If you search the internet, you’ll see that there are lots of questions about the experience criteria for the PMP (Project Management Professional) exam.
It’s important to understand what those requirements are and how to meet them.
Can I lie about my experience on the PMP application?
Let’s answer the biggest question everyone asks first:
“Can I fake experience on my application? Can I make it look like I have more experience than I do?”
No. Or, well, sure, you can, but don’t count on being a PMP. People will tell you that Project Management Institute (PMI) doesn’t audit every application, and that’s probably true. BUT if you are audited and you’ve lied, you can expect to never get your PMP certification ever.
Starting your career as a PMP with a lie is a terrible idea. Just don’t do it.
What are the requirements for the PMP exam?
According to the PMI website:
- Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent)
- 60 months leading and directing projects
- 35 hours of project management education
- Four-year degree
- 36 months leading and directing projects
- 35 hours of project management education”
What does this mean? This means you will need at least 3 years of experience in a project manager role with a 4-year degree and five years of experience without a degree. If you do not accrue the required number of hours within these minimum years, you will have to stretch further back.
Remember, PMI will only consider the last eight years of experience only! So, any experience you document on the PMP application that is before the last eight years will not be considered.
Learn more at our blog: PMP certification requirements
What kind of experience is needed?
Here is what the PMI website has to say about the specific experience needed to apply for the PMP exam:
- “Perform their duties under general supervision and are responsible for all aspects of the project for the life of the project
- Lead and direct cross-functional teams to deliver projects within the constraints of schedule, budget and resources
- Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and experience to appropriately apply a methodology to projects that have reasonably well-defined project requirements and deliverables.”
The details of the experience list
If you look on some conversation sites, you’ll see some terrible answers. In one Quora response, someone answered that if you were any part of a project, it counts.
Wrong! The two most important words in the description are “lead and direct.” You need to be the boss, not just a member of the team. In fact, you can’t even be the second-in-command to meet the experience criteria.
Do yourself a favor and meet the most basic criteria of an exam: read the instructions.
You need to be in a project manager role in order for it to count. Your title does not really matter.
How to document your experience?
When you submit your project experience, define it in terms that PMI will recognize.
PMI looks for your experience to be defined by the segments of each project:
“Performance Domain I: Initiating
Performance Domain II: Planning
Performance Domain III: Executing
Performance Domain IV: Monitoring and Controlling
Performance Domain V: Closing”
These are the domains of projects according to the PMP Exam Content Outline from PMP.
Define the number of hours spent on each of these segments on each project.
But wait… there’s more.
One of the advantages that PMTI offers is that we have a comprehensive experience reporting guide. Our registered students not only get the industry’s most complete experience reporting template, we actually go over it with you. We help you verify that you’re reporting it well and in a way that will avoid audits.
Register today for our 100% pass or money-back guarantee.
The Education Requirement
The next phase of the exam requirements is the education portion.
Here is what the PMI website says:
“At least 35 hours of formal project management education is necessary to qualify for the PMP. This education must be:
- Consistent with topics included within the PMP Exam Content Outline
- Demonstrated through successful completion of courses, workshops, and/or training sessions that include some form of assessment or certificate of completion
- Obtained in advance of submitting your application but could have been accrued at any point in the past.
Tip: Do not include forms of self-directed learning or attendance at meetings/presentations as contact hours – these will not be accepted.”
So what’s the right way to meet these guidelines?
*Warning – Shameless self-promotion ahead*
PMTI has set up a perfect system that will cover those 35 hours for you. Here is our link to the requirements and how we meet them from the PMTI website.
Note the warning at the bottom: “Do not include forms of self-directed learning or attendance at meetings/presentations as contact hours – these will not be accepted.”
This means that you can’t use a lot of online course or reading of books to meet those criteria. You need to take actual courses. PMTI can help. For the record, there are lots of other organizations that offer trainings, but let’s face it, we’re better. After all, our founder, Yada, the PMP Jedi Master, is one of the people who helped develop the PMBOK® over the last 20+ years.
What about the fees?
Being a PMI member saves you money, but if you’re wondering if it’s worth it, here are some numbers.
The exam costs you $555.00. On average, you’ll make about $20,000 per year more.
That’s a 3600% ROI!
Where to start?
The best place to start is right here. PMTI is the country’s leading training institute for the PMP exam. We have trainings and exams all over the US and Canada all the time.
What if I don’t qualify for the PMP experience requirements?
If you don’t have the experience, you need to take the PMP exam, consider taking the CAPM (Certified Assistant Project Manager) exam. With CAPM, you can meet the criteria by attending classes. You don’t need years of experience as a project manager. It’s a great interim step to getting your certification without having to wait for your boss to take a chance on you to manage a project before you’re certified.
The biggest advantage to CAPM is that you can go for it right after school. You don’t even need to work a day in your field before you get certified.
This is perfect for IT managers, MBAs, business professionals, and anyone who is likely to manage projects (or wants to) even before applying for a job.
Yada is not just the leader of the Project Management Training Institute (PMTI). He helped to write significant portions of the project management standards worldwide. He is helping PMI right now in reviewing, directing, and leading the development of the 7th edition of the PMBOK(r) Guide to incorporate the most monumental changes to project management standards in 35 years. He shares his wisdom with readers via the PMTI blog.