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What if I don’t have up to 3 years of Project Management experience?

  • Do I need Project Management Experience to write the PMP Exam?
  • Is there a way to write the PMP Exam with less than 3 years / no project management experience?
  • What do I do if I don’t have up to 3 years of project management experience, does that mean I can’t write the PMP exam?

I have been asked the above questions a lot of times and in various ways and I believe this is on the minds of so many individuals who want to write the PMP exam but do not have up to 3 years of Project Management experience which PMI requires in order to write the PMP exam.

I have been in this position before too and will be answering these questions based on my experience and best practice. You can send in your questions for me to answer as well.

Do I need Project Management Experience to write the PMP Exam?

Yes, you do need experience in delivering projects to write the PMP Exam. I explain all the requirements and what Project Management experience is in relation to the PMP eligibility requirements

See the PMP Eligibility requirements for more details


Is there a way to write the PMP Exam with less than 3 years / no project management experience? What do I do if I don’t have up to 3 years of project management experience, does that mean I can’t write the PMP exam?

I do not advise this! Let me rephrase; I am strongly against this!!!. Please understand that I was in this same position too in 2016, I didn’t have up to 3 years of Project Management experience. I wanted to write the PMP exam to show my credibility as a Project Manager and get more job opportunities. So my advise is based on my experience. Below are my reasons why I am against creating projects that are “not real” or you were not involved in so as to have up to 3 years of experience to fill out on the PMP application form.

Here are my reasons;

The PMP certification has a very high credibility and shows that you have met both the experience level as well as the knowledge level to be a competent project management professional! It is not one or the other.

Why rush the process? Enjoy the process of gathering the experience and see growth in your career. When you have up to 3 years of Project Management experience, you still have the opportunity to write the PMP exam. So, the desire to write the PMP exam is not lost forever but on hold for a time. I believe this will give direction in your career and you would only push for roles that will add to your years of project management experience. Not having up to the required 3 years right now doesn’t mean you won’t have it forever.

If you are in need of a certification to show your Project Management skill, which I completely understand as certifications show credibility.

You can opt in for the Certified Associate Project Manager (CAPM) certification by PMI which requires no project management experience (See PMI’s CAPM certification details) or opt in for the Prince 2 certification (See more details on Prince2 from Axelos).

When I see that you are PMP certified in your resume, I will expect at least 3 years of Project experience. If I don’t see this, it brings such person in the light of being dis-honest. I am sure you don’t want a hiring manager to think this about you.

Again, these are my reasons and why I waited to be qualified to write the PMP Exam according to PMI before taking the exam. I had read the PMBOK and knew the content.

In fact, I was applying it at work; I had even read the PMBOK 5th edition (6th edition was not used then) but I didn’t take the exam until I had the 3 years of experience. However, because I don’t have a Project Management degree (Bachelor nor Masters, I have an Engineering degree) and I wanted to show some credibility in the Project Management field, I did Prince2 Foundation to show my credibility as a Project Manager. I choose Prince2 because I was residing in the UK then and it was a recognized certification in the country.

I have gone through the process as well and that is why I am responding based on what I did and what I believe is best practice and in line with PMI’s code of ethics.


Ogaga Johnson - Project Management Experience

Look at me, I was in a similar situation in 2016 with less than 3 years experience but here I am, an expert in Project Management now; been PMP certified since December 2018.

I am way better for waiting and not rushing the process. I believe you will too 🙂


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

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