Planning for PMP® certification and not certain where to begin? If the answer to this question is yes, then read on. This is for you!

Learning and education is a continuous process. As you progress in this continuous learning path, you become more and more competent over time which then translates into your experience. Certification is also a good way of learning and expanding your knowledge. PMP® credentials are awarded by Project Management Institute on passing the PMP® test. PMI also publishes a guide named ‘PMBOK®’ Guide every 4 years. This Guide is compiled through various sources like research and experience shared by project managers in various industries. Therefore, PMP® certification demonstrates a high degree of expertise and knowledge in project management concepts and practices. PMP is an essential certification for project managers, but this doesn’t imply that you cannot be a successful project manager if you don’t have PMP certification. It indicates that you are familiar with the industry standards and best practices in the project management domain. This blog is an attempt to develop basic understanding about the PMP certification process.

First of all, let’s understand – What are PMI and PMP?

PMIProject Management Institute is a non-profit organization which promotes best practices in the area of Project Management (by research, education and developing standards). PMI was founded in 1969 and has its headquarter in Newtown Square, USA. PMI conducts Project Management Certification exams through Prometric Centers around the globe. The Guide published by PMI, Project Management Body Of Knowledge (PMBOK®) Guide defines the syllabus for the PMP exam. PMP is one of 7 certifications that PMI offers (other certifications are CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, and PMI-SP).

PMP – PMP stands for ‘Project Management Professional’. It is a certification offered by PMI for experienced Project Managers. PMP is not specific to a particular domain; it has a set of principles, techniques, and best practices which can be applied in any domain. PMP is a valuable and global standard for project management and this is the reason most organizations prefer PMP certified Project Managers.

Now let’s understand – how and where to begin?

  1. Go to PMI website, browse through the information available, you can start with “About” section.
  2. Now download the PMP handbook and read through it. This will assist you realize the procedure altogether. PMP certification is for experienced professionals, you will find below eligibility requirements in PMP handbook:
    1. If you have 3-year degree -> you must have 5 years of Project Management experience to apply for PMP certification
    2. If you have 4-year degree -> you must have 3 years of Project Management experience to apply for PMP certification
      In summation to the above requisites, you also need to have 35 contact hours of education (in PMI language, 35 PDU). The PDU is Professional Development Unit, 1 PDU is equal to 1 hour of teaching by a Project Expert. PMI authorizes certain training providers (REP) to issue the PDU certificates after you take the training.
  3. By now you will have complete understanding of the process, so jump to myPMI section on PMI website and register yourself (registration is free, you don’t have to pay anything at this minute)
    1. Login to your account and fill in your profile
    2. Now go to ‘Certification’ tab and click on ‘Ready to Apply’ button. This will take you to the certification area, then click on “Apply for PMP Credential”. Follow the guidelines mentioned and fill the application form accordingly. So far, you don’t have to pay anything, so complete the application form by entering all the required information.
    3. At the end the application form, you will be prompted to fill PDU details. At this level, you should look for some PMP training providers (before signing up for any training check with provider if they are PMI accredited and will provide the 35 PDU certificate at the end of training).
    4. Once you complete your training and have the PDU certificate, run back to your application in myPMI, fill in the PDU information and submit the application for approval.
    5. PMI is very prompt in replying, so you will receive a reply within a weeks’ time.
    6. Once your application is approved, you have a one year time to take the exam from the date of approval.
  4. Now you can plan for further study and prepare for the exam.
  5. Once you are ascertained about the exam, the next step is to pay the exam fee and schedule the exam. Exam fee is: USD 555/- There are two alternative for exam fee payment:
    1. For members:  Membership Fee USD 139.00  +  Exam Fee USD 405.00  = USD 544.00
    2. For Non-members: Only Exam Fee USD 555.00 = USD 555.00
  6. In above two alternative, I recommend the first one for following reasons:
    1. You save USD 11.00
    2. You get PMI membership for one year, which provides access to many online resources and most importantly, your own licensed soft copy of PMBOK® Guide.
  7. After paying your exam fee, schedule your exam with your nearest Prometric center. Please note – you will not be forced to schedule the exam immediately as you pay the exam fee. You can schedule it later based on your preparation.
  8. On the day of exam, plan to arrive at the center one hour in advance, it will be a 4 hour exam without any break. Well, you can take a break, but the clock will still be operating and you will lose time.

Trust me, once you get going, you will not feel like this is so complex. Entire plan is summarized here:

  1. Plan your finance for USD 544.00 – get approval from your manager/company if they sponsor or plan your own budget
  2. Register with PMI website and begin filling out the PMP application form
  3. Plan and take PMP training from PMI Registered Education Provider. There are lots of options available; you can sign up for online courses from R.E.P. like PM Podcast, Simlilearn etc.
  4. Complete online application form by updating the earned PDU details and submit it for approval
  5. Once the application is approved – buy the PMI membership(USD 139.00), download your own PMBOK® copy and start preparing.
  6. Take your time to study: your membership will be valid for one year, so you have enough time to prepare
  7. When you feel confident, go-ahead and pay for the exam(USD 405.00) and schedule it
  8. Be relaxed and have faith in yourself. You will pass the exam!

Good luck!

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