5 steps to becoming a Project Management Professional (PMP)®

1. Check your eligibility

If you have a high-school diploma, associates’ degree or equivalent, you’ll need at least 5 years of project management experience of which at least 7,500 must have been spent leading or otherwise directing projects.

If you have a bachelors’ degree, then you'll need a minimum of 3 years project management experience and 3,500 hours experience leading or directing projects.

Regardless of education, you’ll also need 35 hours of project management training. There’s no time-limit as to what counts however, so training you revived 10, 20 or 30 years ago still counts towards this learning goal.

2. Become a PMI member

Becoming a PMI member will give you special benefits. Most PMI chapters offer PMP preparation workshops and can be a great source of helpful information. You’ll meet seasoned PMI veterans and PMI aspirants alike, so take the time to get to know the PMI professionals in your area and don’t be afraid to turn to your local chapter if you need assistance.

Finally, membership will grant you a discount on your PMI exam. This saving is substantial and shouldn't be disregarded.

3. Study the PMBOK® Guide

Most trainers estimate that roughly 75% of the questions asked in the PMI final exam are drawn from information contained in the PMBOK® Guide. You’ll want to know it intimately to stand a better chance of successfully passing your exam.

4. Start a PMP study course

There’s a huge array of PMP training courses available. These courses will help you learn those bits of information not included in the PMBOK® Guide and, if you’re lucky enough to train with an enthusiastic and informative instructor, can make a very dry subject a little more palatable.

If classrooms aren’t your thing, there are always self-study courses that will let you learn at your own pace. Online courses are great if you have a busy schedule and can't commit to a classroom course, or if you’re the type who learns best in a nice, quiet space.

5. Take a PMP workshop

Universities, colleges and training providers around the world offer 2- to 6-day PMP workshops. Some might require you do some additional reading, others might cover all content in the workshop itself. In either case, they're a great way to complement the whichever formal training you've chosen. The content of these workshops may vary but you might discover something you didn't know before and there will always be trainers and other attendees on hand to help answer any new questions that may arise.

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