When it comes to working as a project manager you don’t necessarily have to have certification, but getting the PMP certification is going to give you a better chance at success and a bigger paycheck while you’re at it. If that sounds good to you then you should be reading further to find out more about just what you could be working towards.

What is PMP Certification?

Let’s start with the basics, shall we? We’re going to take a look at just what PMP certification actually is. The simplest way to explain it is that PMP certification is a Project Management Professional certification. It’s offered by an organization called the Project Management Institute, which helps to regulate those within the management field. You can get this certification by completing some specific requirements and then passing the certification exam. You’ll also need to complete some supplemental work to validate your certification. But we’ll get into all of that in a moment.

What you should know is that this is one of the most well-known certifications anywhere in the world for management professionals. That’s because it shows that you know what you’re doing when it comes to managing projects and it also puts you in a position to get better job offers and better pay as well. Research suggests that just getting this certification could put you on track to earn approximately 14% more than your peers who do not have this certification. And that’s only one of the benefits.

Why You Need PMP Certification

So, just why do you even need this type of certification? Well, the number one reason is to showcase your skills in the area of project management and your accomplishments so far as well. That’s because you have to meet specific requirements before you’re even allowed to take the exam. If you can meet those requirements you’re expected to be able to pass the exam (though not everyone does). If you can, you show your employer or potential future employers that you know what you’re doing when it comes to managing a project.

You’re also going to set yourself up to earn even more money as a project manager. That’s because you’re showcasing those higher-level skills and proving to your employer that you know what you’re doing. With this type of certification, you can get a job at many different companies as a project manager, so if you’re able to get this certification it could prove to be a good bargaining chip when it comes to asking for a raise or a promotion from your current employer. It shows that you mean business.

Who Can Take the PMP Certification?

There are some very strict rules and guidelines for who is even allowed to take the PMP certification exam to restrict the market slightly. So, you have two different options to qualify and each one is going to require an educational background as well as an experience/work-based background.

Option #1

For the first option, you must have received a secondary degree, meaning a high school diploma or equivalent. Then, you must have between 1 and 5 years of project management experience, 7,500 hours of experience leading and directing projects and at least 35 hours of education in project management. This doesn’t mean that you have to be the project manager of the projects that you are leading. You simply need to be at some kind of supervisory level that provided you the opportunity to showcase leadership skills in some context.

Option #2

The second option requires you to have completed at least a four-year degree, meaning a bachelor’s degree or equivalent (or something higher). You would then need to showcase additional experiences including 3 years of project management experience, 4500 hours of leadership and directing of projects and at least 35 hours of education in project management. As in the previous option, you are not required to have spent the 4500 hours as a project manager but rather as a leader in some capacity on the projects.

No matter which of these options you follow you’ll be required to take a 35-hour program on project management education, which is offered through several different resources. The most important thing is that you work with an accredited program that will get you the required hours and the authorization that you need from PMI to sit for the exam. You’ll have lectures, practice questions, supporting documents, prep materials, and handouts to go over during your training.

Paying for Your PMP Certification

You will need to pay for the certification that you’re taking and you’ll need to pay for it again later on as well. That’s because this certification needs to be updated frequently to keep it active and make sure that you can continue to represent it on your resume. Because of the difference in fees for those who are looking to take the exam the first time and subsequent times for renewal it’s generally best to become a member of PMI. This will give you the best deals and pricing.

As a member you’ll pay:
Membership Fee: $139 yearly
Examination Fee: $405
Re-Examination Fee: $275
Renewal Fee: $60

As a non-member you’ll pay:
Examination Fee: $555
Re-Examination Fee: $375
Renewal Fee: $150

What is the Exam Like?

