How to file your work experience on the PMP application

Applying to take the PMP examI answer a large number of questions on my post about whether or not it’s worth getting PMP certified – a great many experienced and budding project managers are interested in knowing whether or not PMP certification is a good move for their careers. In general, I feel that if you’re a project manager, and you’re interested in continuing your career in project management, it is worth it to go ahead and apply for, take, and pass the PMP examination to become a certified Project Management Professional. Though some project managers dispute the certification’s worth, it does seem to help project managers land project management jobs – or at least get their feet through the door.

Applying for the PMP examination

One of the most frequent (if not the most frequent) questions I am asked by potential PMP hopefuls is about the PMP examination application process. In particular, project managers would like to know how they should go about filing their work experience: how to document their hours of project management experience, how to report it to PMI, and how to prepare for the dreaded PMI audit, should it occur.

I followed a process of my own devising to file my own project management work experience in preparation for my application to take the PMP exam that seemed to work pretty well. I’ll share it here in case you would like to try it during your own application process, and I’ll include a template for you to use to record your own project management hours in case you haven’t already created one yourself.

Recording your project management work experience

In order to apply for the PMP examination, you need to have amassed 4,500 hours of project management work experience. If you do not have a bachelor’s degree, the work experience requirement is greater at 7,500 hours of experience. You need to have completed 36 months (three years) of unique, non-overlapping project management experience… that is to say that if you’ve completed all of your 4,500 hours of project management experience within a 12 month window, that is not sufficient to apply to take the PMP examination.

For each project that you have worked on during your career, you need to document the hours you have spent in each of the five PMI Process Groups. These groups are:

  • Initiating the Project
  • Planning the Project
  • Executing the Project
  • Monitoring and Controlling the Project
  • Closing the Project

After calculating the hours per Process Group for each project, you will arrive at a total number of project hours for that individual project. Once you have completed tallying your work experience for all of the projects you have worked on, you can then figure out the total hours that you have worked for all of the projects in your career. At this point, if you don’t already know, you will be able to figure out whether or not you have the requirements to apply to take the PMP examination.

Entering PMP work experienceTo figure this total out, I used an Excel spreadsheet that tallied up all of my hours of work experience per Process Group, per project, that I had worked on in my previous roles. I then used built-in Excel functions to figure out how many hours total that equaled. I have included a template like the one I used back then with this post, in case you’d like to use it to tally your own project management work experience.

You can download the template here.

Preparing for a possible PMI audit

The next and perhaps most important step you need to take before you submit your PMP application is to prepare yourself in case your application should get audited by the Project Management Institute. In order to do this, you will want to contact those managers who you have worked for in the past and send them the hours that you have indicated that you worked on projects while under their management in your Excel spreadsheet. You will then ask these managers: Should my application happen to get audited by PMI, will you attest that I worked the hours that I have indicated I worked on this spreadsheet?

If your managers agree to vouch for the hours you have indicated, then you’re in good shape! Should PMI decide to audit your application, you can simply have your former managers sign off on the hours that you have already passed by them. Any conflicts or disagreements about the hours you have worked while in their employ should have been resolved before you submitted your PMP application.

Special cases

There are a few difficult scenarios that you may encounter when preparing for a possible PMI audit. These include:

  • What if your manager no longer works for the company you’ve filed hours for, and nobody at the company can vouch for your hours?
  • What if you worked for your own company and did not report to anyone?
  • What if the projects you worked on were top secret, government or military contracts for which you cannot disclose any information?

In these cases I recommend collecting as much collateral as you can about the projects you’ve worked for in the past – project charters, work breakdown structures, project schedules and the like – to demonstrate to PMI should they ask for it; unless, of course, this information is classified by the companies you’ve worked for. In that case, I would go in armed with the truth – that there are hours that you have indicated you have worked but cannot vouch for, and the reasons that you cannot vouch for them. I am sure that PMI has received many applications from project managers working in military or top-secret organizations who cannot disclose information about the various projects that they have worked on. In that case, I imagine that you can work with PMI to find a way to approve your application without your having to deliver any separate artifacts to prove your experience.

I hope that this article and accompanying spreadsheet come in handy when it comes time for you or someone you know to file your project management work experience for the PMP application. Good luck with your application, good luck with your PMP exam preparation, and good luck on the exam!

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227 Responses to “How to file your work experience on the PMP application”

  1. Hello Brian,
    Thank you for sharing all the valuable information and experience. I live in Canada and quit my role as a senior Analyst in Enterprise operations 2 years ago to get more time with my family. I am also certified in ITIL foundation. I feel inspired to become PMP certified. My boss from previous work has agreed to attest 4500 hours. ( about 8 years of experience). So I start the process in 2013, keeping my fingers crossed.

    I wonder if my form will be question because I am presently unemployed. Not sure of the challenges of how applying for work as PM is going to turn out. Will cross the bridge when I get there. All I know is I have always enjoyed leading and directing projects.

    All the same, thanks so much for this treasure you share so positively! Avery Happy New year to you!
    Cheers,
    Sri

    • Hello Sri,

      Thanks very much for the comment. I hope that you are enjoying living in Canada… that is where I grew up! Also, congratulations on your ITIL Foundation certification.

      If you have a bachelors degree, have taken the required hours of project management education, and can have your former employer attest to your 4500 hours of professional project management experience, then you should have no problems applying to take the PMP exam. When it comes to applying for and taking the PMP examination, it doesn’t matter whether or not you are currently working as a project manager, as long as you have amassed the proper amount of work experience during the past several years according to PMI’s guidelines. In fact, now does seem to be a very good time for you to apply for and take the PMP exam; as you are currently between jobs, if you are looking to land a position as a project manager, getting PMP certified can certainly help you achieve that goal.

      Best of luck to you, and Happy New Year!

    • Hello Brian,

      Thank you for your post. I would like to solicit your advice. I have been in IT for over 38 years. Straight out of High School where I passed my ‘A’ Levels and I did a further 2 years National certification in Computer Science. I have since worked for over 25 years as a Programme/Project manager on a freelance basis. Many of my previous line managers are uncontactable but I have all my employment contracts which ofcourse state my Position, duration, etc. What advice can you give me as to my PMI application.

      • Hello AlbertWorks,

        It sounds to me that you have some solid work experience leading and directing projects over the past two and a half decades. If you do have your employment contracts stating your position and duration, I do not think that you should have any problem proving to PMI that you have accumulated the sufficient amount of work experience in order to qualify to take the PMP exam. I think that is great that you have kept those documents – that is some great record keeping!

        Good luck to you in your application and on the examination.

    • Hi Brian,

      Thank you very much for putting together this extreamly informative site!

      I worked at a company for 3 years as a User Experience Producer. I worked on many small to mid projects. These projects were as short as three days to as long as 8 weeks. Will I have to enter this information one project at a time or can I combine the hours?

      I believe with my total experience I have the 4500 hours required. I worked closely with the Visual Design Art Director at my previous company, she can def vouch for my hours.

      • Hi Jeffrey,
        Did you get a reply to this question? I too have a lot of smaller enhancement or break/fix projects. They may not run all 5 process groups, but still require management. Do you plan to include those hours on your application?

  2. Thank you! Yes, have lived here in Canada for the past 16 years and love this place..

  3. Brian: I can’t find the spreadsheet on your website, can you show me where it is?

    Thank you!

  4. Brian: Thank you very much! Cathy

  5. Thanks Brian to your helpful posts.
    Currently I am working as a project engineer in Enersul. Am I eligible to claim my hour as project engineering experience.
    meanwhile I am on my these for my MME, should I claim it`s hours too?

    • Hello Hamed,

      Glad to be able to help where I can with these posts!

      Hope all is well in your job as a project engineer. When applying to take the PMP examination, you need to attain project management experience, not project engineering experience… some of the hours that you claim can be filed under “completing project tasks” – or at least, it was when I was applying to take the exam – but generally you need to have 4,500 hours (with a bachelor’s degree) or 6,000 hours (with an associate’s degree) of project management work experience in order to apply to take the PMP exam, and the work experience hours need to be spread throughout PMI’s various process groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing).

      Meanwhile, I am not familiar with MME certification… but if it is an engineering-related certification requiring engineering hours to apply for or upkeep, then you might be in good shape? At any rate, good luck figuring all that out – I agree that applying for and maintaining certifications can be a chore!

  6. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for coming up with such an insightful post.Your helpful gesture is greatly appreciated.
    I have 4 years of work experience in IT field as an SAP consultant, during this time I was also the Project Quality Lead. Looking at your sample template I feel I have sufficient hours of work experience to be eligible for the exam. I’m currently pursuing my MBA from US. I think the PMP certification can help me find the right kind of job after my graduation. I wanted to know if my experience of handling projects during my MBA can also be taken into account while filling the template. Also my school doesn’t offer a project management course until the end of the two year course. I don’t want to wait till that time and wish to get the certificate early to be able to secure a job before the end of my MBA. I intend to attend the preparatory boot camp to complete the necessary hours of training. I wanted to know if this course can be taken online because my university is located in a small town where there are no PMI training institutes.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon. Till then take care and have a great day!

    • Hi Karan, these are some good questions – in fact, I didn’t know the answer to your first question, and had to look up the answer!

      Regarding whether or not your experience managing projects during your MBA can be used when applying to take the PMP exam: I looked up the work experience requirements in the PMP Handbook (a PDF file located on PMI’s web site), and this is what I found. You need:

      “Minimum three years/36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 4,500 hours were spent leading and directing the project”.

      The wording here indicates professional project management experience; that makes me think that projects managed during your MBA studies will not count when you apply to take the examination. That said, if you were working professionally as a project manager while taking your MBA, that would certainly count.

      As for your next question – I do believe that you can take your training online. Under Project Management Education, the PMP Handbook states you need:

      “35 contact hours of formal education”

      This does not indicate that you need to take this education in a classroom; it simply indicates that you need “formal education” (as in, not self study). So if you take a formal project management class that happens to be an online course, that should be fine. I should also point out that it does not indicate that you need to take a PMP prep course; this is a common misconception. The 35 hours of project management education can be any sort of project management education and not necessarily education about PMI’s framework. A lot of people do take PMP boot camp courses to satisfy their project management education requirement, but you don’t have to.

      That said, you might want to double check with PMI what sorts of courses (online or offline) you can take to satisfy the 35 hours of project management education requirement… I’m not affiliated with PMI and don’t want to lead you astray!

      I hope this helps! Best of luck with your MBA and future PMP studies.

  7. Hey Brian,

    Thanks for such a detailed response. This is very helpful.

    • You’re very welcome Karan – I am glad that it was helpful.

      Best of luck with your project management courses – I hope that you learn a lot of useful stuff! Let me know how the process goes for you.

  8. Hi Brian,

    I am planning to take PMP certification and am trying to document work experience. I have 7 yrs of experience as software developer. But very less experience in planning , monitoring fields(less than a year). Is that ok?

    thanks and Regards,
    Renu

    • Hi Renu,

      Unfortunately, in order to apply to take the PMP exam, you need to have earned professional project management work experience. Software developer work experience, though extremely useful – I firmly believe that quality coding or engineering experience will make you a much better project manager in the future – does not count toward the hours of work experience that you need to earn in order to apply to take the PMP.

      If you’re interested, check out this article that I wrote about how you might go about earning some project management work experience so that you can apply to take the PMP.

      Thanks, and good luck!

      • Hi Brian,

        Thanks for the quick reply and also the link to the article. That gave me good information about the other options. I will go through the scrum and ITIL details as well.

        Once again thanks for your help.

        Regards,
        Renu

        • Hi Renu, no problem at all. Glad to be able to share what information I can.

          I hope you have fun learning about Scrum and ITIL – in my opinion, the more you can learn about different project management frameworks and methodologies, the better! I for one have worked on different projects for different companies that have benefited from different approaches to project management, or hybrid combinations of different methodologies.

          Best of luck!

  9. Hi Brian,

    I am glad that I find this website after I search by keyword “PMP with technical background”….
    I have worked from year 2000 and most of my job is project engineer and consultant for implementation of IT infrastructure
    Now I am interesting about the PMP certification to pursue my next career and its with my own sponsor not my company.
    I have registered also in pmi.org for membership and I have PMI ID. For the next, how to eligible my experiences.
    Do I have take my training also from PMI traning partner or I can read my self all things of PMBOK stuff and get the cetification test.

