How to Become a PMP

Project Management Certification from PMI

PMI--the Project Management Institute--offers several credentials for business people who oversee projects and lead teams. One such credential is the Project Management Professional (PMP). As a PMP certified by PMI, you can direct teams operating under tight budgeting and scheduling constraints, and oversee complex operations such as construction projects or advertising campaigns. To earn the PMP certification, you must meet several requirements set forth by PMI.

Earning the PMP Credential

First, visit the website of PMI to read about the application process in full detail. There are two routes to become a certified PMP:

(1) have a high school diploma or GED AND 60 months of non-overlapping experience leading project teams AND 35 hours of project management education

(2) have a Bachelor's degree AND 36 months of non-overlapping experience leading project teams AND 35 hours of project management education

Make sure your experience as a projects team leader is well-documented. You will need proof from your employers or clients that you have directed complex projects and have overseen other workers. If you were in charge of more than one project at a time, you cannot count the time period more than once. PMP certification can be obtained by any management professional, regardless of the field he or she works in--advertising, construction, scientific research--the key element is that one has a leadership role.

The next step is to complete the necessary coursework. To qualify for PMI certification, you must accrue 35 hours of project management instruction. These hours can be from live classes, online classes, or special training programs organized by your company. In order for the class hours to count, they must cover core aspects of project management--scope, budget, scheduling, communications, etc.

The website of PMI has a course and conference locator. You can use this tool to find classes that will count toward your PMP certification. You can search by location or area of specialty. If you choose to take classes online or at a college, check with PMI to make sure they are acceptable. Self-study activities, such as reading PMP manuals or management literature, do not count.

After you gather proof of experience and education, submit your PMP application to PMI. There is no fee for submitting the preliminary application. Once your application has been approved, you will be given authorization to take the PMP exam.

The PMP exam is a timed, multiple-choice test administered in computer format at Prometric Testing Centers. The exam fee is $405 for members of PMI, and $555 for non-members. The exam is scored pass/fail; your subscores on different sections of the test won't affect your PMP credential, all you need to do is earn the minimum passing score on each section. Passing the exam is the final step in the process of becoming a PMP.

To maintain your credential during its 3-year validity period, you must also complete 60 hours of continuing education credits. Submit proof of your additional coursework to PMI to keep your certification current. Project management professionals can take college level project management courses, attend conferences and seminars, or sign up for online project management classes.

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