A Beginners Guide on How to Become a PMP Certified Professional

PMP Certification is a globally recognized credential that supercharges the career of project managers across various industries. It also helps the organizations find the perfect candidate who can work smarter and perform better.

To earn the PMP certification, one has to clear the PMP exam, which is highly recognized among employers because of its difficulty level. It tests an individual’s ability to manage the people, processes, and business priorities. There are more than 10 lakh PMP certification holders worldwide, and they are all globally recognized.

There is high demand for PMP certified project managers, due to which many students are now looking for an online Project Management Course. People are also opting for this certification, improving the chances of a higher salary. According to the Project Management Salary Survey, the average salary of a PMP holder is 25% higher than for those without the PMP certification [Source: PMI].

Here we’ll discuss the step-by-step process to become a PMP certified professional.

Getting Basics Clear

  • PMI has published a credential handbook that explains everything about the eligibility, cost, and the complete process of taking the PMP exam.
  • It is a small guide that takes roughly 20 minutes to read and answer all the exam questions.
  • Before one starts their journey of PMP certification, it is highly recommended to go through this book.

Meeting Eligibility Requirements

Before applying for the exam, one should fulfill the major eligibility criteria, which include:

  • A four-year bachelor’s degree with 36 months experience in leading projects, or a high school diploma/ an associate degree with 60 months experience in leading projects.
  • A minimum of 35 PDUs of project management education or training, or a CAPM certification.

For meeting the requirement of 35 hours of project management education or training, one can take a PMP certification course online.

Getting Registered

  • Once your basics are clear, visit the official PMI website and register for the exam.
  • The applicants will be asked to fill in the basic information about themselves, the eligibility, and proof of 35 hours of management experience.
  • PMI will review the application and respond within five business days. The applicants may be selected for an audit and will have 90 days to submit the documents for audit.
  • Immediately after the application gets approved, the applicant will be issued a confirmation number and will receive an invitation to pay the fees.
  • The cost of the PMP exam is $555 for non-PMI members and $405 for PMI members. Membership is open for everyone and comes with a fee.

Scheduling Exam

  • Once the candidate has received their confirmation number, they can schedule the exam on the Pearson VUE Website at “pearsonvue.com”.
  • The applicants will have 1 year to take the exam from the date of approval. The exam can be taken 3 times during this one-year time period.

Preparing for the PMP Exam

The preparation can take several months depending on how frequently one studies. Some of the things students should consider while preparing for the exam are listed below.


  • Read the PMBOK Guide properly. It is an important guide and is used as a primary reference for the exam.
  • 75% of the questions asked in the PMP exam are usually from the PMBOK Guide.

PMP Self-Study Course and PMP Books

  • There are various self-study courses and PMP preparation books available on amazon or at local bookstores.
  • Applicants should refer to these as they will teach 25% of the additional material that is not available in the PMBOK Guide.
  • These will also help to understand the concepts, tools, and techniques laid in the PMBOK guide through everyday examples.

PMP Workshop

  • There are PMP Certification in San Diego workshops available both online and offline that can help understand the PMBOK Guide.
  • This can be done through self-study, but getting guidance from the instructor could help to understand the difficult topics with less effort and in less time.
  • Attending a workshop could be an additional cost but would surely be beneficial as one can clear their doubts with the instructor and can also discuss with other candidates.

Sample Questions

  • There are sample questions available in the PMP preparatory books, in the local bookstores, and online through the PMP Exam Simulator.
  • These sample questions give an idea of the format and the level of difficulty of the exam.
  • The candidates can use the online simulator to test themselves by taking the 4-hour exam on the computer, just like the real exam.
  • These sample questions will help the candidates understand the topics they are weak at and the concepts that are still not clear.
  • One should answer as many sample questions as possible and also keep track of their score. This will help them understand their level of preparation.

Study Hard with a Plan

  • One should spend most of the time in self-study as this is the major key to success.
  • One should have a plan of how many hours to study in a day, how many chapters to complete in a week, and how frequently to answer the sample questions.
  • Having a plan will help them complete the syllabus within the time they have and will also provide some time for revision.

Clearing the exam

  • One can take the exam in a testing center or online. It will be for 230 minutes (3 hour 50 min) and will contain 180 questions.
  • The questions will be divided into 3 sections: Process (50%), People (42%), and Business Environment (8%).
  • The questions will combine together multiple-choice, multiple responses, fill in the blanks, and matching hotspot.
  • Before the exam, there will be a short tutorial explaining how to use the computer and software. So don’t skip it otherwise it could lead to unnecessary delay.

Maintaining the PMP Score

  • The PMP certification is not for lifetime and needs to be renewed every 3 years by earning 60 PDUs and submitting the renewal application and fees.
  • The details for earning the PDUs are explained in the PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Handbook.
  • Some of the ways of earning the PDUs are by attending seminars offered by PMI Registered Education Providers, volunteering for PMI, etc.

There’s a huge potential for career growth if project managers could earn the PMP certification. If you are ready to distinguish yourself from the crowd, start looking for project management courses On platforms like Coursera, edX, Simplilearn, etc. The new buzz in the market, PMP can give you wings.