    I have my friend also already certified PMP without any training. Because I heard PMI needs 35 contact hours of training.

    Waiting for your reply

    regards,
    Eddy

    • Hi Eddy, I’m really pleased to hear that this site has been helpful for you. I’m also glad to hear that you’re interested in attaining the PMP credential – I think it is a very useful thing to have and can definitely help you with your career.

      To answer your questions – in order to apply to take the PMP exam, you do need to have 35 contact hours of project management education. However, this education does not need to come from a PMI R.E.P (Registered Education Provider)… in fact, this training does not even need to be based on PMI’s framework! This project management education can be any project management education that comes from an outside source (in other words, not self-directed study). I personally completed a Masters of Science in International Project Management from a school in France, and I was able to use some of the hours from my project management courses during my studies as my official 35 hours of project management training, even though PMI and PMI’s methodologies were never discussed in class.

      I hope that this comes as good news! Good luck getting your project management education hours; I hope that you enjoy learning the material.

  10. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for your prompt answer. About the 35 contact hours training, is the training needs kind of hard copy certificate? I usually attend internal training in my company but it doesnt get any certificate.
    I am afraid IF I got audit from PMI I cannot prove the 35 hours of training.
    please advise about this.
    Honesty, I will use less money to take the PMP certificate since this is use my own money. :)

    Best Regards,

    • Hi Eddy, glad to be able to help out.

      If you take project management training internally through your company, my recommendation would be to get some sort of signed form from your human resources department on corporate letterhead indicating how many hours of project management training you’ve completed. This should serve as proof of your 35 hours of project management education should you get audited by PMI.

      I hope this helps – good luck!

      • Hi Brian,

        just for information finally i can prepare my exam after i got eligibility ID from PMI. I got the 35 hours of training using PMI REP training partner. It’s a elearning and I can access it anytime.. :) hola… so I can manage my time…
        Some of my friends got audit after they submit their applications.
        I thinks I have some clue about this to avoid the audit.
        PMI is using a system in their application side so we need to be carefully about the fulfillment of the applications. Just follow the requirements of the PMI and you will free from audit taken from PMI.
        So there is no words about “random” audit. Its the systems, we know that the system should be use algorithm to count the false and error.
        From my perspective here are the points that must be carefully if you apply the applications

        1. How old you are
        2. Your educations (bachelor or diploma)
        3. Work experiences ( bachelors must be equal 3 years experience and it will have minimum 4500 hours experiences)
        4. Hours experiences ( please use formula of initiating, planning, execution, M&C, closing, sequence of 10%, 25%, 35%, 25% and 5% of total work hour per project)
        5. role and duties of the each work experience ( please use words in PMBOK4), for example in some time you will act as project coordinator, then your duties must be Create and Manage Project Plan
        Monitor and Report Project Progress
        Create,monitor, execute Communication Plan
        Create, monitor, execute resource plan
        Create, monitor, execute problem and issue management
        Create, monitor, and execute Risk Management
        Create, manage, and distribute project document

        The system will read all those 5 points for auditing.

        I fill the applications after I did some research to my colleagues in my company or vendors who got audit from PMI.
        So my conclusion is…there is no word of random audit…its a system that will count you are eligible or not…

        Now I am preparing my study for exam..
        Hope I will pass…

        • Hi Eddy,

          Thanks very much for the detailed information about the application! I really appreciate it, as it has been so long since I applied to take the PMP examination myself.

          I am not sure if the audit can be avoided… from what I understand, the audit is mostly random. PMI mentions that “a specified percentage of applications are randomly selected for audit”. That said, I do think that there are certain things that if you do not do right or if there are things that you fail or forget to fill out, PMI will be sure to audit your application. This, of course, is something that I do not know firsthand, so you very well may be correct that PMI will specifically audit applications that don’t follow the proper format as their “percentage of applications”.

          Thanks for going into detail about the sections of the application (especially the work experience part) that are important to go into detail on in the application. I definitely stress that it is important to have all of PMI’s process groups covered in your work experience; they’re looking for people who have experience leading and directing projects, and not simply working on them during the project execution phase.

          Thanks again, and best of luck with your exam preparation!

  11. hey brian

    Those are some very interesting articles i have been browsing through this morning.
    Thanks to you for penning so much information down
    Even i am planning for pursue a PMP certification but the thing is I have an experience of 6+ yrs of Project engineer,
    Although i have helped Project managers in various phases , more role being played in the project execution phase.
    Now the question here is ,can i show up this experience as in 4500 hours of directing the project
    Your guidance will be highly helpful here
    thanks in advance

    • Hi there dev,

      Thanks for browsing through the site – I appreciate it! Please let me know if you have any feedback, or if there are any interesting topics that you might be interested in reading about… I’m always open for suggestions.

      From what I understand, you can use project execution hours when applying to PMI to take the PMP examination. You are given the ability to indicate them as such when you fill out the application. However, you do need to have project hours managing projects in that process group, and in the other process groups as well – initiation, planning, monitoring & controlling, and closing. So you need to have a well-rounded background in leading and directing project tasks in all of the process groups, not just completing project work during the project execution phase.

      My suggestion is to fill out your work experience honestly on your PMP application, and see if there are any gaps… if you’ve been working as a project engineer and haven’t actually managed projects, my guess is that you will still have to get some more project management experience before applying to take the test. You can find more information about how to get that experience on this post.

      Thanks!

  12. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the informative post. I have have a PhD in Physics and am currently working as a postdoc. I am already looking to apply for the PMP certification but am not sure whether my PhD and postdoc experience would count for the required work hours.As per the definition of the work hours in project management, it quite fits with my work experience:

    defining the problem
    designing the project how to solve the problem
    feasibility of the project
    securing funds required
    time frame for the project
    logistics
    setting up the laboratory
    international collaboration and visits,
    working with a team
    interpreting results
    publishing results
    presenting results on international forums

    Any comments/ suggestions would be very helpful and appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Fred

    • Hey Fred,

      Congrats on the PhD in Physics… that is quite an accomplishment.

      From what PMI says, project management work experience needs to be professional work experience. As such, any work that you did as a PhD student (or, for example, during an MBA or a Masters of Science) would not be considered work experience that you could use to apply to take the PMP exam.

      As for your post-doctoral work, that may be another story… if you were working professionally as a postdoc (and getting paid for it as an employee of your university) then that work might be something that you could count as professional experience… however, I don’t know for sure if PMI counts postdoc work as “professional work experience”. In either case you would list your university in the work experience section of the PMP application and indicate your role at the school, so PMI would let you know if this was proper or not. You would be counting the hours you’ve spent in your professional role as a researcher leading and directing projects as per PMI’s five process groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing), so I don’t think that all of your hours of postdoc work (time spent writing literature reviews, for example) would be usable on the PMP application.

      I hope this helps! Best of luck to you.

  13. Hello Brian,

    Thanks for posting these valuable information. I have worked as Scrum master in the past, my work included
    •Process Management
    •Scope Planning and Management
    •Release Management
    •Team building and leadership
    •Communications and Knowledge Management
    •Risk management

    May I could those hours in the needed experience for PMP.
    I also worked as the backup for our PM for controlling &monitoring purposes.

    Thanks.

    • Hello Nupur,

      It sounds to me that you can indeed use those hours to apply to take the PMP examination. While Agile Development using Scrum is different from the waterfall methodology that PMI’s framework focuses on, managing Agile projects is still valid project management experience. As long as the tasks that you use for your application were tasks spent leading and directing projects, you should be in good stead. Note that I’m not a representative of PMI so I can’t tell you for sure what you should or shouldn’t include in your work experience for your PMP application… for that, be as ethical as you can be and use your best judgment when filling out those hours, and perhaps contact PMI directly if you aren’t sure about what qualifies. But it seems to me that you should be fine.

      Good luck!

  14. hello Brian,

    I have total work experience of 3 years,in which i have worked for 2 non over lapping projects(4500 hours). I had been part of the project from initializing to closing.I am working as an SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT.

    Please let me know can i take up the exam since i have only 3 years of total work experience.

    • Hello Chiba, thanks for asking.

      According to PMI, you need to have amassed the 4,500 hours of non-overlapping experience leading and directing projects during 36 months. As such, it seems to me that you will not be able to apply for the PMP exam with only two years’ worth of non-overlapping project experience… you would need to work for another year. Fortunately, if you already have the 4,500 hours of project experience, you are in good shape for next year.

      If I were you I’d go ahead and get your project management education done if you haven’t already done so (in the form of a PMP prep course, a project management class in college, or some other form of project management training) and start studying for the test sooner rather than later. That way, when you do attain your three years of experience leading and directing projects, you’ll be ready to go.

      All the best to you.

  15. Brian,

    Very well explained again.From past few days, started to follow your blog for PMP information, which is very precise. I am starting to evaluate my knowledge & work experience to gain PMP. Will surely ask ques in cae of difficulty.

    Thanks,
    Gurpreet

    • Hello Gurpreet,

      Thanks very much for the kind feedback – I’m glad to help out however I can with information about the PMP exam or about careers in project management in general. Best of luck with your evaluation of your knowledge and work experience, and please let me know how you proceed!

      Thanks again, and all the best to you.

  16. Hi Brian,

    I have sent my PMP application a few days back. How long does it take approximately for a response back? And if my application gets audited, do they send a form for me to send to my previous managers to fill out?

    Thanks,
    Pallavi

    • Hello Pallavi,

      I’m afraid I don’t remember from experience, as it’s been several years since I applied to take the PMP exam. However, from what I’ve heard from other applicants, it should take about a week for you to hear back from PMI regarding your application. If you’ve been randomly selected for the application audit, they will let you know at that time and give you all that you need in order to complete it.

      When you do hear back from PMI, please let me know how long it eventually took for them to respond to your application… I’d be interested in finding out.

      Thanks, and best of luck.

      • Hi Brian,

        Thanks. Got the reply. Took less than a week for them to get back.

        -Pallavi

        • Hello Pallavi,

          Thank you for letting me know how long it took PMI to respond to your online application – knowing that information will help me answer similar questions in the future. I really appreciate it.

          Best of luck to you on the PMP exam – I am sure you will do great!

  17. Hi Brian,

    I’m curious..does writing a research paper (if someone spent more than 12 months doing it) counted as project experience for the PMP application?

    In my opinion, it does fit the description of a project “A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” What are your thoughts?

    Cheers,
    Meha

    • Hello Meha,

      It seems to me that using time spent writing a research paper as work experience for the PMP exam application is a bit of a stretch. PMI is looking for hours of professional work experience spent leading and directing projects, though some time spent simply being a part of a project team can also count toward these hours to some degree. However, writing a research paper doesn’t seem like the kind of work experience that PMI would accept… the same thing goes for such projects as writing a novel or building a tree house.

      Please note that I’m not a representative of PMI, so I do not know exactly what sorts of experience PMI will accept when it comes to responding to a PMP application… that’s just my gut feeling.

      Thanks for asking, and best of luck to you!

  18. Hi Brian,

    I’m triying to fill the application form, but need some advice.
    In “Add experience” section says “In the space provided below, please summarize this project. The summary should include the project objectives and your role, as well as key deliverables and outcomes by Process Groups. The description should include examples of how you led and directed this project.”

    Can you help me on this? I must describe deliverables and outcomes?

    Thank you in advance
    Erick

    • Hi Erick,

      PMI is looking for information about what your project was, and what you did on that project. So, for example, you might say that you were the project manager of a project that comprised the installation and launch of a software package at your organization. You might mention that you managed the project through the installation, planning, execution, monitoring & controlling, and closing phases… and you could also talk about some of the outcomes in the various process groups – the project charter, the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), the project plan… that sort of thing.

      I don’t recall going into too much detail in this section… I think PMI just wants you to indicate that you actually did manage projects and parts of projects, and to have some idea of the sort of experience that you’ve earned up to this point.

      Good luck to you.

  19. Thanks for responding Brian. I will keep you posted on developments about my application to PMI.

  20. Hi Brian,

    It was so nice to read your website. Got useful information from it.

    Actually I would like to get certify from PMI. I am very much passionate about project management.

