PMP Certificate Requirements

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The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers the Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate. This advanced certification requires substantial experience, education, and passing a comprehensive exam. These challenging requirements make PMP certification a well respected and sought after credential. The certification exam focuses on the five primary processes of project management: initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing.

Work Experience

PMP certification requires extensive project management work experience. You must document your experience and present it in order to apply for the certification exam. You must provide evidence of 36 months of project management experience in conjunction with a bachelor’s degree. Without a bachelor’s degree you must be able to document 60 months of non-overlapping experience as a project manager. Although it's possible to earn PMP certification with only an associate's degree or high school diploma, these cases are the minority. Most people who apply for the certification have a bachelor’s degree and many have a master’s.


You must also complete 35 contact hours of formal project management education courses. These hours can be completed through colleges, distant learning companies or project management seminars. Several colleges, both on campus and online, offer the courses necessary to complete these requirements. After you complete the educational requirements, you need to obtain a certificate of completion. The educational and work experience requirements must be met prior to registering for the PMP exam.


The exam has roughly 200 questions, including a combination of scored and un-scored questions. Approximately 25 un-scored questions are used to gauge your depth of understanding. The computer-based test starts with an extensive tutorial on how to navigate within the system. You will have four hours to complete the test. On the expiration of the fourth hour, you will be logged out whether you've finished or not. You must score a minimum of 61 percent to pass the exam.

The Five Processes

The exam covers the five key processes involved in project management. The initiation stage includes all of the footwork up through the planning phase. Initiation counts for 11 percent of the scored questions. Planning includes the planning and staffing phases of a project. This phase outlines the how, when, where and whom. Planning constitutes approximately 23 percent of the exam. Executing and controlling counts for 27 percent of the exam. The executing and controlling processes cover the beginning of work and controlling the project through closing. This includes managing deliverables as well as managing budget variances and unforeseen circumstances. This is the largest portion of the exam. Closing the project, the fifth phase, comprises 9 percent of the scored questions. The final section, professional and social responsibility, accounts for 9 percent of the exam as well.


The computer-based exam costs between $405 and $555. The older paper version will eventually be phased out but is still an option for now. The cost of the paper exam between $250 and $400. PMI Members pay the lower price. If you're unable to meet your testing schedule, you may receive a refund less a $100 processing fee. Once you've met all of the requirements you will be issued the PMP certificate. Potential employers can check for your certification standing using an online database.

Job Outlook

Project management careers offer a great salary and continued future job growth. The medium US salary with bonuses for project managers is $96,000. This career field is expected to see better than average growth over the next decade. Project managers are in high demand within the construction, engineering, land development and landscape engineering industries.