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Project management can be a rewarding career. As a project manager, you’re responsible for planning and organizing crucial projects for your workplace. Even more importantly, you make sure everything’s on schedule for successful and on-time completion.
If you’re looking to dive deeper and learn more about the world of project management, you may want to consider getting certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®.
This important and widely recognized certification comes from the Project Management Institute (PMI). The PMP certification provides project managers with the tools they need to stay on the leading edge of business and project management. In this article, we break down the process and cost of PMP certification.
What Is PMP Certification?
PMP certification is a widely recognized credential that distinguishes you from your peers in the field. The PMP certification process teaches you about popular project management methods like Agile and waterfall scheduling, among other industry best practices.
PMP certification requires work experience, training courses and the successful completion of an exam. Once you pass the PMP exam, you are considered a PMP. This title can help you advance your career.
How Long Does PMP Certification Take?
The time it takes to get PMP certification depends on where you are in your career. Below, we’ll break down the experience and credentials needed to obtain PMP certification.
If you have completed high school but not a four-year degree, PMP certification requires the following.
- 60 months leading projects
- 35 hours of formal project management training (“contact hours”) or certified associate in project management (CAPM) certification
If you have completed a four-year degree, the requirements are as follows.
- 36 months leading projects
- 35 contact hours or CAPM certification
Project management training
Regardless of your education level, the PMP exam requires you to obtain 35 hours of formal project management training, also called “contact hours.” You can complete your contact hours either online or in person. Costs vary depending on how you complete your contact hours, but generally speaking, online PMP training courses are a less expensive option.
If you have the CAPM credential, you do not have to complete contact hours to obtain the PMP title.
Application processing time
Once you’re ready to sit for the PMP exam, you must submit an application to PMI. An approved application gives you the go-ahead to take the PMP exam. Typically, it only takes about three to five days to hear back from PMI regarding the status of your application.
Once you’ve met the experience and education requirements for the PMP exam, you may still need to put in some additional study time to feel ready to pass the exam. It’s up to you how long you spend studying for the PMP test, but it’s important to prepare before sitting for the test since you’ll have to pay a fee for each attempt.
How Much Do PMP Certification Classes Cost?
The amount you’ll pay for your 35 hours of targeted PMP certification classes depends largely on where you take your courses and the format you choose. The cost of PMP training ranges from $300 to more than $3,000. Free PMP certification training is also available, but usually only as a free trial period before a paid course. Online PMP certification courses are often less expensive than in-person options, but this isn’t always the case.
For example, 35 hours of PMP certification training from Master of Project Academy costs $1,070. A similar course from the Project Management Academy costs $1,995.
Colleges and universities often offer PMP test prep courses as part of their continuing education curricula as well. Schools typically price these courses according to their regular tuition rates unless otherwise specified.
An in-person bootcamp in the DC/Metro area offered by the Certification Academy costs $1,899 and boasts a 98% pass rate when it comes time to sit for the exam. But a PMP certification course offered by UCLA runs $6,000 and includes both in-person or online options.
How Much Does the PMP Certification test Cost?
The first time you take it, the PMP test costs $555 for those without PMI membership. PMI members, on the other hand, pay $405. If you opt to become a PMI member at the time you sign up to take the exam, you’ll still have to pay the nonmember rate.
If you don’t pass the test the first time, you can retake it in the future. This gives you additional time to study, and you’ll already have some familiarity with the test format and content. The fee to retake the PMP test is $275 for PMI members and $375 for nonmembers.
Once your application is approved by the Project Management Institute, you’ll have one year to take the PMP exam. You can take the test up to three times in one year.
How Much Are PMP Renewal Fees?
Upon successful completion of the PMP exam, you’ll be responsible for keeping your skills and knowledge up to date. The Project Management Institute promotes a continuing certification requirements program to help you do this.
In a three-year timespan, you’ll need to earn 60 professional development units to keep your certification up to date. You can earn these through courses, often offered online, in areas like leadership, business management and project management. This cycle continues indefinitely at three-year intervals. If you don’t manage to keep your certification up to date, it will be suspended for one year.
In the third year of the renewal cycle, you’ll have to renew your PMP certification by the anniversary date of your initial exam. If you are a PMI member at this time, you’ll pay a renewal fee of $60. The PMP renewal cost for nonmembers is $150.
The Bottom Line
PMP certification is a great option if you’re working in the field of project management and want to level up your career. By becoming a PMP, you’ll gain exposure to some of today’s most popular project management methods, like waterfall and Agile. You’ll take courses in business management and leadership and learn the skills you need to enhance your portfolio.
If you embark on a journey toward PMP certification, you can expect to pay $300 to $3,000 or more for the training. It then costs $405 or $555 to sit for the exam, depending on whether you’re a PMI member.
Once you’ve completed the PMP exam, you must maintain a certain level of continuing education to keep your certification active. The renewal fee, paid every three years, costs $60 for PMI members or $150 for nonmembers.