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What Is PMP Certification?



If you’re from a project management background, chances are that you are already aware of the PMP. (Part of the reason why you’re visiting this blog, right?) Still, just to get the basics right – the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Project managers gain it after rigorous training and testing – which is why it is the best in the field!

The PMP is a certification curated exclusively for project managers. Due to its “specific” niche, it does not give you generic advice for a namesake credential. It actually offers skills, practices, methods, and standards backed by the latest research and development. Moreover, PMI is one of the highest-standing bodies for professional upskilling in the niche. So, you can rest assured that with the PMP, you can meet the levels of the best in the field. 

Let’s now look at the technicalities and details of the PMP! 

What is PMP?

Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is an internationally acknowledged credential in project management. It covers the standards, principles, processes, and practices of project management that are recognized and accepted across the globe. That’s not it! The PMP is the most prestigious certification because it does not rely only on theoretical knowledge. It tests you based on your practical experiences, forcing you to think like you’re in your project meeting! 

The PMP was developed in response to the rising need for a standardized, reliable method of verifying the competence of project managers. So, it addresses just that and makes you fluent in the global language of project management. The methodologies suggested in the PMP curriculum empower you to lead teams regardless of the vertical, organization size, or geography.

PMP was created by Project Leaders and continues to be updated to the latest project management trends by a community of project managers. We aren’t just saying that for the sake of it! PMP proved to run with the times with its last update introducing Agile. Moreover, it is adding to this credibility and trust, by including cutting-edge technologies like Generative AI, in its upcoming update!

There are currently 1,454,550 certified Project Management Professionals across the globe, and the number is only rising. Are you ready to get PMP-certified? Let’s jump into the course details then!

PMP Course Overview

The curriculum for PMP is backed by extensive research. PMI conducted a job task analysis (JTA) and a global practice analysis (GPA) to ensure that the PMP examination aligns exactly with the environments that project managers work in today. Because of this research, PMP now includes many different approaches to project management. Earlier PMP consisted of only predictive methodologies. But now it has expanded its horizons to include agile and hybrid approaches as well. 

Further, the PMP syllabus is divided into three domains: People, Process, and Business Environment. Within these domains, the PMP Examination Content Outline (ECO)  defines a list of Tasks. These tasks represent the responsibilities of the project managers corresponding to the domains. Further, there are Enablers for each task as well. These enablers are the actual step-by-step breakdown of the work you must perform to fulfill each responsibility. These enablers are obviously not an exhaustive list, because there are always variables concerning each individual project and team. You can access this list of Domains, Tasks, and Enablers through the Examination Content Outline (ECO) on the PMI website.

Is PMBOK the same as PMP?

Most aspiring PMPs equate the ECO with the PMBOK Guide. But that is not true. The PMP is not solely based on the PMBOK. If you’re gearing up for PMP, then sticking to the concepts in the ECO is the ideal bet. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, in short, the PMBOK Guide, is a credible resource for PMP. However, the PMP exam is not bound by it, even though similarities exist between the two. 

As we mentioned, the PMP syllabus is divided into Domains, Tasks, and Enablers. However, the PMBOK has a different pattern of knowledge dissemination. The current PMBOK 7th edition showcases 8 performance domains that are essential to a project’s success. These are:

  1. Team.
  2. Stakeholders.
  3. Life cycle.
  4. Planning.
  5. Uncertainty and ambiguity.
  6. Delivery.
  7. Performance.
  8. Project work.

It also includes 12 project management standards or principles, which can act as project manager strengths:

  1. Stewardship.
  2. Team.
  3. Stakeholders.
  4. Value.
  5. Holistic Thinking.
  6. Leadership.
  7. Tailoring.
  8. Quality.
  9. Complexity.
  10. Opportunities & Threats.
  11. Adaptability & Resilience.
  12. Change Management.

