If you’re considering a career in project management, it is vital that you have a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. The PMP certification is your passport to your project management career. It proves your competency and ability not only to handle the management of people but also of resources and work processes to ensure the priorities of a business are maintained. Many Project Managers hold this certification, with their competency accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI).
But why project management? For many project managers, it is a fact that their skills and knowledge of work processes and people management are needed in any industry. This means that there is a wide variety of workplaces they can expose themselves to, meaning that they experience many different work environments and industries. They use this work experience to help improve work processes in other industries, leveraging their experience to bring value to any company they join.
So how do you attain a PMP and start your project management journey? Here’s how you can take those first few steps:
Prerequisites to taking the PMP certification
There are a few requirements that you will need to meet in order to ensure that you meet the required education and experience. For the PMP, they require a minimum of 35 hours of training in the project management sphere, with the training centring around project management and its objectives. This requirement can be skipped if you hold a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certificate.
You will also need to have done minimally 36 months of taking the lead on projects if you are a four-year degree holder, or 60 months if you only hold a high-school diploma or associate degree.
It’s important to keep track of the hours and what kind of training or projects you have done, making sure that you write down your areas of responsibility and the timelines of your projects.
The financial cost of the PMP examination
You will have to pay in order to take the PMP certification. For non-PMI members, the examination cost was $555 and $405 for members of the PMI, as of 2022. Being a PMI member costs $129 annually, with an additional initial $10 application fee. It’s highly encouraged to register for a membership with the PMI as it is slightly cheaper, and will provide other benefits in the long term.
The expected time required to prepare for the PMP examination
There is a plethora of resources that you can use to prepare for the PMP examination. From textbooks to exam guides and courses (both online and offline), many of these resources will advise that you set aside a couple of months in order to fully prepare for the examination. Take advantage of the different resources you can get your hands on to ensure that you can cover the full breadth of the examination requirements.
If you need your PMP certification renewed
Once you attain your PMP certification, you will need to have your certification revalidated every three years in order to show your continued competency in the field. Alternatively, you can also earn 60 professional development units, which are the hours you spent on developing your professional project management skills in external courses.
How to apply for the PMI PMP examination
In order to apply for the PMP examination, you first need to make an account with the PMI. As covered above, you can choose to apply for a membership at this point, and why it is best that you do so if you can. After this, you will need to submit an application for the PMP examination. They will need some of your personal particulars and credentials. Make sure you have your education credentials on hand, as well as a summary of the different projects that you have been involved in or led.
The PMI will then review your application and ensure that you meet all the requirements, after which they will approve you for payment of the examination fee and allow you to schedule a test date.
What’s the importance of the PMP certification?
With all the work that you need to put in, taking the PMP certification can be a real commitment for some. You may even ask if the certification is even needed, and believe that your experience would be a better advocate for your competency than a certification. Though it is true that there are successful project management professionals that don’t hold a PMP certification, it does certainly provide some benefits. This goes doubly so if you’re trying to start your project management career.
The biggest factor is that it is a widely-regarded certificate that many industries will be expecting from applicants. It removes the need to go through your individual achievements when doing the initial sifting of applicants, streamlining their hiring process. You’re only putting yourself at a disadvantage without it, considering that over a million people already hold the PMP certification.
Not only that but taking the PMP certification will also mean that you will likely be exposed to new processes and skills that you have not developed adequately prior to taking the examination. This not only means that you grow your professional competency, but it can also mean that you will be able to potentially earn a higher salary as well. PMP certificate holders reported having a median annual salary of $123,000, while those who don’t hold the certification receive $93,000.
The PMP certification is a great way to get your foot in the door and access job opportunities that will allow you to raise your professional career to the next level. The PMP will prove your competencies to prospective employers, and will likely also develop your own individual skill sets as well! It is important to set aside enough time and ensure that you are dedicated to seeing the certification through, as you will need adequate time and discipline to get your accreditation.
The PMP isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of project management certifications, as other certifications in Scrum and Agile are also great value alternatives. We encourage you to pursue further your skills development by considering these other certification programs, particularly if the PMP program does not entirely suit your needs.