    My criteria is , i have three n half years of experience(Not all the management experirnce) in entire SDLC.(probably more than 4500 hrs.) .

    It will be great if you suggest me , whether i can go ahead and do PMP , or
    do i need to go for CAPM(Certified Associate in PM)at this stage.

    And one more thing , i have worked on only one project which includes independent several modules around ten. So , when i am submitting the application , how do i categorize all these exp . I am sure i can caliculate all the five process area for all my individual modules.

    • Hi Kiran,

      Glad to hear that you’re passionate about project management… I think it’s that passion that makes you want to become a better project manager, and gets you on the road to certification.

      It seems to me that you likely don’t yet have the proper experience that you will need in order to get PMP certified. You ask a good question about whether or not you should go for CAPM certification now, and then worry about PMP certification when you do have the correct amount of project management work experience.

      I wrote a post about CAPM certification here; I’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of CAPM certification in this post. In my opinion, the PMP certification is much more powerful than the CAPM certification, and if you already have a route to gaining PMP-worthy work experience leading and directing projects, the PMP is the one you should concentrate on. However, if you’re very interested in project management and would like to attain CAPM certification, it certainly can’t hurt!

      Regarding how to submit the work experience on the application, I don’t think it matters too much how you do it, as long as all of the hours are properly documented. That said, it might be easiest to try to divide up the work experience as best you can.

      Best of luck to you.

  21. Hi,

    I have been working in Production and Quality assurance of product support(operations) as a project leader for 5 years. I am planning to give my PMP exam soon. Could you please guide me in filling up the PMP application form especially in areas such as how to show support operation experience and project deliverables.

    • Hi Pramila,

      I don’t know what more I can say to help you fill out the PMP application that is not already indicated in this post… what you will need to do is break down your project management work experience into the five PMI process groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing) and then indicate how many hours per project you spent working in each process group. As for the support operations and project deliverables work, you will need to figure out in which process groups that work took place, and then indicate it there. Be sure to keep proper documentation of the work that you have done in case you should get audited by PMI!

      I’m glad to hear that you have a great deal of work experience as a project leader… you should be fine when it comes to filling out your work experience and then studying for and taking the PMP examination. Best of luck to you!

  22. I am working in one of the biggest health care group called Saudi German Hospital Sana’a Yemen branch as an IT Manager.

    During my tuner in this organization I have completed number of technical & administrative IT projects. Now I am planning to certify m self as PMP. As a part of PMP requirements I need to have 3 year Project Management Experience that I have but my working organization is hesitating to issue me the working certificate as a policy they are issuing only when an employee is going to leave the organization for good.

    So my question is that how can I prove my experience to get PMP?
    Kindly reply me as soon as you can so that I can find some workaround accordingly.

    • Hello Kamran,

      Nice to talk to someone working from your region – I lived in Saudi Arabia for a while when I was younger, and found it a fascinating place.

      I do not think you need a “working certificate” to apply to take the PMP examination; simply document the hours that you have worked according to PMI’s five process groups as PMI indicates on the application form. If you do get audited by PMI, perhaps you can have your manager at least sign a paper saying that you have completed the hours that you have indicated that you have completed… it does not have to be anything formally issued by your hospital’s branch.

      If this does not work, you may still be okay. It seems to me that PMI likely gets lots of PMP applications from people who work in areas where public information about the projects their project managers have worked on cannot be disclosed… the CIA, the FBI, and other secretive organizations spring to mind. There will also be projects run for clients (perhaps in the government) that will also not be public information. As such, PMI likely has a way of making exceptions for people who work for more secretive organizations… if you do end up being audited by PMI, they will likely help you find a way through it without having to compromise any top secret information.

      Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

  23. Hi Brian

    This is an awesome blog with so much precise information
    Really kudos to you!!
    It Really is helping a lot in here

    I was just curious ,that when an application is shortlisted randomnly for an audit, what exactly happens after that?
    Is it more like the PMI personnels will be calling the Project managers that we have mentioned were there during the project
    or
    Will we have to submit the proofs like documentations,mails and processes that we followed

    Thanking you well in advance for ur reply :) !!

    • Hi Dev, thanks for your kind comments about the blog!

      I’m not exactly sure what happens when an application is shortlisted for a PMI audit, as (fortunately for me) my own PMP application was not selected for one. From what I understand, you would receive notification from PMI that your application is to undergo an audit, and they would provide you with some forms to fill out, and to have your previous managers to fill out, to verify that you have the proper amount of education and work experience in order to qualify to take the PMP exam. I do not believe that PMI employees would call anyone on your list… I believe that it is up to you to provide signed documentation from the organizations that you worked for to demonstrate the work that you have accomplished. So, as far as I know, it’s more like your second scenario.

      But if you’re lucky, you won’t have to go through an audit at all – which is certainly the easiest way!

  24. Hello Brian,

    I love this blog! Thanks for being so helpful to the rest of us that are interested in taking PMP exam.

    Q) I have experience working on projects as “client manager” but not necessarily as “project manager (by job title)”. Would PMI recognize these professional work experience (where I did lead the team to complete these projects and manage project schedule and resourcing and whatnot)? Thanks so much for your help.

    • Hi Michelle, thanks for your kind feedback, I appreciate it.

      PMI requires that applicants have work experience leading and directing projects in order to apply for the PMP credential. However, PMI does not require that this project management work experience be completed as a “project manager”. Therefore, if you have the project management work experience, it doesn’t matter if you were a team lead, engineer, or some other title – those hours of work experience will apply.

      Hope this helps – good luck!

  25. For further clarification to my comment above, if I was the “client manager (from operation side)” but involved in project work, would that count as valid experience? thanks again.

  26. Hi,

    I m currently a product owner and scrum master handling several projects at the same time, how do I document the hours. Can I combine the hours and give an explanation with all the projects? I also have been a project lead in almost all my projects, but my actual title has always been different like analyst but been a PM, would that be considered bad? Some of the managers I have worked for are not with the company anymore, what wld I do if I get audited, the company can verify the hours but I don’t know if they can give much detail info.

    • Hi Anitha,

      I believe you are supposed to handle each project separately… on PMI’s application, it does seem to want applicants to break down their work at the project level. So you might have to do a little bit of extra work to document that project management work.

      The good news is, it doesn’t matter what your title was while you were managing projects, as long as you were officially managing projects (or leading and directing project activities) in a professional capacity. So you can go ahead and file your project management hours while indicating that your official title was Business Analyst (or whatever else).

      Meanwhile, if you get audited and some of the managers are not working at the company anymore, I do not think that that is a bad thing. I believe your company would be able to help vouch for the hours that you spent working there. I am sure that PMI has faced this situation many times, and they will know exactly what do to in this situation should an application audit occur.

      Best of luck!

  27. Hi Brian,

    I have 14 years of banking expirience and my last s years were mainly in managing projects related to customers data and mortgage products, the only issu that I’m unable to get in touch with my previous managment where I led my project between 2009-2010 what do you suggest??

    Thanks.

    • Hello Wail,

      I am sure that PMI is used to seeing applicants who are not able to get in touch with previous employers or companies where they worked (such as failed startups, or top secret government organizations) in order to get information about project management work completed in the past. My advice to you would be to do the best you can to get in touch with your former management, but if this is not possible, simply document the work that you completed for that company in as accurate and ethical a manner that you can, and then send that to PMI. Should an audit occur, you can explain the situation to them. I am sure that they will have a response for you, and that everything will be fine.

      Good luck!

  28. Hi Brian

    This discussion has been quite helpful in planning my PMP. I am a senior software engineer with overall 5.5 years of experience. Throughout this tenure, I have been involved in various stages of project lifecycle, but mainly in development tasks. On and off I have performed leadership roles as well (e.g. team lead and project lead). But this lead experience is not sufficient as per PMP requirements.

    When consulted a few friends, they suggested that ‘being involved in any stage of project lifecycle’ is sufficient enough to count your experience. Am baffled!!!

    Truly, I want to go on with PMP to give a new channel and boost to my career…but this experience requirement is hampering. Can you please advise if I can count of my ‘project experience’ in getting PMP certified? If not, what can I do to bag more hours…as there is no scope of a lead role in my current organization)?

    • Hi Neha,

      I’m very pleased to hear that this discussion has been helpful to you.

      Your question is a difficult one. On one hand, you can file some of your project management work experience in the Project Execution phase. This means that you can apply some of your hours that you spent working in the development phase of a project when applying to take the PMP exam.

      On the other hand, you do also have to have spent time in all of the other phases of the project. This means that you also need to have professional work experience actually doing the leading and directing of projects… the initiating, planning, executing (as you have done), the monitoring and controlling, and the closing. In order to take the PMP exam, you will need to have experience in all of these areas.

      As for what you can do to acquire more hours managing projects, I do have some suggestions for you! In fact, I wrote this post</a< about that very topic.

      I hope that you will find it useful – please let me know if you have any other thoughts or suggestions. Best of luck!

  29. Raymond Rengifo Reply May 1, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Does experience as a senior auditor count towards the 4500 hours? As a senior auditor we lead project fieldwork (planning, execution, review/supervision, and closing of the engagement/audit). Please help.

    • Hi Raymond,

      You will likely have to use your best judgment to figure out whether or not your work as a senior auditor will count toward your PMP application… I am not affiliated with PMI, so I wouldn’t be able to tell you for sure. That said, if during your time as an auditor you were completing work leading and directing projects, I believe that that work would count toward your hours for your PMP application.

      Good luck!

  30. Hi Brian,
    Thank you for creating this blog. It is very informative. I think my situation is little different here. I have Masters degree in. Healthcare Administration & is planning to be PMP certified .

    In past I worked as a program coordinator & case manager( where I handled more than 70 cases )my role was to create & develop case management services for disable clients. That includes intakes,planning the case, providing necessary services , requesting & authorizing funding for those services , client placements , closing & transfering the cases.

    So can this be counted as a experience for PMP?. It just have different terms .
    Please advice .

    Thanks !
    VT

    • Hello Varsha,

      It sounds to me that you will need to go through your work experience and figure out how much of this experience was spent leading and directing projects. It doesn’t matter what your official title was, or what sort of education or experience you had in the past, as long as you have the proper hours of education and work experience leading and directing projects to sit to take the PMP exam. You will need to use your best judgment (and be honest) about how many hours you have spent in the past completing this sort of work.

      Hope this helps – best of luck!

  31. Hi Brian,

    I visited your site http://entangled.com/ and found it really educative and helpful. It really look like an excellent site for PMP aspirants like me. I plan to take my PMP exams soon and was looking at various things while filling my PMP application.

    The biggest issue I am currently facing while filling the application is that I was working as a Duty Manager in a Hotel for a year and I am not sure how to show this in the application for a project management experience, cause this consist of almost 1 year of my 3 year experience.

    Could you please provide valuable opinion as to how I can fill my application.

    • Hi Precious,

      During your work as a duty manager, did you spend time leading and directing projects? Be sure that you know what a project is before you answer this… this is an important distinction that PMI makes.

      Once you know how much work you completed leading and directing projects, and you have enough of them, you can apply to take the PMP exam. It doesn’t matter what your official title was or what your field was, as long as you were leading and directing projects.

      All the best to you!

  32. Hi Brian,

    I have worked as a Case Manager (legal project management) for over 8 years at a law firm and I am currently trying to complete my PMP credential application.

    I have worked on over 10,000 case files (projects) during my work with that law firm. Should I note the experience on the form as 1 project (and maybe provide a reference letter from my supervisor at the law firm noting the number of case files and my length of employment) or break it down? The project tasks are the same on all case files, but the length of time spent on each case file varies from 2 weeks to 6 years, depending on the nature.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Elena,

      Unfortunately, it seems to me (though note that I am not an expert) that a case file is not a “project” according to PMI’s definition of a project. Projects are usually longer, unique endeavors that are not repetitive tasks.

      That said, like I mentioned, I’m not affiliated with PMI, so I would not know for certain. However, you should double check that what you completed was “project work”.

      If you were doing work leading and directing projects while you were working as a case manager, then you can definitely apply those hours toward taking the PMP certification (even if you were not officially employed under the title of project manager).

      Good luck!

  33. Hello Brian,

    Thank you for the concise and insightful article. It has helped me clear up a few things with regards to the PMP. I am quite interested in applying for the PMP certification though I am not sure if I qualify.

