You are on the cusp of reading a comprehensive guide into PMP certification training.
After reading the contents of this article, we assure you that you’ll be fully equipped with the tips to pursue a certification, the requirements and, how to prepare for the PMP exam.
As a bonus, we will add in some PMP test prep resources and tools to guide your PMP exam preparation path.
In this article, we will be looking into:
Read on to find out more.
What is PMP certification?
The certification is recognized in the project management industry, demonstrating its holders’ skills, experience, education, and competency.
Of the different credentials in the industry, it is the most sought after.
The Project Management Institute, PMI, administers it.
The certificate is not mandatory for company positions or most occupations.
It is recognized as a designation that bolsters a professional’s resume and gives one’s experience credibility.
Why Should You Consider a PMP Course/Certification?
Many projects and program managers have at one time considered the need for sitting the PMP certification exam.
From our research and experience, many benefits and advantages are accruable to certified project managers with the certification.
According to the University of Arizona, those with the certification earn 26% more than those without.
Project management methodology application is on the rise.
Different fields, from construction to technology to healthcare, require management skills to design and implement projects.
Certified project managers are deemed more qualified and are ranked in a higher salary range.
In addition, PMP or PMI certification is essential for professional development, but it also gives one’s project management experience credibility.
As a certified professional, your experience and skills will be acknowledged on an international scale.
It is suitable for your career growth.
During the lessons, practice exams, and PMP exam prep courses, you gain more knowledge and polish your project manager skills.
The PMP course requires that each candidate be rigorously trained and have minimum contact hours with the course material.
You can expect to manage projects better.
The business environment puts their trust in those with the papers to show for their experience.
You can apply for those monster projects and collaborate with bigger project teams now that you have certification.
PMP Certification Requirements
Do you think you have enough real-world experience to get certified?
Even experienced project managers with years of managing projects might not meet the prerequisite conditions for the PMP exam.
In this section, we seek to clarify the different minimum conditions required by the Project Management Institute.
First, it must be clarified that the experience stated in PMP requirements defines the time spent leading and directing projects.
Working as a member of a project team doesn’t clarify.
To clarify, project management experience means hours involved in the design, planning, outlining the project schedule, directing, supervising, and controlling the different tasks.
There are two categories of requirements for those looking to apply for the PMP exam.
A potential applicant must have a secondary degree in the form of a high school diploma, a diploma, or an associate’s degree.
Any equivalent to a degree of this level is applicable.
In terms of real-world experience, the applicant must have five years of experience.
It translates to 60 months or about 7,500 hours of experience managing projects of different sizes and volumes.
Another requirement is that the applicant prepares for the PMP examination by attending a workshop or training for 35 hours.
In this category, the PMI body deems a candidate eligible to sit for the certification test if they meet any of the two.
Getting a PMP as per the second category requires a different set of requirements.
A potential applicant must have a three to four-year degree.
The degree must come from a recognized and reputable university.
In terms of experience, the threshold has been reduced.
Only 4,500 hours of project management experience are required.
It can be translated to 36 months or three years of successful project management.
For hours of project management education/ training, a candidate must have at least 35 contact hours, prepping on the profession’s different knowledge areas and fundamentals.
Like the first category, the PMI body only requires a candidate to meet two prerequisites to apply for the PMP test.
Experience as part of preparing for PMP certification
A common question asked is, “Does one need to have the experience to get PMP certified?”
There is a simple answer to this, according to the PMBOK guide.
Professional experience is required to sit for your PMP certification.
You can read up on this from the earlier section.
Since we are on the issue of project management experience, a few points should be clarified.
Whether in procurement, law, construction, or the pharmaceutical industry, you need to know which experience counts as part of your PMI experience.
First and foremost, only experience in professional projects counts.
Experience in personal projects like planning your brother’s wedding, supervising a home improvement project, or leading the church newsletter team does not count.
Often, some applicants record their involvement in a project as project experience.
Project managers must perform the role and show the deliverables of leading, controlling, and supervising the project.
If one is not sure of the role expected of a project manager, we recommend that you read the PMI exam content outline.
One’s project experience must not be overlapping.
Take, for example, a project manager who has worked on two or more projects at a similar time.
A project manager can only choose one project over that particular period.
How to Get PMP Certification Training
Before we get into the intricacies, we must mention that it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the content taught matches the project management objectives as expressed by PMBOK.
In addition, the education one receives must be within the last five years.
That said, here are some of the best PMP training courses and options that will assist you in your PMP certification preparation.
The PMBOK guide
As a potential or current candidate, you should know that the PMP exam’s primary source material is the PMBOK guide.
Even the best PMP prep courses, source materials, and study plans.
