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With over 750,000 professionals with Project Management Professional (PMP) certification across the world, the popularity of the diploma is clear, but what exactly is a PMP certification? The short answer is that it is a professional certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is something that people from across any industry from engineering to pharmaceuticals to IT can attain and PMP certification value in market place for jobs cannot be underestimated.

A PMP certification is not a necessary prerequisite to become a project manager but if you are interested in the field it shows a potential employer that you are committed to the role, as well as having a solid grounding in the methodologies of project management.

How to proceed with the process, weighing up the investment of your time and money to become a certified project manager and understanding PMP certification value in market situations for employment is important for your future career. So, we’ve taken a look at everything you need to know about PMP certification.

How to get PMP certification

The evaluation of worthiness for PMP certification is through an exam set by the Project Management Institute. You can apply to take this exam at one of the hundreds of PMI chapters around the world and directly online here. Once you have proven your eligibility you can proceed with the application process, which involves a $405 fee for PMI members and a fee of $555 for non-members.

Who can apply?

To be eligible to take the PMP exam there are two possible routes. These are the prerequisites:

  • Secondary degree, such as a high school diploma, associate’s degree or international equivalent
  • 7,500 hours of proven experience in project management
  • 35 hours of education in project management (seminars, webinars, development days)


  • A four-year degree (such as a bachelor’s degree)
  • 4,500 hours of proven experience in project management
  • 35 hours of education in project management

How long does it take?

Once you pass the eligibility criteria, you can take the exam at the next available opportunity. Though it may be good to take some time to practice specifically for the exam. You may also feel it necessary to attend further education on the exam topics.

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What is involved in the exam?

The exam references at least two project management sources of information, with most of them referencing the PMI’s own A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide). The exam itself is four hours long and includes 200 multiple-choice questions, of which 25 are sample questions. These sample questions are placed randomly throughout the paper and are not judged for the result, therefore the applicant is marked on 175 questions.

These are broken down into five areas of performance competence:

  • Initiating the project
  • Planning the project
  • Executing the project
  • Monitoring and controlling the project
  • Closing the project

How does one retain their PMP certification?

After gaining your PMP certification it is necessary to complete 60 professional development units (PDUs) over a three-year cycle as part of its continuing certification requirements program. An hour of a qualifying activity is equal to one PDU. These qualifying activities can include:

  • Publishing research papers or articles
  • Attending seminars or webinars
  • Presenting your research
  • Completing formal academic courses
  • Listening to project management materials and podcasts

The advantages to gaining a PMP certification can be considerable. Research has shown that those with a PMP certification earn 20% more than their peers who don’t have certification. Not only that, having certification increases one’s visibility to potential employers and gives great opportunities for building a network in the field. If it sounds like something that would benefit your career, then you should seriously consider applying to start the certification process.

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