Project Management – the smart career choice
Want to earn your PMP® designation or CAPM® designation but don’t know where to start?
The process for attaining the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification seems very complex. The following should answer many of your most immediate questions, and will point you in the right direction for where to get more detailed answers.
What is a PMP®
PMP stands for Project Management Professional. It is a certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®. The PMP certification is the most globally recognized project management designation available.
What is a CAPM®
CAPM stands for Certified Associate in Project Management. This designation is a stepping stone on the way to becoming a PMP, for those people who do not yet have enough experience to qualify for writing the PMP exam.
Preparing for the CAPM exam is very similar to preparing for the PMP Exam, except the exam questions will not be based on experience, just facts. Participants who take our PMP Exam Prep course but intend to write the CAPM exam (not the PMP exam) should let us know and we will provide them with access to the on-line CAPM exam simulation lab as part of their course materials (participants who will be taking the PMP exam are given access to the on-line PMP exam simulation lab).
Why would I want to attain the PMP certification?
The most compelling reason for most people to achieve PMP certification is one of opportunity. As a career, project management is relevant to nearly every industry, and applicable to organizations of all sizes. Consequently, project management professionals tend to recover much easier from economic downturns that affect their organization. Also, in tough economic times organizations have less money with which to solve key problems. Skilled project management professionals who have what it takes to deliver successful projects in a repeatable, sustainable and predictable fashion are in higher demand than ever.
According to the most recent PMI Project Management Salary Survey, the median salary for PMP holders in the U.S. is 25% higher than those without PMP certification. For many organizations, PMP® credentials are a prerequisite for titled project management positions.
What are the requirements?
There are three main requirements to PMP certification:
- Project management experience –
- At least three years (36 months) experience leading projects within the last 8 years if you have a four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent)
- at least five years (60 months) of experience leading projects within the last 8 years if you have a secondary degree (e.g. high-school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent)
Submitting Your Application to PMI
If you meet the above requirements, the next step is to complete and submit your application to PMI. To do so, you will need to set up an account by registering with PMI
Once you have an account with PMI, you will be able to submit your documentation on-line. If you are unable to enter all the information at once, don’t worry, you can save your application at any point then continue when ready.
Note, PMI randomly audits PMP applications. If audited, you will be asked to verify the following information:
- Copy of your Degree
- Verification of experience (signed by supervisor)
- Certificate or proof of 35 hours of project management training (a copy of the certificate of completion that WCP provides participants after each of our courses is sufficient for this purpose)
The PMP Exam
Once your application is approved, you will then need to pay PMI $405USD to get the required code to schedule your PMP Exam through Pearson Vue. Exams may be taken at one of the many Pearson Vue locations, or virtually.
Each of these requirements is fully explained in the PMP Handbook which can be downloaded directly from the Project Management Institute (PMI®) website.
What if I don’t meet the PMP experience requirements?
If you do not currently meet the experience requirements for becoming a PMP, there are other options for project management credentials.
One option is to obtain a CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) designation. This credential and its requirements are described in the CAPM Handbook which can be downloaded directly from the Project Management Institute (PMI)® website.
Another option is to receive a Certificate in Project Management from a reputable University. WCP courses are currently included as part of the Project Management Certificates offered through the University of Waterloo. For more information on these certificates click here.
Where do I start?
If you have not already done so, the first step is to download the PMP Handbook. The PMP handbook fully explains the process of achieving PMP certification. Once you have read through the eligibility requirements, if you believe you meet the experience requirements for becoming a PMP, go to the Credential section of the PMI web site. Create an account if you do not already have one, and begin documenting your project management experience. PMI suggests that you should allow about eight hours to complete the process of documenting your experience.
How do I prepare for the PMP Exam?
In addition to having your project management experience accepted by PMI, you must also have at least 35 contact hours of project management training prior to writing the PMP exam. The PMP® handbook describes what type of training qualifies for training contact hours. Although most PMP Exam preparation courses provide the required 35 contact hours to qualify to write the exam, PMP prep courses are designed for a specific purpose – to help you write and pass the exam. If the only project management training you take is a PMP Exam Prep course, you will not likely understand how to apply what you have learned. To have a successful career in Project Management you need to understand how to apply learned techniques on the job. For that, hands-on scenario based training is strongly recommended.
WCP therefore recommends that prior to writing the PMP exam, participants take (at a minimum) the following courses:
- Three-day Project Management Essentials – to give you a solid foundation in the most essential tools and techniques of project management and how they are applied in the “real world”
- Our PMP Exam Prep workshop – a blended learning solution which fully prepares you for the PMP exam. In addition to five days of instructor lead training, course materials include three complete computer-based PMP Exam simulations, virtual flash cards, and more.
After taking the PMP Exam Prep course, expect to spend at least another 20 – 40 hours of self study, in order to use the on-line PMP Exam simulations and focus on areas that need improvement, until you know the material inside and out and are ready to write and pass the exam.
Where do I write the PMP exam?
The PMP exam is a computer-based exam offered through Pearson VUE testing centers. It can also be taken from home using an online remote proctored option administered by Pearson VUE.
How much does it cost to write the exam?
What happens after I become a PMP?
Becoming a PMP is an excellent way to accelerate your project management career. A PMP designation should not, however, be considered the end of your project management training. There is so much more to being an excellent project manager than what is covered in the PMP exam. That is why once you are a PMP, to maintain your credential you must show a commitment to continuous learning by earning an additional 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every three years.
Of those 60 PDUs, you may claim up to 8 PDUs during your three year cycle, for being a practicing project manager. The remaining 52 PDUs that are required are generally obtained by taking project management courses, and must include a minimum of 8 PDUs in each of the three PMI Talent Triangle areas shown below (note, as per the diagram below, the talent triangle categories have recently changed).
WCP offers many advanced project management courses that provide project managers with the necessary PDUs to maintain their credentials, and give good project managers the tools they need to become great project managers.
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