Achieving Your PMP® Certification May Be Just What You Need to Kick Your Career into High Gear

by Bill Flanagan, MBA, PE (Inactive), PMP®, PMI-RMP®, Senior Instructor/Consultant with Knowledge Source Inc.

Over the last two years I have noticed an interesting trend in the Project Management classes that I teach, the students are getting older.  You might smile and say we’re all getting older, but it is more than that.  Two years ago, the majority of the students in my Project Management Professional classes were in their twenties and thirties; today they are in their forties and fifties.  This is such a dramatic trend, I started asking why these people were pursuing their PMP® Certification.  The answers I got were fairly consistent:

  • I need my PMP® Certification to stay competitive in today’s work place.
  • My company requires a PMP® Certification to manage the larger projects.
  • I need a PMP® Certification for advancement to the next level.
  • In the job postings, PMP® is changing from preferred to required.

I know a lot of people think that it is only a piece of paper and doesn’t affect how well you do your job.  Well, I think I would disagree with that.  In looking back to the time when I achieved my PMP® Certification, I can state without any reservation that the careers of myself and the three individuals who studied and achieved their PMP® Certification with me moved faster and higher in the organization than those who didn’t achieve their PMP® Certification.  I also believe that by studying for my PMP® Certification I learned the theory behind the project management practices and became a better Project Manager.  It allowed me to move from copying what others did in similar situations to being able to figure it out on my own.

My PMP® also served me exceptionally well after retiring from Progress Energy.  At retirement I thought that all I could do is work electric utility projects, but my PMP® quickly took me to other industries such as Pharmaceuticals, Computers, Health Care, Service Dog Training and the auto industry.  It also took me to China and Europe on multiple occasions.  The key to being able to move comfortably across all of these industries was my PMP® Certification.  So my question to you is what is holding you back from achieving your PMP® Certification?

Over the next several issues of this newsletter, I am going to going to provide tips that will help those who are interested prepare for their PMP® Certification.  In this issue I am going to address the application process.

If you are interested in achieving your PMP® Certification, download the Project Management Institute’s (PMI’s) PMP® Handbook which lays out all of the requirements.  Here’s the link.®handbook.ashx

To achieve your PMP® Certification you must successfully pass a four hour, comprehensive, multiple choice examination that is administered by the Project Management Institute.  I will share more about the content of the PMP® Examination in future newsletters.  For now I want to focus on the application process.

To sit for the examination you must submit the PMP® Examination Application to PMI.  That application must show the prerequisite experience and education requirements.

Experience Requirements

  • If you hold a four year degree from an accredited college or university your application must show 4,500 hours of project management experience across the five domains of Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing projects.  This experience must be in the last eight years.
  • If you do not have a four year degree, you must demonstrate 7,500 hours of project management experience across the five domains of Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing projects. This experience must be in the last eight years.

Your experience hours need to align with the Tasks that are listed under the Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing Domains listed in the PMP® Examination Content Outline shown in the link below.  To be more specific you need to be able to document hours doing the work described in these Domains and Tasks.®/~/media/PDF/Certifications/PMP®_Examination_Content_Outline_Aug.ashx

Education Requirements

In addition to the experience hours, you also need to be able to document thirty-five hours of formal project management training.  This training requirement is based on total number of hours and can be made up of many short courses.  This training could be live, classroom training; live, instructor led, online training; or recorded, online, instructor led training. Any courses you have taken in project management, scheduling, budget or estimating, quality, six sigma, communications, leadership, risk management or procurement count for this educational requirement.  There is no time limitation on education.  It could go back twenty years or more.  The hard part is documenting it through a certificate, certification, or record that shows you attended.

The application can be submitted electronically online or in hard copy at  Once the application is accepted, you will be asked to provide a credit card for payment of the examination fee.  The fee is $550 for those who are not members of PMI and $405 for those who are members.  This difference in price is approximately the $139 cost of membership in PMI.

Once approved, the application is good for one year and you must successfully complete the examination within those twelve months or reapply.

If you have questions about any of the above and would like to speak with me directly,  please email me at  If you think you are ready and would like to attend our next course, please send CLICK HERE to send a message.