PMP certification is powerful enough to take your project management career higher. You become eligible to handle more complex projects and responsibilities within your organization. And not only this, but you get a big salary boost also.
Project management work is not confined to a particular industry, and it is widespread.
So the demand for trained professionals never diminishes. Whether you work as an employee or a freelancer, you need to manage projects along their life cycle. However, the working style might vary as a full-time employee and freelancer.
However, whatever path you choose, the role comes with many responsibilities that you must learn to handle effectively. Before all this, you need to apply for the exam and pass it. So let us now discuss the various steps involved to become a project management professional.
Steps to Becoming a Project Management Professional (PMP)
1: Education and Work Experience Requirements
If you have a high school diploma or an associate’s degree, then completing 7500 hours of project management education is a must, along with experience in leading projects.
If you have a four-year college degree, then completing 4500 hours of project management education is enough as you have more education. However, experience in leading projects is required.
All PMP candidates, irrespective of their educational qualifications, must pass the PMP exam prep course of 35 hours by PMI recognized provider. You can enroll in an online course or opt for traditional classroom coaching.
2: Apply for the PMP Exam
While applying, you need to give a detailed report of your educational and work experience. So, you must be ready with the complete information beforehand and all your employers' contact details, which PMI might use for verification.
Also, the experience needs to be presented to follow PMI standards. Please do not give a generic description of your experience, as PMI might reject it.
Information required while filling online application form:
Contact information: Address, email, and contact number.
Educational information: School or college attended, degrees earned to date.
Domain Work experience: Detailed information about the projects and programs you have worked upon. Also, include the number of hours spent on each project, start and end date, organization’s info, employer references, and a summary of your experience.
Domain education information: names of courses completed, institute's name, start, and end date, and course duration or hours.
3: Application Review
Once you apply, PMI will review your application to verify if it meets all the eligibility criteria as per the guidelines mentioned in the certification handbook. Generally, you will get the approval email from the PMI within ten days or less.
If there are issues with your application, you will be mailed a set of instructions you need to follow.
4: Exam Fees Payment
Once your application gets approved, you need to pay the exam fees to finalize the application process. The best and fastest way to make payment is via their online certification system.
On payment confirmation, you will get a mail with an eligibility number using which you will schedule your exam appointment. You remain eligible for one year and are allowed to appear for the exam three times during that year.
5: Schedule Exam Appointment
On receiving instructions and an eligibility code from PMI for the exam schedule, you can opt for online or telephonic modes. You can also refer to the certification handbook for detailed exam scheduling information. After that, the only thing left is appearing for the exam on the selected date.
There are a few different criteria for taking offline exams at the testing center compared to online proctored exams.
You can read more about PMP online proctored exam and marking system by PMI.
Additional Tips to help in your journey to become a Project Management Professional
Enroll in a PMI Membership
Becoming a PMI member is not mandatory. But it is advised to become its member because of the benefits you get.
Benefits of PMI membership:
The cost of the PMP exam is $555 for non-members, and for members, it is reduced to $405. You can access a wide range of study material, the latest edition of PMBOK, several courses, and events.
To become a PMI member, visit their website and follow the instructions. Apart from membership, there will be an option to join the local chapter to find opportunities and networking in your area. You can join while applying or later.
Maintaining your Certification
Getting certified is not enough. You need to maintain your certification by following the PMI’s Continuous Certification Requirements (CCR) guidelines. You have to earn a minimum of 60 professional development units (PDUs) every year. These are gained by completing work-related activities such as participating in conferences, online training, courses, writing articles, etc., prescribed by the PMI.
Composition of 60 PDUs:
You must earn a minimum of 35 PDUs from continuous education.
You must earn 25 PDUs by working as a project manager or sharing your knowledge by creating courses or writing content.
The Final Words
As a PMP-certified professional, you gain worldwide recognition. It shows your seriousness towards your project management profession as your work quality complies with PMI’s PMBOK, a known industry standard.
You also get the opportunity to collaborate with fellow PMPs and stay updated about the current happening within your field.
So, if you want to outperform your competitors and climb the ladder of success, then do not wait. Prepare for this prestigious certification exam and apply for it.
All the steps you need to follow to become a project management professional are covered here. If you still have any doubts, you can ask them in the comments below, and I will be happy to solve your query.