    I have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree (both in computer science) and have been working for a higher education organisation since november 2008. I was originally hired as a consultant and then eventually secured a permanent job in October 2011. The organisation I work for is a small one and has no proper or formal procedures for project management in place. There are 2 other developers who work with me and 2 business analysts one whom also acts as the team leader. We are headed by the Director of IT. Essentially the way it works, is we each get assigned a project based on our customer needs (the academic body) and then we are left to our devices. As such we a multitude of poorly documented systems running on different platforms (LAMP, IIS/ASP/.NET, Oracle, mySQL, SQL Server). We are allowed to choose any platform we would like, and only show the end product to our Director of IT who then decides if the project is worthy of being released to the customers.
    I was initially appalled at how shoddy the work process was. Initially I spoke to anyone I could to implement proper procedures to handle project and change management but most of it fell on deaf ears. Turns out it’s not just us, but bigger organisations and universities are pretty much the same. Lack of funding and constantly being understaffed prevents these organisations from implementing a structured process to handle their internal systems.
    Anyway, over the years I have now gotten used to my life here. About 2 years ago when I first heard that I might be getting a permanent position, I ended up setting up my own development environment which included a few project management tools (MS Project for planning, Confluence for documentation, JIRA for test case management and bug tracking, nUnit for testing, Subversion for change management etc) and I have faithfully maintained all the documentation.
    My official designation id Database Administrator/Developer but clearly I have had to wear more than one hat in my current position. Given my situation, will I still be eligible for a PMP certification? I don’t think I would have too much trouble convincing my manager to attest that I have managed my projects over the past 4 years.

    I would be very grateful for any advice.

    Regards

    Alex

    • Hello Alex,

      I’m very glad that the article was of help!

      I agree with many of your points about the poor project management that many projects (even ad hoc projects that aren’t specifically labeled as projects) can have. I, too, have seen organizations large and small that suffer from poor project management – they don’t know what they’re doing, or when, and often even why. I think that it’s a great idea that you’ve decided to go for PMP certification to learn how to improve upon these things.

      It seems to me that if you do have experience leading and directing projects, then you can apply for the PMP exam. It doesn’t matter if your title was Database Administrator or Developer – it’s the work experience in project management that is important in this case. However, also import is that you can find someone at your company who will vouch for the hours that you spent leading and directing projects. That way, if you do undergo a PMI audit, your managers will agree that you did spend those hours performing project management tasks, and as such you will pass the audit (as that is what PMI is trying to verify).

      I hope this helps – best of luck!

  34. Hello Brian,

    I have total 11 years of experiene in IT out of which 6 years is as Project Lead. I have worked for several companies during last 11 years. In my current company I am working on the same project(say Project A) since last 17 months and has worked on different phases (planning, execution etc). Prior to my current organization I was working with another company wherein I had worked for 3 years and worked on another project (say Project B) and woreked on all phases of project B. There is gap of 7 months between Project A and Project B. The gap is due to 2 reason, I was on small sabbatical for 3 months and after joining new company I was not immediately allocated to the project.
    I need your suggestion as to whether show both my current Project B and Project A in my PMP application form or should only show my previous project. Can you please guide me if I show both current and previous project there will be any issue due to gap of 7 months

    • Hello Brian,

      Really appreciate your helping hand in applying for PMP certification .

      My question is if we show work experience from multiple organizations, do we have an option to give Contact details of our up line manager in each organization?

      • Hello Manu,

        Yes, you will be able to give contact details for the managers that you worked with at the various organizations that employed you. Check out page 3 of the application – PMI mentions that you can copy that form if you need additional space. So you can copy that page to fill in the contact details for the employers that you managed projects for.

        Hope this helps!

    • Hello Nafisa,

      I think you should go ahead and show both Project A and Project B in your work experience. All you need to show is that you have a certain amount of work experience in project management; nobody at PMI will care if there is a gap between your two projects. All you need to do is that you do have the sufficient amount of experience leading and directing projects as indicated by PMI.

      Good luck!

  35. Hi Brian,

    I visited your site http://entangled.com/ and found it really educative and helpful. I plan to take my PMP exams.
    I am currently facing issue while filling the application is to show project management experience as I worked for defense project for more than 9years which non disclosure in nature, Could you please provide valuable opinion as to how I can fill my application.

    • Hello Anit,

      Thanks for your kind feedback on the site! Regarding your issue, I do not believe you should worry. While I am not affiliated with PMI, I am pretty sure that they have ways to deal with people who are applying for the PMP exam who come from areas where they are not allowed to disclose the work that they completed or offer artifacts from the projects they have managed, or even for people who have managed projects with companies that have ceased to exist, or where former managers have disappeared.

      My advice to you would be to be as detailed and honest as you can with the work experience that you have attained. If you do get audited, mention to PMI the situation, and they will likely lead you through the next steps. They may, for example, ask your managers at the Department of Defense to verify that you did work there when you said you did, or perhaps to indicate that you did spend time managing projects even if they can’t say specifically what those projects were. Good luck to you.

  36. Hello, Brian.. You’re doing an yeoman’s service in helping prospective PMPs with your insightful advice and suggestions. Thank you. I was wondering if you have a sample (with some numbers already filled in) ‘project details’ sheet that shows how to show overlapping (or straight forward)projects and count project hours. (I already have looked at your ‘pmp application work experience’ template.) (Basically, I am looking for ‘how many hours will it normally take to Initiate a Project, Plan a Project,Execute Project, Monitor/Control a Project, Closing a Project etc.).
    Thanks,
    John

    • Hi John,

      I’m afraid I do not have any sample PMP applications filled in – when I myself applied to take the PMP exam, the application was a lot harder to fill in, with much more detail required for the various processes and process groups. The question you ask is a very good one – I seem to recall coming up with a similar ratio that I used to do reality checks the projects that I entered into my application.

      I’ll look to see what I can find – in any case, best of luck to you in the filing of your work experience.

  37. Hi Brain,

    Thanks for the job you doing. Am just reading some wonderful feed backs on your site. Well, my question is I am an accountant but completed my MBA in project management but no experience. How do I fill the experience part of the application form. I really want to take my PMP exams. Not withstanding, am married and not so sure if I could use it as my experience in filling the form and also undertaken a family building project of which I was fully responsible for the building.

    Please, I need some feedback to help me fill my application form for the registration.

    Thank you.

    • Hello George,

      Thanks for asking. The issue you are going to have is that if you do not have any experience in project management, you will not be able to take the PMP exam. PMI requires a certain amount of project management work experience for people who wish to become PMP certified.

      I think your first order of business would be to get some project management work experience – you don’t necessarily have to be a project manager; you just need experience leading and directing projects that you can use to apply to take the PMP exam. I have a post here about earning project management work experience that might be helpful.

      Good luck to you!

  38. Hi Brian,

    Great info, but I have a few questions:

    1- What do you do in the case where during the beginning months you worked a higher percentage on the project and then the percentage drops? How do you report this?

    2- What if a project started beyond the 8 year limit, but continued into the time frame we are allowed to count towards the application?

    3- What happens for projects that are still in progress at the time of the application? You fill in to the date of application and many processes/areas will be blank, will this be problematic (i.e. more likely to lead to an audit)?

    4- In the case where there are multiple smaller projects, thus a 5-6 within the same year, will this be problematic (i.e. more likely to lead to an audit)?

    5- In the cases where there were more than one PM on the project (each handling different processes/areas), this would mean that not all processes/areas would have a value, this is ok for the application, correct?

    Thank you!

    • Hello Melanie,

      Good questions – I’ll try to answer them as best I can.

      1. In this case, I don’t think it matters – you’re not doing a month-by-month breakdown of your work, just the total time you spent Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling, and Closing the project (see page 3 of the PMP exam application).

      2. For this scenario, I would simply apply those hours that you spent within that 8 year limit (so for example, you might not be able to file any Initiating or Planning hours, as those hours were spent before the 8 year limit, but you could count some of the other process group hours).

      3. In this case, I would file the hours that you have spent on the project up to the time that you submit your application. So you might not yet have closed the project, but you can count the hours you spent leading up to where you are on the project.

      4. I do not believe this will be problematic. I am sure that PMI is used to people managing a variety of different projects at the same time! Just be as honest as you can with your answers and I am sure you will be fine.

      5. That is true, and I am sure PMI is used to this as well. Many project managers only spend time in certain process groups, depending on the project – this has happened to me in the past as well.

      Good luck!

  39. Forgot another question:

    6- What happens in cases where you left the company/position part-way through a project? Would seeing many areas/processes (such as closing) without hours be more likely to lead to an audit?

    Thank you!

    • Hello Melanie,

      I don’t think that this would lead to an audit – I am pretty sure that PMI has seen all sorts of different applications come from project managers who have managed a wide variety of different projects in many different stages. I think it would be to your best advantage to simply be as honest as possible. That way, if you do get selected for a PMI audit, you will not have any problems passing the audit, because you will have told the truth on your application! That way, the information that you’ve filed will easily be validated, and you’ll be on your way to getting PMP certified.

      I hope this helps. All the best to you!

  40. Venkat Raghunand Reply June 17, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Brian,

    I need some help with the problem I am facing in filling in the PM experience in the PMP application. I have summarized about 15 projects that I have worked on till now in my career that account to 4500 hours (as per your template). However, when I am entering these details as individual projects within the PMP application, though the qualified hours within the application show 4500 hrs, the actual hours are showing 0. Is this a problem? Can you please tell me if there is anything wrong with the way I am filling in the application?Please let me know.

    Thanks
    Venkat

    • Hello Venkat,

      That does sound like a problem. If the actual hours are showing as 0 that might be a bug of some sort.

      Are you using the online form? I went in and listed some mock work experience into the form, and it seemed that you needed to enter the various subtotals as well as the totals (that you add up yourself) on the form.

      It seems to me that if the hours on the application say 4500, that should suffice. I’m afraid I don’t know much about the technical aspect of the application, though perhaps someone at PMI would know? Best of luck to you.

  41. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for doing the omen’s work. I have a query. Sometimes it happens that a professional gets the opportunity to be involved in 3-4 process group only (like planning, executing, monitoring & controlling). Other process group may be taken care by higher authority. So in that case, how should we plan the project hours as per the process group and what detail we need to provide in the project description.

    Also, what if a professional is working in IT service industry in which the nature of work is Implementation, Operation and Support. How the experience covered in such work type should be covered in terms of project hours in sync with all the process groups.

    Regards
    Kapil

    • Hello Kapil,

      In this case, this is no problem… you simply indicate the hours that you did work in the correct process groups where you worked them. I’m pretty sure PMI is used to seeing all sorts of project managers apply to take the PMP exam; they are used to project managers working in a variety of different areas and handling different parts of different projects.

      As for your second question, if you’re working in implementation, operation, and support, make sure you are working on actual “projects” according to PMI… these should be unique projects with a start and an end. If they are projects, you should be able to figure out where your work fell within the PMI process groups.

      Good luck!

  42. Hi Brian,
    I have filled almost 9000 hrs but it has approved only 1770 hrs, what does that mean?
    whats the criteria of getting your hours approved out of your experience.
    Appreciate your anticipated help:)

    • Hello Lee,

      I’m not sure where you are seeing the “approved” hours… this might be a bug in the way PMI is processing the application forms. I only see where you enter the information onto the application, and then the total amount at the end. I hope that this gets cleared up. Best of luck!

  43. Brian,
    I am interested in PMP but not sure about my project management experience. Do I have to have people under me to count those hours? Also, do I have to be the owner of the project? For example, i was one of the 2 developers of a software tool but I have a project manager above me. However, from the 5 categories you had up there I think my job was in the
    Planning the Project
    Executing the Project
    Monitoring and Controlling the Project
    Closing the Project

    categories. Is this way of thinking correct? thanks!

    • Hi Alex,

      No, you do not have to have people under you to count those hours… you simply need to be managing unique projects with a specified start and end date. You also don’t have to be the owner of a project; you simply need to have the experience leading and directing projects.

      If you were working on projects but not specifically leading and directing them, you might not have the proper work experience – but you would be able to tell that as you’re filling out the form.

      Good luck!

