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How to Get PMP Certification

How to Get PMP Certification: 5 Step-Guide15 min. read

Are you a project manager? Or, aspiring to grow in project management profession? Then, you definitely need PMP! Hence how to get PMP Certification is what you want to know.  If you are wondering about how to get PMP Certification, you are at the right place! But before we answer your question about how to get PMP Certification, let us see what PMP is! Project Management Professional or PMP Certification is the globally recognized, needed and sought after credential in project management. PMP is a credential that comes from Project Management Institute.

What is PMI?

PMI is the #1 institute in the world for project management. It has been advocating project management since 1969. If you are looking for credentials in project, program and portfolio management, PMI Institute is the one stop for you. If you are interested in understanding the Agile methodology or the business analysis domain you also can rely on PMI for practice guides and standards on all the above areas. Are you looking for best practices and latest trends in project management? You can find all that at PMI!

The 3 Good Reasons for Getting PMP Certification

You are asking how to get PMP certification, so you must also have a strong ‘why?’. You need good reasons to enable your journey to find the answer to your how to get PMP Certification question. Let’s look at the 3 good reasons for becoming a PMP.

Jobs in project management: Did you know that by 2027, 22 million new jobs in project management would be created? What does that mean to you as an individual? You are looking at a whopping need for 88 million individuals in various project-oriented roles. Isn’t that a great reason to explore how to get PMP Certification?

Industries that need Project-oriented roles: Which industry sector are you working in? Manufacturing & Construction, Information Services & Publishing, Finance & Insurance, Management & Professional Service, Utilities or Oil & Gas? If you are working in any of these industries, watch out for a spurt in the project management jobs! Even if you are not in these industries, continue to think about how to get PMP certification, so that you can be one step ahead and might also move to these industries.

PMP Certification Salary Hike: Don’t we all want to know how to earn more? By reading this post, you will know how to get PMP Certification. Based on this, you can become PMP certified and get a salary hike, earning more. But how much salary hike can you expect? Did you read the PMI salary survey report? If not, here is the answer to your question. 20% growth! Isn’t a 20% increase in your salary a trigger enough to get to the bottom of how to get PMP Certification?

Other good reasons: If these 3 reasons are not good enough, let’s give you some more reason before we dive into the details of how to get PMP certification

  • You are going to be recognized for your project management skills
  • If you are thinking of applying for a new job, you will have an edge over other applicants
  • You will be sought after on client projects

Is your motive getting stronger to become a PMP certified professional? Before we jump into the how to get PMP Certification, let’s see if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Eligibility requirement for PMP certification

Do you have a 4-year bachelor degree and 4500 hours of experience directing and managing projects? Do you meet these PMP Certification requirements? If so, the next requirement is attending a 35-hour PMP certification training. Before we get there, let us get down to the how to get PMP certification.

How to Get PMP Certification

Project Approach for How to Get PMP Certification

When you are in the project management arena, what is better than looking at the PMP certification preparation as a project. Therefore, let us apply the project management principles and get to the depth of how to get PMP Certification.

How to Get PMP Certification Step 1: Initiating

Are you now having a concrete justification for taking up this project? Have you assessed the reasons to go for certification, the benefits that you get? Let’s start to explain how to get PMP Certification.

Financial Appraisal: Cost Vs. Benefit

Did you do a financial appraisal on the total PMP Certification cost (PMP Exam Cost, the cost of 35 hours of project management education, the cost of the resources) versus the PMP benefits? Is your ROI and payback period (based on PMP Salary) attractive enough for you to take up the project? So how to get PMP Certification is determined by your strength of motive too!

Timeline

What deadline you have in mind? Is there a constraint from your organization that you need to finish PMP Certification by a specific date? Or, are you driven by a change in PMBOK or other motives? What are the key milestones for this? These are important points to determine how to get PMP Certification.

How to Get PMP Certification

Milestones

Did you decide when you want to complete the 35-hour PMP exam training? This could be a milestone. How about submitting your application? Brainstorm and come up with dates for these and more.

Budget

Have you a high-level estimate of the components of the cost of PMP certification? This is a crucial thing to consider about how to get PMP Certification. Based on the estimate, prepare a budget.

Stakeholder

Have you identified who are the stakeholders in your project? Did you do a stakeholder analysis? What criteria are you going to have in place to check that your project is going to be successfully completed?

How to Get PMP Certification Step 2: Planning

How to get PMP Certification talks about the approach and methodology for becoming a PMP. Here is a planning guide about how to get PMP Certification.

Create a PMP Study Plan

What is a PMP study plan? In what way is it a component of how to get PMP Certification? You need a study plan to know what to do, when to do and how to do. This is your project management plan.

