PMP® Certification - The Process in a Nutshell

About the PMP Certification

Contents of this page

The certification to become a Project Management Professional (PMP) is challenging. Its main target audience are project managers in internal, cross-functional projects.

However, it is also very effective to improve cross-corporate project business on both sides:

  • Contractors
    - winning and performing more profitable projects
    - happier customers

  • Customers
    - better standing towards vendors in the project

Other groups that benefit from the PMI certification are

  • PMO personnel
  • Freelancers
  • Consultants in project management/project business management

This page describes the process and how an employer can successfully help sponsor the PMP certification for employees. It reflects the certification process per August 3, 2021. PMI reserves the right to change the process at any time. In such case, this page will be updated ASAP, so come back from time to time and check for updates.

Prerequisites

Sponsoring Opportunities for Employers
  • Assure your project managers that you are prepared to sponsor the certification process in both money and time.
  • Bring in experts to help your employees selected for certification understand the prerequisites and pre-screen their work history to assess whether they meet these requirements.
  • Give your project managers confidence in your full support during the entire process.

PMI defined three groups of candidates. In case of uncertainty, we help candidates assigning themselves to the right group and pre-assessing their experience. (Ask here)

Group 1: Individuals holding a secondary degree

  • Such as
    - high school diploma,
    - associate degree, or
    - global equivalent
  • Experience required in managing projects:
    - 60 months
    - Maximum verification period prior to application: 8 years
  • Specific project management education: 35 contact hours*

Group 2: Individuals holding a four-year degree

  • Such as
    - a bachelor’s degree or
    - a global equivalent
  • Experience required in managing projects:
    - 36 months
    - Maximum verification period prior to application: 8 years
  • Specific project management education: 35 contact hours*

Group 3: Individuals holding a degree from a GAC** accredited program

  • Such as
    - GAC bachelor or
    - GAC post-graduate
  • Experience required in managing projects:
    - 24 months
    - Maximum verification period prior to application: 8 years
  • Specific project management education: 35 contact hours*
Source: PMP Examination Content Outline, p. 11
_______________

*: Notes on the 35 contact hours:

    - Our PMP seminar meets this requirement.
    - The 35 hour requirement is waived for holders of the CAPM certification.
**: GAC Global Accreditation Center, a PMI unit accrediting Academic education programs

The Preparation and Examination Process

The typical process to become PMP-certified:

The PMP process

The 35h Seminar

Sponsoring Opportunities for Employers
  • Arrange a seminar program inhouse for a group of three or more attendees; or alternatively, sponsor participation of individuals in an open class at a training provider.
  • If you are interested in our program, downlaod the seminar data sheet here. 

  • Select a trainer who will be there for your employees not only during the seminar but for the entire process until they start the exam; and make sure the person is knowledgeable about PMI and the exam.

  • Assure your project managers that failing in the test is not a problem, but dropping out would be. 
  • PMI uses CREDLY badges to help validate that a person is certified. If you chose a trainer, check if the person is an Authorized Training Partner Instructor for PMP classes.
PMP prep seminar

PMI accepts as 35 contact hours seminars performed by

  • Training providers
    - ATP-accredited*
    - non-ATPs
  • Companies as trainer-led on-site trainings
  • Trainer-led virtual seminars 
  • Mixed on-site/virtual classes

Not accepted:

  • "On-demand" classes that are not trainer-led
  • Books
  • Videos

A typical PMP preparation class is 35 hours from Monday to Friday, 7 contact hours a day (+ 1h lunch break). 

Internal seminars may be split in two sessions, e.g. 2 days and 3 days.

*: ATP - Authorized Training Partners

Source: PMP Examination Content Outline, p. 13

Find our PMP Seminar Data Sheet here.