  44. Hi brian,

    I am six sigma black belt professional, I like to go for PMP.
    Could you please guide me whether it will useful for me?
    And how this correlated with six sigma.

    Thanks,
    Pooja

    • Hello Pooja,

      PMP certification does have its pros and cons. I think that if you are interested in a career in project management, getting PMP certified is a great idea. In fact, in many places, you can’t get a job as a project manager without being PMP certified. You might check out this post for more details.

      As for correlation with Six Sigma, it’s not specifically correlated, but I find that having multiple certifications in different areas is helpful and can show that you have a well-rounded background. I say go for it!

      Good luck!

  45. Hi Brian,
    My PMP application has got selected for Audit and my supervisor is not ready to authorize one of my projects as he feels I have disclosed an important information. Unfortunately, I have not checked the application with him before applying.

    But my other project’s experience is totalling to 4500. I am afraid, if I my application would get rejected because of this.

    Can you please advise what can be done?

    Thanks
    Deepa

    • Hello Deepa,

      I’m very sorry to hear that. That sounds like quite a conundrum.

      My advice would be to talk with PMI about what happened. If you are able to authorize the other project work experience, and that totals 4500 hours, PMI might understand. You also might talk to your supervisor, apologize for what happened, and see if you can find a way for him to acknowledge that you did complete the hours in question… perhaps you can modify the application in such a way that important information is not disclosed. As long as you are ethical and honest with your answers, and with your dealings with PMI and your manager, I think you can work it out.

      Best of luck with this – I am sure you can find a way to get through it.

  46. Hi Brian,
    Does non-profit project management exp. considered professional project management experience for PMP exam eligibility?
    Thanks.

    -Raj

    • Hello Raj,

      Do you mean managing projects for nonprofit organizations, or volunteering project management for nonprofits? I believe that managing projects for nonprofits would count, but I’m not sure whether or not it has to be professional (re: paid) work experience. It could be that if you manage projects properly for the nonprofits, and they vouch for the work you have done, it will count as applicable work experience for the PMP exam application – but I’m not sure.

      My recommendation to you would be to contact PMI and ask them – they would know better what they require of their applicants.

      Good luck!

  47. Hi Brian,
    Thank you for insightful article, I am senior in college with 132 credits completed, close but no cigar.. need 136 to graduate. My question is can i use those credits to offset 7500 hour requirement . Also i have 9 years of IT experience. Where i have deployed many projects but i don’t seem to remember the amount hours i have spent on each phase. How should i handle this, or i am Ok as long as my manager or colleague could sign off on it?

    • Hello Hammad,

      I do not believe that you can use the credits to offset the 7,500 hour requirement. Basically, with a Bachelor’s you will need 4,500 hours of work experience to apply to get PMP certified, while without a Bachelor’s you will need 7,500. It’s pretty cut and dry I think.

      If you have 9 years of IT experience, you might be in good shape. If I were you, I would go ahead and use the Excel spreadsheet and then fill in your hours to the best of your ability. As long as your manager or colleague (but probably manager, or someone in a position of authority) could sign off on it, you should be okay. I am pretty sure PMI does not expect you to 100% remember all of the work you have done in the past 9 years.

      I hope this helps. Best of luck!

  48. Hi,

    I work for an EMR vendor implementing the software in nursing homes. How would I log my hours? Do I need to do it by each client I implemented or the time I worked for the company?

    Thanks,
    Vin

    • Hello Vin,

      How many projects are you talking about here? I think that in your case, I might go ahead and log hours using the time that you worked for the company. However, you personally might keep a record of the hours that you logged at each of your client sites, just so that you can show PMI in case of an audit. It will also help you to get your own numbers straight. However, for what PMI wants, I am sure that logging per company would suffice.

      Good luck!

  49. Hey Brian,

    Your article is very helpful and thank you for taking up all the trouble and helping us.
    I had a business in 2010 and later I closed it and joined as a business analyst in a MNC can I now quote my business experience in the PMP experience criteria if so please guide.

    • Hello Raghu,

      That should be no problem at all. PMI is certainly used to people who have been entrepreneurs, consultants, or otherwise operated their own business applying to get PMP certified. I have written a little article here with some ideas for how to approach this. You can simply log the hours that you believe you have worked as honestly and ethically as you can, and then prove to PMI what you can should an audit arise. Best of luck!

  50. Hi Brian,

    I am working as an SAP Consultant from the past 5 years and I aspire to become a PMP. Am I eligible for it?

    • Hello Zia,

      You very well might be! You do not need to have been a project manager in order to get PMP certified… you simply need 4,500 hours of professional work experience leading and directing projects (if you have a Bachelor’s degree – it’s 7,500 hours if you don’t). If you have those hours, you are eligible. If I were you I would go ahead and use the Excel spreadsheet to log the hours and see where you land.

      Good luck!

  51. Hello Brian,

    Your blog about PMP certification is very interesting and answered a lot of my doubts. However I have one question for you. I am a retired Military officer in India and I cannot disclose the projects that I have worked to PMI. Further my bosses with whom I have worked with have retired and moved on in life. This being the case, What Should I do for the PMI audit process?? Can you please advice?

    • Hello Raju,

      That should not be a problem. I am sure that PMI is well used to people who have worked in the military (or the FBI or CIA, for example) and cannot disclose the projects that they have worked on due to security clearance issues.

      If I were you, I would go ahead and apply, being as honest as you can about the work that you have completed without revealing any top-secret details. I have some ideas about doing this very thing in this article. I hope that it is helpful.

      Best of luck to you in your venture.

  52. Hi Bryan,
    thank you for such informative post.
    For the past few years, my partner and I have been doing property development (i.e. building houses) which is self funded.
    I am trying to find some clues on whether or not this counts as leading project hours.
    What is your opinion about that?
    And what paperwork should I prepare for potential audit?

    • Hi Elaine,

      I’m not sure if property development would be considered project management. It seems to me that there would at least be some degree of project management in there, though maybe not all of it? Unfortunately I am not familiar with the sort of work that you might do when managing property development projects, and what work would qualify as actual “projects”.

      What I might do is find other project managers who work in your field, and ask them. Those sorts of professionals, especially those who have already gone for their PMP certification, would know how to apply to take the exam and how to file the various hours.

      As for preparing for a possible PMI audit, this article might help.

      Good luck!

  53. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for the informative post above.
    I have done MBA and looking forward to apply PMP certification to boost my career. I would like to know following information if possible…

    1)During my MBA I joined an non- profit student org call SIFE now Enactus
    ( http://enactus.org/ ) and developed and managed few projects without any credits for it. It was not a part of my MBA course; can I consider those hours for PMP?

    2)For recording my PM work experience how can I count hours; 24 hours a day or just consider 9 working hours per day for a project? (i.e. if I worked on a Project for 10 days so hours calculation should be 10*24 hours or 10*9 hours)

    3)Also, I have been working in a Fashion Industry (i.e. developing tailored made clothing for individual customers from designing to final product) does it count as PM experience?

    • Hello Sakhi,

      In response to your first question, I don’t think that the hours you worked at a student organization can count toward your 4,500 hours of project work experience that are required to apply to take the PMP exam. I believe the hours have to be of “professional work experience”.

      As for your second question, you could the working hours on the project. So if you worked an 8 hour day, but you only worked on the project for 3 hours during that day, you would only count those 3 hours on your PMP application. Take note of that – it is very important you don’t count 24 hours for that day!

      For your final question, if you have been leading and directing projects, then it can count as work experience toward the 4,500 hours of experience needed by PMI to apply to take the PMP. It doesn’t matter what industry it is in. Just make sure that they were actual projects that you were working on.

      Best of luck!

  54. Hi Brian,

    My project experience is around 6500 years spanning around 3 and half hours.Will that be a issue when documenting the hours as the pmi requirement is 36 months and 4500 hours and my hours are in excess.

    Thanks
    Ananth

    • Hello Ananth,

      I imagine you meant 6,500 hours spanning 3 years, not the reverse!

      This should not be an issue. PMI requires that you have at least 4,500 hours of professional work experience leading projects during at least a 36 month period. If you have in excess of that, they are cool with that – they just want you to at least have the minimum required experience.

      Good luck to you.

  55. I have been a project manager in an ad agency for 6 years, but I cannot recollect every project I have worked to fill out the application. Is there anything I can do or will I have to take the capm test instead?

    • Hello Sejal,

      My recommendation is to simply be as honest as you can with the work that you have completed. Go ahead and fill out the Excel spreadsheet with whatever information you can recall. It doesn’t have to be exact – PMI understands that not everybody has a perfect memory of all the projects they have worked on – so simply do the best that you can. Passing the hours you come up with by your past managers can make a huge difference, as if they will sign off on those hours in the case of a possible PMI audit, then it won’t matter if they weren’t exact. Just be as honest as possible and you should be fine!

      All the best to you in this endeavor.

  56. Hello Brian,

    Thanks so much for your article, it’s really very usefulll.

    I have 5.8 years of experience in the Banking Operations and I have worked on couple of critical projects in my company along with my core work. I have been part of these project but was not working exclusively on the Project. So can this be considered as Project Management experience and does it make me eligible for the PMP Certification.

    Regards
    A.Paul

    • Hello Paul,

      This certainly does sound like project management experience. Any work that you’ve spent working on projects counts, even if you were not at the time working exclusively on that project. Just go ahead and tally up those hours that you worked on that project, but not the hours you spent doing other tasks. So for example, if you worked on that project for half of every day, you would count 4 hours per day when it came to tallying up your project management hours.

      Best of luck to you.

  57. Hello Brain,

    I have about 6 years and 3 months of experience overall and I’ve been in a Project Lead role for almost 2.5 years. I want to enroll for PMP Certification and am also working the 35 PDU’s with few institutes. Do you think its okay for me to apply for PMP or is my application too weak that i might end up being rejected for application. It would be really helpful if you can let me know your valuable comments on my application.

    Thank you so much!

    • Hello Kushal,

      As long as you have the proper hours of formal project management education and professional project management work experience, your application will not look “too weak”. It doesn’t matter that you were in a Project Lead role as long as you have the sufficient number of hours spent leading and directing projects. Once you’ve got that, and can verify those hours in the case of a PMI audit, then you should be in good shape.

      All the best to you.

  58. Hello Brian,

    I enjoy about 9 years of experience in leading projects in construction sector.I executed more than 40 projects in the last six years.I have two questions (1)Do I have to specify all these projects in my application or can I simply write ‘multiple projects’ (2)The PMP application permits 550 characters .Does this cover entire application content including all process groups.

    Kindly advise.

    Thanks,

    Uday

    • I have the same question. As you mentioned, there is room for only 550 characters. It sounds like I highlight just one project, my role, the deliverables and outcomes during those 4500 hours?

      • Hello MG,

        I do not think you would simply choose one project. You would want to make sure that you document all of the work experience you spent leading and directing projects. If you only highlight one project it will not look like you worked on those other projects.

        As I mentioned to Uday, you might want to check with a Human Resources professional or another PMP in your field and ask their advice for your line of work specifically. Good luck!

    • Hello Uday,

      I don’t think you need to specify all of those 40 projects. You can simply lump all of the project activity you have under a larger heading (so for example, the heading might be work that you have completed for the company you worked for when working on these various projects). That said, make sure that what you were working on was actually projects!

      In this case, you might want to find someone who has received a PMP certification in construction and ask them how to do it – I am not too familiar with that industry so someone else in your industry (or someone in HR) might have better advice.

      Don’t feel that you need to go into too much detail on the PMP application. They simply want to know how many hours that you have spent leading and directing professional projects. As long as you can indicate those hours and verify them in case of an audit, they don’t need to know the details.

      Good luck to you.

  59. Hi Brian,
    I just completed Project manager internship like from jun through august (3months)
    But when I tried adding this to to the PM experience tab – it shows the number of hours as zero. Can you please tell why?
    PS: my previous exp hours totalled to 4500hrs

    • Hello Sona,

      Have you already saved and sent in your application? Or are you filling it out?

      This sounds like a technical issue with the PMI website – perhaps someone from PMI would better be able to answer it. I hope that you were able to get it worked out in any case.