As you can see, the PMP and PMBOK do not intersect much in terms of examination perspectives.  The PMP, in larger terms, takes into consideration only what is best for you as a project manager. It is not limited to a standard – and strives to get you ready for what you need eventually – skills to direct your projects. The PMBOK still remains a rich and trustworthy resource for you to upgrade your project management skills.

What Jobs Require PMP?

The PMP is a professional prerequisite for senior project managers, regardless of industry sector. The ideal applicants for this prestigious certification are Project Managers, Program Managers, Portfolio Managers, Project Coordinators, Project Analysts, Project Administrators, Product Managers, Business Analysts, Quality Managers, Risk Managers, Procurement Managers, Change Managers,  Developers, Team Leads, Executives.

What’s different after getting your PMP? We’ll delve into that in the next section!

What Exactly Does A PMP Do?

PMPs are project managers who perform the same tasks and more, with added efficiency to it. As a PMP, effective leadership lies at the heart of your role. It is your responsibility to set clear visions and missions and guide projects to them. At every stage, PMPs must consolidate plans, assess dependencies, analyze data, and determine appropriate methodologies for the teams to follow.

Regular tasks as a PMP include managing resources, setting benchmarks on progress, preparing and updating schedules, and consistently assessing deliverable quality. You must also recommend improvements while keeping the scope in check, and build strategies that suit the standpoint of the teams. Moreover, you must enhance team performance and ensure that they operate at peak efficiency. PMPs proactively identify and prioritize impediments, and anticipate any changes that could either hinder or improve the project trajectory.

Another key skill of PMP is Emotional Intelligence, which comes into play in several places. You should be able to use it to fuel conflict resolution to sustain the project’s momentum. You must cater to the needs of the team, and inspire, motivate, and influence them to consistently do better. As a PMP, your emotional intelligence is the driver of collaboration and team spirit. Moreover, you must be able to use it to build trust among clients and stakeholders as well. 

Finally, it is also your role as a PMP to identify competency requirements, determine training needs, allocate resources, and measure training outcomes to ensure that team members possess the necessary skills to fulfill their project management roles effectively. In the end, the goal is to meet the project goals – in the best way possible.

Why Earn PMP?

The prior sections discussed what PMP exactly is and what you would do at your workplace after you earn it. But, why PMP and not anything else? Well, PMP gives you exact statistics on its benefits such as earning potential and further career opportunities. Let’s understand why you should go for PMP: 

1. Polish Your Skills & Gain International Recognition

The foremost reason to pursue any certification is to acquire additional skills and get acclamation for it. PMP takes it to the next level! As per our student reviews, most of our candidates learned how to perform in better ways through the training. Since PMP extensively relies on scenario-based questions, it is considered highly credible across the globe. It is a gold standard in Project Management for a reason. Earning a PMP puts you with some of the top professionals in the field. And, when you’re there, the chart of your career growth only rises upwards!

2. Boost Your Earning Power

PMP is renowned for the direct benefit it provides. As per PMI’s 13th Edition of the Project Management Salary Survey (2023), PMP-certified practitioners earn an average of 33% more than their non-certified peers. This percentage increases to 44% for PMP holders in the United States. But that’s not it. Nearly two-thirds (66%) of survey participants reported an increase in total compensation (including salary, bonuses, and other cash incentives) over the 12 months prior to completing the salary survey! Therefore, the PMP is backed by data from 20+ countries – and it’s all pointed at the positive end of the monetary spectrum!

3. Maximize Your Career Prospects

Organizations across the globe look for PMP certification. Some even require it as a pre-requisite. Why? Because the PMP is a world-renowned certification that verifies valuable experience in leading and directing projects. Created by project professionals for project leaders, the PMP validates that you have the project management skills employers need. 

Moreover, most certified PMPs are in agreement that the certification has been valuable to their careers other than being a significant contributor to salary growth. The same Salary Survey also asked respondents to rate how valuable the PMP certification has been to their careers. The results? 55% of respondents from the United States rated the PMP certification as extremely/very valuable to their careers! So, what are you waiting for? Add the PMP behind your name and position yourself as a project pro!

