How Do I Register for the PMP Exam?

Before answering “How can you successfully register for the PMP?” let’s clarify what successful registration looks like.

Successful registration for the PMP looks like one of two things:

1) In the best-case scenario, your application is accepted, and you can now move forward and take the test.

2) Alternatively, you could be audited (which happens at random.) If this happens to you, you’ll want to ensure everything is in order to move seamlessly through the audit process. With the proper guidance, it can be pretty straightforward to register for the PMP exam successfully. However, there are mistakes you can make during the application process that could get you banned permanently from taking the test. That’s why knowing how to do it right is so important.

What are the steps to apply for the PMP exam?

Before you can take the PMP certification exam, you’ll need to complete an application so that the Project Management Institute (PMI) can validate your years of experience and education as a project manager. The steps to apply for the PMP exam look like this:

  • Step 1: Create a PMI.org account.
  • Step 2: Complete and submit the online application.
  • Step 3: Wait for confirmation of completeness.
  • Step 4: Complete audit materials if you are audited.
  • Step 5: Pay the credential fee.
  • Step 6: Prepare for the exam.
  • Step 7: Schedule (and pass) the exam!

Where do I apply for the PMP certification?

You can apply for Project Management Professional (PMP) certification at PMI.org. The first thing you’ll need to do is set up a user account.

How far in advance of my PMP exam should I complete my application?

You will need 30-90 days to study for the exam, and you should complete your application before you start studying to ensure you are eligible to take the exam in the first place. Otherwise, you could risk investing time and energy studying only to realize you are not eligible to take the exam.

Can I apply for the PMP exam without being a PMI member?

You do not need to be a member of PMI to register for the exam, but it’s a good idea. The exam costs $405 for members but $575 for non-members. PMI membership is $129/year, so the discount makes up for the cost of membership.

Membership affords you access to free electronic copies of the PMBOK® Guide, Salary Report, and other guides and standards published by PMI. Joining your local chapter usually requires paying an additional small annual fee. You can become a PMI global member without joining your local chapter.

What information do I need to provide on the application?

The application has three main sections: Education, Experience, and Exam Details. The Education section comes first because the information you’ll need to provide differs depending on your higher education level.

If you have a four-year degree (in any major), you’ll need the following:

  • 36 months of non-overlapping professional experience leading projects
  • 35 hours of project management education

If you have a high school diploma or associate degree, you’ll need the following:

  • 60 months of non-overlapping professional experience leading projects
  • 35 hours of project management training

What goes in the Education Section of the PMP application?

In this section, you’ll first need to provide your academic information, including:

  • The highest level of education achieved
  • Name of Institution
  • Field of Study
  • Country of Institution
  • Years Attended

Before completing this section, you’ll also need to provide information about the 35 hours of training you’ve completed. Most PMP exam prep courses, including our signature PMP course, count as all 35 hours. You’ll need to note the institutions attended, the courses completed, and the qualifying hours.

What goes in the Experience Section of the PMP application?

In the Experience section of the application, you’ll need to list your project experiences, starting with your most recent project. PMI will calculate your total months from Start Date to Finish Date to ensure no overlaps. For each project, you’ll need to provide:

  • Project Title
  • Organization
  • Job Title
  • Functional Reporting Area
  • Organization Primary Focus (i.e., industry)
  • Approach/Methodology (e.g., Traditional, Agile, or Hybrid)
  • Project Team Size
  • Project Budget
  • Project Dates (including whether or not the project is still in progress)
  • Project Description (200-500 words)

Your project description should summarize your experience on the project, including the project objective, outcome, your role on the project, and your responsibilities and deliverables.

I’ve heard about applications getting rejected because a person’s experience didn’t count. What can I do to avoid my PM experience getting rejected?

To ensure your experience counts, it’s vitally important that:

  1. Your project management experience represents professional project work experience only. You cannot include personal projects like planning your wedding, conducting academic research for a degree-granting program, creating a newsletter, or a home improvement project.
  2. Your project experience is not actually operational experience. A project is a temporary endeavor that produces one or more unique deliverables. In other words, projects should not include routine or repetitive “deliverables.”
  3. You were performing the role of a project manager rather than a contributor or team member. The typical role of a project manager is outlined in the PMI Exam Content Outline. Read the list of tasks and validate that the role you served on the project generally aligns with those listed.
  4. Your project experience is non-overlapping. This means that, for each month in which you worked on overlapping projects, you can only count the time spent on ONE of those projects toward fulfilling your eligibility requirements.


What goes in the Exam Details section of the application?

When writing your project entry, you’ll need to provide the following for EACH individual project you led (until they add up to the required number of months– after that, PMI will not allow you to enter more projects).

The description of your project role should make it clear that you were the project manager or person assigned to lead the team responsible for achieving the project objectives. As you describe your role, consider including items from the Task list in the PMP Exam Content Outline, which reflect a Project Manager’s typical roles and responsibilities. Most importantly, be truthful in all your responses.

How can I avoid having my PMP application audited or rejected?

While applications can be rejected, and news of an audit isn’t exciting for most people, with attention to detail, accuracy, and follow-through, issues with your application or audit can easily be easily avoided.

Why do applications get rejected? If PMI can’t verify your education or experience, if PMI determines you have provided false information, or if you are audited, and you do not follow through on the auditing process, your application will be denied.

Please note if PMI can prove you provided false information on your application, you will be permanently suspended from taking the exam! If you are audited but choose to take no action, you will have a one-year suspension period before you will be allowed to apply for the exam again.

What happens if my PMP application is audited?

If you’re audited after completing the application process, you’ll need to show PROOF of

  1. Education (diploma or transcript from institutions attended)
  2. Training (certificate of completion for your training) and
  3. Experience (signatures from your “point of contact” for each project you report)

How long does it take to get through a PMP application audit?

You will have up to 90 days to complete it, and then PMI has 5 days to review it.

What happens if your application is rejected?

If you don’t pass an audit due to “no-fault” (meaning the audit team cannot validate your experience or education), you can reapply without a waiting period. First, based on the audit team’s feedback, you’ll want to ensure that you meet the certification criteria. If you feel that you do, then you’ll want to focus on rewording your PMP application form for greater clarity.  Alternatively, you can reapply when you have the application requirements met. However, if PMI realizes that you’ve deliberately provided false information, you’ll be permanently suspended from taking any PMI exams.


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