Are you eligible for PMP certification?

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.

Getting certified is a great step in any project manager’s career. As an internationally recognised and popular certification, many project managers look to the PMP Certification as a worthwhile route to professional excellence. However, before you can start working on the course you will need to find out if you are eligible as a candidate.

PMP asks for two specific requirements prior to being accepted onto the certification course. These are:

  1. Project management experience
  2. Project management education

Here we investigate what these requirements actually mean, and how you can find out if you are eligible for PMP certification.

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Project management experience

For project managers with a further education background (A level, BTEC, GNVQ etc.), PMP requires that you have a minimum of five years of project management experience, during which time at least 7,500 hours were clocked up as a leader or director of the project. Unfortunately, if you did not previously complete at least further education you will not qualify for the PMP certification route.

Project managers who possess a degree (BA, BSc etc.) don’t need so much work experience. In this situation only three years of project management experience are required, of which 4,500 hours minimum must have been spent leading a project. In both situations you will need to have gained this work experience within 8 years of applying for your PMP certification.

The term ‘project management experience’ can be slightly misleading as, according to the PMBOK Guide, you don’t need to have held a position where you were referred to as the ‘project manager’. It’s not about what people called you, it’s about what you did and the responsibilities you have held. In essence, if you have defined a project, developed a delivery plan, communicated with stakeholders and obtained acceptance of delivery at the end of the project, you may well have the experience they are asking for.

Project management education

The project management education requirement is somewhat easier to fulfil. You only have to clock up 35 hours of project management education, and it can stretch back beyond the 8 year window of the first requirement. The courses you can claim for this include those covering:

  • Project budget
  • Project communication
  • Project scope
  • Project schedule
  • Project risk
  • Project quality
  • Project procurement

The training can be delivered by a variety of bodies, including schools, colleges and distance learning companies. Remember, however, only the hours spent on project management topics can be claimed under this requirement, and one hour of teaching is equal to one hour for the purposes of this criteria.

So, are you eligible?

If you think you are definitely eligible, great; you can happily go and apply for your PMP certification now. However, if you are concerned that you might not have enough hours, or that some of your experience may not be relevant, do not give up. The PMI website gives lots more details on what can and cannot be claimed for this certification, and you can download the useful PMP Handbook from there too. Speak to a PMI Registered Education Provider (REP) about your situation and you could find out you can claim a lot more than you thought.

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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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