  60. Hi Brian,

    I work for a printing brokerage company which does overseas printing as the project manager.
    I started out as a project management assistant.
    I’m working my way towards the 3rd year.
    I wanted to know if the hours I worked as the assistant count towards my hours. Also how would I go about listing the hours I have worked on these projects. The projects I work on range from magazines to books to plush dolls to yearbooks etc.
    I provide quotes, prepare sales order, I take basically take care of the project from the time the client signs to the time it gets delivered to wherever it is they want.
    Please let me know if this is a valid work experience that I can use towards my PMP and how should I go about documenting the hours spent on each project.
    Any tips would be great. Thank you in advance. I find your site very helpful! :-)

    • Hello Emily,

      Yes, it sounds to me like the time you spent as a project management assistant would count. It doesn’t matter if you were “the project manager”, as long as you spent 4,500 hours leading and directing projects in a professional capacity. It sounds like you did just that.

      As for documenting the hours you spent on each project, check out PMI’s application.. the spreadsheet I’ve linked to for download in this article might help you tally up your hours.

      Thanks for your kind comments about the site – I appreciate them!

  61. Hello Brian,

    I have worked as Software engineer – technical leader for some projects so I think I have the rights to attest 3800 / 4000 hours.

    During my degree I have done also a project in collaboration with the university where I was the project leader. Do you think that in some way I can take it into account to reach the hours bound?

    thanks :)

    • Hello Daniele,

      I’m afraid that you probably can’t take those hours you spent during your degree as “professional experience” leading and directing projects. Time spent managing projects for school or for local clubs doesn’t count toward those hours. The good news is, even without those hours, you are almost there! And it shouldn’t take long for you to get those final hours.

      Best of luck to you.

  62. HI Brian

    I have a question. I am doing the application but there are some projects that either started and didn’t complete or completed but didn’t start. Do I just put “0″ hours for those projects in the areas where I wasn’t present? Please let me know and I would really appreciate your response.
    Thanks in advance

    • Hello Moma,

      Yes – that is exactly what you would do. PMI doesn’t expect you to have worked from start to finish on all of the projects that you have worked on. I have many projects myself that I have started but not finished, or finished but not started. PMI does want to see that you do have experience in all of the five process groups, but you do not have to have experience from all process groups on every individual projects.

      Hope this helps.

  63. Hello Mr. Brian,

    It’s really very helpful information for people like me want to pursue the PMP certification , I really appreciate your work and really thank you for this great job.

    My question is I have 7+ years of experience in IT – Development, during this tenure I worked on different projects. I have gone through the initiation,planning,executing, monitoring and controlling and closing the project, but I didn’t prepare the documentation of any project.
    Also I started as trainee->jr. developer -> sr. developer and currently working as a Team Lead in the same organization since past three years on the same project whose closing phase is yet to come, but gone through different module’s entire phases of this as well as other projects. I did my Masters in computer Science. Can you please tell me whether I am eligible for the PMP application, also let me know how much time is required for the study and what are the different resources available. Currently I am reading the PMBOOK Fifth Edition.
    Again, please advise me hoe to earn the PDU?
    Your help will be really appreciated.

    Thank you.

    • Hello Reddy,

      Thanks for the kind response to the blog – I appreciate it!

      It sounds like you might have the required work experience necessary to apply to take the PMP exam. It doesn’t matter if you worked as “the project manager”, as long as you have the experience leading and directing projects. If I were you I would go ahead and fill out the Excel spreadsheet I linked to in this article and go through the process of documenting all of the hours you spent managing projects. When you’re done, you will have a good idea if you are eligible or if you still have a bit to go.

      As for how to study for the PMP exam, I wrote an article about that here. Maybe it will be helpful to you.

      Good luck with your endeavor!

  64. Hi Mr. Brian,

    I have worked as an Analyst for about 7 plus years, and now i want to get into Project Management, is this the right time, if yes what should be my first step to get into it. I do have experience in all the phases of the project (initiation,planning,executing, monitoring, controlling and closing the project) but not as a Project Manager.

    Please advice.
    Than You.

    • Hello Syed,

      If you only now want to get into project management, then you might not have the right amount of work experience (4,500 hours of professional work experience with a Bachelor’s degree) to apply to take the exam. You might have some experience leading and directing projects, but maybe not enough.

      If I were you I would go ahead and figure out how many hours you do have. Just go ahead and tally up the hours you have spent according to the five PMI process groups. That will give you a ether idea of where you stand. And if you’re not there yet, just keep going – look for more ways to get professional experience leading and directing projects in your career. Here are some ideas.

      Good luck!

  65. Hello,
    I am leading the same project from past 3 years, How to caluclate the no of hours,Do I have to exclude holidays and leaves and any other miscellanesous activities and i heard we have to claim only 90% of the total worked hours, could you through light on this.

    Regards
    Ravi

    • Hello Ravi,

      You would definitely exclude holidays, leaves, and other miscellaneous activities. To fill out the PMP application, you would only count those hours that you spent working on projects. So for an 8 hour work day, if you only worked on projects for 6 of those hours, you would only count those hours.

      I’m not sure what you mean about this 90% rule… I do not think it applies. Just work out all of the hours that you spent leading and directing projects in a professional capacity and it should get you there.

      All the best to you.

  66. Hi BRAIN,

    Iam sufiyan saleem completed my engg in ELECTRONICS AND COMMUNICATION(ECE)in 2009. Right now iam in SAUDI ARABIA working as a QUALITY CONTROL i have 4 years of exp in QUALITY. Is this the right time get certified from PMP. Can i apply for that.

    Please guide me iam in little bit confusion.

    THANKS….

    • Hello Sufiyan,

      In order to apply, you will need to have 4,500 hours of professional work experience leading and directing projects. If you have been working in quality control, then the odds are good that you don’t have that yet. You might have some of the hours you need (leading and directing projects in your role), but you’ve probably spent most of the time doing non-project management tasks.

      The PMP exam is designed for people who have been managing projects. That way, when you get certified, it does mean that you have a certain amount of work experience managing projects under your belt.

      Hope this helps!

  67. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the informative article. I am applying for PMP too and had a question regarding the application. For one of my projects (work experience) which was back in 2006 – 07, the manager who can vouch for me has also left the company. But I am still in touch with her and is ready to attest the hours. Will that work? Or I’ll have to look for someone who is still in the company working?

    Thanks again!
    Mili

    • Hello Mili,

      I’m pretty sure that it will work if you can get the manager who has left the company to vouch for your hours! In fact, either will probably work. PMI just wants to have proof that you have those hours – if one of these people will vouch for you, you should be okay.

      Good luck!

  68. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for all of the useful information you have posted on your site. I am helping a friend obtain the PMP certification. She is a scientist, and has worked on several research studies from beginning to end. I believe I can use these for the project management experience portion. For instance, she has initiated projects from the standpoint of reviewing and understanding the requirements and identifying the lab materials and other resources needed. She manages shared resources through obtaining the specialized scientists as they are needed to support the study. She manages cost and schedule relative to the research funding/grant provided for that study. And she performs project closure through generation of the published research paper. In other words, I think she has performed project management without knowing she has done project management. What do you think?

    • Hello Mike,

      It seems to me like you are going about this exactly the right way. You and your friend should document those hours that you believe that she has spent leading and directing projects. Then, get her manager to agree that, in the case of a PMI audit, he or she will verify that your friend did spend those hours leading and directing projects. If those hours sum up to 4,500 hours (assuming she has a Bachelor’s degree), then she should be in good shape!

      Best of luck to her!

  69. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the great blog and all your helpful information and advice. I have a question regarding the dates of my PM experience. Many hours have been in the past few years but a lot of my PM experience was during the late 1990′s and early to mid 2000′s. Does the PMP application reflect the company names and dates of experience or would I not be eligible to apply? Thanks!

    • Hello Raphaella,

      As far as I am aware, all of the project management experience that you need to attain needs to have been during the 8 years previous to your PMP application. So unfortunately, any work that you completed during the 1990s and early 2000s would not apply. The PMP application definitely does indicate the company names and the dates of the work experience, so that would be a holding point in this case.

      Sorry to break the bad news to you. Best of luck getting that experience back to a more current 4,500 hours – it shouldn’t be that hard for someone with your experience! Best of luck.

  70. Hello Brian,

    Thank you for your wisdom! I am wanting to apply for my PMI, but I am having some trouble understanding the work requirements. I do not have a degree so I am subject to the 7500 work experience rule. I currently have 2 yrs. direct Project Manager Exp. from inception to implementation, and am currently in that role today. I have 2 yrs. exp as Team Lead for other Project. And 2 1/2 yrs. working as Subject Matter Expert (SME) for project at Microsoft. Would this satisfy the work requirement? Thanks!!!!

    • Karen,

      If you think about it, there are roughly 2,000 hours in each year, so if you multiply the 6 1/2 years that equals 13,000 hours. So I think you could take the approach that you spent on average 1,500 hours each year, and allocate those projects you worked each year to the 1,500 hours, and then divide amongst each of the 5 domains (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling and Closing).

      It is almost impossible to estimate this precise breakdown of hours spent on a project, especially when you are managing multiple projects at one time!

      • Hello Mike,

        Thanks very much for your input and advice – I really appreciate it! I also agree that it’s almost impossible to estimate a precise breakdown of hours spent on a project or on multiple projects at once. Fortunately, I do not think PMI is too picky in this regard. As long as you are as honest as possible with the hours that you document and can get your former manager or someone else from your company with the proper authorization to approve your hours in the case of a PMI audit, you should be fine.

        Thanks again!

    • Hello Karen,

      The good news is, you do not need to have spent work as a “project manager” in order to get the proper hours of work experience; you simply need to have spent those hours leading and directing projects. So you can use the hours you spent doing this work when you were a project manager or when you were a team leader or SME. The bad news is that 7,500 hours is a lot of hours!

      My recommendation to you would be to go ahead and fill out the spreadsheet, indicating those hours you believe you have worked leading and directing projects in a professional capacity. See where you land. Some of the work you spent as a Microsoft SME may apply, but some of it might not – it will be up to you to make that decision. When you’re done, you can figure out your next steps.

      Best of luck in this venture!

  71. Hi Brian,

    I am working on the application at the moment and I find difficult to explain in less than 550 words the project experience “The summary should include the project objectives and your role, as well as key deliverables and outcomes by Process Groups. The description should include examples of how you led and directed this project.”

    Do you have any example you used in your application? to compare

    Thanks
    Mariana

    • Mariana,
      Below are a couple of examples from my PMP application. Not sure what types of projects you worked on; mine were involved with hardware support in the aerospace industry. But hopefully it will help:

      “Project consisted of qualification of a new design turbine wheel for the Space Shuttle Auxiliary Power
      Unit (APU), as well as new manufacture of 30 wheels. Deliverables consisted of a qualification report
      and delivery of the wheels to the customer. Determined project requirements based on customer
      logistical needs, raw material availability. Provided liason support between customer, operations, and
      engineering to ensure project deliverables were met. Managed contract and all change activities.”

      “The scope of this project was technology demonstration and feasibility study of a Helium Powered
      Auxiliary Power Unit for the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster. The deliverables for this project was a
      Helium Systems Test Report and the APU Options Feasibility Report. My role in this project included
      proposal manager responsibilities, contract administration and scope change management, and working
      with cognizant engineering to ensure project scope and deliverables met contractial requirements.”

      “Project scope was for development and qualification of a new design fuel pump for the Space Shuttle
      SRB APU. Managed the completion of project deliverables of PDR & CDR documentation and
      meetings, and final development and qualification reports. Hands-on involvement from project scope
      definition and detailed tasks with subsequent proposal, execution of tasks in a dynamic environment and
      capturing scope changes, through final report delivery and successful project closeout meeting with
      customer.”

      • Hi Mike,

        Thanks so much for sharing some of your own summaries from your own PMP application. That was extremely kind of you, and I really appreciate it! It sounds like you have worked on some really interesting projects. New design fuel pump for the space shuttle??

        Thanks again, and all the best to you on the projects you are managing this spring.

    • Hello Mariana,

      I think Mike provided some great examples in his comment to you, so I think you should be set.

      Generally, your responses can be relatively brief. Indicating that various deliverables that your team produced, and the role you played in achieving those deliverables, is probably the majority of what PMI is looking for in that instance. If you were working as a project manager you probably don’t have to go into too much detail.