4. Join A Community Of Like-Minded Professionals

The best part of getting certified by an organization like PMI is that they go to lengths to build a community where you can thrive. PMI has a community of project professionals – both as a separate global forum as well as in the form of local chapters. Members of PMI are welcome in all these spaces. These forums give you a platform to network with the best in your field, seek insights from those facing similar challenges, as well as find peers who help you grow. Thus, earning your PMP means joining a global community that empowers you!

How To Get PMP Certification?

1. Check If You Meet The Eligibility Criteria

We mentioned that the PMP demonstrates your experience in the PM field. Well, that’s because it has stringent eligibility criteria. PMP aspirants must fulfill either of these two sets of certification requirements:


  • A 4-year degree.
  • 36 months of experience in leading projects in the last 8 years.
  • 35 hours of formal training in project management or CAPM certification.


  • An Associate’s degree or high school diploma.
  • 60 months of project management experience over the last 8 years.
  • 35 hours of formal training in project management or CAPM certification.

To meet the requirement of 35 hours of training, you must enroll in a PMP course from a reputed Authorized Training Partner (ATP). Please note that only PMI’s ATPs can provide you with a valid certificate indicating you’ve met the 35 PDU requirements.

PMP certification eligibility

2. Undergo PMP Certification Training

As a part of the PMP certification process, it is a pre-requisite to undergo PMP Training before applying for the examination. You can find Authorized Training Partners in the repository of PMI ATPs on their website. ProThoughts is the Premier Authorized Training Partner of PMI. Not to toot our own horn but, only the Best PMP certification programs hold this title. We have been offering PMP certification training for over a decade. In hindsight, we started as a small organization in India, and now are a global player for all PMI courses. 

ProThoughts offers PMP training in a Live Online Instructor-led session as well as an In-classroom session* (*available in limited countries). For your ideal PMP preparation, we provide you with 30+ study materials. 150+ PMP Flash Cards, Mind maps, 1600+ Mock questions, and Refresher Sessions – to name a few of our unique course offerings. In addition, you also get the chance to avail the Rita Mulcahy PMP Book – a reigning bestseller for PMP prep. We coach you based on this highly acclaimed PMP book and also give you access to the bible of PMP – the PMBOK Guide (latest – 7th Edition).

Also read: PMP Classroom V/s Online

Our study materials and pedagogy are standardized across locations, batches, and modes of learning. So, you can rest assured that no matter where you are, ProThoughts will deliver the best PMP training.

3. Apply For The Exam

Once you finish your 35 hours of PMP Training, comes applying for the PMP exam. We suggest scheduling an exam for a 40-45 after your training completion. The ideal time is not too far away or too soon. The reason behind this is that you should have enough time to prepare – but not too much to procrastinate on it (or worse – forget what you’ve learned). You can apply for the exams once you’re confident of your practice test results too. 

The PMP application process starts with submitting the details of your experience (as per the eligibility criteria), submitting it for review, and on acceptance paying the exam fee. Some applications also undergo an additional audit – where you need to submit proof of your mentioned details. Don’t worry about that though! PMI selects applications at random for an audit. And at ProThoughts, we provide application support whenever you need it! 

The PMP Exam Cost Structure looks like this as of 2024: 

PMI-MembersNon-PMI Members
PMP Examination Fees$405 - $425$575 - $595
PMP Re-examination Fees$275$375

We mentioned the fee as a range because the PMP exam cost for the United States varies from the rest of the world. The examination fee is $425 and $595 in the U.S., while for everywhere else it is $405 and $575. PMP exam fee differs based on your membership status with PMI. Think of it yourself – Would you rather pay $575 for an exam without membership perks or $544 with the membership perks? We think the answer is pretty simple!

We’ll talk about the re-examination part in the next sub-section.

