Steps to Becoming a Certified Project Management Professional

How Earning your PMP Can Help you Reach your Career Goals

By: Lynn Aguilera, MSNEd, CPN, RN, PMP and Alison Broders, PMP, LBBP

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the demand for project manager’s over the next 10 years is set to grow faster than any other occupation. The Project Management Professional (PMP) is an internationally recognized professional certification offered by PMI. Obtaining this certification demonstrates that you have the dedication and the skills to manage complex projects. The PMP provides industry recognition and connects you to a professional network. Obtaining a PMP certification can advance your current career or it can open the door to a variety of new opportunities. Job candidates with a PMP certification are often prioritized over those without the certification, and many positions in today’s workplace even require a PMP certification as a mandatory qualification.

Obtaining your PMP

Becoming a certified PMP takes a combination of experience, dedication, time, and lots of studying. The first thing we recommend is reading through the application requirements to ensure that you meet the minimum standards to apply for the test. If you do, great! If not, your next step is to develop a plan about how you will meet the minimum requirements in the shortest period of time.

Once the prerequisites are met, complete the application and carefully describe each project using PMP terminology (initiate, plan, execute, monitor and control, and close out). It is important to note projects have a defined beginning and end and can span a period of months or years.  If the project does not have a defined end, then it if not considered a project as defined by the PMI.  Also, the PMI does not count projects that overlap in time. If you are working on multiple projects simultaneously, then include the project that you believe best represents your PMP skills.

Lastly, we recommend that you attend a reputable PMP readiness class, take as many practice tests as you possibly can, read the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) at least once, and memorize the knowledge areas and process groups in order.

 “Project management can be defined as a way of developing structure in a complex project, where the independent variables of time, cost, resources and human behavior come together.” ~ Rory Burke

Maintaining your PMP

Once you successfully pass the exam and obtain your PMP, be sure to maintain your certification. As long as you complete Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program required by PMI, you will never have to sit for the exam again. The current PMP requirements include earning 60 Professional Development Units (PDU) within each 3-year cycle. PMI offers an online tool for reporting your PDUs that simplifies tracking and ensures that your certification remains in good standing.

Ready to start your PMP journey? Follow this link to the PMI website to learn more. Good luck future PMPs!