      Best of luck to you.

  72. I’m really interested in getting certified. I worked for the Navy as a Financial Analyst (non-managerial position). After that I did freelance consulting work while running my own business. My business deals with people on a global scale and involves retail, wholesale, negotiations and logistics. My concern is that I won’t be approved. How do I prove or is it possible to show without me getting overly creative that I have the capability and experience in the project management field without having a position where my title was “Project/Program Manager”? Also what courses for the educational requirement are acceptable? Many thanks!

    • Hi Chelsea,

      Thanks for asking. Your situation is not unique – I am pretty sure that PMI sees many applicants who have worked in positions other than official “project manager” positions, and who have worked as independent contractors or freelancers.

      I’ve written an article with some suggestions you can try to prove your work experience. The article can be found here – I hope it may prove helpful!

      Good luck to you.

  73. Hi brian, tanx for ur valuable info on PMP, i have a few doubts on PMP certifications, i have a 3 years of experience as a network engineer and i haven’t had any experience in project management and although i worked in Defence projects as a network engineer and now i wanted to change my domain from networking to management, so am i eligible to write the PMP certification and what are the opportunities that im going to get when im certified in PMP? And please clear my doubts and guide me into new way brian..!!

    • Hello Veeru,

      Unfortunately, if you truly do not have any experience in project management, then you may not currently be eligible to apply to get PMP certified. My advice to you would be to find ways to start getting that project management work experience.

      It can be difficult to get project management hours without the PMP credential to give you opportunities, but it can be done! I’ve written an article here with some ideas that you might try. I hope it helps. Good luck!

  74. Hello,
    I owned/operated my own business (a bookstore with a store front) for 4 years with one other employee. I have a bachelor’s degree as well. I planned and executed the opening of the store, running of the store, being vendors at conferences, etc. etc.. I would think that would qualify as PM hours. I would like to hear your opinion.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Denise,

      My recommendation to you is to go ahead and calculate all of your PM hours, and see if you have sufficient hours to be eligible to take the PMP examination. It doesn’t matter that you weren’t working as an IT project manager (for example); as long as you have the necessary 4,500 hours of leading and directing projects, you will be eligible to take the exam.

      That said, be sure to make sure that your experience is project management experience, and not simply day-to-day operating experience. PMI defines projects in the PMBOK as described here – it would be worth checking to make sure.

      Thanks – and good luck!

  75. Hi Brian,

    Your article is interesting and helpful. I am planning to take the CAPM Test. I have been working as a vendor ( Testing ) as a client at Microsoft. I was involved in working with Partners and PMs all the time.
    Whom should I ask to vouch my experience, my employer or my client manager at MS.
    Thanks alot for your Time

    cheers,
    BARA

    • Hello Bara,

      Do you have a manager who supervised your on-site with Microsoft (at your own company)? That would be sufficient to vouch for your experience at Microsoft. You could also have someone working at Microsoft vouch for you, if that would be easier and they would be willing to do it for you.

      In general, when you’re applying for the CAPM, it’s a lot easier to get through the application process. Simply having professional work experience should do the trick.

      Best of luck!

      • Hi Brian,
        I have two years document controller work experience with two major oil projects. Thanks to your opinion. It inspired me. So far I would like to pursue CAPM.
        Yes. It only requires 1500 hours professional experience. I believed my work experience should be qualified. But when I was filling the application form and noticed that it also need break down work experience to five domains (no requirement for all five domains experience).
        Now I questioned which domain document control work experience belong to? Executing or closing? Or I am not qualified? Please kindly advise. Many thanks.

  76. Salut Brian,

    Je me permets de t’écrire en Français puisque visiblement tu maîtrises bien notre langue.
    Merci pour toutes ces explications très importantes pour la préparation du dossier concernant le PMP.
    J’ai une question au sujet de la description de nos expériences, qu’il faut résumer en 550 mots maximum.
    C’est vraiment très compliqué, il faut mettre l’essentiel mais je ne sais pas ce qu’ils veulent exactement.
    Est ce que tu aurais un exemple de ce que tu a mis pour un projet.
    Merci encore

    • Hi Sébastien,

      It’s not too hard to describe your experiences. PMI isn’t looking for too much in specific. Generally they are looking for proof that you do have that professional work experience leading and directing projects. As Mariana wrote above:

      “The summary should include the project objectives and your role, as well as key deliverables and outcomes by Process Groups. The description should include examples of how you led and directed this project.”

      So indicate your role (titre), the deliverables you and your team delivered (livrables), and, if applicable, how you led and directed the project (méthodes). Be sure to be prepared for the chance that PMI will audit your application, so pass your experience by your managers as you have written it and ask if they will vouch for it for you. If they will, then you should be good to go.

      Bon courage!

  77. Hi Brian,

    Reading your information has taken most of the pressure off me so I feel confident to proceed with this process. The main thing that concerned me was the work experience part of the application. I have the leading and directing experience (three ERP changes in eight years, plus other things), but I wish to know what details you type beside of each process group on the application? Maybe the PMBOK will tell me that. Anyway, I plan on joining PMI today so I can get started. Again, That you for your post.

    • Hi Sarita,

      I don’t remember too much about filling out that portion of the PMP application – plus, when I did it, it asked for much more specific information!

      What PMI really wants to make sure of is that you have work experience leading and directing projects. As such, they want to make sure that you have experience leading all five process groups that they have defined in their framework.

      So what you would want to do is look through the various processes in the PMI process groups, and give some details of what things you have done in those process groups. So for example, you might detail that you created a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) in the Planning phase, and that you officially closed the project in the Closing phase. That sort of thing.

      I hope this is helpful. Best of luck to you!

  78. Hi Brian

    Thanks for the post, its been very helpful. Im just struggling with my application – My dilema is that my projects have set hours and I normally end up spending more, for e.g. the hours were 20 (as paid by the client) but i actually spent 40 working on the project (but the client still only paid for 20), do i take the 20 hours or the 40 hours into account for my applications?

    • Hi Kesh,

      I’m sorry you have run into that problem! Did you track the other 20 hours that the client didn’t pay for (as non-billable time that your company had to cover)?

      Either way, it seems to me that if you worked those hours, then you can ethically say that you completed those hours on your PMP application. I personally would count those hours on the application. Just make sure that your 4,500 hours of experience (with a Bachelor’s degree of course) took place over a 36-month period of time.

      All the best to you.

  79. I have read everything but one question I cannot find is this. If you are audited and get all the signatures you need,are your managers actually called or contacted via mail/email for verification? Thanks, This wevsite was very helpful.

    • From what I understand, if you are audited you are required to provide the documentation . It is rare that they will call your references to confirm your application.

      That being said, you should give your references a “heads-up” to let them know they may be contacted.

      • Hello Vinay,

        Thanks for your input – I really appreciate your adding that. It is definitely very important to give your manager a heads-up that you are applying to take the PMP exam, and that your manager may be contacted to verify your experience! It’s helpful, and can also help to ensure a smooth audit process if you have had your hours of project management work experience pre-approved by your manager or sponsor.

        Thanks again, and all the best to you.

    • Hi Deanna,

      That’s a great question. I personally have never been audited! So I am not too familiar with the process. But from what I understand, PMI will send you a bunch of forms that you have to fill out and have your manager fill out to prove the work experience you have claimed on your PMP application. You then give the proper forms to the managers or co-workers who will be vouching for your experience. The manager or co-worker will fill out the forms, seal the envelope, and then give the envelope back to you. It is your job to collect all of the envelopes and send them back to PMI.

      Note that the information on the form can be typed, but the signature on the form (from your manager, co-worker, or other sponsor) must be handwritten.

      I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you – I hope you are fortunate enough to avoid the audit!

  80. Brian,
    When documenting the hours, can the project timeframes overlap? I worked for a software company and managed multiple clients at a time. Thanks!

    • Hello Lori,

      Certainly project timeframes can overlap. It is quite common to work on multiple projects at one time! Just make sure that you have a realistic number of hours per week (and that your 4,500 hours of work experience spans 36 months). If you had, say, 80 hours’ worth of work experience for multiple projects in one week, that would definitely be a red flag for PMI, regardless of whether or not you truly did work your butt off for that week.

      Thanks for the question, and best of luck in your application.

  81. Hello guys!

    Need a bit of input. I have a masters degree in Electrical Engineering. After that I only have 6 months of project managment experience. It means I can’t acquire PMP (right ?).

    Then in this case is there any other project managment certification which i can get with my situation in mind?

    Thanks in advance for the useful input.

    • Hello Larry, there are several other certifications that you might look into. One of those is PMI’s own Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM), which you can read more about here.

      That said, there are also other, non-PMI certifications you might look into? Three that I can think off offhand are the ScrumMaster certification (for Agile Development, an iterative development process that is very popular at the moment, at least in software development and IT). There is also ITIL, and in England, Prince2 certification is very popular.

      Best of luck with your search, and let me know if you come across any other good choices!

  82. Hi Brian !!

    First Up thanks for such detail article for the PMP application.Really helps candidates like me.
    I m in process of applying my PMP Application and need bit of information. I m BE(Computer) and have recently completed my MBA in Distance Education.
    I have exp of ard 4.5 yrs in Project Coordinator and 1.5 yrs in PM.
    My question is it ok to have 3-4 months gaps between in each project, Currently I mentioning 4 latest project to complete my 4500 hrs.

    Thanks .!!

    • Hello Kashif,

      Yes, I think you will be fine with 3-4 month gaps between the projects that you have worked on, as long as you do have the required amount of project management experience. I believe all of that experience needs to have been earned during an 8 year period, so if your 4,500 hours of professional work experience takes place within that 8 year period prior to your application, you should be good to go.

      Best of luck!

  83. Hi Brain,

    Thanks for putting together important pieces of information on your site. I have a question regarding submitting PMP application – I have worked on few Client sites as a Consultant in last 5 years and also lead the projects but I held Programmer Analyst title from my employer. While submitting application should I give my employer details or Clients details? My position will be Consultant or Programmer Analyst.
    I really appreciate your help.

    Thanks so much
    Sandy

    • Hello Sandy,

      You might give your employer details for your job (as your employer was the group that managed your work during that time), but then you might also choose to list the clients in the individual projects that you write about, or in the details about each project.

      It won’t matter what position you held, as long as you have the work experience leading and directing projects.

      Good luck in your application!

  84. Hi Brian,

    Very informative post. Thanks for sharing.

  85. Hi, Brian,

    I am a lead engineer, although the title is called lead engineer, but the role is actually technical project manager, we are in charge of project planning (includes manpower planning, on time delivery, quality, budget and internal monthly progress report). We have a commercial project manager who only handle all the projects’ commercial issue (includes reporting to management, financial summary).
    Question, can I sit for the PMP exam? if yes, what kind of proof I need to provide so that I’m qualified.

    Thanks

    • Hello James,

      As long as you have 4,500 hours of experience leading and directing projects (with a Bachelor’s degree – you need 7,500 hours without), you can apply to take the PMP exam. You’ll want to document your hours as mentioned in this post. It doesn’t matter if your role was called Lead Engineer – as long as you have the proper amount of professional work experience, you can legitimately apply to take the exam.

      Good luck!

  86. Hi Brian,

    I have experience as Scrum Master (agile project management) as well as a team lead over the past 8 years which may add up to the 4500 hours required. Does my title need to be “project manager” in order for the experience to count? Is scrum master doing a lot of the same work or an IT QA Team Lead counts? As a team lead I probably didn’t cover all the 5 areas but some which could contribute to the hours. Your input is highly appreciated. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer all these questions. Very generous of you.

    • Hi Faith,

      Good news. As long as you have the 4,500 hours of professional project management work experience that you need to apply to get PMP certified, then it doesn’t matter if your title was “project manager”. As long as you have the proper experience, any title would apply.

      However, you do need to have covered all five areas. You don’t need to have lots of experience in these five areas, but you do need to have at least some in all five.

      Hope this helps – best of luck!

  87. Hi,
    I am a civil Engineer and doing civil design for the past nine years. Though, I can say that I have worked for too many big projects, my role was limited to doing structural design. Now, I want to come out of this cocoon and get some exposure to project management by doing certification courses which in addition to my work experience will add weight to my resume. But I am not sure whether this certification is for me. Pls guide. I am ready to shift to project management side but preferably in construction industry.