4. Take The Exam

Now that the formalities are put behind, comes the part all of this hassle was for – the PMP Exam! PMI ensures that the exam accurately reflects the practices of project managers in real settings. Therefore, all the questions on the examination are written and extensively reviewed by subject matter experts who hold a valid PMP. 

The PMP exam consists of 180 questions, out of which 5 are unscored pretest questions. The PMP exam questions are based on predictive, agile, and hybrid approaches. 50% of the PMP exam questions come from predictive project management alone. The rest represents concepts from Agile and Hybrid approaches combined. However, the exact number of questions on each project management approach varies. 

You have 230 minutes to complete the PMP test with two 10-minute breaks in between. You get these breaks after you finish answering and reviewing questions 1-60, and then questions 61-120. Moreover, there is a 15-minute tutorial before the exam and a 15-minute survey after exam completion. Finally, after 230+ minutes of stressful times, you receive the results! 

The PMP score report grades you for the three domains on a four-point scale. It displays the result as Above Target, Target, Below Target, and Needs Improvement. The latter two suggest re-examination. PMI performs sound psychometric analysis to develop these scores. The exact passing score for PMP is not known – it changes based on the difficulty of the questions on the specific examination. PMI offers 2 additional attempts within a 12-year period eligibility period if you don’t pass the exam on the first try. Hence, the re-examination charges mentioned above. To avoid this expense, we suggest scoring at least 70% in your practice tests before sitting for the exam.

How Much Does PMP Certification Cost?

Although we did mention exam costs, let’s take into account all the possible expenses you’d encounter while pursuing your PMP. First is the PMP training cost which can range anywhere between a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. The training cost highly depends on the quality of training as well as study materials. An estimated range for PMP training cost would be around $200 to $1000+. Next comes the examination fee, which we mentioned above already. The PMP certification fees are $405 to $425 for Members and $555 to $575 for Non-Members of PMI. The re-exam fees would be an additional expense, in case you don’t clear the PMP certification exam right away. It amounts to $275/$375 based on membership status. Speaking of membership, if you choose to opt for PMI membership – a fee of $139 ($159 in the U.S.), must be paid during application submission.  

Well, we did cover a lot of $$ above. But, PMP also requires renewal every 3 years to keep it valid. PMI is very strict about professional development and hence requires you to keep upgrading your skills to maintain your certification. You must earn 60 PDUs and pay a PMP renewal fee of $60/$150 (based on membership status). You can earn the 60 PDUs for free by attending our project management webinars consistently. Alternatively, you can enroll in other PMI courses such as the PgMP, or Disciplined Agile courses like DASSM, Disciplined Agile Coach, or DAVSC to further upskill in the field and earn PMP renewal PDUs. On the contrary, if you wish to cancel your certification at any time you can write to PMI’s Customer Care at [email protected]. After filling in the necessary papers, PMI will refund one-third of the renewal fee from the remaining renewed certification period/cycle.

Is A PMP Worth Getting?

Is investing your time and effort out of your busy schedules into obtaining the PMP, really worth it? Well, we say yes. Not just as trainers for PMP, but with a team of PMP-certified experts backing the claim. All our trainers are active holders of the PMP and are some of the leaders in the field. We at Prothoughts, strongly recommend pursuing the PMP certification at an early stage of your career to reap more benefits. Let’s see why:

1. Projected Demand:

PMI’s Talent Gap Report 2021 indicates a projected demand of 25 Million project management professionals by 2030, suggesting a growing need for certified professionals. If you are unsure about the PMP now, you will definitely be convinced of its worth a few years from now – why not start now?

2. Career Advancement and Salary Negotiation:

Obtaining a PMP certification early in your career can lead to various benefits, including increased interview calls, stronger negotiating positions for salary, and access to higher-paying job opportunities. Some PMPs have even bagged 2x salary hikes after adding the PMP tag after their names!

