So, you want to be a PMP?
Why do you want to earn the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential? Until you are 100% certain why it will make a difference for you and your career, it is nearly impossible to take that first step to submit the application at PMI.Org. One thing is certain; the PMP is a game-changer.
Know the PMI Expectation
Over the past few years, I have taught many project management courses, including PMP certification. From that experience, I know that many students are surprised by the requirements expected from PMI before one can sit for the exam. First, the candidate must have at least 4,500 hours of leading and managing projects during the past 8 years, assuming the applicant has a 4-year degree. Without an undergraduate degree, the hour requirement balloons to 7,500.
Before thinking that it will take you forever to earn the hours, understand there are 2,080 working hours during the year. Therefore, if you are working on projects throughout the year, you can meet the requirement in several years of work. Of course, many of you work more than the standard 40 hours per week, so meeting the requirement is more likely than you might think. If you are not currently working on projects, it is mission critical that you find project work.
When you pay the annual fee of $129 to join PMI, and then decide to apply for the PMP exam, instead of paying $555 to take the PMP exam, you will only pay $405. The annual renewal fee is $119. It is $129 for new members.
What is Project Work?
In the Project Management Essential course that I teach, we make sure to learn the definition of a project:
• It is a temporary endeavor designed to create efficiencies for the organization.
• Projects are initiated to generate revenue for the organization.
• Projects must have a start and end date. They cannot be open-ended.
• When done, the project manager and team members will deliver a unique product, service, or result to the customer.
• The work is unique, and not routine in nature. For example, building a payroll application is a project, but processing payroll is not. I joke with my students that if you are employed by an organization in which making payroll is a project, you might want to consider a different place to earn your keep!
• When the customer receives the deliverable, and the project manager conducts the closing process, the project ceases to exist. At this time, the project team is released.
If you do not have much of an opportunity to work on projects where you work, consider posting on Craig’s List or freelancing to secure project work. You can create presentations, write user’s guides, or manage virtual teams. This effort gives you an opportunity to earn hours and get paid at the same time.
In the PMP Certification classes that I teach, I observe that only 20% or so of the students proceed to take the exam. The vast majority will find reasons to procrastinate. Interestingly, many who put off the exam are prepared to do well on it, but inertia sets in, and they are unwilling to make the investment of time and money.
My recommendation is to set deadlines. Once you have a date in mind when you would like to become a PMP, the chances are that you will move in that direction. From my experience, I can tell you that career opportunities abound for those who accept the challenge and become a Project Management Professional (PMP).