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To become PMP certified, you have to meet the eligibility requirements. The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is from the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is globally recognized and shows your credibility as a Project Manager.

With the increasing demand for Project Mangers today; one way to stand out from others is to have the certification. This is why there are about 932,720 individuals as of mid-2019 that have this certification.

In summary, the eligibility requirements are in 3 categories:

  • Educational background
  • Experience
  • Project management education

Don’t be put off by the eligibility requirements; the reason why PMP is widely recognized and has a very high level of credibility is because they have requirements to write the exam.

This means that everyone who writes the exam has met a high standard. Also it demonstrates that they can lead and direct projects to meet their objectives within budget, time and scope.

It is not difficult to meet these requirements. Let me break down these requirements so they are easy to understand.

Educational background

PMI accepts secondary school degree and above. This means that even if your highest level of education is at the secondary/high school level, you meet this requirement.

I like that PMI recognizes that some individuals didn’t have the opportunity to have higher education other than high school. PMI doesn’t discriminate here as there are various factors that can limit one from attaining higher education


This experience refers to Project Management experience. You are required to have a certain level of project management experience to qualify to write the PMP Exam. The level of experience differs depending on your educational background.

  • For individuals with a university degree (that is a bachelor’s degree); PMI requires that you have at least 3 years/36 unique months of project management experience; and at least 4500 hours spent leading and directing the project.
  • For individuals with a secondary degree (for example; high school diploma); PMI requires that you have at least 5 years/ 60 unique months of project management experience; and at least 7500 hours spent leading and directing the project.
What PMI means by unique months is that if you were working on 2 projects that were overlapping over some months; you count the overlapping months once.

That is, you worked on Project A from January to June and Project B from March to October; though they were 2 unique projects; you cannot count 6 months for Project A and 8 months for Project B making 14 months in total; the total months to be reported is from January to October which is 10 months.

However, for calculating the hours, you can count overlapping hours spent leading and directing projects.

Also, PMI requires you to have experience in all five process groups across all the project management experience reported. The five process groups are initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and closing. However, you do not need to have experience in all process groups in each of the individual projects reported

Note that according to A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide); a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.

Hence even if you don’t have the title of a Project Manager; but you are involved in and lead the creation of product, services or results that are one-off or non-operational; you can count these as part of your Project Management experience.

For Example; you may be a Branch Manager at a bank and lead the project to upgrade various software tools used; those upgrades are projects.

Find out how to calculate your project management experience from your years of experience

You can book a consulting call with me so we can go through your experience and record your Project Management Experience.

Project Management Education

PMI requires that a PMP aspirant have 35 contact hours. What this means is that you should have 35 hours learning about Project Management. There are various ways to have 35 contact hours; I will list a few below:

  • A College/University course on Project Management
  • A course from a PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.)
  • Training courses/consultants
  • PMI chapters

You can get cheap courses on Udemy (ensure to check that they are among the Registered Education Providers approved by PMI).

The only issue with getting your 35 hours of project management education on Udemy is that it is self-paced and if you are busy it will be difficult to find the time to read. I am sure you agree with me.

So I advise you get a reading plan/structure and an accountability partner to push you and ensure you stick to the plan!

What next?

Once you meet the requirements above, you can go ahead and apply. Applying is free, but, once approved PMI requires that you take the exam within 1 year.

Some applications go through an auditing process. Note that the auditing process is a random selection and not based on what you fill out in your application.

If your application is selected for auditing, you will have to send the proof that you meet the requirements to PMI (certificates for your degree, 35 contact hours and attestation by the contact person you filled on your application for each experience).

For application tips, check out this post by PMI

If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements, not to worry. Find out what you can do if you don’t have up to 3 years of Project Management experience.

If you have any questions or comments, please do so by leaving a message in the comments section below.

Wondering how to pass the PMP Exam? Get my FREE PMP Exam Checklist. It contains the 6 powerful tips that I used to prepare, study and pass the PMP Exam with an above target in all domains at my first attempt. It has been updated to align with the new version of the PMP exam.

Feel free to share this on social media and with friends as they could find this information very useful.

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