FAQs on PMP Exam Eligibility — Myths and Misconceptions

Are you Eligible for the PMP Test? Top 10 Queries Answered

The very first step towards PMP Certification is certainly to determine when you are eligible for writing the Exam. The PMP Handbook put the certification eligibility requirements as :

  1. A university degree plus 3 years (at least 4,500 hours) of project management experience OR
    a high school diploma plus 5 years (at least 7,500 hours) of project management experience; AND
  2. 35 Contact Hours of project management education (read here for ways of getting this)

Most Aspirants cannot judge whether they are eligible for the Exam with the above two requirements as there are a lot of myths and misconceptions. This post aims to clear the roadblocks in your Certification journey

Common questions on PMP Exam eligibility

I am not working as a Project Manager and I am not qualified.

  • Not true. Otherwise the certification title would be known Project Manager Party.
  • The fact is PMI does not limit the Certification for people titled with project manager, all professionals tasked with project management responsibilities overlooking the project from initiation to closing which meet the minimum number of hours/duration would satisfy the requirement.

I need to submit details (e.g. project management plans) for the application.

  • Not true.
  • PMP application is trust based. PMI assumes that all Aspirants are telling the truth. PMI chooses a small portion of applicants for audit as a last resort to safeguard the quality of Certification.
  • Even when chosen for the audit, there is no need to provide project details or documents as these may be confidential. PMI asks for only the signature of your supervisors/colleagues to verify your project experience.

I am unemployed and I cannot apply.

  • Not true. 
  • Every project management professional with at least 3 years totalling 4,500 hours (for degree holders) or 5 years totalling 7,500 hours gained over the pass 8 years are eligible to take the Exam. Yet, if you are unemployed, you stand a higher chance to pass the PMP Exam as you can devote more time and efforts into your exam studies than your counterparts.
  • Getting PMP Certified will increase your chance to find a great job later on.

Getting PMP Certification is very expensive.

  • Not true.
  • Every Aspirants can get PMP Certified without breaking the bank as PMI does not require students to purchase expensive textbooks or attend expensive bootcamps. In fact, Aspirants may get certified with less than US$1000 (my exam cost breakdown). It all depends on how well you spend your money wisely on exam prep courses and resources.

I need to take a project management class in a classroom in order to satisfy the 35 Contact Hour requirement.

  • Not ture.
  • PMI allows Aspirants to take classroom courses, online instructor-led courses or even on-demand/online PMP (comparision of online PMP courses) to fulfil the Contact Hour requirements. PMI recognizes the qualifications obtained through these means equally.
  • In fact many of the online training courses are offered by PMI Authorized Training Partners (R.E.P.) — which is a symbol of guarantee for the effectiveness and quality of the courses offered.

PMI application Audits are difficult to pass.

Student projects while studying at universities are valid working experience.

  • Not true.
  • PMI only considers project management experience from work. You will need a supervisor to validate your actual working experience for you. Your university professor cannot.


If you still have PMP application questions not answered, please ask your question in the comment section below. I will answer them asap.

Wish you PMP success!

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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4 Responses

  1. Hi in the previous orgnanization, I have headed few projects like retention management, Productivity improvement etc. can I consider them as a project for PMP?

  2. Ernest Okolie says:

    I am an electrical engineer and I have extensive experience in project management. I have great resources in the form of project management books, training DVDs and study guides written by PMPs. Can’t all that serve as my 35 contact hour PM education if i read through all of them?