What is a Project Management Professional Certification (PMP)?

Project Management Professional Certification, also known as PMP certification, is a designation given by the Project Management Institute (PMI) to professionals who meet certain education and experience criteria. There are a number of requirements that professionals must meet before they can apply for certification. Once an application has been accepted and approved, the individual must pass a lengthy and comprehensive exam to become a certified associate in project management.

What is a PMP Certificate?

While this type of certification is not mandatory for most occupations and company positions, it is a widely recognized designation that improves credibility and bolsters any resume. The certification was created to establish a standard of project management spanning different industries and locations. Obtaining a PMP certificate is one of several ways a professional can prove their ability and dedication to their profession to a potential or current employer.

What is a PMP Certified Professional Expected to Know?

Individuals who have completed the application and exam process are expected to be intimately familiar with common concepts, challenges and vocabulary of project management. Many project management skills translate seamlessly between industries, so certified professionals are expected to be prepared for a wide range of scenarios and outcomes. Certificate holders are also expected to have a wealth of personal experience in project management.

Minimum Requirements for Application

People interested in applying to take the exam to become certified must meet one of two sets of strict prerequisites. Applicants must have at least 7,500 hours of project management experience plus 35 hours of related education, or have a relevant four-year degree along with 4,500 hours of experience leading projects and 35 hours of project management training.

In order to begin the process, applicants must create a login for the PMI website and submit their personal information as requested. There is also an application fee for PMI members and non-members alike, although membership reduces the cost significantly. You can find more information about the current requirements and fees on the PMI organization's official website.

Preparing for the Examination

Many people pursuing PMP certification devote weeks or months to study in advance of the test to ensure they have covered the essential topics of the syllabus. The exam is broken into five sections: project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and closing. Currently, the exam includes 200 multiple choice questions that cover a wide range of subjects, including code of ethics issues and conflict resolution.

Maintaining Your Certification

Professionals who pass the exam and receive their certification need to keep up with continuing education requirements in order to keep their designation. Certificate holders must complete 60 professional development units (PDUs) in each three-year period to maintain their qualification. PDUs can be obtained through a variety of activities, including public speaking, full-time project management responsibilities and writing articles for publication.

Is This Certification Right For You?

Project management skills are applicable in almost any business setting and can be a great way to leverage personal value to an organization. Individuals who meet the requirements should consider obtaining a certificate if they want to focus their career on project management or leadership. The PMI has thousands of members in various countries and their Project Management Professional Certification is a globally recognized designation.

Related resource: Top 19 Bachelor's Degree Programs in Project Management Online