pmp certification requirements and eligibility

What are the PMP Certification Requirements?

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification requirements are a tiered validation structure that ensures you have the necessary education and work experience. Meeting these requirements is the first step to obtaining PMP Certification. Earning the PMP certification means you must qualify for the requirements in addition to studying for and passing the PMP exam. 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.

PMP Eligibility Requirements

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. Candidates must complete the verification section of the application to apply to take the PMP Exam. 

If you have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent:

  • 36 months of unique, non-overlapping, project management experience.
  • 4,500 hours spent leading and directing projects.
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education
Please feel free to watch this In-Depth Video

If you have a high school diploma, associate’s degree or equivalent:

  • 60 months of unique, non-overlapping, project management experience
  • 7,500 hours spent leading and directing projects
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education

PMP Certification Requirements in Detail

Academic Education

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

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 PMP 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 PMP certification 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 Certification Exam 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.

PMP Certification Requirements Quick Reference 

pmp certification requirements chart

PMP Application Process

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.

  • 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.
  • Is PMI Membership Mandatory?
    • The answer is no, you don’t have to be a member, but there are at least two financial 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, which is needed to prepare for and pass the exam.
  • Submit your PMP application online.
    • 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.
    • Schedule 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.

Are You Ready to Get Started?

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 Certification Requirements FAQ’s

Does my job title have to be Project Manager?
What if I haven't managed all parts of a project?
Do I have to be a PMI Member?
Some of my work experience is from a company that is no longer in business. Can I use that experience?
How long does it take to process the application?
What is an Audit and How will I know if I'm selected?
How long is my eligibility good for?

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.