Understanding PMP Certification Prerequisites: A Comprehensive Guide

In today’s article, I’ll be shedding light on the crucial prerequisites for attaining the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. At first glance, it might appear daunting, but rest assured, the requirements are actually pretty straightforward.

To simplify, there are three key prerequisites: education, project management experience, and training. Let’s explore each one, providing some real-life examples for a more tangible understanding.

Understanding the Three Core Prerequisites: Education, Experience, and Training

The first cornerstone is education. For example, consider someone with a high school diploma or an associate degree, equivalent to a secondary degree globally. In such a case, the individual would qualify as far as the educational requirement is concerned.

Moving on, the second prerequisite is professional project management experience. This experience needs to be unique and non-overlapping. By ‘unique non-overlapping,’ we mean you can’t count the same period twice if you were managing two projects simultaneously. So, if you were managing a software upgrade project while also overseeing a team-building initiative over the same period, that time can only be counted once.

For those with a secondary degree, you’ll need to have clocked 60 months (approximately five years) of professional project management experience. For instance, if you’re a construction manager and have been overseeing the construction of commercial buildings over the past five years, this would fulfill the experience prerequisite.

For the third pre-requisite, you’ll need to have undergone formal project management training – 35 contact hours, to be precise. These hours refer to the actual time spent in a learning environment, like a classroom or an online course, where project management principles are taught. This might involve taking a weekend course on Agile methodologies or subscribing to an online project management course, like the ones we offer on mpug.com in partnership with Management Yogi.

PrerequisiteSecondary Degree HolderFour Year Degree Holder
EducationSecondary Degree (e.g., High School Diploma, Associate Degree)Bachelor’s Degree (or equivalent 4 year degree)
Experience60 months of unique non-overlapping professional project management experience36 months of unique non-overlapping professional project management experience
Training35 contact hours of formal project management training35 contact hours of formal project management training
Table Illustrating the PMP Prerequisites.

It’s important to note that all three of these prerequisites are mandatory and work in tandem. You can’t apply with just one or two; all three boxes need to be checked.

On the other hand, if you hold a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent four-year degree, you’ll require 36 months (or three years) of project management experience. The 35 contact hours of formal project management training remain consistent regardless of your educational background.

A critical aspect to remember, and one that some people tend to overlook, is that this professional project management experience needs to have been accumulated within the last eight years. Experience from 20 years ago, or even a decade ago, won’t be considered valid for this application.

In essence, to become a PMI PMP, you need to have the right blend of education, professional experience, and training, all within the specified time frames.

Stay tuned for the upcoming segment where we’ll delve into the top five essential actions for becoming a PMI PMP. These will give you a clear roadmap for your journey to this respected certification.

This article contains highlights from Satya Narayan Dash’s webinar – 5 Must-Dos to be a PMI-PMP – being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may wish to use this transcript for the purposes of self-paced learning, searching for specific information, and/or performing a quick review of webinar content. There may be exclusions, such as those steps included in product demonstrations, or there may be additions to expand on concepts. You may watch the on-demand recording of this webinar at your convenience.

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Written by Community
The Microsoft Project User Group (MPUG) is the world's largest community of Microsoft Project users, with over 200,000 members in more than 170 countries. Founded in 1997, MPUG has been serving project management professionals for over 25 years, providing a platform for members to connect, share knowledge, and learn from one another. With a focus on using technology to improve project management processes, MPUG offers a variety of resources and services, including webinars, training courses, articles, and discussion forums. The organization is dedicated to helping members master Microsoft Project and related technologies, stay up-to-date with industry trends, and advance their careers. Whether you're new to project management or a seasoned pro with decades of experience, MPUG is a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their skills and knowledge.
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