PMP has strict requirements for taking the Exam. In short, one must have at least 4,500 hours of project management, some folks have to produce more. 35 contact hours of instruction (the video course I took provided this need), and approval to take the exam from PMI. The exam comes most from the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), but not entirely. There’s quite a bit to each part. Here are suggestions from my experience.
Set Aside a Financial Budget and a Time Budget.
It’s going to cost money and time. Some employers provide for this, others’ do not. I also pursued help from our local employment office (Work One Kokomo). There are funds to help out, but I found the process too slow for my needs. In the end I paid for everything myself, so my approach is as economical as I could make it.
Understand the requirements to take the PMP Exam.
They are listed in detail at PMI.ORG and both of the courses I used (Resources I Used) covered it very well.
- There is a PMP Handbook you can download from PMI now to get all the details.
- Fitchner has a handbook that is very good as well.
If Your Application Is Audited
Don’t freak out. I was audited. It’s no big deal if you are honest with your application. I simply printed out the forms they gave me (which are copies of what you submitted) and took them to the people who could vouch for my authenticity. They signed the forms and sealed them in an envelope as instructed. I ordered my college transcript online and had it in day or two. I emailed Career Academy (one of the video courses I had taken) and they immediately sent PDF’s to certify my Contact Hours with them. I over-nighted the small package Thursday and by the next day at noon, I was cleared to take the Exam.
The cost is worth it and your PMP exam is discounted by at least that investment. You get access to a lot of resources, in particular an electronic copy of the PMBOK guide. The cost for me to join PMI and also our local chapter for PMI was $164.00. This really makes sense to do, because the amount of the PMP exam is reduced to $405.00 for PMI members, otherwise the cost is much higher.
Join a local chapter of PMI.
I attend the Central Indiana group found at PMICIC.ORG. The annual fee is minimal and I have met very helpful people interested in my success there. Our chapter has monthly dinner meetings which help you accumulate ongoing PDU’s, which are required to keep your certification. They also have a Professional Day which is an outstanding learning and networking all day opportunity.
Budget your time.
I was in the mode of “as soon as humanly possible.” The shorter the time the more daily work you have to do. It’s a long term learning process. You have to learn to think like PMI thinks and use their vocabulary. Fitctner and Shenoy give great suggestions on time and environment for regular study.
Research study materials.
PMI.org is a great resource to help with this. There are many other study books and other prep classes available that are great. I am quite happy with the two I chose to use. Note: The PMP exam covers some material not addressed in the PMBOK, so you need someone to help you who is knowledgeable about the certification.