Obtain and Maintain PMP

Obtain and maintain PMP in order be fully compliant with Project Management Institute (PMI) rules and regulations for Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification. Last session at your channel Management with Merits (MANWIM), we discussed projects, project management, PMI and its certifications, especially PMP. This session, we discuss PMP in details, focusing on two sides: Obtain and Maintain PMP. PMI Certification Department is responsible for obtaining and maintaining PMP, as well as other PMI’s certificates. The department’s whole job is guided by their mission statement of “Initiate, establish, evaluate, maintain and administer a professional certification program to promote and support project management practitioners and the profession”, as per PMI’s PMP Handbook. Definitely, first you need to obtain PMP, and then you need to work on maintaining it. PMP is not a permanent qualification. Within PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program, each certificate by PMI has a validity period (cycle). During this cycle, holders must prove that they continue their engagement and relationship with project management either via education or giving back to the profession. So, how to obtain and maintain your PMP ? Within our Vlogs Service, this session and the previous one make out our coverage for PMP topic because of the request the channel received from some of its great friends. Surely, the channel is extremely thankful to them. We hope that we have satisfactorily fulfilled their request. To download the associated presentation (PDF) with this session, and access our related sessions, kindly go to the video at our YouTube Channel and click on the appropriate link in the description section below the video.

Obtain & Maintain PMP (Project Management Professional – PMP)
Last Session (Projects, Project Management, PMI and Its Certification, especially PMP)

Obtain and Maintain PMP – First, Obtain PMP :

To obtain PMP, there are three conditions that must be met, along with paying the required fees. This makes the total conditions four. The next step is to take and pass the PMP Test in order to receive your PMP Certificate.

Other than the fees, the first three eligibility requirements and conditions are the academic qualification, practical experience in project management and contact hours in project management. The combination of the all the conditions make three different cases for PMP seekers. The four conditions and three cases are shown in the below figure.

To obtain and maintain PMP , you must meet four conditions for getting the qualification.
Four Conditions and Three Cases to Obtain PMP

As shown in the above figure, the third and fourth conditions (project management education and the fees) are the same in all the three cases. Thus, the primary condition which makes the difference between the cases is the 1st one (Academic Qualification). Based on it, the number of minimum required years in project management experience differs. In general, the higher the qualification, the less the number of experience years.

Focusing on this condition (Academic Qualification), we notice that it is straightforward for the first and second cases. Secondary level (1st case) needs minimum five years, while bachelor (at least 4 years) or higher level (2nd case) needs minimum three years. However, there is an important point in the third case, as the below figure shows. If your university degree (bachelor or higher) is accredited from the Global Accreditation Center (GAC), which belongs to the Project Management Institute, the required number of experience years will be reduced from three to only two. There are only 130 accredited university educational programs globally. Only six of them are in the Middle East, specifically in two universities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), as per the 2nd below figure.

Accreditation of university educational programs from the Global Accreditation Center reduces the number of required years of project management experience.
Accreditation from Global Accreditation Center (GAC)
There are only 130 accredited university programs by GAC; six of which are in the Middle East.
Only 130 Accredited University Educational Programs by GAC

Experience Years in Project Management

As per PMI, it is not necessary for PMP seekers to hold “Project Manager” title in their project management experience years. However, the years must be in directing and leading projects. PMI clarifies that directing and leading projects must be in compliance with the five domains of project management, which make out the processes of project management. Each of these domains have specific tasks, as well as knowledge and skills. Besides, some knowledge and skills areas are common for all the domains. Please check the below figure. For more information to help you gauge and decide whether your project management experience fits in PMP’s framework, kindly click here to go to the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Examination Content Outline (Jan 2015), which sets the criteria for PMP examinations until the end of this year (2020). Examinations from the beginning of the next year (2021) will follow the most updated version of the outline (Jan 2021). Please click here to get a copy of it.

