PMP® Certification Requirements

How do I get PMP Certified?

The first step is to understand the requirements.

Formal Education and Project Management Experience

If you have a bachelor’s degree (or global equivalent), then you need to have:

  • 4,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 36 months of unique non-overlapping professional project management experience
  • All within the last 8 years

If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, but you do have a high school diploma, associate’s degree, or global equivalent, then you need to have:

  • 7,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 60 months of unique non-overlapping professional project management experience
  • All within the last 8 years

How to Measure Your Experience

What’s does “unique non-overlapping” mean? How is that measured?

Months spent on multiple projects only count once.  

In the example above, March only counts as 1 month. April only counts as one month. Even though you spent time on multiple projects, you only count each month once.

However, all of the hours spent leading and directing projects count.  In the example above, March’s hours are 140, and April’s hours are 160.

Which Types of Projects Count?

  • You can only count time spent leading and directing projects.  Participation is NOT enough.
  • Only professional project management experience counts.  Personal projects, school projects, etc. do NOT count.  “The experience does not necessarily have to be paid work, but it does need to be in a professional setting. Activities such as school projects or planning personal events would not qualify.”

(Project Management Professional (PMP)® Handbook, PMI, 2017)

Formal Education in Project Management

You also need 35 hours of formal education in project management.  It can be any of the following types of formal education:

  • Classroom training
  • Instructor-led online sessions
  • On-demand/self-paced training
  • University or college courses (but only the hours spent specifically on project management training count toward the 35-hour requirement) 

Self-study doesn’t count. You need a certificate of completion of a course, or a school transcript, or similar documentation.

The most common approach is to take a course that is specifically designed to prepare you for the PMP® exam.


Now that you understand the requirements, see my Complete Guide to PMP® Certification.