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PMP Exam Eligibility Requirements
By Cornelius Fichtner, PMP

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification requires demonstrated qualities on projects as well as educational and professional experience for exam eligibility. The Project Management Institute (PMI) has supported professionals in project management for nearly four decades. A PMP credential brings recognition and visibility within your organization and worldwide. Candidates must meet experience requirements and the standards of the Project Management Professional Role Delineation to qualify for testing.

Encompassed in the PMP Role Delineation are certain attributes that must be demonstrated by candidates for the PMP credential. The project management professional will:

  • Be responsible for all aspects of the project for the life of a project, under general supervision
  • Show capable leadership of teams performing various functions in project performance and deliver projects successfully within time constraints, scope, and appropriated budget
  • Within the span of defined project requirements, be adept at demonstrating satisfactory knowledge and understanding and therefore successfully apply methodology

The details supplied on the PMP Exam Application provide evidence of your experience as a team member on projects leading up to certification. Submit details for each project you have had experience working on individually. The Experience Verification form: Parts I and II, detail your hours of experience leading and directing project tasks. These are broken down into the five process groups.

Eligibility requires project management experience in: initiating; planning; executing; monitoring and controlling; and closing processes. On a single project, you may not have experience in all five of the process groups, but must have collectively.

There are two educational background pathways that are acceptable for the PMP eligibility requirements, providing the required amount of project management experience is sufficient. Both the educational experience and the professional experience must have been amassed in the last eight consecutive years before submitting your application.

If you possess a High School diploma and an Associate’s Degree, or the equivalent recognized in the global market, this must be paired with a minimum of five years professional project management experience. During this time at least 7,500 hours must have been spent leading and directing project tasks. Professional experience must be unique and time spent on overlapping projects is counted only once. This pathway must include 35 hours total of formal education in project management training.

Those pursuing PMP certification who possess a Bachelor’s degree or global equivalent must posses a minimum of three years unique and non-overlapping experience in professional project management. During this period of professional experience, a total of 4,500 hours must be leading and directing project tasks. Candidates must also possess 35 hours of formal education in project management training.

It is important to calculate your experience accurately on the application. Overlapping projects count as single time periods. For example: if two projects overlap for a period of 60 days, counts as two months, not four. Consider the diagram on the experience verification form for a visual aid.

The contact hour requirements must be focused on training directly addressing learning objectives that apply to project management. These hours may include courses, workshops, and training courses that included topics in time, scope, cost, communications, human resources, project quality, risk, and integration management. At the time of application all courses must be completed. PMI meetings and self-study do not fulfill educational requirements.

The demarcations of leading and directing project tasks are identified in the PMP Examination Specification. To prepare the Examination Specification, use the PMP Credential Handbook and the PMBOK Guide Third Edition. The PMBOK Guide Third Edition is recognized internationally as the standard for fundamentals of project management. The five basic processes and nine knowledge areas are detailed extensively in this resource. Some sample PMP Exam questions are available on the PMI website.

Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is the host of The Project Management Podcast™ at and The Project Management PrepCast™, the first true PMP® Podcast at Cornelius worked as a Project Manager in his native Switzerland, in Germany and in the USA for the last 17 years. He received his PMP credential in April 2004. He has led projects for a management consulting company, a national retailer and an internet startup company. Currently, Cornelius works as a project manager for one of the oldest financial service providers in the USA. His passions are project management methodologies, PMOs and helping others pass the PMP Exam. In addition to hosting the PrepCast™, he is an instructor for the PMP Workshop and the 2007 Chair of his local PMI chapter. He currently lives in Silverado, California, USA with his wife and their two computers.

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