In another article on this site we listed the qualifications you’ll need in order to apply for the PMP® credential. Your journey begins with your application. The purpose of your application is to identify yourself and provide the information necessary to document your qualifying experience. Much of the information required is self-explanatory. We’ll discuss certain sections that can use extra explanation.
The application must be accompanied by payment of the application fee, which includes the examination fee. For members and the computer-based exam option, the cost is $405 for PMI members and $555 for non-members. You can see that membership at this point makes great sense.
Should you not pass the exam on the first try, the re-examination fee is $275 for members and $375 for non-members.
Locating and Contacting References
In order to complete the application form, you will need to be able to identify and contact three previous supervisors who can verify your experience in project management. This task is often more difficult that it might seem. In most cases, but especially if years have passed, it can be surprisingly difficult to contact them.
You might be amazed at how many people you’ll find with the same unusual name when attempting to find someone on Google. Even if you’re looking at the correct individual, it may be difficult to determine which of a few different addresses may be currently correct, if any. The take-home message is that extra time may be required to get the necessary references, so make allowances.
Actually Filling Out the Application
It may seem tempting to download and print a copy of the application form and work offline. Your practical experience with it will likely prove otherwise. The application form is available at PMI.org. Of course, to create your copy of the application you will need to create an account at PMI.org. If you are apprehensive about doing so, don’t be, because you will not receive spam mail afterward.
One good point about starting the application online is that you will have a couple of months to complete it before the contents are lost. This can actually be helpful, because once you begin the process an incentive to complete the job isn’t such a bad thing.
Accessing Your Application Form
Although you can download an application form here after logging into PMI.org, you may find it preferable to do that only in order to determine what’s required. Again, data entry is best done directly into the online form provided at PMI.org.
Completing the Form
In addition to your personal information and particularly the information that determined how you qualified, you’ll need other information.
Every project, agile or not, involves starting the project (Initiating), Planning, Executing (doing the project work), making sure things don’t veer off course (Controlling) and unavoidably Closing. The application requires you to identify the number of hours you spend doing each of these things on as many projects as necessary to add up to the required number of experience hours. (The number of hours depends on factors including your formal education and is either 4500 or 7500.)
For each such project, you must provide a reference who will verify your submission. That person can be either a project Sponsor, Manager/Director, Client or a Primary Stakeholder.
This section is where you document your 35 “contact hours” of project management education and training. The contact hours are calculated on a one-to-one basis. That is, each class or training hour is one contact hour.
These contact hours must, of course, be related in a logical fashion to project management and must come from
- one of PMI’s Registered Education Providers
- a PMI chapter or Community of Practice
- your employer
- training companies or consultants
- distance learning with an end-of-course assessment
- a course or continuing education program from a university or college
Chapter meeting programs or your own reading do not qualify as contact hours. Exam prep courses, however, can be counted.
You must specify the “qualifying hours” because in some cases, only a certain percentage of a set of contact hours might be related to project management.
Special accommodations are available for those who need them. You can request them on the application.