The Application at PMI

Sponsoring Opportunities for Employers

  • Ensure that a trainer is available for mentoring - helping the candidate to write an application that will be accepted by PMI.
  • Further ensure that the trainer will be available for mentoring in case of issues during the application and testing process, and that the person is experienced and sufficiently connected with PMI to help resolve the issues.
  • Sponsor at least one year of membership at PMI ($139). This cost will be paid back through a discount for the exam of $150.
    Membership comes with benefits, such as free download of core documents (PMBOK Guide 6th & 7th Ed., Agile Practice Guide, and more)

The application is done fully online. 

The candidates must state

  • details on the highest education achieved (High school, bachelor, Master, etc.)

  • the provider of the 35 contact hours project management education  

  • project experience (detailed description)

and accept the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct as binding.

This LinkedIn article gives some hints at filling in the application:

LinkedIn article: Make your PMP application pass

Membership at PMI

We recommend to join PMI as a member before submission of the application, to get access to free PDF versions of source materials.

  • PMBOK Guide 6th Edition
  • PMBOK Guide 7th Edition (Note: First exam questions referencing to the PMBOK Guide 7th Ed. are expected around October 2021. The number will then be ramped up into 2022.)
  • Agile Practice Guide
  • If necessary: Translations

Next Steps

  • Eligibility confirmed by PMI
  • Payment
    - $555 for non-members
    - $405 for members
    - for more details see the PMI Certifications Handbook, p. 22 
  • Possibly: Audit by PMI
    A percentage of applications is audited by PMI. In such case, written confirmations of the information submitted online with the application must be sent per letter to PMI's HQs. 
  • Eligibility ID submitted by PMI
  • Exam seat reservation at Pearson Vue using the eligibility ID

Eligibility period: 12 months
Max attempts during this period: 3

Mentored, Self-Directed Learning

Sponsoring Opportunities for Employers

  • Ensure that the trainer has practice questions for the candidates for self-studies after the seminar and is available for help when the candidates need it.
  • Sponsor additional practice questions in form of books or simulators. 
  • Allow for time for self-directed studies by the candidates.

  • Free practice tests can be found at 
    https://www.oliverlehmann.com/free/free-pmp-practice-questions

  • Our seminar includes access for students to the PM Prepcast Simulator. See our seminar data sheet.

After the seminar, the candidate will spend some time (recommended ~100hs) to read the source literature and work with other materials, such as:

  • Books
  • Exam simulators

A reading list with the sections from the books that are essential for learning can be found at https://www.oliverlehmann.com/free/free-resources#list.

100 free practice questions and links to many more are available at
https://www.oliverlehmann.com/free/free-pmp-practice-questions.

Ideally, the candidate should be able to ask the trainer when uncertainties emerge during this time of self study.

Also helpful is the "I want to be a PMP" study group at LinkedIn, where practice questions are often analyzed and discussed.

Further recommended: 

LinkedIn group

The Exam

Sponsoring Opportunities for Employers

  • For online proctored testing:
    Provide a place for the candidate with stable Internet connection and protection from disruptions during the testing period.
  • For examination in a testing center:
    Consider the exam time working hours. The candidate has been directed by the employer to do the exam.

The exam will take 230 minutes (plus optionally two short breaks).

There are two options:

  • Test at work or at home as Online Proctored Testing
  • Test at a Pearson Vue testing center (see image below)

A third option, paper-based testing, is available in exceptional cases. 

Certain rules apply to protect the integrity of the exam. PMI will give you the details on these rules once you are eligible. 

The exam can be taken in various languages, see PMI Certifications Handbook, page 6.

Vue testing center

Exam Success

Sponsoring Opportunities for Employers

  • Celebrate the success with your employee. This is his/her success, but show how much you value it.
  • Print business cards and other stationary with the acronym "PMP behind the name.
  • Update corporate HR databases to make the title visible to the entire organization.
  • Inform customers, shareholders and other stakeholders.

Directly at the end of the exam, the candidate receives a score report, which states whether the person has passed or failed.

In case of a "Pass" mark, the candidate is now PMP certified. The candidate is entitles to immediately change public profiles, letter/mail signatures, etc.

PMI will also include the person in

The certificate will be sent to the successful candidate soon after the exam. 

PMP certificate