How to Get the 35 Contact Hours Certification for PMP? Decomposition!

PMP 35 Contact Hours Online

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 Authorized Training Partner (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



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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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12 Responses

  1. Selvam says:

    Good Day Edward,

    I would like to have a 35 hours of project management education from you. Please let know about fee and more details.


  2. Balaji says:


    Thanks for your review. One question I have, is about the last paragraph in your review, where you say we don’t need to study or go through all the 50 hours of learning for the PMP exam or for the 35 contact hours. Can you shed more details on what sections may not be absolutely necessary just to get the 35 contact hours?

    Best regards

    • Edward Chung says:

      Thanks Balaji for your comments. If you look at the detailed course outline of the PM PrepCast available at the PM PrepCast website (, Modules 30, 40 and 50 are NOT directly about the PMP Exam syllabus. You may skip these sections if you have not enough time. But I would highly advise you to go through Module 50 and 40 as these contains knowledge in Agile Project Management (a popular exam topic recently) and valuable tips on the PMP Exam.

      Wish you PMP success!

      • Balaji says:

        Edward, Thanks for your reply. Yes, I will go through the entire prepcast for the exam, but for getting the 35 hours quickly, so I can complete the online application, I would possibly skip the sections you have mentioned.
        Also, I have another question. I have the 4th ed of PMBOK with me, which I used for CAPM. I see that there is no marked difference between 4th and 5th ed. Would you suggest getting the new edition?

        Best regards

      • Edward Chung says:

        Dear Balaji,

        Actually, you may not need to go through all the sections of PrepCast before attempting the final exam if you need to get the certificate in a hurry. As the final exam of PM PrepCast is available 2 weeks after purchase and you can attempt as many times as needed, you are highly advised to try the final exam as early as possible. Once you get a pass, you will be able to get the 35 Contact Hour Certificate which can facilitate your PMP Exam application.

        However, please go through the PM PrepCast if you have time as the information contained is very useful for the PMP Exam. And DO get the PMOBK Guide 5th edition as there are quite a few changes in the terminologies which is crucial for getting the right answer in the PMP Exam.

        Again, wish you PMP success!

  3. Shayla says:

    Hello Edward, thank you for the insight. I am preparing to take my first official PMP training next week. I am looking at an online course through which will also earn the 35 hours required. Do you think they are reputable source?

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Shayla, sorry that I cannot offer much advice on this as I have not taken the training from PMTraining before. But I have tried their mock exam questions bank for PMI-ACP exam. The questions are okay but there are typos and repetition from time to time. I am not sure if their PMP online course is of similar quality.

      Wish you PMP success!

  4. Joydeep C says:

    Hi Edward, thank you for this article. One thing you don’t mention though, is did PMI ACTUALLY accept those 35 contact hours from PM PrepCast? That is key before I would consider purchasing that product.

    Also, in response to Harith’s reply, I think that having a shorter course than 35 hours would be cheating the system, and would be unfair to both project management professionals and also to the projects the unprepared professional will be managing in the future. A podcast is already not an ideal learning medium, since it doesn’t have interactivity.

    I think what Edward was trying to find was economy and convenience to those who can’t spend $3,000USD or sit in a classroom or on the computer for X number of hours per day to still learn the material and legitimately attain PMP certification. Trying to absorb the substantial PMBOK in less than 35 hours (which is already a short time) is questionable.

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Joydeep,

      Thanks for your insights. I totally agree with you on the cons of distance learning. But for me, as the pros for distance learning far outweighed the cons, I chose PM PrepCast. I got my 35 Contact Hours from the PM PrepCast and I was selected for the PMI audit. I just printed out the PM PrepCast certificate of completion and PMI readily accepted that since the publisher of PM PrepCast is a PMI R.E.P. (meaning that PMI has pre-approved the PM PrepCast).

      Wish you PMP success!

  5. Harith says:

    Dear Edward,

    There was a free 2 day workshop by a local community organization (they invited a PMP trainer) which I attended and got certificate for 15 hours. Do you know if there are organizations which offer 20 hours (i.e. less than 35 hours) so I can take it and fulfill the 35 hour requirement?

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Harith,

      Sorry that I currently do have such courses in mind. Most online PMP courses will give you all the required 35 contact hours. You may search for project management short courses in your local area that last for 20 hours.

      Wish you PMP success!