Plan to Manage Stakeholders

Right from your boss, your family, and the training provider, there are many stakeholders for this project. Are you clear about what their expectations are? Have you set the expectations with your stakeholders? Because you may need to dedicate specific time for PMP preparation. Therefore, an essential part of how to get PMP Certification is managing your stakeholders. Tell them upfront what help you need from them.

Scope

  • Did you check the scope of PMP Exam questions? Go through the PMI credentials handbook on PMP Exam. You will get a broad definition of the scope of the PMP Certification exam from this handbook.
  • What is your next step of your how to get PMP Certification journey? Do you want to plan the phases? Then, detail the work in each phase.
  • One of the key aspect in how to get PMP Certification involves planning the work to be done in each phase.
  • Which do you want to focus on in the first phase? PMP Study guide or PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge)?
  • Which methodology do you want to use? Plan driven or change driven?
  • PDCA cycle: Plan-Do-Check-Act is the simplest way to ensure you are improving and reaching your goal. PDCA is a key concept to be followed in your how to get PMP Certification.

How to Get PMP Certification

Schedule & Cost

  • How do you prepare a schedule? What is the work you have planned in each phase? Based on this, divide it into activities. Which activity comes first? Study the PMBOK pdf or a study guide and then assess yourself by taking a test.
  • Once you have the activities, analyze their relationship or dependencies: FS, FF, SS, SF
  • What resources are you going to use and how long will each activity take to complete?
  • How do you arrive at a schedule? Combine the activity, dependency, and estimate and there is your schedule.
  • How did you score? Where did you go wrong? Why? What should you do it improve? Identify these aspects.
  • What aspects are you going to monitor in the plan? Time, the work you have done and how well you are doing.
  • Did you include them in your plan for monitoring and controlling the study plan when you start your preparation?
  • How to get PMP certification? A well-defined schedule is a decisive factor in PMP Certification.

Budget

  • Do you have the high-level budget from initiating phase? Use this as a reference.
  • Have you weighed the pros and cons of the different cost components of the PMP Certification cost?
  • Another vital constituent in how to get PMP certification is the budget you have set aside. What are the tolerance limits you have for the budget?
  • Why is this important? Since one of the elements that tilt the PMP Exam Cost is the 35 hours of project management education. Therefore, you need to have clarity on the budget you have.
  • Which other cost components do you need to consider for budgeting?
    • PMP Exam Fee, Membership fee, and any other resources

Risk

How to get PMP Certification involves risk management. There could be many uncertainties in your PMP journey. Therefore, unless you identify what hurdles or roadblock you may encounter, you may be delayed in becoming a PMP.

How to Get PMP Certification

Identify risks and plan: What risks do you foresee in completing the PMP Certification?

Impact on schedule: What if the training provider reschedules your planned training session? How is it impacting your schedule?

Impact on Cost: OR, if the provider does not give you all the resources such as mind maps, cheat sheets, practice tests? Would you need to increase your budget?

Have you factored extra time and cost as a contingency?

Risk Management in PMP Certification Process

  • It is imperative to have thorough risk management built into your how to get PMP Certification process. What response plan do you have?
  • To have a better answer for how to get PMP Certification question, do a thorough groundwork on the various training providers and what they will and won’t provide.
  • Did you plan a backup procedure or add a buffer to your plan?
  • Did you factor in the time needed for audit in case that happens with your application? You may want to start the application process as soon as you complete your 35 hours of project management education to address this risk
  • Check at stage what opportunities you have and possible threats.

Procurement

As part of procurement, the resources you want to buy or the training, you need to understand the capabilities of the training provider to have a solid answer for your how to get PMP Certification question.

  • How to choose 35 hours of project management education? Which type of training do you want to attend? Classroom or PMP Online Certification? How do you choose the right training provider is one of the key questions you need an answer to in your quest of how to get PMP certification. What factors do you need to consider to decide the type of training?
    • Do you want flexibility and self-paced learning?
    • Would you want to attend a classroom training and complete within a short span?
    • Is your focus on understanding the project management along with certification or only PMP certification?
    • Can you spare dedicated 4 days for the training program?
  • What type of a learner are you? Do you find that your focus is highest early in the morning or late in the night?  You need to go over some concepts a little slow and your own way? You have to answer these questions before answering how to get PMP Certification question. If you think anyone of this matches with your need, then go for a PMP certification online program.
  • PMP Course Classroom session: Are you game to attend a 12-6 hours per day session for 3-5 days? If you want the conventional classroom type PMP Course, where you can interact with the instructor, choose a PMP boot camp. Some of them focus on the PMP exam and may be leaning towards memorization since they also say that you can appear for the exam immediately. But, the question is ‘can you digest so much information in such a short span and be ready?’
  • PMP Certification Online Course: Are you the typical project manager/lead who is juggling between multiple things? Do you think it is tough to say when you will have an undisturbed clear 4 days away from work?