Therefore, it will be good for you if your PMP exam study guide uses the PMBOK as its chief reference source.
We recommend that you conquer the Guide from cover to cover before moving on to other study material.
The Guide is broken down into several knowledge areas. In your CISSP study plan, set out weekly milestones to master these different areas.
The exam you are eagerly preparing for will test you on the Guide’s concepts, ideas, and principles.
To better understand the Guide, you will need to reread it more than once. With each read, you are bound to understand it better.
Also, ensure that you use the latest version of the PMBOK guide.
Use a PMP Prep Book
If you have glanced at the PMBOK guide, you will agree that some concepts are hard to understand.
Furthermore, the certification exam is packed with complex questions that seek to test your understanding of the subject.
You will need to unpack your knowledge from training and real-world scenarios into text.
PMP self-study can be quite a challenge and also consume a lot of time.
The use of exceptional and comprehensive exam prep can ease the process.
Exam preps will work with you from the basics upwards, building upon the knowledge you have built up from experience and training.
You can understand the inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs of the different processes detailed in project management approaches with good prep.
PMP Exam Prep Workshops
Consider using PMP exam prep workshops if you prefer the classroom setting or a proper setup to gain the education needed.
In addition to getting the necessary training, it is also an excellent avenue to network with other aspiring professionals in the same field.
Authorized training partners
According to the Project Management Institute, authorized training partners (ATPs) are organizations approved by the PM body to offer PMP certification exam prep for the exam.
They are also licensed to offer Disciplined Agile training and courses that provide professional development units (PDUs) for certified managers to maintain their certification.
PMP preparation with ATPs is high quality and meets the criteria prescribed for the exam course content.
The training courses and classes are taught by PMP certification holders who engage the candidates through dialogue and discussion.
A provider must go through rigorous training to earn the designation as Authorized Training Partner.
They must demonstrate their PM methodological approaches and skills, aligning to current PMI Global standards.
These continuous quality improvements guarantee that the training received by ATPs is of the highest quality.
Another advantage of using ATPs is that it improves the PMP prep study materials and content quality.
Learners are required to provide feedback to the institute on the authorized training partner.
Study groups and discussion forums
It may seem like an old-fashioned method, but it has worked wonders for past candidates.
Study groups and discussions will help you prepare for your PMP exam.
As you discuss the various topics and content areas, you can address your concerns and answer questions.
In addition, you can polish up on topics that you are already good at.
How to get a PMP certification training online
With the penetration of the internet, it is now common to see the digitization of courses and classes.
In the current jurisdiction, exam prep courses are available online to assist you in your certification path.
Not only is this available through the PMI but also private institutions and community colleges.
You can check out the Project Management Professional Certificate from the University of California or the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate.
From either of the options mentioned above, you will be able to fulfill the 35 hours’ worth of education required by the PMI body.
Another online ‘how to prepare PMP certification’ tool/ resource is online PMP exam simulators.
They are pretty new in the market.
These simulators allow candidates to practice PMP exams online.
The questions are set up in the same format as the actual exam.
If you are wondering if you are well prepared for the exam, make use of these simulators.
They mimic the pressure and timing of the exam environment, giving you a feel of the actual PMP exam.
How to get the PMP certification training reimbursed
In addition to the cost of certification, there is also the cost of preparation for the PMP exam.
You will incur costs in terms of prep guides, study plans, and other resources.
The total cost might sum to thousands of dollars.
If a company employs you, you may get company reimbursement to cover your exam prep expenses.
PMP certification instills the best knowledge and practice in leading, controlling, and budgeting a project.
These proven processes are recommended for project success since communication is smoother, stakeholder requirements are better understood, and quality is better managed.
One needs to explain the benefits and value of PMP certification.
By investing in you and upgrading your skills, the training you receive will translate to better business processes, practices, and systems.
A better way to convince your employer is by using figures.
They say that numbers never lie.
Break down to the employer the costs to the company. How much did you lose when the last project was delayed?
Or when a customer was dissatisfied with the quality of the project?
Poor project performance leads to weakened client relations.
By backing you for PMP certification, they can preserve client relations and increase earnings over the financial year.
The timing of your request also plays a critical role in whether you are to be reimbursed or not.
We recommend that you request your semi-annual or annual review.
Your employer will consider your performance over the past period and possibly see the benefits of certification to the company or organization.
Lastly, have all the costs of certification at your fingertips.
Your supervisor might want to test if you have put in the research and work.
They might be testing your level of initiative.
Having a detailed action plan in place gives them all the right signs to say yes.
The Exam Areas
You should know what you are studying as you prepare the best PMP study guide and consider enrolling in a boot camp.
