Most Important Tips About PMP Exam Eligibility Criteria

PMP Eligibility ChecklistTo gain the PMP Credential, you need to make sure that you meet the minimum eligibility criteria set by PMI, which includes professional experience, formal project management training, and academic qualifications.

We list here the detailed information to check and make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for sitting in the PMP exam conducted by PMI, and earn your PMP certification credential.

Professional Experience Requirement for PMP Exam
For Professional Experience required by PMI, it must be only from the last 8 years, and not earlier. So if you have been managing projects for the last 10 or 15 or ever 20+ years, you can’t document or display all that years of experience.

PMI is only interested in the work you have done in the past 8 years.

During the past 8 years, you must have a minimum of 3 years of unique, non-overlapping project management experience, and in these 3 years, you must have worked at least 4500 hours on leading and directing project tasks.

This 3 years / 4500 hours requirement is for degree holders.

If you are a Diploma holder, then you need to show at least 7500 hours in the past 5 years – leading and directing project tasks.

Academic Qualifications for PMP Exam
At least a Four Year Degree Holder, or a High School Diploma holder can apply for the PMP Exam.

Project Management Education
You also need to have at least 35 contact hours of formal training on Project Management. Most PMP Exam Prep workshops conducted by training institutes serve this purpose. They mostly provide a 4 day or a 5 day training, during which they cover the PMP Exam preparation tips, and topics as per the PMBOK Guide, published by PMI.

At the end, you get the 35 contact hours certificate, and you have had a great opportunity to learn formal project management, and this training helps you identify the gaps in your knowledge, and prepares you for the PMP Exam.

Of course, one of the best resources for getting more information about the PMP Eligibility criteria is the PMP Handbook published by PMI.

Tips for Filling Up Your PMP Application Form
The most important thing about documenting your experience is that it must be non-overlapping.

I have had students from some large banks, who regularly say that they are working on 2 critical projects, both at the same time. They fill their PMP exam application with such projects, showing at least 10-15 hours of project time spent, per day.

Such application catch the eye of PMI, and almost each of these application have been selected for Audit by the PMI.

To reduce the chances of an audit of your PMP Exam application by PMI, only document one project at a time, irrespective of the number of projects you may be working on. Further, only document 6-7 hours of time on each day. Do not show 10 or 12 hours. This is a hard lesson learned from grooming hundreds of students for the PMP Exam, and helping them to pass the exam in their first attempt.

The PMP Application Process
The application has to be filled online. Go to the PMI website, and create a login id and password for yourself. The entire application has to be filled online – documenting your educational qualifications, the Project management experience, and the Project management Training… all in detail.

PMI usually approved or rejects applications within 1 week. Once your application is approved, you can proceed to pay and book your exam date.Payment is done online through a credit card. The current exam fee is USD555 for non PMI members, and USD405 for PMI members.

You may wish to take up the PMI membership, which will set you back by another USD139. Together with the discount for the exam, you save $11. This is because PMI wishes to encourage you to take up the PMI membership, and enjoy the benefits that come with it.

As soon as you pay, you will be notified if your application has been selected for a  random Audit. Do not panic if your application is audited. Just print out the Audit Package from the link sent to you, and go to the project sponsors/clients/HR etc. whose details you had filled up in your application form. Ask them to verify your project experience, and then send these signed audit forms back to PMI in the USA, by snail mail post.

It may take about a month to clear the audit. Once done, you can then use the authorization code given to you by PMI. This code will allow you to go to the Prometric website, and book your exam date.

However do not rush to book the first available date for the PMP exam. Take your time, and take a date at least 6-8 weeks in the future. This will give you enough time to study for the PMP exam.

If you have any questions about your exam eligibility, you can post them on the PMP Forum, and it will be answered by our PMP experts or me personally. See you soon with your PMP credential.

PMP Frequently Asked Questions

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  • [intlink id=”58″ type=”post”]Importance of PMP Certification[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”72″ type=”post”]PMP Exam Passing Marks in 2010[/intlink]

Vinai Prakash, PMP
Founder of

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3 thoughts on “Most Important Tips About PMP Exam Eligibility Criteria”

  1. Why don’t they reduce the hours or eliminate the requirements all together for those who have an MBA degree? …It just seems like the PMP is worth more than an MBA nowdays.

    • Mike,
      Thanks for writing. While MBA can be done straight out of college, PMP requires people to have real time experience of managing people, and managing projects. This industry experience is more useful in understanding and using the project management concepts in real life, and in passing the PMP exam, than just getting an MBA. Also, not all MBAs are equal… many can be purchased, or acquired pretty easily by writing a few essays and a written test, while others require you to do a lot of work, and are really worth. hope this helps -Vinai


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