PMP Certification – How to Obtain Your Certification in 2018 is a guest blog by Thomas Anderson
Education Requirements for the PMP Certification (Project Management Professional Certification) include a four-year degree (bachelor’s or the global equivalent) and at least three years of project management experience, with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education OR a high school diploma with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects. Experience may NOT go back more than 8 years. Experience must be non-overlapping.
You will need to send PMI(Project Management Institute) the details of this experience and/or education, so it’s best to gather and prepare this information before you open the application. Once you’ve determined you meet the eligibility criteria, it’s time to apply. Collect the following information and then use the PMI website to guide you through the process. You’ll need specific information such as:
- Contact information — email, address, phone number
- Education attained — school attended, level of education attained, degree date
- Domain experience — details of the projects, programs, portfolios you’ve worked on including qualifying hours, dates of employment, roles, organization details, reference, and experience summary. Be sure to include specific project details and use terminology from the PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge). Your overall experiences must cover ALL five process groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing).
- Domain education — names of courses completed, institutions attended, dates, qualifying hours
Once you open an application, it will remain active for 90 days after which time it will close.
Tip #1: Gather Your Information Before You Start the PMP Application Process
In order to complete the application quickly, gather all of the information and documentation beforehand. Otherwise, it will likely take you multiple sessions to complete.
Once PMI receives your application, they will verify that you meet the eligibility criteria and that your experience and/or education is valid and consistent with the guidelines stated in the certification handbook. Typically, the application review period will take 5–10 days, depending on the certification. Once it’s complete, they will email you with approval to move on to the next step.
Tip #2: Join the Project Management Institute (PMI)
Join PMI, as it will save you money on the exam fee and continuing education (PDUs), give you access to a wide range of products and knowledge, and also provide you with opportunities to network in the project management world.
Your test will occur at one of Prometric’s worldwide testing sites. Schedule your appointment online at Prometric.com/PMI using your eligibility number.
Tip #3: Know What to Expect on the PMP Exam
You can expect 200 total questions, 25 of which are “experimental.” These questions are used by PMP for the purpose of creating future tests and are not considered in your test score. You will not know which questions are experimental and which are not. It is a computer based exam in which a numeric result is not given and the score needed to pass is not disclosed. Immediately upon completion of the exam, you will receive a pass or fail. Most questions are based on information directly out of the PMBOK. However, the exam may also contain questions related to “common” PM knowledge and processes that are not included in the PMBOK. A good exam prep course (see below) will cover this information.
Additional PMP Preparation Tips
Review the PMP certification handbook and the exam content outline — they’ll explain the exam format and topics that will be covered. Read current books and articles in your domain topic areas. Know the project management domains, process groups, and ITTOs (inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs)
Study! Consider enrolling in an exam prep course and forming a study group with your colleagues or friends.
The PMP Certification process is more about one’s knowledge of the PMI project management process (domains, process groups, and ITTOs) than it is about how effectively one can manage a project. Success on the exam is largely based on memorization of this information, but the exam will expect you to be able to apply this information to real-world scenarios. In addition, the PMP exam is also a test of one’s test-taking ability. In other words, one must read the questions VERY carefully to understand exactly what the question is asking. Often, questions will be asked in such a way to trick the reader into thinking it is about one topic, when in fact it is about another.
A good PMP exam prep course will explain this in great detail and provide numerous sample questions, as well as a sample test, to help one get accustomed to the types of questions that will be on the test. I highly recommend taking one of these courses, regardless of other forms of study that one is planning to do.
Understanding Your Exam Results
An overall pass/fail result is generated based on the number of questions you answered correctly
You will also receive a proficiency assignment for each project management domain (initiation, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing). There are three levels of proficiency: proficient, moderately proficient, and below proficient.
PMI defines Three Levels of Proficiency Include:
- Proficient – indicates performance is above the average level of knowledge in this domain
- Moderately Proficient – indicates performance that is at the average level of knowledge in this domain
- Below Proficient – indicates performance is below the average level of knowledge in this domain
Apparently, as of August 2017, this is changing. PMI will now provide more information to help the exam taker identify areas of weakness, along with a different proficiency rating for the process groups: Above Target, Target, Below Target, and Needs Improvement.
I want to extend a special thank you to those who helped me with this PMP certification article: Rob Obrien, Lindsey Wilson, and David Yung.
About Thomas A. Anderson, P.E:
Thomas is a licensed mechanical engineer from Point Park University. He has 10 years of experience designing equipment and managing projects within the steel industry. Thomas works for Hatch in Pittsburgh, PA and belongs to the Engineer Society of Western Pennsylvania, Association for Iron and Steel Technology, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is a dedicated Toastmaster and owns his own coaching business called “engineer your career” where he spends his free time helping engineers reach their career goals.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions below that you may have regarding PMP Certification.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success