So, what if you fit all of the qualifications and you’re ready to take the exam? You want to know how to prepare for it, right? And you want to make sure that you know what’s going to be on your exam. Well, that part doesn’t have to be difficult either. We’ll go through the different sections of the exam and what you need to know.
The general aspect that you need to keep in mind is that this exam takes approximately 4 hours and consists of 200 questions. Each of the questions is multiple-choice and you won’t get penalized for incorrect answers, so make sure that you’re answering each question when you do take the exam. You want to make sure that you’re giving yourself every opportunity to get questions right and to get as many points as you can toward your final score.
Now, if you take the Project Management Professional exam before July of 2020 you will be taking an exam that focuses on five essential areas. These include:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring & Controlling
  • Closing

If you take the exam after July of 2020 the focus is changing entirely. Instead, you will be focusing on three essential areas that include:

  • People
  • Process
  • Business Environment

Make sure that the study materials you’re using are going to help you with the version of the test that you will be taking. New materials may be harder to find for the new version of the test until at least a few months after it’s been widely used.

How to Improve Your Chances of Certification

If you want to make sure that you’re on the right track to achieve your certification you should be putting yourself into as many situations to showcase your leadership skills as possible. You want to take charge of different types of projects within your organization and look for times when you can work with different members of a team. You will need to show documentation of working as a leader to take the exam after all.

While you might be tempted to jump into taking the exam as soon as you have passed the required number of hours for your education level, it might be best to wait to get a little more experience under your belt. That’s because the additional experience can help you hone your leadership skills and develop a little bit better understanding of what it takes to be a true project manager. You’ll also be able to get enough hours in to make sure that you meet the qualifications. You don’t want to go through the process and find that you don’t have enough hours in.

Another way that you could prepare is to get the CAPM certification. This certification is a precursor to the full PMP certification and is offered by the same organization. There is one specific way that you can take this exam, but it’s very simple to do. You must have completed your secondary education (high school or equivalent) and you must complete 23 hours of project management education alongside it. That’s it. So, if you’ve completed your education and you want to get certified but don’t have enough experience this is the way you can get a head start.
Yet another important thing to do is make sure that you hone your project management skills. You need to know how to manage a team to be as successful as possible in your business and your career. But there are many different management styles and for some, it can be difficult to learn exactly the right one for your needs. So, what do you do? The best thing you can do is practice managing a team and use quality tools and resources to get you there. Instagantt is one such tool.

You should make sure that you’re doing as much as you can in the way of studying as well. Even though you’re going to get a lot of help and improvement from practicing your project management and leadership skills, you still want to make sure that you’re studying specifically for the exam. The good news is that you will find a host of different services available that will help you to study. You can choose to join different study groups or take full courses to understand the specific material of the test.

Alongside these, you can check into different video training or updates and even read through different articles and other materials. All of this information is going to make it easier for you to pass the test on your first try. If you don’t, however, there is always the opportunity to take the exam again. You’ll just need to make sure that you do it quickly so that you don’t end up having to pay even more for the exam. You’ll also be able to take the exam no more than three times in a single year, so make sure that you study hard and work at passing it within that three tries so you don’t have to wait another year to try again.

How Instagantt Can Advise You

If you’re looking to become a certified project manager you want to know how to use the top tools of the trade and that’s where Instagantt comes in. This service provides you with a comprehensive tool to keep track of your projects as well as everyone who is working on them. In this way, you’re going to have a better chance of staying on top of all of the tasks that you need to be a successful manager. You’ll be able to maintain a list and a working record of each of the tasks associated with a project, who is working on them, how far they’re coming on them and even what the deadlines and subtasks are.

With Instagantt you’re going to have a great deal of insight into the project even without having to physically meet with the members of your team. As a project manager, and as an aspiring PMP certified manager especially, it’s extremely important to put in as much effort as you can to achieve a high level of understanding of the subject matter. You can accomplish a great deal as a project manager and knowing how to effectively manage your resources is only going to set you up even better.

If you’re looking to get your PMP certification the best thing you can do is make sure that you’re fully prepared. The requirements are not too stringent, but they are going to require you to have some experience. Why wouldn’t you want to make sure that the experience you have is the best possible? You should be working with your organization to get as much management and leadership experience as you can and you should follow this up with experience using the top management resources and tools at your disposal, like Instagantt.

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