How to Get PMP Certification

Source selection criteria for 35-hour training program

Have you made a list of project management PMP training providers? What are the source selection criteria? Here are a few that you can use as a reference:

  • Does the provider give unlimited access to videos?
  • What does the provided PMP Study guide contain? Is there a quick reference guide which you can refer before the PMP certification exam?
  • One critical factor you should focus on learning about how to get PMP Certification is the PMP Certification cost aspect. Since budget is a constraint, you need to also look for a cost effective option.
  • PMP Certification online has multiple plans that suit your budget. Check out the monthly and annual options. You can surely save on this cost component
  • Can you learn at your pace, at your convenience in this online course? Do check the experience of faculty, examples given in the course and testimonials of the clients of provider
  • Are you getting the 35-hour certificate when you are done?

Your question of how to get PMP Certification is partly addressed in terms of the planning that you need to do. In addition to what we discussed above, check out any resources you need to procure and the 35-hour training program you are going to sign up.

How to Get PMP Certification Step 3&4: Execution, Monitoring & Control

Attend the course

Are you ready with a selected training provider? This is where you are implementing the plan for how to get PMP Certification. Therefore, start with completing the 35-hour course.

PMP Application Process

Next step in executing the how to get PMP Certification plan is to start the application process, part of PMP certification process and in parallel your exam preparation.

Why in parallel? Because, by starting your application process, even if your application is picked for audit, you have ample time to complete this and take your exam within the timeline you planned. You are implementing schedule optimization technique by using a start-start relation instead of a finish to start:

  • Apply on the PMI website
  • Pay your PMP certification exam fee: you pay $555 if you are not a PMI member. You take membership with annual fee of $139, you get to pay only $405
  • Once you get your eligibility ID from PMI, schedule your exam.r

PMP Exam Preparation

Into how many phases have you divided your preparation when you planned how to get PMP Certification?

Phase 1:

  1. Study: Did you go through the study guide chapter by chapter? Now, answer the questions based on each chapter. Chapters are generally by knowledge areas.
  2. Take tests: How to get PMP Certification?  A firm answer is: test yourself with as many PMP exam questions as possible. Do you have access to practice tests? If not, buy a few PMP practice tests and Math question tests. What is the next step in how to get PMP Certification?
  3. Revise: Evaluate how you fared in the tests and then strengthen areas that you are not thorough.
  4. Performance Assessment: Have you assessed your performance in the test? How will you assess? You may have defined the performance criteria in the planning of how to get PMP Certification. These could be the number of questions you need to do correctly in a certain time. Were you able to achieve this? If not, modify your approach to study.

Phase 2: 

Did you study the PMBOK? If not done, read it in this phase. Did you do a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis? Based on this, focus on overcoming weakness, utilize opportunities such as free tests, resources and then take a full-length test. Repeat the Study-Test-Revise- Re-test cycle.

Have you set the monitoring and control parameters? What is your target score? Did you reach that? If not, raise a change request. Modify your strategy after a root cause analysis.

Phase 3:

Firm up your brain dump, hone your math skill, take full-length practice tests, check your score. Have you reached your target? Continuous monitoring & control is an important aspect of how to get PMP Certification. When you reach your target score, schedule your exam at a Prometric center.

Phase 4:

Have a checklist of what identity proofs and documents that are needed at the Prometric center and accordingly take them to the exam center.

PMP Exam Day: Start the exam with confidence and proceed to finish successfully and see the Congratulations message! Do not leave any question unanswered. Remember, you do not have negative marking in PMP!

How to Get PMP Certification Step 5: Closing

Have you done a closure review of your project? Did you capture lessons learned and best practices? Which resources did you find useful? This would be a great help for other PMP aspirants and their question of how to get PMP Certification!

PMP Renewal

Do you know that you have to renew your credential every 3 years? It is not just how to get PMP Certification but also how to maintain it. Check out the courses to earn your PDUs for PMP Renewal.

Putting it all together on how to get PMP Certification: Have a plan and follow it diligently. Using a project approach is the solution to your question of how to get PMP Certification.

how to get pmp certification

Author Biography

how to get pmp certification

Sunanda Gundavajhala, B.Tech, M.B.A, PMP has over 25 years of project management. She is a consultant, trainer on project management for different sectors and is the recipient of “Recognition of Excellence” award from PMI, USA and Woman Volunteer award from Hyderabad, India Chapter of PMI. Sunanda has contributed to the “Practice Standard on Scheduling, PMI”. She has worked as the Liaison Officer for PMIEF (Education Foundation) for the Hyderabad, India Chapter of PMI.

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