PMP Exam Cost 2021 at a glance: Exam Fee, Training and Exam Prep Materials
The cost of PMP Certification does not just include the PMP exam fee. The PMP training and prep materials (books and practice exams) should be considered.
Updated in 2021: Getting PMP Exam certified is not just about paying the several hundred PMP Exam fee. This post on PMP Exam fee will give you an overview of the actual PMP certification cost involved, including the official PMP exam fee, study materials and training costs.
You can read more about my PMP certification journey as well as tips and tricks for the PMP Exam here.
- 1 PMP Certification Cost Consideration (Note: PMP Cost is NOT just the PMP Exam Fee only!)
- 2 PMP Exam Costs with Cost Saving Tips
- 2.1 1. Join PMI as a paid member (US$139)
- 2.2 2. PMP Certification Exam Fee (US$405)
- 2.3 3. Latest Edition of the PMBOK® Guide (Free for PMI Members)
- 2.4 4. Project Management Training Course (up to $1000+) – for the 35 Contact Hours and PMP Exam preparation
- 2.5 5. PMP Exam Prep Reference Book (Free to US$99+)
- 2.6 6. PMP Practice Exams / Mock Exam Questions (Free to US$139+)
- 2.7 7. Miscellaneous
- 3 How much is the PMP Certification?
PMP Certification Cost Consideration (Note: PMP Cost is NOT just the PMP Exam Fee only!)
Getting PMP certified is certainly not cheap, the PMP Exam fee (the computer-based) alone is US$405 (for PMI members) / US$555 (for non-members) as documented in the PMP Handbook:
|Exam Type||Exam Cost|
|Computer-Based Testing (CBT)|
– in an exam center or online exam
|US$405 (for PMI members at the time of making payment)|
|US$555 (for non-PMI members)|
|Paper-Based Testing (PBT) / Online||US$250 (for PMI members at the time of making payment)|
|US$400 (for non-PMI members)|
But that’s NOT the only cost you will have to pay: you will need also to pay for PMP Exam prep courses / books / sample practice exams, etc. The total cost of PMP Certification can be very expensive and unexpected (that’s my personal feeling after making up my mind to get the PMP title)!
My plan for getting PMP certified was on hold when I learnt that the required “35 Contact Hours” might cost me over US$1000 dollars for the face to face lectures (it was much later when I learnt that I could get the “35 Contact Hours” through online courses for the price of under US$200 that I could finally began my own PMP journey…)
PMP Exam Costs with Cost Saving Tips
It is hoped that with the following cost-saving tips on PMP, you would be able to achieve PMP success without breaking your bank. Links to free PMP resources are also included.
1. Join PMI as a paid member (US$139)
Joining PMI as a member is a MUST for every Aspirants (thought PMI does not require Aspirants to be PMI members). Read on to understand why.
Joining PMI is not a requirement for the PMP examination, yet the benefits you get far outweigh the cost for the first year of membership fee. The annual membership fee plus the 1st time registration fee currently is US$139. And you have the option of joining your local PMI Chapters with a fee that is different for different Chapters (note: joining the local chapter is not required — just pay the local chapter fee if you would like to join chapter activities; otherwise, just remove it from your membership fee).
For the PMP examination fee alone, the saving for being a PMI member (US$150 less) outweighs the first-year membership fee!
Being a member, you can download a free copy of the latest edition PMBOK® Guide (and other standards/guides published by PMI) which is a must for the PMP examination. Plus, after you have been PMP certified, you will also be able to gain the required PMP PDU (in education) for FREE through watching the webinars and joining the annual online conferences for members only.
I hate to say this but the PMI membership is a real bargain indeed.
(Note: the renewal fee for PMI membership is US$129 per year. I renew my PMI membership every year since the day of getting PMP Certified. The PMI membership fee is my only expenditure for getting education PDUs. I can get discounts on my PMP renewal fee and PMI-ACP® Exam fee. And more.)
2. PMP Certification Exam Fee (US$405)
The PMP Exam Fee indicated above (US$405) is the official PMP Certification exam fee for the computer based examination (CPT) for membership holders at Prometric exam centres or online.
For non-members, the exam fee is US$555. The difference of US$150 is enough to pay the first year of the PMI membership fee. That’s why the PMI Membership is a must!
PMI allows PMP aspirants to take up to 3 PMP Exams in the one-year eligibility period, and each exam retake (PMP re-examination or re-exam) costs an additional PMP Exam fee of US$275 (for PMI members) / US$375 (for non-members).
PMI has recently announced that the PMP exam can now be taken online 24/7 from anywhere with a computer and internet connection. Taking the PMP exam online can save you commute costs and even hotel expenses.
After considering the differential PMP Exam Fees for members and non-members, joining PMI as a member is a no-brainer for PMP aspirants!
3. Latest Edition of the PMBOK® Guide (Free for PMI Members)
The PMBOK® Guide is the official reference book for the PMP Exam (yet it is very important for PMP Aspirant to understand that the PMBOK® Guide is NOT the PMP Exam syllabus).
Nearly every Aspirants will read the PMBOK® Guide once or more during their PMP study. The PMBOK® Guide contains content that would not be found on other exam reference books and would appear in the real PMP exam.
Currently, the PMBOK® Guide is being sold for US$48.78 on Amazon (the Kindle version).