So, what exactly is on the PMP exam test?
According to Coursera, here is a breakdown of the certification test:
- 180 questions; these are a combination of multiple responses, multiple-choices, and open-ended questions
- A maximum of 230 minutes/ 3 hours and 50 minutes to complete the test
- Two (no. 2), 10-minute breaks for candidates
The questions that exam candidates are expected to fill can be divided into three distinct categories: people, process, and business.
This section comprises 42% of the total exam questions.
Candidates should expect questions that test them on the directing and building of project teams.
Management of conflicts, mentoring, and collaboration is also tackled here.
Due to the continued application of the internet and technological tools, the issue of virtual teams and other related topics is also handled in this section.
50% of the questions in the exam will cover the matter of project management processes.
These particular questions test the candidate’s knowledge of their methodology from the conceptualization to the successful completion of the project, i.e., design, scheduling, resource handling, management of budgets, and controlling of different variances.
The last section, the remaining 8%, tests your competencies as a project manager from a business perspective.
After all, each project you handle will have stakeholders and beneficiaries who want the project to meet specific goals or objectives.
The business element encapsulates the need for project managers across the different fields of knowledge and industries.
You will be tested on risk management, compliance, and organizational change.
Project management approaches are also part of the questions in this section.
As part of your PMP examination study guide, ensure to include content on predictive project management approaches and hybrid approaches such as Agile.
Exam questions format
The questions in the PMP certification test are structured in five formats.
Situational PMP questions
These questions are designed to test your ability to apply your theory to project management methodologies in real-world situations.
Situational questions are often long and require you to use your analytical skills to discern and decipher the needs of the question.
Situational questions have both beneficial and useless information.
It is done to make the questions more challenging.
Filter out the information that you require and answer the questions appropriately.
The exam questions are based on project management concepts and topics.
You can think of these questions as the general knowledge type on the different approaches, skills, process groups, inputs, techniques, tools, and outputs.
For you to comfortably answer knowledge-based questions, we recommend that you conquer the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) guide.
A majority of questions will come from here.
Interpretational PMP questions
A project manager has to have the ability to deduce the needs of a project, analyze and provide a solution to it.
The interpretational PMP Questions test Critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
The questions present real-life management problems, which you will be required to convict the situation.
To comfortably answer formula-based questions, you will need to thoroughly understand the forty-four formulas, twenty values, and thirty or so formula-related abbreviations and acronyms in the PMBOK.
Knowledge of formula-based information will help you make quick and critical decisions during the exam.
Technique based questions
According to the PMBOK Guide, a technique is “a defined systematic procedure employed by a human resource to perform an activity, to produce a product/ result or deliver a service, and that may employ one or more tools.”
The same Guide details a technique for the different project management processes listed.
In the exam, you will most definitely be asked a question testing your knowledge of the various techniques listed.
Your understanding of the technique will be tested.
You need to demonstrate how the techniques work and where or in which conditions to be applied.
The Cost of PMP Certification
The cost of getting certified varies from one country to another due to several factors.
Some of the determinants include the current exchange rates, the availability of courses locally, and PMI membership.
The cost will also vary for those considering computer-based testing or paper-based testing.
According to Grey Campus, computer-based testing, CBT, for PMI members costs $405, while for non-members, the cost is $555.
Paper-based testing is significantly cheaper.
It costs $250 for PMI members and $400 for those without a membership.
There may be a scenario whereby you have failed the exam.
PMI members will be required to pay $275 for re-examination, while their counterparts will be asked to pay $375.
Application For The PMP Exam
Once you have met all the requirements (experience and training) detailed above, you can now apply for the exam.
The application form is downloadable from the official PMI website.
Filling in the form can be quite an overwhelming task, taking a few days.
An applicant needs to show that they meet the criteria specified comprehensively.
That said, here are the PMP steps to apply for the exam.
Set up a PMI.org account
You will need to create an account on PMI.ord.
Open the website and apply for a free account.
This part doesn’t apply to those managers who already have a PMI membership.
For the latter, simply log in.
Once you have gained access, move to the dashboard to get a link to all PMI certifications.
Select PMP certifications.
You will be redirected to the relevant page.
Complete and submit the online form
While the form is easy and convenient to use, it requires a lot of information from any particular applicant.
It cannot be done in a single sitting.
The website allows its users to save their responses and complete them at a later date.
Candidates have 90 days to complete the online application.
Applicants are required to fill in three sections of the form:
In addition, you will be needed to fill in the highest degree of education received, whether a high school diploma, associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree from a university.
This section of the applications covers the project management experience, and the education received through the courses and training.
The Project Management Institute makes it clear that the 35 hours must be itemized clearly without any overlaps.
