pmp certification requirements

PMP Certification Requirements Eligibility Criteria In Depth

The Project Management Institute requires that you meet some initial criteria before you are eligible to take the PMP exam. Candidates must meet several requirements to obtain PMP certification and sit for the exam. These criteria vary depending on your level of formal education.

What are the eligibility criteria for PMP Certification?

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification requirements are a tiered validation structure that ensures you have the necessary education and work experience. Earning the PMP certification means you must qualify for the requirements in addition to studying for and passing the PMP exam. Meeting these requirements is the first step to preparing for your PMP Certification Training. In this article, we will review the PMP certification requirements in detail. After reading this guide, you should know if you are qualified to sit for the PMP exam or not. Candidates must complete the verification section of the application to apply to take the PMP Exam. The full eligibility requirements are listed within the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Handbook. This free guide is available from the Project Management Institute’s website.

PMP Requirements Eligibility Quick Reference

pmp certification

HS Diploma, Associate’s Degree or Equivalent:

  • 7,500 hours spent leading and directing projects
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education
pmp certification requirements

Bachelor’s Degree or Equivalent:

  • 4,500 hours spent leading and directing projects.
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education

Getting Started

Because the PMP application is quite an involved process, we recommend that you gather all the relevant information related to your PMP application before you begin. Once the application has begun, it cannot be cancelled; however, you can save your application and completed later. The first thing we recommend is that you register to become a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI)

  • It typically costs $139 to become a member, but it saves you money on exam fees.
  • The standard non-member price to take the exam is $555. The PMI member price for the exam is $405.

Side By Side Cost Breakdown:

Item PMI Member Non Member
PMI Membership Fee:  $139 $0
PMP Application Fee: $405 $555
Total Cost: $544 $555
*Bonus – Retake Fee:  $275 $375

PMP Certification Requirements FAQ’s

Does my job title have to be Project Manager?

No. Your job title in your organization doesn’t matter.  As long as you if you have the minimum (4500/7500 hours) PM experience, you are eligible to apply.

What if I haven’t managed all parts of a project?

It does not matter if you have managed a complete project or parts of a project. As long as you have 4500 hours of the project management experience, you can apply to sit for the exam.

Do I have to be a PMI Member?

The answer is no, PMI membership is not mandatory. There are a few benefits to becoming a member:

  • PMI members receive a significant discount on their PMP exam application fee. This discount is greater than what it costs to become a PMI member.
  • PMI members receive a free PDF copy of the PMBOK Guide.
  • It is easier to maintain your PMP Certification by using free resources and tools available to you, as a PMI member.

Additionally, many local PMI chapters offer discounts to workshops, chapter meetings and events to PMI members.

Some of my work experience is from a company that is no longer in business. Can I use that experience?

PMI understands that some project work and experience is hard to validate.  Ideally, you should try and obtain contact information from someone in authority who was a part of the company when you were and can validate your time and experience. It doesn’t need to be a formal organizational representative however, a colleague or past co-worker is suitable.

How long does it take to process the application?

Online applications are typically processed within five business days. Individual applications submitted by mail take approximately 10 business days. Corporate applications submitted by mail take 20 business days. Once the application and fee have been processed, PMI will electronically send the Examination Scheduling Instructions, confirming that the applicant is eligible to take the exam.

What is an Audit and How will I know if I’m selected?

PMI routinely conducts random audits on a certain percentage of the PMP exam applications. Although PMI does not publish what percentage gets audited, the general consensus is around 10-15% off applicants get selected at random for audit. PMI will notify if your application is selected for an audit, as soon as you submit your application. You will also receive an email from PMI with links to complete the audit. PMI’s officially says that it takes 5-7 days to approve the application. However, it can be approved within only a couple of days if the necessary documents are submitted quickly.

How long is my eligibility good for?

Eligibility is good for one year from the day that the application was approved. The exam may be taken three times within the eligibility period should applicants not pass on the first attempt. In some cases if you have a need to extend your eligibility, PMI will grant a 2-3 month extension.

Do I need to renew my PMI membership to stay certified?

You do not have to be a PMI member to remain PMP certified, nor do you need to be a PMI member to get your certification. Many project managers join PMI as they are prepare for the PMP exam because they receive a substantial discount on the exam fees. The discount is greater than the yearly PMI membership, so it makes a lot of sense to join.

PMP Requirements Video

PMP Certification Eligibility Breakdown in Detail

Academic Education

  • You will be asked if you have a secondary diploma or a degree. If you have a degree, you will need the name of the institution, the year you graduated, and the major of study.

Project Management Experience

Project management is a serious profession that requires communication with multiple stakeholders throughout the life of the project. While delivering the scope of work, project managers must carefully handle communications, team morale and attitudes and manage the various expectations of different stakeholders. Having substantial experience in project management is one of the requirements for certification.

