How to Get the 35 Contact Hours Certification for PMP? Decomposition!
Introduction: This is the third part of my preparation for the PMP® Examination Application. You can read more about my PMP® exam journey here.
I have always wanted to gain the PMP® credential for several years yet I was struggling with the requirements – the PMP® 35 hours of project management education. I found it very hard to set aside the time for gaining the required contact hours. This would mean around 15 sessions of 2.5 hour lectures or 4 full-day boot camps. Attending PMP® preparation training courses is a major commitment for the busy aspirant project managers nowadays, i.e. no O.T. for every night of the lectures or a consecutive annual leave of 4 days for study. This is especially true for working project managers in Hong Kong as O.T. is a norm.
Fortunately, the decomposition technique suggested by PMI for breaking down scope into manageable work breakdown structure (WBS) and subsequently into activities also applies to the 35 contact hours!
Obtain PMP® 35 Contact Hours Online
Let me explain how. PMI does not specifically require the contact hours to be attainted through formal face-to-face lectures. That gives the possibility of gaining the required PMP® 35 contact hours online. There are currently two major types of remote education: online video lessons and podcast lessons for online/offline viewing. The former requires that you are staying online for studying (within the period of subscription usually for 30 days, 60 days or 90 days, the longer, the more expensive) while the latter can be downloaded to any portable media player (coincidentally abbreviated also as PMP®) and you can own the files for good which offers more flexibility.
I hear you’re asking “hey, but there is no face-to-face contact, will PMI accept it?”. I had the same question too. But after a thorough search through the internet, I am convinced that PMI recognizes both modes of education. PMI allows online/podcast education provider to register as PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.).
I got 4 Proficient and 1 Moderately Proficient in my PMP® Exam, browser here for my study tips, notes and free exam prep materials.
Decomposing the PMP® 35 Contact Hours at Your Will
With the flexibility provided by podcast PMP® lessons, you may study for 30 minutes on the MTR, 15 minutes while walking, 30 minutes at lunch and 45 minutes before bed. That would add up to a total study time of 2 hours each day.
The podcast PMP® lesson I chose for my preparation of PMP® Exam (PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition) is the PM PrepCast™. Considering that the cheapest face-to-face PMP® course here costs over US$500 for 36 hours of lectures, the podcast PMP® lesson is a real bargain. Also most local PMP® courses are taught in Cantonese while the examination is written in English (in spite of the fact that you can choose Chinese Language Supplement while registering for the examination), an English PMP® course will definitely better prepare you for the exam success.
The PM Podcast contains all the subject matters required for sitting the PMP® Exam plus many more lessons on how to apply the project management knowledge in practical real-life situations. The contents and presentation are excellent! I learnt the ins and outs from the PMBOK® Guide guide through the enthusiastic and humorous presentation of Cornelius Fichtner, PMP®, CSM. Cornelius uses everyday English during the presentation that I could follow every lesson without difficulty. The online PMP® course is very useful not only for the PMP® Certification but also my daily project management work. More than 27,000 students have enrolled in the program to-date.
For the 35 contact hour certificate, you can get this by passing an online examination after 2 weeks of purchasing the podcast. The exam consists of 25 questions and is quite easy. I tried and passed the exam while I was only just half-way through the podcast. Rest assured that you can take this examination for an infinite number of times to pass it without additional cost.
The podcast contains over 140 video and audio lessons, with a total air time of over 50 hours. You do not need to listen to every lessons to pass the PMP® Exam but the extra contents will equip you with the working level knowledge allowing you to apply what you have learnt in real work situation. I am particularly impressed with the discussion of Critical Chain Method and how it can shorten the project duration. In my view, this is the best way to get the PMP® 35 contact hours online. You might want to read my review on PM PrepCast™.
Further reading: Detailed comparison of top online PMP® Exam Prep training courses