To Obtain and Maintain PMP , you need to have project management experience years in directing and leading projects, as per PMP's domains, tasks, knowledge and skills.
Domains, Tasks, Knowledge & Skills of Project Management

A common question for PMP seekers, in terms of how to obtain and maintain PMP , is what to do in case they don’t have project management experience. Here, PMI makes things easy by stating that voluntary months and years of experience in project management do count. Thus, there is no need to have paid work in project management to gain experience. Instead, PMP seekers can volunteer in project management directing and leading jobs, as per the conditions stated above. Despite that, projects must be professional. Thus, the institute doesn’t accept personal or studying projects during college, such as research thesis graduation project.

The institute requires recording the experiences in months and years for each project alone. Thus, PMP seekers must have sufficient information about each project, especially the location and duration of the projects, as well as their tasks & duties in each project. In spite of that, as per the below figure, PMI doesn’t accept counting and recording overlapping projects at which you have worked at two or more projects simultaneously. Thus, in the case of overlapping projects, applicants must choose only one projects from them to be recorded. For example, projects 1 & 2 in the below figure are overlapping projects because the applicant worked in both of them simultaneously for two months (Feb & Mar). Thus, the applicant must choose and record only one of them.

You can't obtain and maintain PMP by recording project management experience months/years at two or more projects simultaneously (overlapping projects).
Overlapping Projects in PMP Experience Years

Contact Hours of Project Management Education

You should gain 35 contact hours in project management education. PMP doesn’t necessarily require these hours to be taken in educational classes or courses. Instead, several options are available for counting these hours, such as workshops or professional meetings. The only important point is that hours spent only at project management education or learning should be counted. As per the below figure, PMI lists several areas at which project management education hours can be counted as eligible. Besides, the educational institutional or provider must be one of the types specified below. To gain the hours, you can either take one full professional course about project management. Otherwise, you can gather hours spent at project management from your previously gained hours in project management learning from your past educational sessions and experiences. For example, if you have a business management bachelor degree or MBA (Master in Business Administration), only hours spent at project management learning within the awarded degrees should be counted. In all cases, you must have documentary evidence that the hours gained are project management learning hours that comply with PMI requirements. We will later show how documentary evidence is always important when you want to obtain and maintain PMP .

You can't obtain and maintain PMP unless you get 35 hours in project management education, as per PMI requirements.
Contact Hours in Project Management Education

Holding Valid Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® Exempts PMP Seekers from the Condition of Project Management Education Contact Hours

From my experience, one of the obstacles of gaining PMP is the problem of searching for project management education contact hours. In specific, PMP seekers should either search extensively at their past records of project management education to filter the contact hours that comply with PMI requirements, which includes gathering documentary evidence. Alternatively, seekers must search carefully for project management educational providers to take project management courses of 35 hours. They should also ensure that providers, their courses and instructors and in compliance with PMI requirements. Thus, the channel believes that the best method to cover the requirement of contact hours is to exempt yourself from the whole condition by getting the globally accredited CAPM Qualification from PMI. The channel provides four reasons for this point of view. After showing the reasons below, we provide short overview on CAPM and how to obtain and maintain it, given that CAPM is not our primary concern for this session.

  • No need for wasting time and effort in collecting or searching for 35 contact hours of project management, including checking the credibility of providing educational institutions & instructors;
  • ´Other than the financial costs (as shown in the next paragraph), it is very easy to get CAPM. Experience is not required. You only need secondary education and 23 Hours of Project Management Education, which can be taken online from PMI’s website. Also, the test can be taken online. There is no need for any external school or instructor.
  • The test is totally from the latest edition (6th, 2017) of “Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge” Book. Thus, taking the certificate means you will fully study and revise the book, which will also prepare you for PMP Certificate test. Please check our previous session for more details about the book.
  • Taking this qualification, which is a globally accredited certificate from PMI, as a preliminary step towards getting your PMP means that you will get two globally accredited certificates from PMI (CAPM + PMP) instead of one only (PMP). Please check the below figure.
In my opinion, obtaining CAPM is an important and easy step to obtain and maintain PMP because it exempts you from the condition of 35 contact hours in project management education.
Obtain CAPM in Your Journey Towards Getting PMP