3. Credential to Prove Competency:

To be honest, anyone can call themselves a project manager. There is no governing body to determine the cut for the role. However, having a PMP certification demonstrates a foundational understanding of project management. It’s a stamp of approval and a significant one at that. There are other project management certifications as well which involve you going through self-paced courses and that’s about it. But, PMP requires dedicated effort and thus, the PMP distinguishes you from others in the field. 

4. Enhancement of Skillset:

The certification undoubtedly adds to your existing skills and knowledge (if you actually absorb the knowledge and apply it). Plus, with the balance between Agile and Waterfall – it really gears you up for any challenge! Thus, it adds to your existing proficiency and skills from on-the-job learning. Plus: If you are asked to choose between 2 similarly experienced PMs, who would you rather hire? – The one that took time to study and learn foundational knowledge, or the one who’s pretty much stagnant in upskilling?

5. Prestige and Long-term Investment:

Whether or not it is mandatory for the job, the PMP certification is respected by employers and carries a certain level of prestige. In our opinion, companies value the certification, because they value the experience, which the PMP is indicative of, unlike many other certifications. You need to meet the experience criteria to get certified. It is a pretty hard and fast rule. So, it opens doors to opportunities that may not be available otherwise. 


PMP is a one-time certification for a lifetime, and the PMP Certification cost will only rise over time. But, if the benefits don’t answer the question “Is PMP certification really worth it?”, then think of the potential drawbacks of NOT pursuing it! Think about what you could potentially lose – opportunities, hikes, better jobs, and whatnot! PMP is a gold standard curated to help you in the short term as well as in the long run. 

Want to get PMP-certified? Get to know more from our team!

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Closing Points

Finally, you have gained insight into the most reliable certification in project management – the PMP! Earning this prestigious certification places you in the league of project management experts. We hope we covered most of your questions about PMP certification in this post.  If you want to learn more, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or fill in the form you see on the screen!


1. Is PMP very difficult?

The perception of exam difficulty depends on how you’ve been trained for the PMP. At ProThoughts, we conducted a survey on the PMP Exam Experience and most of the respondents voted on the difficulty of the exam being as expected. Very few found it tougher than they expected. So, as long as you are geared up with the right resources and mindset – the PMP exam will go exactly as predicted!

2. How many months of preparation is required for PMP?

We suggest 1-2 months of preparation before taking the PMP exam. Do not hurry into the test, wait till you’re completely convinced of your PMP preparation. On the other hand, do not wait for too long either, because most professionals get lost in their busy schedules and lose the motivation to study along the way. ProThoughts provides a 45-day study plan as well. If you stick by the PMP exam strategy, we assure you that you’ll pass the PMP exam on the first try! Moreover, your instructors from ProThoughts’ PMP training will be available to connect and give advice – till the day you get certified!

3. How many attempts are there in PMP?

After you submit your PMP application to PMI, you have 3 attempts to clear the PMP in a 12-month eligibility period. But, reexamination fees apply to the second and third attempts. After that, PMI requires you to wait for another year from the last date of your examination to reapply for PMP. In this period, you can opt for other PMI certifications. 

4. Is there an age limit for PMP certification?

There is no age limit for PMP. However, most PMP holders are in the age group of 35-45. Also, as per the Salary Survey Report, individuals who hold a valid PMP for longer periods, reap higher benefits. If you fulfill the eligibility criteria for PMP, then the time to start your PMP journey is NOW!

5. How long is PMP valid?

The PMP certification is valid for 3 years from the date of issuance. It is necessary to renew your PMP before the end of that period to keep it valid. You don’t have to take the PMP test again to keep your PMP status. Instead, you just need to earn 60 PDUs in three years time to qualify for renewal. You can earn these PDUs by attending webinars, conducting lectures, or contributing to the project management community. With the PDU codes you earn, you can fulfill the PMP PDU Requirements. There is also a PMP Renewal Fee of $60- $ 150 (based on your membership status) that you must pay to PMI at the end of your cycle. 

Also Read:

Is PMP Certification Worth It?

Project Management Trends 2024 – The Founder’s Take


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