    • Hello Radhika,

      These are good questions. You would definitely want to find out if a project management career is for you before you start working your way toward getting PMP certified.

      Here is a post that might help you work your way through some of the pros and cons of PMP certification. PMP certification is costly and takes time and effort to earn and maintain, but there are definitely some benefits that it can offer.

      Meanwhile, if you need any advice for how to get that professional project management work experience, here is a post about that as well.

      Best of luck to you.

  88. Hi Brian,
    I just completed my 35 hour education requirement and was preparing to document all my project management experience – in the PMI format – before actually applying for the exam (as so many have suggested….and for good reason!)

    Here’s my question…..most of my PM experience spans 1998 – 2006 when I was heavily involved in my company’s projects (and could easily meet the 4500 hour/36 month requirement.) However, I just realized PMI only recognizes PM experience going back 8 years! And I was really looking forward to getting back into it.

    On the other hand, I read the following and wondered what it meant – “if experience outside of acceptable timeframe is submitted, experience hours will be prorated.”

    Does this mean I can still utilize those hours? I hope so…

    I signed up for an online class and those folks never mentioned this “timeframe” requirement.

    Also, does the 35 hours of education expire in the meantime?

    Thank you so much for your help. So glad I found your blog!

  89. Brian,

    I have filled out my entire application except the add/edit experience portion.

    It states “In the space provided below, summarize this project. The summary should include the project objectives and your role, as well as key deliverables and outcomes by Process Groups. The description should include examples of how you led and directed this project. Ensure that your description is between 300 and 550 characters.”

    This may sound crazy, but why does this seem so difficult to me. Is there a template to use that is available?

  90. Hi Brian,

    I have an work experience of 4 years as a SAP Consultant and now I am interested in CAPM. I have gone through the eligibility on PMI website but not clear. I do not have any experience on project management do I have attended any management program. Can I take the the test? Please elaborate.

  91. Hi Brian:

    I am working as a Senior Subcontracts Administrator in a EPC company. I am managing the Contracts pertaining to Projects.

    I hold Professional Engineer (P.Eng) and Supply Chain Management Certification ( before it was know as C>P.P.) from PMAC.

    I would like to know – my experience is eligible for PMP Certification?

    Appreciate your help.

    Thanks.

    Ravi Chandiran, Edmonton , Canada

  92. Hi Brian,

    I am a Certified Management Accountant (CMA)with about 10 years’ experience in accounting / finance. I tried to think outside the box to advance my career but wondered if this is too much for me to become a PMP. Appreciate your input.

    Thanks,
    Raffi

    • Raffi,

      I got my PMP certification back in 2007, but my dream certification to receive is the CMA. As you know most people don’t know what it is, but in my opinion is the most complete overall business certifcation, since you have to proved competence in all business disciplines (cost/management accounting, financial accounting, economics, finance, IT, etc.).

      To answer your question, I think the PMP would be a great complement to your CMA, that would make you stand out from the crowd. Plus it opens up a whole new avenue of career opportunities.

  93. Hi Brian

    Great article and tips. One quick question about the Professional Education requirements. I have different trainings that add up to 35 hours but some of these courses are from 2001 (I have certificates for evidence). Are courses from 2001 acceptable or should they be more recent? Is there a cut-off age for the training history? Thanks.

    Cheers
    Rajiv

  94. Hi Brian,
    I worked as a Test lead in and Indian company and I aspire to get certified on PMP.

    Now the issue is that I came to USA to join my husband in Sep 2013 on a dependant Visa and resigned in Dec 2013. Currently unempoloyed, but when I am filling out the application form, it asks me my current org, role, etc details. Is it fair to give my previous Org details? Please suggest!

  95. Hi Brian,

    I have seen your blog today. I took litrely one full day to go throug all your conversion.

    The artilces are really helpful.

    I need your sugesstion in doing my PMP exam.

    I have overall 3+ years on experience, 1.5 yrs in excecutive opertions and 2.6 yrs of experince as a project coordinator, PMO department.

    My area includes pharamaceutical and healthcare.

    I am handling 6 projects . Can you please let me know that I am eligible for PMP exam.

    I had been to PM training from my company for 4 days. and One day of Agile training.

    What is the better time to apply exam.
    Do I need to get training again (for 35 hours contact hours of training).

    Please guide me.

    Thank you in advance.

    Regards,
    Lalitha

  96. Hi Brian, Thank you for this invaluable and excellent post. What an insightful blog this is! It ticks all the boxes for the myriads of questions I’ve had. Thank you once again.

  97. Hi Brian,

    First of all, Congratulations to you for having his really informative page.

    I have a query regarding the PMP application form. I clear all eligibility criteria and have filled all the required details in the form. I have overall 6 years of work experience, 3 as a Business Analyst and 3 exact years as a Project Manager.

    Now, my query is that does exact 36 months (amounting to 5000+ hours)of non-overlapping PM experience suffice or should I also put additional hours(also not sure if I can put my BA work too) just to be on a safer side?

    Thanks
    Mandeep

  98. Hi Brian,

    This was really nice information related to PMP certification. I am also planning to go for PMP but have 1 query:
    I have total exp of almost 10yrs in QA & Testing and 3+ years I have spent as QA Lead and was managing the complete test team for various projects but only specific to test processes and cycles. Will this count for project management experience or I need to manage the overall project including development to be eligible for this certification?

    Thanks,
    Sunil

  99. Hi Brian,
    I’ve worked as a Directional Driller in the Oilfield where my responsibilities included Initiation (Spud Meetings)and Planning of a well to be drilled.
    Develop Communication Plan – Inform Company representatives and Employee Coordinators(stakeholders) of daily events. Discuss Drilling Parameters, safety with Rig personnel, and how any changes will be handled.
    Resources Plan – Equipment Deliveries and Service personnel coordination
    Execution Plan – Execute the Drilling of the well based on the well plan and modify as needed (using Communication’s plan)
    Risk Management – Maintain awareness of drilling perimeters and update stakeholders utilizing communications plan
    Documents – Distribute upon arrival, Daily, during any changes, and closing documentation.

    Even though a Directional Driller isn’t a Project Manager, in field we manage the entire operation from the Service perspective. Would this qualify as part of the PMP project management experience?

  100. Hello Brian,

    Iam confused how to fill this EDIT EXPERIENCE i don’t know from where should i start?? can you please help me out.

  101. Hello Brian,

    Firstly, just like many others, I cannot thank you enough for taking time out to answer our questions.

    My question is w.r.t the hours to be filled in for each of the projects. I have overall 7+ years of experience, out of which I have spent 3.5 years managing IT ERP implemention projects for various retail co’s (work for an IT services co.).

    Now some projects start and get scrapped off right after the planning (or discovery phase) – so can I fill in time for Initiation of project/Planning of project – but Execution phase as NA or zero?
    Also, I have been part of a project which I had to leave right after execution phase – because I was needed in some other project. So can I fill in hours till execution of those projects and leave closing and monitoring as NA or zero?

    Please do assist me.

    Many thanks again,
    Tanya

  102. Hi Brian,
    First of thanks for posting a lot of useful information. I have question regarding the hours calculation: I have been part of bigger Projects/Program lead by other team members and some part of the projects is given to me as a task where i have to complete assigned task that includes all the aspect of project managements i.e. meeting stake holders, planning, executing and controlling.
    Can i consider this as project management hours?
    some of the example are: creating and providing training to global teams, creating New product quality plans and criteria

  103. Dear Brian,

    Thanks for posting above information, it has been very helpful. Majority of the experience shared is from IT Industry but I am from Civil Aviation Industry with more than 15 years of experience and have done many projects but we do not use the terminology of Project Manager or Project leader in aviation, projects have been handled by engineering department either as quality Manager or Technical Service Manager, hope such designations should be acceptable under experience column.

    In case during Audit if we fail to establish that we meet the requirement, does PMI put any penalty or ban on you from appearing in future or allows you to gather relevant experience and apply again?

  104. Hello-
    I am preparing to fill out the PMP application and read that the description fields are limited to 500 characters–is that 500 characters total, per project(composed of the 5 process groups), or 500 characters for each of the 5 individual processes making it 2500 characters per project?

    Also, does it matter if I have not held the title of Project Manager? I do have the accumulated hours in each of the process areas and references to back it up if audited.

    • Hi Chad,

      I have this same question. The printable PMP application seems to give you 300-500 characters per Process Group per project, but the online PMP application seems to give you 300-500 characters for the entire project. Have you gotten an answer to this yet?

      Thanks,

      Ryan

  105. Hi Brain,

    I am interested in PMP certificate so that i will help in my carrier. I am working for the product based company and we enhance the product with different versions. So i have 4500 hr exp in the project cycle but i worked for the same product and for different versions.
    This should be enough to start my PMP certificate?

  106. Hi Brian, I am looking to finalized my PMP exam application, but I am trying to figure how do I go about completing my work experience. All of my work experience have been as a construction supervisor. I would like to hear about how I should complete go about listing and describe my work experience and whether or not I stand any change of being approved.

  107. I have over the 4500 hrs of PM experience. Some of it was for my own company. But other parts of it were for a few different employers.

    Unfortunately, I became disabled and now some of my experience is outside the 8 year window.

    I’ve spoken to PMI and they’ve said its an ISO rule.

    I’ve done enough ISO work to know that there is always a way to make an exception and still remain compliant to an auditor. It just needs to be documented properly.

    Any thoughts on this?

    I need to figure out how to do this. I would like to get back into the workforce and PMP has become a requirement for nearly all of them (or at a minimum highly desirable).

    As project manager, I’m just looking at this as another project to manage and an obstacle to remove. (I guess that’s what makes for a good project manager. LOL)

  108. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for sharing very valuable experience regarding PMP certificate.Actually I am studying master of project management in Queensland University of Technology in Australia and I’ve got 10 years of experience in Planning Engineer.I am just wondering,could I use my master course for covering the amount of required PDU for PMP exam,cause my university is one of the PMI sponsor in Australia.
    On the other hand,as PMI needs Project management experience,what should I enter as my position in application form?
    It would be great if you could help me in this regard

  109. Hello Brian,
    You are a gem for sharing the spreadsheet, thank you so much. I am trying to determine if I can qualify for the PMP. I am just starting the process. I do have a degree, I also have some experience in Project Management, I am trying to put it all together.
    Thanks for the wonderful post. :)

  110. Hello Brian,

    I am intending to get PMP certified . currently i am working as PM in Singapore and i am in this role since last two years.
    Before that i did handle projects during my 4 years with another company in Singapore but my position was Service Operations Manager. Can i still apply for PMP exam? I am a degree holder.

    Thanks.

    Ravi.

  111. Hi Brian,

    can you give your opinion on this:
    If I’m in 1 big project for this 4 years, but in between there is multiple release for each versions, should I separate this in multiple project for each version or I just put it as 1 project in the application form?

    Thank you

  112. Thank you, I’ve just been searching for info about this topic for a while and
    yours is the greatest I’ve found out so far. But, what in regards
    to the bottom line? Are you sure concerning the supply?

  113. Hi Brian,

    I am filling my PMP application and have filled up all the PM experience but in the Experience Worksheet summary, although I am getting my performed PM hours but the same are not appearing as qualified months hours column. Can you please help why it is so or what i am missing. I have ensured to follow the weightage as mentioned above for each process area.

  114. Hi Brian,
    I have done my Project management education (35 contact hours of formal education)couple of months before. Are there any restriction that I need to apply for PMP exam within a period of 2 months from the day I completed this or there is no such period restriction. Please let me know.

  115. Surabhi Srivastava Reply October 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Hi Brian,

    I am completed my PMP prerequisite PDU’s and have good enough experience in Project Management Space. However I am in confusion on filing my experience.

    I have been part of same project from last 4.5 yrs and managing multiple engagements and deliveries for same client. Now should I break-up each experience or can I show it as multiple project handling for same client.

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PMP Exam Prep:  Seventh Edition

About the Author


Website: Brian Crawford
I'm a Canadian and British dual citizen with an internationally-focused American MBA and an MS in International Project Management from a French business school. I am PMP, ScrumMaster, and ITIL Foundation certified. I'm particularly into travel, writing, and learning about different languages and cultures.