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PMP is one of the most widely recognized certifications in the world, with over 1,000,000 holders across the globe.  Having a PMP certification can open new career doors at almost any type of company, but it’s not an easy certification to get. 

How To Get Your PMP Certification

What is a PMP Certification? 

Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is an internationally recognized project management certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Having a PMP certification shows the holder has the expertise and skills to manage a professional organization’s processes, people, and projects. PMP certifications are in demand in almost every industry globally, including SaaS, healthcare, IT, marketing, B2C, CPG, design, and government entities. Getting a PMP certification requires meeting the experience and education requirements, passing a comprehensive exam, and applying for certification.   

Requirements for a PMP Certification 

The requirements for a PMP certification come from 4 categories.  

1) Project management training 

2) Project management experience 

3) Education 

4) Passing the PMP exam 

Before taking the PMP certification exam, you’ll need to complete the training, education, and experience requirements. 

  • Project management training: 35 hours of education related to project management or a CAPM certification.
  • Project management experience: 36 months leading projects 
  • Education: A 4-year bachelor’s degree

These requirements can be substituted with the following. 

  • Project management training: 35 hours of education related to project management or a CAPM certification
  • Project management experience: 60 months leading projects 
  • Education: A high school diploma or an associate’s degree

The PMP Exam 

The PMP exam is considered one of the most challenging exams outside of IT and requires a significant investment in studying and training. The most successful PMP candidates spend 35 hours or more studying for their exam and use 3rd party PMP exam prep products. 

In addition to the study time investment, there is a cost for taking the exam. As of 2021, the cost for taking the PMP certification exam is $555 for those who are not members of PMI and $405 for PMI members. PMI membership costs $129 annually and has a $10 application fee. 

The PMP exam consists of 180 questions that cover 3 core areas:

  • People (42% of the test)
  • Processes (50% of the test)
  • Business Environment (8% of the test) 

PMI does not publish an official passing score, but the generally accepted passing grade is 61%. Each question is weighted differently, and no two PMP applicants will have the same test. 

If you fail your PMP exam 3 times within 1 year, you’ll have to wait 1 year from the last exam date. You will have to pay a new application fee each time you take the exam.

Steps for Getting your PMP Certification 

  1. Complete the application requirements. Before you take the exam, you’ll need to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. You should keep detailed notes about the projects you work on, including your role, responsibilities, and the length of the project. 
  2. Apply for the PMP certification exam. You’ll need to make an account with PMI and fill out the application to take the test. As part of your application, you’ll need to share your training and education details. 
  3. Start studying. The PMP exam is considered very challenging, and it’s recommended that you spend at least 35 hours studying, but many students spend up to 100 hours preparing for the exam. Using a study guide or exam prep product is highly encouraged. 
  4. Take the exam. You can take the exam at a local testing site or online. The exam has a 230-minute time limit.
  5. Keep up on your PDUs. Once you’ve passed the exam, you need to complete 60 hours of professional development units (PDUs) every 3 years to keep your certification active. These PDUs can be things like full-time project management, speaking at conferences, and writing articles.  

Ready to start working towards your PMP certification?  PMP exam prep courses from ONLC can help you pass the exam the first time.  

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