You will also be asked to provide details of the training provider, dates and add in the name of the training program.
The third and final section of the application form covers the contract details and how the candidate would wish their name to appear on the PMP certificate.
It is possible to download the application once you have completed filling it.
PMI reverts to you after about five calendar days on your application.
There are usually two scenarios.
Your application can be fully complete, and you will be asked to proceed and complete payments.
Once paid, you will receive a possible date for the exam.
On the other hand, you may receive notification that your application is being audited.
You are now cleared to proceed to the next step.
The audit process
Being selected is a random process.
You will be notified via mail of the audit process and the details you need to provide.
For the audit, you will be required to provide additional information to back up the details of your education, experience, and training.
Certificates from the training providers or letters from your superiors on projects you have worked on may be required.
The additional information required from you must be submitted within 90 days.
PMI takes about five to seven days to process the information once it has been submitted.
Payment of the fee
After successful completion of the audit process, you can now pay your exam fee.
If you are privileged to work with a good employer/ company, they might offer to pay for the exam and PMP prep training for you.
Exam preparation and the test
There are two options available for taking the PMP exam.
You can choose to do it online or from a nearby testing site.
It is recommended for applicants to tackle some sample exam questions before D-day.
You can also find free PMP exam questions available online training to prepare you for the test.
The exam is made up of 200+ questions, touching on the various aspects of the PMP study book.
Content of the project management exam covers your experience, training, and education.
Significant preparation is required since the exam is quite extensive.
Successful candidates over the years have used several study aids to complete the exam, such as PMP certification study guides, online courses, and study plans.
Your project management test/ exam is scored as “Above Target, Met target, Is below Target or needs improvement.”
If one has failed the project manager test, they can redo the test up to 3 times in a single calendar year.
Additional Project Management Certifications
As you read the article, you might conclude that the PMP certification is not up to your alley.
You feel as though it is not the proper certification for your project management career path.
And that is an excellent feeling to have.
PMI offers other certifications for you to consider.
Some of them are offered by other reputable organizations in the industry.
A few of them have been highlighted below:
Agile is one of the newer project management methodologies, focusing on the speed and adaptability of managers.
It emphasizes the breakdown of the project into small-scale components and the smooth delivery of each of those components.
Agile has gained popularity over recent years.
Some of the notable Agile certifications include the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) certification and the Agile PM certification offered by APGM International.
SCRUM master certifications
Those with this specific certification can model a project after the elements and process of SCRUM.
Scrum is one of the Agile processes and focuses on adaptability and iteration.
Those with the title of Scrum Master can guarantee a project’s success using the approaches established therein.
The scrum certifications worth mentioning include the Professional Scrum Master (PSM) and the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) offered by Scrum Alliance.
Certified Associate in Project Management, CAPM
The PMI body offers the CAPM. It is considered ideal for those who are starting their PM career.
The CAPM certification is ideal for entry-level project managers as it doesn’t need any experience to register.
Those who have successfully gained the certification claim that it is a good stepping stone as they consider other certifications in the industry.
Maintaining Your PMP Certification
Have you successfully passed your PMP exam?
All the time and resources spent in preparation have not been in vain.
Passing the exam, however, is not the end of the road.
You can consider it the tip of the iceberg.
To maintain your certification, PMI requires you to meet the requirements of the body’s “Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR)” program.
You must pay the annual membership renewal fee and earn and report 60 professional development units (PDUs) every three years.
The good thing is there are several ways for you to earn your PDUs.
You can do so by listening to project-related podcasts or volunteering at your local PMI Chapter.
We recommend that you read up on the categories of PDUs as detailed in the PMP Credential Handbook.
You will get insight into the number of PDUs that you can earn and record for each category.
Documenting of the PDUs is done online through the Continuing Credential Requirements System.
And while three years look like a long time, it passes by in a flash.
Don’t wait till the last minute to be anxious about the PDUs.
Outline a three-year plan that you will follow consistently to accumulate the needed hours per the PMI handbook.
From the information detailed above, you need to know how to get your PMP preparation right.
You can appreciate the amount of time, planning, and resources you need to take the exam.
You need to know what path you have set for your career and how you will pay for your training together with the exam.
There is also the issue of the 35 contact hours.
While it is the minimum, the time may vary significantly.
You might find it easier to process the PMP study materials for those fresh from a certification program or degree.
It might not be the same for the project manager, whose last time to do a significant exam was several decades ago.
That said, here is a summary of the ways of preparing and studying for the PMP exam.
You can prepare a customized project management study guide that meets your exact needs with the tips offered.
You should know that there are government grants that cover part of the PMP certification costs.
It covers the cost for those project managers who are without a job.