Updated: Jun 19, 2020
The process for applying to take the PMP Exam was updated by PMI in June of 2020. For information on the new PMP Application Process, click this link.
Getting your Project Management Professional Certification (PMP®) from the Project Management Institute (PMI®) is no small feat. In order to test for the PMP® certification, PMI® requires you to first apply on their website. While PMI® discounts the exam for members, this article does not make any distinction between those that are members, and those that are not.
Let’s start by navigating to the PMI® website. Open any web browser and navigate to www.pmi.org to get started. From here, we’ll walk through the process of registering an account and applying to take the test using a series of screenshots.
Step 1. Click on the Certifications tab and when the sub-menu appears, select Project Management Professional (PMP)® from the available certification types.
Step 2. On the far right side of the web page, select the Apply Now button.
Step 3. An additional window or tab will open in your browser and request for you to authenticate yourself to the site. At the bottom of this selection window, you can select Register Now to start the registration process. If you are already a PMI® member (or registered previously), enter your account information and select Log In and skip to step 8. We’ll join you there in a few minutes…
Step 4. Enter your personal information into the fields. Here you’ll enter your first and last name (this must match your issued ID so that you can verify yourself with the testing center) and your email address. You can choose to opt in to email correspondence and then enter your country of residence.
Step 5. Enter some demographic information about yourself. Some of these fields are optional and you can decide not to enter the data.
Step 6. Enter your account information to use for future logins to the PMI® website. This area requires a unique username (I used my email since I know I’m the only one with that account), a password, and a security question and answer to recover your password if you forget it in the future. Once all of that information has been entered, select Create Account.
Step 7. Close the additional browser window or tab and from the top right, log in to the PMI® website using your new account credentials.
Step 8. Now that you are logged in, you will see that once again, we are back at the same page from Step 2. We are once again going to select the Apply Now button.
Step 9. Now we are going to select the Apply for PMP® Credential hyperlink to begin the fun part… registering to take the exam.
Step 10. Begin the process of entering all of your information for PMI® to review. This is a long process and requires quite a few wickets along the way such as your address (this is where they’ll mail your certificate after crushing your exam with the help of the PM-ProLearn team), your phone number and email (which should auto-populate from your account registration), level of education and institute you attained it from, and validation that you have met the requirements to sit for the exam.
You will be saving each tab before moving on to the next. After each time you click the Save button, make sure that you go back and verify the information to ensure no changes are needed. On the Contact Information tab, you will enter the country code, area code, and phone number (without hyphens) into the appropriate fields.
On the Attained Education tab, you will enter in your information for the highest level of education that you currently hold. You will need to know the address of your school/university when you enter it, so you will want to have that on hand for this process. You will need to enter the education information prior to moving on to the experience requirements portion so that PMI knows what hours and months requirement to utilize for the review.
Step 11. Verifying your requirements can be a multi-step process for some and take more than one time on this application page. That’s OK, though because PMI® allows you to save this application and come back to it at a later time if needed. What’s of primary importance here is making sure you are fulfilling the requirements based on the appropriate level of education. If you have a four-year college degree (or equivalent), you are required to show 36 months of unique, non-overlapping professional experience in project management, and show that within that time, you led or directed the project for at least 4500 hours (which can be overlapping). If you do not have a four-year degree, you are required to show 60 months of unique, non-overlapping experience in projects where you led or directed the project for at least 7500 hours. All of this experience MUST HAVE COME WITHIN 8 CONSECUTIVE YEARS from the date that you submit your application.
It is strongly recommended that you have your experience reviewed prior to entering it into the application site for accuracy and reduce the possibility that you will be audited, or worse have your application denied. PM-ProLearn has personnel on staff that review applications to remove ambiguity and align your application with the Project Management Professional Exam Content Outline (PMPECO)®. If you are a current or former military member, our founder, Tim Dalhouse, also wrote a book to assist you with using your military experience to qualify for the PMP Exam, which is free to you and can be found at multiple locations, such as the Barnes & Noble website or from Tim’s LinkedIn Pulse feed. Feel free to connect with or follow him while you’re there…
You are also required to show at least 35 contact hours of Project Management Education. Don’t worry, though… that’s what PM-ProLearn specializes in. We’ve got you.
If you are ready to begin showing the experience and education for PMI® to verify, click on the Requirements tab and then the PM Experience sub-tab to start entering your experience. To get started, just click on the Add button and enter your experience months and hours until you have reached the required amount based upon your education experience. Take note that PMI® will prevent you from entering more hours and months once the minimum requirement for both has been met.
This is a very important area so we will look at screenshots for each step of the Experience entry and review them. In the Add/Edit Experience window that follows your pressing the Add button, you will enter the project title, the start and end dates for the project, your role, and the industry in which you performed the project. If you select “Other” from the Primary Industry drop-down, you will be required to enter in some clarifying information. If you are using military experience, you can just type ‘Government’ or ‘Military’ here.
Next, you will need to enter the details of the organization for whom you performed the project. You will need the name, address, and primary phone number for this organization. You will also need to enter the information for the Job Title area, which should be the position you held with this organization. If you are using military experience, try to ‘civilianize’ your title, rather than just saying ‘Commanding Officer’ or some other military-specific title.
On the next screen, you’ll be required to put the name and contact information of the person that can verify your work on that project.
The next screen is for the number of hours that you spent performing in each Performance Domain. Make sure that this is hours, not the percentage of time.
In the next screen, you will need to enter a narrative regarding the overall project. This should be between 300 and 550 characters (not words) and include the project objective, outcome, your role, and the responsibilities or deliverables for each of the Performance Domains you worked on the project.
You’ll also need to enter information regarding your 35-contact hours for PMP knowledge on the PM Education tab. This is where you show your attendance at a PMP Prep class either via classroom, webinar, or curriculum fulfillment. PM-ProLearn offers a variety of options to satisfy these 35-contact hours at www.pm-prolearn.com
Step 12. In the Optional Information area, you can enter a reference for your primary referral source and also enter if you took a preparation course with a local PMI Chapter. Then move on to the Certificate tab where you will enter the name you would like to have appear on the certificate once you have completed and passed the PMP® exam. It does not have to match your issued ID which you will use to verify your identity at the testing center.
Step 13. Move to the Agreement tab and click the I Agree checkbox at the bottom. As with any agreement, it is highly recommended that you read what you are about to (digitally) sign. Lastly, move to the Review and Submit tab and review that all of the required information is present. If you don’t see any warnings, you are ready to submit. I have shown what a warning would look like if you were missing some items from your application.
After you have met the requirements and have no warnings presented, you are ready to submit your application. You can submit your application only one time, and you are not required to submit payment for the exam when you do submit. After PMI® reviews your application and has approved it, you will receive an email at the contact email you provided during the application and registration process. After you have received your approval and submitted your payment, PMI® will also give you an Eligibility ID, which you will use when you schedule your test with the testing center.
This entire process can be daunting and frustrating if you aren’t prepared for it. This article should prepare you for all of the items that you need to have ready before you begin to reduce that frustration. If you still need help along the way or if you are still looking for training for the final piece to your puzzle, don’t hesitate to reach out to the great team at PM-ProLearn to help achieve your PMP goals.