Brief overview on CAPM®

As shown before, CAPM is a globally accredited qualification in project management by PMI. It is suitable for people who lack experience in project management because it doesn’t require project management experience. Besides, the only educational qualification requirement is secondary education certificate. In addition to this, PMI requires 23 hours of project management education to be eligible for CAPM and its test. Fortunately, PMI provides an optimum solution for this requirement by providing “Project Management Basics” Online Course. Taking this course, which costs USD400 for non PMI members and USD350 for PMI members, satisfies this requirement. After that, applicants can take the exam online after paying the required fees (USD300 for non-PMI members and USD225 for members). The exam’s duration is three hours, and it is totally multiple choice (150 questions). Upon passing the exam, candidates immediately get their results, as well as their CAPM Certificates should they pass. The certificate’s validity (cycle) is three years. Please check the below figure.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is a globally accredited qualification by PMI. Follow these rules to obtain CAPM.
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Certificate

To maintain CAPM, holders must gather 15 Project Development Units (PDUs) within PMIs CCR Program, as explained in the beginning of this post. PDU is a special unit of measurement for PMI, which is equal to one Hour of engagement with project management. Certificate holders must collect, record and verify their PDUs within the certificate’s validity period (cycle), which is three years. This procedure must comply with the specific rules & regulations set by PMI with respect to each certificate. Besides, applicants must pay the required renewal fees. If CCR Program rules are not followed for renewal, the holders’ certificates will first enter the (suspension) period for one year and then expire if renewal is not done during the suspension period. The second section of this session (Maintain PMP), at the end of this post, further explains that. Please refer to the below figure for CAPM renewal.

To maintain your Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), you need to collect 15 Professional Development Units (PDUs) within the certificate's validity (3 years).
Maintain Your CAPM

Obtain and Maintain PMP : PMI’s Electronic Account, Application and Payment to Obtain PMP

If you comply with the previously stated requirements, the first task is to make a free electronic account at the official website of Project Management Institute (PMI). Actually, this task is the primary and first step not only to obtain and maintain PMP , but also for everything related to PMI certifications and services. The below figure shows three simple steps for that. Please note that this account is different from PMI membership, which makes considerable reduction in the fees of various certificates and services of PMI for members.

The primary and first task to obtain and maintain PMP and for all related PMI services is to make a free account at PMI's official website.
Three Simples Steps to Create Your Account at PMI

After that, there are five easy steps to apply for PMP, as shown in the below figure. Simply, you have to log in to the website using your log in credentials (username and password) and then navigate your way to (PMP) and finally click on the application button. Your PMP application process starts once you click the button, which should not last for more than 90 days, as per PMI.

Follow these fives steps to log in to your PMI account and apply to obtain and maintain PMP
Five Steps to Log in and Start Your PMP Application Process

During the maximum period of 90 days for your application, you must fill out all the required information and verify your compliance with PMP’s eligibility rules. As per the below figure, PMP requires copies of documentary evidence for your profile. Besides, you might be required to send them to PMI vial mail.

PMP requires documentary evidence when applying for PMP to verify applicants' eligibility.
Documentary Evidence for PMP Application

Once you submit the application, PMI audits it to make sure that you comply with the requirements, which takes 5 to 7 days. If they admit the application, you have to pay the required fees for PMP Test, as per the below figure.

