tool allows prospective employers to look up your name and verify that you have the PMP Certification.  There are nearly 400,000 individuals who have received PMP certification around the world. In recent years, an average of about 4,300 people a month have attained certification through the program.

Benefits of Getting Certified:

  • If you have served as a project manager for your company, but have not been given the title of Project Manager, you might want to get certified.
  • If you have the training and title of Project Manager but are not certified, consider this - on average, certified PMs earn 10-15% more than those who are not certified.
  • If the projects at your company have become more complex and you want more training so you can do your job better, you might want to be certified.
  • If you are looking for a new job at another company as Project Manager, having this certification on your resume might help you get the job. Since the PMP certification is recognized globally, having this credential can be an important asset wherever you want to work.

Education and Experience Required Before Getting Certified

The PPM certificate is not for beginners, but rather those who already have some experience managing projects. The following requirements must be met before attempting to receive certification.

Either of the following are required before getting certified:

  1. A high school diploma or associate’s degree and 60 months of project management experience
  2. A bachelor’s degree and 36 months of project management experience


  • 35 hours of project management education

If you have a four-year degree, you must also have at least three years of experience as a Project Manager. This would include 4500 hours leading or directing various projects.

If you have a high school diploma, you will need to have five years of project management experience. This experience must include 7500 hours either as a lead or directing a project. For the required hours of experience, you will have to note on your application the specific project, the starting and ending date of the project, your role in the project, the industry, your title, the organization and the address of the organization. You will need to have contact information and details on the projects so that your experience can be verified as well as the hours spent on the project.

Whether you have a four-year degree or a high school diploma, you are required to have 35 hours of project management education. You can get this education through PMI Registered Education providers that have met the required standards.  These providers are available in over 80 countries. Courses are also available by PMI Component organizations and can be provided for employees by their company. The required number of hours must be directly related to project management.

Applying for the PMP Test

If you have met the requirements noted above, you are ready to apply. You need to log on to the online system at and register. By registering, you will get an ID number. You can apply for the certificate online or you can print out the form, fill it out, and send it in. If you fill out the application online, you have 90 days to fill it out and send it in once you have started the process. There is then a review of the application that takes about 5 days if submitted online or a little longer if the application was sent it. Once your application has been accepted, you will need to pay a fee which, depending on whether you are a member of PMI or not, can cost somewhere between $250 and $400.

There is a possibility that your application may be randomly selected to be audited. If is selected, you will be notified by e-mail after the payment of the credential fee. In an audit, you will have 90 days to provide documentation of your education and project management experience. The audit itself can take about a week to be completed.

About The PMP Test

The exam is usually computer-based, but paper-based testing is available if you live at least 186.5 miles from a Prometric CBT site. The exam is usually taken at a Prometric CBT site, but it can also be administered by your employer. If you are taking the exam at a Prometric CBT site, schedule the exam at

An individual receives PMP certification upon passing a 200-question multiple choice exam.  Most consider the exam to be moderately or very hard. It is available in 13 languages.  In most places, the examination is offered on a computer, and the test-taker is able to see his or her score immediately upon completion. If you pass the exam, the certificate will be mailed to you and you will be added to the online registry. If you do not pass the exam, you can take it again.

The test covers the entire project management process as outlined by the PMI. This consists of six “domains.” The first five correspond to stages in the life cycle of a project, while the last deals with another important topic:

  • Initiating (11% of the test questions)
  • Planning (23%)
  • Executing (27%)
  • Monitoring and Controlling (21%)
  • Closing (9%)
  • Professional and Social Responsibility (9%)

In addition, the first five domains are divided into multiple “knowledge areas.” There are nine such areas in total, though only one domain, “Planning,” contains questions from all of them. The nine knowledge areas are:

  • Integration Management
  • Scope Management
  • Time Management
  • Cost Management
  • Quality Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Communications Management
  • Risk Management
  • Procurement Management

Preparation for the Exam

As you prepare for the exam, realize that you will not be able to learn everything. There are, though, many ways you can prepare for the exam. Here are a few ways:

It is strongly advised that you should take the time you need to study and prepare for the exam. This preparation will probably take you about three months, but it depends on the you and how much time you have to devote to preparation. You have up to one year from the time of your application to the time of your exam.

Keeping Your Certification Current

After passing the test, certificate holders must complete certain continuing education requirements defined by the PMI to maintain their certification over time. The PMI offers Professional Development Units to measure how much continuing education the individual has accomplished.

There are multiple ways of attaining PDUs, such as taking quizzes, attending seminars, and performing relevant volunteer services. For PPM certification, holders must earn 60 PDUs every 3 years.

Other Project Management Certificates You Can Pursue

  1. Certified Associated in Project Management (CAPM) - If you have the education, but have little or no project management experience, you may qualify for the Certified Associate in Project Management. It provides entry-level certification and might help you get a job where you can get more or some project management experience.
  2. Program Management Professional (PgMp) - designed for Program Managers that are overseeing projects.
  3. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) - specifically for those that where agile practices are being used in their projects. This is a higher level certification.
  4. PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP) - this certificate is for those that want to have a role as a specialist in project risk management.
  5. PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP) - for those that want to have a role as a project scheduling specialist.

No certificates are a prerequisite for another certificate and you can get more than one certificate.


The PMP certification can show that you have the skills, education, and ability to be an effective Project Manager. With projects continuing to be larger and more complex, the need to show your ability to be a Project Management Professional has never been greater. This certification will help you to get a larger salary, get more job offers, and do your job more effectively.