  • Typically, the experience is in leading or directing projects, or project deliverables. The months of experience time frame requirement in non-overlapping months.
    • Working as a full-time project manager with two projects at the same time for two months = 2 months of experience, not 4.
  • The hours of project management experience are cumulative across all process groups, and within the last eight (8) years to be counted on the PMI PMP application.
    • Working as a full-time project manager with two projects at the same time (app.~160 hrs) for two months = 320 hours or experience.
  • What is Leading and Directing a Project?
    • It means that you have performed the role of a project manager and managed a complete project, or that you have managed part of a project. Essentially, it means that you should have done some of the tasks that are listed in PMP Exam Content Outline.

Formal Project Management Education

Project management requires advanced knowledge and understanding of project management tools, techniques and processes. According to the PMP Credential Handbook, the PMP exam “objectively assesses and measures experience, education and professional knowledge—the foundation of competent practice as a project manager.” There are 10 knowledge areas that a project manager has to be proficient in order to pass the exam. These knowledge areas are tested in five different project management process groups. In order to pass the PMP certification exam, a PMP candidate must score above a proficient level in these project management process groups.

  • You will need to show 35 contact hours of project management education.
  • The 35 hours of Project Management education requirement can be fulfilled by our PMP Certification Training
  • What is a Contact Hour?
    • One hour of Classroom instruction equals one contact hour.
    • If you attend an 9 hour long session with breaks in-between, then you can claim (9 hours minus the break time) as contact hours.
    • You may use educational hours from college programs.
    • There is no time period or expiration on contact hours.
    • These hours can be accrued from classroom courses or online training workshops.

Prior to attending our course, you may complete our PMP Readiness and Overview course to get more information about the information required to pass the PMP exam, the PMP examination process, application and the steps for maintaining your certification. This online training option satisfies the required 35 contact hours of project management training and allows our students to complete their application and receive eligibility approval before attending our PMP Boot Camp course.

For a more information about the eligibility documentation, please review the PMP certification requirements within the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Handbook. This free guide is available from the Project Management Institute’s website. Within it, you’ll find a detailed description of the PMP certification, an explanation of who is eligible to apply, and the process to apply. It covers everything you would ever need to about the exam from an administrative point of view.

Ready to Get Started?

formal project management education requirements

If your work experience and education meet the qualifications and requirements, we’d love to help you get started on your application and on the way to passing your exam by enrolling in one of our public PMP Certification Boot Camp classes. We offer classes in over 20 cities and online, usually once a month.  Our instructor led courses cover all aspects of the examination as well as extremely helpful test taking strategies and exam simulators to make sure you are fully ready. 

PMP Application Process

The online application provides a limited amount of space (500 characters). Use concise descriptions to describe the project management tasks the candidate led or directed for each project. There is no rush to do this step. We will help you with this as part of our PMP Course. You can use our PMP Course to satisfy the required 35 hours of education. Before submitting the application, you will need to read and agree to PMI Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct and the Certification Agreement/Renewal Agreement. PMI® will review your application and respond within 3 to 5 business days. Once your application is approved you will receive an invitation to pay for and schedule the exam.

Scheduling your exam with Pearson VUE.

  • You have one year to take the exam after your application has been approved.
  • You may take the exam up to three (3) times during the eligibility period.
  • Scheduling the Exam
    • Once you have been approved by PMI and paid to the PMP certification exam fee, you can schedule your exam with Pearson VUE. You will have one year from the time your application is approved to take the exam. You may take the exam up to 3 times during this eligibility period. You can find a complete list of testing locations on the Pearson VUE PMI page.
  • Take the PMP Exam
    • The PMP Exam is taken at your nearest Pearson VUE test center and is 200 questions with a 4 hour time limit. The questions are broken down into 5 process groups; Initiation (13%), Planning (24%), Executing (30%), Monitoring and Controlling (25%), Closing (8%). Because of the computer based exam, you will receive your score immediately, and you can share the good news that you are now a Certified PMP!

What if I do not meet the PMP Certification Requirements?

If you do not meet the PMP Certification requirements you can work on obtaining the additional education and work experience needed, or you might consider starting your career in project management with a Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM) certification. CAPM certification is an entry level project management certification offered by PMI. The CAPM certification is very valuable and respected by employers as well when they are looking for project management candidates.

There are CAPM certification requirements you must satisfy but they are not as rigorous as PMP eligibility requirements. The exam content is similar to that of the PMP exam however, the questions are much easier and require far less comprehension of the process groups and their application. If you start to your project management career by getting CAPM certified, you will be familiar with PMP exam process, as well as being better positioned to obtain PMP certification, as you will have fulfilled 21 of the 35 contact hours of education requirements. Our CAPM Certification Boot Camp is designed to fully prepare you for the exam, along with the administrative steps, such as completing the application and submitting your contact hours.