How to Get the Required 35 Hours of PMP Training Cheap and Easy?
The PMP® training required for Project Management Certification is termed as “35 Contact Hours of Project Management Education” by PMI in the PMP® Handbook.
The term “contact hours” creates a lot of confusions as “contact” usually means direct contact, many PMP® aspirants assume that the education must be obtained from a classroom (sadly that was the very reason why I postponed my PMP® Certification preparation for over 1 year as I could not set aside the time to attend project management training classes… )
The reality is that PMI does NOT stipulate that the PMP® training must be obtained through face-to-face classroom education, it allows the project management education to be taken in any form as long as the course involves an assessment at the end (e.g. online project management training with mock exams or podcast style training with a final exam, etc.).
Types and Benefits of PMP® Training to Get the 35 Contact Hours
PMP® project management training can be broadly divided into three types:
- Classroom Face-to-face Training
- Online Training (2 types)
- Online Course
- Downloadable PodCast Training
No matter which type of training you choose, you are highly recommended to find those offered by PMI R.E.P (Registered Education Providers) as their courseware has been accredited and approved by PMI. The contact hours obtained in such way are deemed to be pre-approved by PMI (i.e. you can satisfy the PMI audit requirement by simply presenting the course completion certificate issued by a PMI R.E.P.).
If the project management training is not provided by PMI R.E.P., you will have to research for yourself whether the whole course or only part of the course fulfils the definition of “Contact Hours” (i.e. project management training) and get ready the course outline, description and details of the course to be prepared for an audit.
Benefits and downsides of the various types of training are listed below for your comparison:
1. Classroom Face-to-face Training
Face-to-face exam prep course is the more traditional type of PMP® training in which an instructor presents to a group of students and answers any questions the students may have.
- The instructor can attend to the questions and queries of individual students in an interactive way.
- One may be able to find a study partner from the course to co-study to PMP® success.
- The instructor or your fellow classmates may impose certain pressure on you to do the homework and reading along the course.
- Most of Aspirants would have taken face-to-face training classes before.
- Some face-to-face training may be organized in a bootcamp format in which the class runs for 4 days in a row and the students will take the actual PMP® exam on day 5. This arrangement allows the students to focus fully on the PMP® exam for the whole week. It is often reported that PMP® bootcamps score a higher pass rate.
- Face-to-face PMP® courses are very expensive, often around US$1000 or above.
- If there is none PMP® exam prep course available in your area, chances are that you will need to travel a long way to the classroom.
- If a classmate of you is a slow learner, the course progress may be adversely affected. The teacher will have to take care of the slow learners to make sure they understand the subject matters.
- In addition to the course duration, Aspirants will need to also account for the time spent on transit from and to the classroom.
- Busy professionals may not be able to take several days off to attend the bootcamp type classroom training.
2. Online PMP® Training
Online PMP® training and downloadable podcast PMP® training both offer flexibility not achieved by classroom training, students are able to watch the video lessons on their intelligent phones (e.g. iPhone, Andriod, Blackberry) and watch the lessons on the go whenever they have free time.
- Online PMP® training is much cheaper than normal classroom training.
- Downloadable podcast lessons allow the students to study anywhere, anytime (even during commuting and driving) using an iPod or intelligent phone.
- Video lessons are also great for visual learners as there are lots of illustrations and charts.
- Unlike classroom training, online PMP® training allows students to proceed at their own pace without affecting others.
- The best part is that one can repeat a lesson to further understand the topic whenever needed.
- Allows busy professionals to obtain the required contact hours without causing disruptions to their lives.
- The instructors may not be able to answer your questions interactively as you may need to ask the questions through email or discussion forums.
- Online courses require self-discipline. For those who have not taken an online course before, they may find it hard to progress through the course as there is not a course schedule to follow. They will have to plan the lessons themselves.
FAQ: Contact Hours vs PDU
The confusion between contact hours and professional development units (PDU) arises from the fact that the same PMP® training course can allow different people to obtain either contact hours and PDU (but not simultaneously).
Aspirants and PMP® training providers alike may be confused. I have seen some training institutes advertise their PDU courses to Aspirants saying that they can earn the 35 PDUs for PMP® application. Of course, this is wrong!
But it is not difficult to differentiate between the Contact Hours and PDUs. Just remember:
- If you wish to obtain the PMP® credential, you need “Contact Hours” (i.e. 35 contact hours of project management education).
- If you have obtained the PMP® credential, you need “PDU” (i.e. 60 PDU in 3 years) for your PMP® Certification renewal.
So, if you are reading this PMP® guide, you should aim to get the 35 PMP® Contact Hours.
Once you have identified your preferred way of obtaining the 35 contact hours of project management education for your PMP® Exam, take action now to begin your PMP® journey.