Have you decided that you want to become a Project Management Professional (PMP) and acquired the necessary experience and education to become certified? Then it’s time to fill out the application to take the PMP exam that’s administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI).  

Many people become overwhelmed by this application. But when you have a better idea of what’s on it, and how to fill it out properly, it will be less stressful.  

Below, we break down the two major sections on the PMP application: education and experience. These are the areas you want to home in on to ensure you fill them out completely and correctly. The rest of the application involves filling in basic details about yourself, such as your contact information.   

PMP Application Guide

  1. How Can I apply for the PMP exam? 
  2. How Do I Fill Out a PMP Application?
  3. Fill out the PMP Application with Confidence 

How Can I Apply for the PMP Exam?

First, you’ll need to have an account to access the PMP application on PMI’s website. Keep in mind that you’ll be required to fill it out and submit it online.  

The entire application process for the PMP exam begins the moment you open the application to start providing the necessary information. But you don’t need to finish it all in one sitting.  PMI saves it and gives you 90 days to get it done and send it in for approval.  

How long does it take for my PMP application to be approved?

Generally, it might take anywhere from 5 to 10 business days for PMI to contact you, but you might receive confirmation of acceptance sooner than this.  

Affecting how long it takes depends on whether the application is accepted, randomly selected for auditing, or it’s been rejected.  

If the application is audited, PMI will tell you why they need more information. If it’s accepted, you can pay the fee to book and take the exam.  Then you can begin your PMP exam prep.

Why would my application be rejected?

Your application may be rejected for several reasons. Here are some common examples:

  • Did not provide clear descriptions of the work you’ve done
  • Failed to prove that you’ve led projects in the past
  • Didn’t show that you completed the right number of training contact hours. 

Rest assured that you can reapply after being rejected. Just be sure to carefully read PMI’s reasons for rejecting the application and make appropriate to those reasons.  

How Do I Fill Out a PMP Application?

Filling out the application online is easy, but it’s critical that you have all the information you need on hand. That way, you can move through it efficiently.   

Remember, there are two paths you can take to qualify for the PMP exam: 

  • A four-year degree, 36 months of experience in leading projects, and 35 hours of project management training or get your CAPM certification.
  • Get a high school diploma or associate’s degree, have 60 months of experience in leading projects, and 35 hours of project management training or get your CAPM certification.  

How can I write my education in my PMP application?

This section should include information about your high school and college education, as well as the 35 contact hours you’ve completed specifically within the field of project management.  

Provide all the required details, without leaving anything out (i.e., when you received training, what program you were enrolled in, and the organization that taught you).  

How can I write my experience in my PMP application?

The other big section is the one that showcases your relevant experience. This one is trickier, so take your time. Also, consider searching for PMP application experience examples before you start so you have a better idea of what to expect.  

To prove that you’ve completed the required number of hours in the field and in a professional setting, make sure you add in all the relevant projects you need. 

Aim to show PMI that you accomplished a variety of tasks and use strategic keywords within each project’s description. For example, use appropriate knowledge area and/or agile terms, process group names, and appropriate constraint names. Just keep in mind that it should be experience you’ve gained within the last eight years.  

Every project you list must meet the definition of a project according to PMI. This includes the creation of something new, having a beginning date and end date, along with specific management of constraints like scope, schedule, cost, and resources.  

How would you describe projects for a PMP application?

Get ready for this because you’ll have to provide several details. For each project, you’ll need to give the following: 

  • The title of the project and its dates
  • Where you worked on the project and your job title  
  • The project’s budget
  • The methodology you used (e.g., agile, hybrid, waterfall)
  • The size of the team and the functional reporting area

In addition to giving details about your role and responsibilities while leading projects, you’ll also be asked to provide more details in the summary of each project, such as its objectivesdeliverables, and final outcome 

Plus, there are five process groups in PMBOK: Initiating the Project, Planning the Project, Executing the Project, Controlling & Monitoring the Project, and Closing the Project. Show that you completed a minimum of one task from every group.  

Final tip: keep project descriptions to around 500 words or less (but not less than 200 words.  

Fill Out the PMP Application with Confidence

At RMC, we’re here to support you as you work toward getting your PMP certification, feel free to contact us if you have questions about what it takes to get the right education, training, and experience in this area.    

Cate Curry
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