If you are considering obtaining your PMP certification, I urge you to get started. PMI provides a complete overview of the certification process on their website. I will expand on some of the processes below.
FULFILL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
To become certified, candidates are required to fulfill prerequisites stated by PMI in the PMP Professional Handbook. A candidate must have either:
- A Post-Secondary Degree (High School Diploma, Associate’s Degree or the global equivalent)
- 7,500 unique non-overlapping hours leading and directing projects
- 35 hours of Project Management Education
- Four-Year Degree
- 4,500 unique non-overlapping hours leading and directing projects
- 35 hours of Project Management Education
It is a good idea to start documenting your hours to understand where you stand against these requirements to plan next steps. PMP application requires you to document all relevant projects executed within the required hours along with a carefully crafted project description.
Many example excel templates are available online to log your hours. After documenting your hours per Process Group per project, you will derive at a total hour per project. By adding up the hours on all of your projects, you will determine your eligibility to apply for the PMP examination.
It is recommended you gather and prepare the required information before you open the application. Once started, you have 90 days to complete your application. Budget at least a full week or two to gather relevant information and gain support from your project sponsors. This process is not to be taken casually because PMI conducts an audit process to maintain the highest standard for their applications.
The PMP Professional Handbook explicitly states that project management experience hours must be “unique non-overlapping”. If you have worked on two projects within a one month period. You can only use a maximum of one month towards your hours.
Here’s how I eliminated my overlapping hours.
Note all of your project management experience hours must be distributed across all five Process Groups. You will learn about them in detail from the PMBOK Guide. These groups are Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing. You do not need to have experience in all five process groups on a single project.
The project descriptions should consist of the following:
- A brief, one-sentence project objective
- State your personal role in the project. Ex. Project leader, project manager, project coordinator
- Project deliverables summarized by Process Groups. Ex. Business case, Budget, Project Schedule, Scope Statement
- A brief, one-sentence project outcome
Please do not provide technical details about your project. Instead, focus on providing project management related tasks that you have accomplished. The description should bring out your proficiency in the project management field. Try to add terminology from the PMBOK® Guide relating to the work that you have done. Example terms include: project charter, sponsor, scope, project deliverable, stakeholders, schedule, acceptance of deliverable, and quality management.
As project manager for $1.5 Million tenant fit-up for Company A, I initiated the project with an approved business case, prepared the project plans for staffing, procurement, cost, schedule, and communications and then executed the tasks as defined in the project plan. The project was monitored and controlled according to the cost,schedule, and scope baseline. Closing activities includes turning over the space to the client and finalizing the procurement contracts. Project was delivered under budget and 3 weeks ahead of schedule.
Education Contact Hours
There are many ways to acquire the education contact hours. In summary, the training must be at least 35 hours long, through formal education, and related to project management. The education hours requirement can be satisfied from several courses as long as it totals the required hours. Classes, online courses, and project management podcasts can all potentially satisfy this requirement as long as they are from a reputable source (ex. community college, university, national training provider).
Think back – have you have ever taken a project management related course such as introduction to PM, Microsoft Project, or Project Risk? Yes, they can potentially count towards your Education Hours. If in doubt, contact PMI for verification.
While filling in the online application for PMP certification, you do not need to submit physical copies of your back-up documents. However, PMI randomly selects a small percentage of applications for audit. In the case you are picked for an audit, you will need to provide PMI back-up documentation to support your application.
Be sure to keep all supporting documents for your education and work experiences. This could be in the forms of certificates, email confirmations, work hour tracking, project schedules, meeting minutes, and project charter. It is recommended you distribute the prepared information to the respective sponsors to secure their agreements beforehand. In the case of an audit, you will be required to have the experiences and hours signed off by a project sponsor, who can be a direct manager or supervisor.
There is a 5 business day turn around for PMI to review an application and determine if an audit is required. An email will be sent out upon approval with payment instructions. Once payment is made, you will be instructed to schedule for the PMP Exam. You have within one year to pass the Exam. For more information on the auditing process, visit PMI’s official website on Certification FAQs.
There you have it – an overview on completing the PMP application. Leave me a comment below if you have any questions and…best of luck!