Overview of the PMP Certifications

Overview of the PMP Certifications

Globally recognized and demanded, the PMP certification demonstrates to employers, clients and colleagues that a project manager possesses project management knowledge, experience and skills to bring projects to successful completion.

As the demand for skilled project managers is at a critically urgent level, practitioners who hold the PMP certification are well positioned to provide the professional skills necessary to lead project teams and achieve successful project results.

The PMP recognizes the competence of an individual to perform in the role of a project manager, specifically experience in leading and directing projects. Year after year, the PMP certification has garnered global recognition and commanded a higher salary for certified individuals over non-certified individuals.

Overview of the PMP Certifications

Timeline of the PMP Certification Process

PMP Role Delineation (Job Analysis)

PMI conducts Role Delineation Studies for each certification every five to seven years. A third party, independent of PMI, conducts the study, which includes volunteer project management professionals from around the world. These individuals discuss the specific roles associated with each certification and the tasks and responsibilities that are expected to be performed within that role. In other words, a Role Delineation is a job analysis. It also provides a blueprint for the exam and links the exam questions to the role.

The PMP Role Delineation states that candidates for the PMP certification:

Perform their duties under general supervision and are responsible for all aspects of the project for the life of the project

  • Lead and direct cross-functional teams to deliver projects within the constraints of schedule, budget, and scope
  • Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and experience to appropriately apply a methodology to projects that have reasonably well-defined requirements and deliverables

PMP Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the PMP certification, you must meet certain educational and professional experience requirements. All project management experience must have been accrued within the last eight consecutive years prior to your application submission.

How to Complete the Online Application

PMI encourages you to use the online certification system to apply for all certifications. A printable version of the application is available on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Customer Care to submit a request.

Before you begin, check to make sure you meet the certification eligibility requirements and can record the necessary information on the application.

Once you start an online application, you cannot cancel it. You can save it unfinished, come back to it later, and edit any information you already entered. The application will remain open for 90 days during which time PMI will send you an email reminder to complete the application.

Please ensure that the application includes your valid, unique email address as this will be the primary mode of communication from PMI throughout the certification process. Although PMI will email you reminders during the process, you have the responsibility to schedule and sit for your examination within the one-year eligibility period (see Exam Eligibility section of this handbook for more details).

NOTE: Electronic communications from PMI may inadvertently be blocked or forwarded to bulk mail folders by some spam filters. Please add customercare@pmi.org to the personal address book in your email program to help ensure that you don’t miss important CCR program updates from PMI.

Before you submit the application, you will be required to read and agree to the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and the Certification Application/Renewal Agreement, which can be found in this handbook and on PMI.org.

NOTE: Incomplete applications and faxed applications will not be processed or returned.

You can also use the online certification system to:

  • View your submitted certification application
  • View your examination eligibility status
  • Download PMI audit forms
  • Download your exam report with your pass/fail status
  • Apply and submit payment to take or retake any PMI examination and/or evaluation
  • Submit payment for certification renewal
  • Download receipts
  • Access your certification record and update your contact information
  • View your listing on the Certification Registry

PMP Application & Payment

How to Record Your Experience & Education on the Application Use the experience verification section of the online application to record your experience leading and directing the project. The experience does not necessarily have to be paid work, but it does need to be in a professional setting. Activities such as school projects or planning personal events would not qualify.

Record projects individually regardless of the number of projects you include.

Number of Months of Project Management Experience

For each month in which you worked on multiple, overlapping projects, you can only count the time spent on ONE of those projects toward fulfilling your eligibility requirements. Using this example below, the time spent working on Project 1 from January–April would count as four months toward the eligibility requirement, while the time spent working on Project 2 during May–June would count as two months toward the eligibility requirement. However, you cannot count the time working on both projects during February–April twice. Therefore, Project 1 and Project 2 equal six months (January–June) of project management experience toward your eligibility requirement.

Number of Hours that You Led or Directed Project

Consider all of the projects that you have worked on and identify how many hours you spent leading and directing the project. For this section of the application, if you worked on multiple projects at one time, all the hours count toward the total.

Contact Hours of Project Management Education

Verify at least 35 contact hours of specific instruction that addressed learning objectives in project management. Record all education hours regardless of when they were accrued. The course work must be completed at the time you submit the application.

PMP Application & Payment

The course hours may include content on project quality, project scope, project schedule, project budget, project communications, project risk, project procurement, and project integration management. You can satisfy the education requirements by demonstrating the successful completion of courses, workshops and training sessions offered by one or more of the following types of education providers:

  • PMI Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.s)*
  • PMI chapters *
  • Employer/company-sponsored programs
  • Training companies or consultants (e.g., training schools)
  • Distance-learning companies, including an end-of-course assessment
  • University/college academic and continuing education programs

The following education does not satisfy the education requirements:

  • PMI chapter meetings*
  • Self-directed learning (e.g., reading books, watching instructional videos or sessions with coaches or mentors)

Application Processing

PMI strives to process applications in a timely manner. The application processing timeline depends on how you submit your application—either online using the certification system, or on paper sent by postal mail to PMI. The following table details the application processing timeline.

