Project Management Professional Certification
Who can apply?
The Project Management Institute, (PMIÂ®), has established the Project Management Professional, (PMPÂ®), credential for experienced project managers. Just to qualify to write the PMP exam, the project manager has to have thousands of hours of project experience. Candidates must also have at least 35 hours of formal project management class instruction. A high school diploma, college diploma or bachelor degree is also required. The hours of experience vary depending on the educational background of the PMP candidate. These hours must be in each area of project management.
Note that they do not have to be hours of experience as a project manager. They can be attained while working on a project. They cannot be attained while working on operational issues. For example, work as a computer programmer implementing a new project is applicable. Work as a computer programmer fixing an operating error is not applicable. If the repair work is associated with a new project, such as a system enhancement, then the hours would be applicable. The key is to determine which hours of employment are directly traceable to an established project. Many people new to the project area will not have enough hours of experience to write the PMP exam. For these people, a lower level exam is available.
PMP Exam Delivery Method
Computer based, mainly
The PMP exam is presented to candidates via a computer application. Candidates must travel to a testing center near their place of residence. Advance registration is required as is the payment for the exam. When the exam fee is paid, the candidate can review a list of possible exam session dates. The candidate can register for one of the sessions. Often there is a lot of demand for the exam center slots. The candidate may see dates fairly far in the future.
The best action is to choose one of the slots and prepare to take the exam then. If there is no acceptable slot, the candidate can check back later to review the available slots. Candidates often re-schedule their exams so new exam slots are available all the time. Note that if you can't make your registration time for any reason, you can re-schedule your own session. If done more than 48 hours in advance, there is no penalty, otherwise the fee for the exam is forfeited. In extreme circumstances, special consideration may be made to the candidate. The exam must be taken within 12 months of the original registration date or the exam fee will be forfeited.
The Project Management Professional, (PMPÂ®), credential is awarded to those people who successfully pass a knowledge exam. It costs $555 to take the exam, although Project Management Institute, (PMIÂ®), members pay $405 after their $125 membership is paid. This is a savings but PMI membership also includes some additional benefits. The exam is delivered via a computer application for almost all candidates, (99%+). Questions are based on project management and general business topics.
Many of the questions are based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOKÂ®), standard reference published by the PMI. An electronic copy of this document is free with PMI membership. There are 175 real questions and 25 pretest questions that do not count. Exam writers will not know which questions are scored and which are not. There are 4 hours allowed for the test. No books or papers are permitted to be brought into the examination room. At the completion of the exam, instant pass or fail status is shown to the candidate. There is no indication of the achieved score although a breakdown report of the candidate is given.
If a candidate does not pass the exam, they can retake it two more times in the same year for an additional cost of $375, ($275 for PMI members). If a candidate is unsuccessful in three attempts, then they must wait a year from their last examination before they can again take the exam.
PMP Exam Questions
Where do they come from?
The questions that comprise the PMP exam are based on material published in the PMBOK standard project book as well as other sources. There is a large set of potential questions from which 175 real questions are selected. These are graded to determine the competency of the exam writer. There are also 25 pretest questions that are presented to the PMP candidate. The pretest questions are not used to evaluate the candidate. PMI evaluates the pretest questions to determine whether these questions will be promoted to general release on future exams. Candidates may not notice which questions are real and which are pretest. Regardless, all questions should be treated seriously when the PMP exam is attempted.
Start the process right away
The PMP credential can be renewed if enough Professional Development Units, (PDU), are gained by the PMP credential holder. 60 PDU credits are necessary in each 3 year period. A renewal fee of $150, ($60 for PMI members), is also required. PDU credits may be gained through employment as a project manager, self-study, formal education, being published in a project management journal and other similar professional activities.
PMP Credential Benefits
A globally recognized certification
The PMP is a globally recognized standard that signifies that the credential holder has completed a rigorous knowledge exam, has significant project experience and complies with a high ethical standard. By itself, the PMP will not make someone a better project manager, but it does indicate that the project manager has had an in depth exposure to a project methodology that is common in many establishments around the world. A salary survey by PMI has found that project managers with the PMP credential earn an average of 10% more than non-certified associates. 400,000 people have attained the PMP credential as of 2010, a figure which is growing by over 10% per year.