After your PMP application is approved, you need to pay PMP Test fees.
Payment of PMP Test Fees

Taking and Passing PMP Test :

Once you pay for the test and PMI accepts your payment, you must take the test and pass it. You can take the test either at an approved examination center or online. However, this section and this whole session focus on the online approach because of its easiness and flexibility. PMI gives maximum duration of 1 year for taking and passing the exam. Besides, it gives 3 chances to pass it, but applicants must pay extra fees for each new attempt (USD375 for non-PMI members & USD275 for members). Before starting the test and attempting the questions, PMI asks for identity verification by showing your picture ID to the camera. The test is totally multiple choice (200 questions). Only 175 questions are marked. The test’s questions cover all the five domains of project management at the same specific distribution percentages, as stated previously in this post. The test is divided to two sections. The applicants can take a break of ten minutes after completing the first section. The overall duration of the test is four hours. Please refer to the below figure.

PMP Test can be taken totally online (200 multiple choice questions - 4 hours).
Taking PMP Test

Once you complete the test, your preliminary result, including passing or failing, will appear for you. It will tell you your mark and your performance in the five domains of the test for future development. This result is not final because the official result will be sent by PMI later.

Getting Your PMP Certificate

If you pass the test, you will get your PMP Certificate. Congratulations for this great achievement. A great recent example for succeeding in taking the test and getting PMP qualification was the achievement of my colleague in the Master in Business Administration Program (MBA), namely Mr. Hameed Al-Yajori, who got his PMP on Oct 20, 2020. I’m extremely glad to this amazing success, and I wish Mr. Al-Yajori all the best for his future. You can access Mr. Al-Yajori’s Facebook account from here.

Obtain and Maintain PMP – Second, Maintain PMP :

As stated in the beginning of this post, obtain and maintain PMP requires getting the qualification first, as explained in the previous section, and then working hard to comply with PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program in maintaining it. The purpose is to ensure that PMP holders are engaged in project management after getting certified. This emphasizes that project management is not simply a certificate, but it’s an iterative and continuous cycle of practice, learning progress, development and knowledge accumulation.

Upon receiving your PMP, its validity (cycle) of three years begins. As per the below figure, you must gain 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) within these three years. You must also have documentary evidence for these PDUs and their compliance with the specific requirements of PMI. Once you are ready for renewal, you can finish the whole procedure online via your PMI electronic account (stated before). You should present your documentary evidence and pay the required fees, as shown in the below figure. Once you submit your renewal request, PMI will renew your certificate, subject to their auditing and verification procedures and approval.

Obtain and Maintain Your PMP by renewing your qualification via gaining 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) in three years.
Maintain Your PMP : 60 PDUs Within Three Years

If you fail to renew your certificate within its three-years cycle, PMI will put you in “Suspension” Status, which is one year after PMP’s expiry. Within this period, you can’t use the credentials and merits of your PMP. However, you can still work through renewing the certificate. If you renew your PMP within the suspension year, PMI will renew your certificate, but will not extend the validity (cycle) of the renewal (3 years). For example, if your PMP expires today (Oct 30, 2020), and you renew it at the end of the suspension period (i.e. on Oct 30, 2021), the validity or cycle of this renewal will be only two years (Oct 30, 2021 to Oct 30, 2023). The reason is that you lost one year of the 3-years-cycle of your PMP in the 1-year-suspension period. The below shape explains that. If PMP holders fail to renew within the suspension year, their certificates expire. It means that they have to repeat the whole procedure to obtain and maintain PMP from the beginning, as explained in this post.

To obtain and maintain PMP , you must renew it during the 3-years cycle or maximum by the end of the 1 year suspension period after the cycle expires.
Suspension Period for PMP Certificates

That was our session for today, guys. Thank you so much for being with us. This post provides simplified and detailed guidance to obtain and maintain PMP . Next session, we will start our 2nd Year Program of Books within the service of Global English Management & Leadership Books at the channel. We will begin with the 1st book (Principles of Marketing, 2018), which was introduced before in a previous session. Please support the channel strongly so we can continue our glorious mission. Our production is every Thursday. Please subscribe to the channel at YouTube and activate the notifications bell there. Please stay with us, follow us, participate with us, and widely share the channel and all its electronic contact platforms.

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