PMP Certification Fees

The proper fees for payment are determined by your PMI membership status and the examination delivery type (center-based versus paper-based) for your geographic location. Refer to the Examination Administration section in this handbook to see if you qualify for paper-based exam delivery. Otherwise, plan on taking a center-based exam and submitting the associated fees. Use the following chart to determine the certification fee.

The PMI membership rate will apply only if you are a member of PMI in good standing at the time you submit payment for the certification. If you apply for membership right before you apply for the certification, make sure you receive confirmation of your membership before you pay for the certification.

If your membership has not been completely processed before you pay for the certification, you will be charged the nonmember rate.

If PMI membership is obtained after you submit payment for the certification, PMI will not refund the difference.

How to Submit Payment

Once your online application has been processed and determined to be complete, PMI will send electronic notification to you requesting payment.

This requires you to go back into the online certification system to complete the following steps:

  • Select your examination delivery method
    (refer to the Examination Administration section in this handbook for more details)
  • Request a language aid for your examination at no extra cost, if appropriate
    (refer to the Language Aids section in this handbook for more details)
  • Request test accommodations for your examination at no extra cost, if necessary
    (refer to the Test Accommodations section in this handbook for more details)
  • Submit payment
    (refer to the Certification Fees section[s] of this handbook for more details)

You can submit payment of the certification fees in any of the following ways:

If you submit your application by postal mail, payment is expected to be received with your application.

If you submit your application online, you may submit payment by the following ways:

1. Online – Use the online certification system to submit credit card payment. This will enable PMI to process your payment more quickly.


2. By Postal Mail – Mail a check, money order, credit card information or wire payment information to PMI. Include your PMI identification number and user name.

PMP Refund Policy

To obtain a refund for the PMP certification, you must make a request to PMI at least 30 days before the exam eligibility expiration date. PMI will retain a processing fee of US$100 if you have not yet scheduled or taken the examination. After the refund is processed the application will be closed and the eligibility period will no longer be valid.

PMI will NOT provide you with a refund in the following instances:

  • If your one-year eligibility period has expired and you have not scheduled the exam, you will not receive a refund. You will forfeit the entire fee. You will not be able to use the initial fees for anything else. If you still wish to obtain the certification, you will have to reapply and submit all associated fees again.
  • If you have scheduled the exam and did not take it, nor provided the necessary cancellation/rescheduling notification to PMI’s testing administration partner, Prometric, you will not receive a refund. Again, you will forfeit the fee and not be able to apply it to anything else.

PMI Audit Process

The submission of an application indicates your agreement to comply with the terms of the audit process. All applications are subject to an audit, although only a percentage of applications are selected for audit. The selection of an application for audit is random.

If your application is selected for an audit, you will be notified by email prior to payment of the certification fee. The electronic audit notification provides detailed information on how to comply with the terms of the audit.

During an audit, you will be asked to submit supporting documentation such as:

  • Copies of your diploma/global equivalent
  • Signatures from your supervisor(s) or manager(s) from the project(s) recorded in the experience verification section of the application
  • Copies of certificates and/or letters from the training institute(s) for each course recorded on the application to meet the required contact hours of project management education

PMI provides you with 90 days to submit the requested documentation. If you are able to provide the necessary documentation to meet the terms and requirements of the audit process, the audit should take about five to seven business days to complete.

You can send your completed audit forms by regular postal mail or express courier service, to the address below. Please send all materials at one time, in one envelope. Sending audit documents separately can cause delay in the audit review timeframe.


Attn: Certification Audit

14 Campus Blvd.

Newtown Square, PA 19073-3299 USA

You may not continue with the certification process until you have complied with the audit requirements. Once you successfully complete the audit, your one-year examination eligibility period starts.

Incomplete submissions will not be processed and will result in failure of the audit. If you choose not to comply with the audit, it will result in an audit failure and there is a one-year suspension period to apply for that certification again.

PMP Examination Information

The PMP examination is comprised of 200 multiple-choice questions. Of the 200 questions, 25 are considered pretest questions. Pretest questions do not affect the score and are used in examinations as an effective and legitimate way to test the validity of future examination questions. All questions are randomly placed throughout the examination.

It may take some candidates less than the allotted four hours to complete the examination.

There are no scheduled breaks during the exam, although you are allowed to take a break if needed. If you take a break during the exam, your exam clock continues to count down.

The examination is preceded by a tutorial and followed by a survey, both of which are optional and both of which can take up to 15 minutes to complete. The time used to complete the tutorial and survey is not included in the examination time of four hours.

Item Development

PMP examination questions:

  • are developed in accordance with the ISO/IEC 17024 standard
  • are developed and independently validated by global work groups of PMP certification holders;
  • are referenced to current project management titles, which include but are not limited to PMI’s global standards;
  • are monitored through psychometric analysis; and
  • satisfy the test specifications of the PMP Examination Content Outline.

PMP Examination Blueprint

The PMP examination is developed based on the PMP examination blueprint contained in the PMP Examination Content Outline. The examination blueprint details the percentage of questions contained in each project management process group. The following represents the percentage of questions in each domain that are included in the examination.

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