Though some PMPs would say they have never read the PMBOK® Guide and yet they could pass the PMP exam, you will feel more prepared and confident if you have read the PMBOK® Guide once or more in your preparation for the PMP exam (I did read it twice which had helped me to pass the PMP Exam in the first attempt with 4 Above Targets).
Good news for PMI members: the PMBOK® Guide can be downloaded FREE from the PMI website. You are also allowed to print a copy of the PMBOK® Guide from the digital copy for your own reference!
4. Project Management Training Course (up to $1000+) – for the 35 Contact Hours and PMP Exam preparation
PMI is providing a FREE bridging course for Aspirants which intend to take the PMP Exam on or before 18th April 2021! The course is about Agile and hybrid project management which has gained in importance in the new PMP Exam. Do take advantage of this FREE online pre-recorded course if applicable!
This is the lion’s share of the total PMP Certification cost. Some PMP bootcamps charge you over $1000 for 5-day workshops.
If you are comfortable with distance learning, online project management education is far a better choice as it is much cheaper than attending face-to-face lectures like PMP bootcamps. In 2021, though, PMI does not allow education providers to advertise their courses as PMP Exam Prep courses anymore. And such courses may seem to be less legitimate. However, if you are tight on budget and you can’t afford the bootcamps, you are highly advised to take online courses that may help you to prepare for the PMP Exam. I made use of the PM PrepCast™ for my PMP training which is indeed excellent in quality. I passed the PMP Exam in the first try/
You can still take pre-recorded online PMP Exam Prep courses but you will not be able to earn 35 Contact Hours. You will need to get the 35 Contact Hours from other means (e.g. University courses).
Don’t read the PMBOK® Guide on your own, get the advice from online pre-recorded courses or PMP bootcamps!
5. PMP Exam Prep Reference Book (Free to US$99+)
I purchased also The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try which is specially written to help you pass the exam and only the exam. Unlike other books on the market which contain tons of project management knowledge, this book by Andy Crowe contains all the necessary knowledge helping you prepare for the PMP exam and no more. It is an easy read.
If you would like just to read an exam prep book, this is my recommendation.
I have already uploaded my PMP study resources onto this website for fellow Aspirants (for FREE):
- 47+ PMP Commonly Confused Terms with Explanations and Examples – these 47+ PMP term pairs are those that are frequently confused by Aspirants. Just enough details have been included in the explanations with simple daily examples to illustrate their differences and similarities so as to help Aspirants to differentiate between the terms.
- PMP Glossary Flashcard from A to Z – an interactive online flashcard including most important PMP terms/concepts and their explanations. A great way to check your understanding of PMBOK® Guide.
- PMP Formulas for PMP Maths Questions – a consolidated list of all PMP formulas that are required for the exam with concise explanations on their meanings/applications.
- PMP EVM (Earned Value Management) Formulas Explained in Simple Terms – according to survey of Aspirants, one of the most headache problems for them is the EVM questions. This article aims to explain all the EVM formulas in simple terms with examples included to illustrate their application.
- 20+ PMP EVM Mock Questions with Explanations – practice makes perfect. After learning all the PMP EVM formulas, it is highly desirable to tackle some sample questions to test your understanding of the subject matter. These 20+ mock questions with detailed explanations cover all the EVM formulas.
6. PMP Practice Exams / Mock Exam Questions (Free to US$139+)
There are lots of free online PMP prep exam out there, I found some of the free PMP sample exams were very useful in helping me pass the PMP exam (list of FREE quality PMP sample practice exams). These free exams are of very high quality.
Taking PMP sample questions is a crucial part of your PMP preparation as you can understand your exam readiness through the results of your mock exams. Plus, many mock exams offer a very similar computer interface to the real PMP Exam that gives Aspirants invaluable practice using the CBT system.
Remember: practice makes perfect, especially the case for trying to pass the PMP Exam on the first try!
Should your PMP application get audited, you need to send your audit experience validation forms to your supervisors/previous supervisors and the whole package to PMI. This kind of fee is usually relatively minute.
And you may need to travel to the PMP Exam center or live in a hotel room adjacent to the exam center, etc. These costs vary greatly for different people and are not included in our calculation of the PMP Certification cost.
How much is the PMP Certification?
The table below will give you an analogous estimation of the lowest PMP certification cost:
|No.||PMP Certification Cost Items||Cost(US$)|
|1||PMI Membership Fee||US$139|
|2||Project Management Online Training Course||~US$300|
|3||PMP Exam Fee||US$405|
|Total PMP Certification Cost:||~US$844|
The combination of these three items is the minimal cost for the PMP exam success! But it is highly recommended to purchase also mock PMP exam questions banks / simulators in order to be best prepared. Saving this US$100+ only to have to pay the PMP re-examination fee (which is twice more expensive) is not a wise move, isn’t it?
Hope you have gotten a better understanding of the PMP Certification cost.
Wish you PMP success!
Note: it is tempting to think that taking the Paper Based Testing of PMP as it is far much cheaper than the Computer Based Testing but you have to fulfil the following conditions before you are allowed a seat at the PBT Centres:
- you are living at least 300 km from the nearest Prometric centre; OR
- your employer applies to administer the PMP exam to their employees in a batch; AND
- there are at least 10 candidates applying to sit the PMP Exam at the time and date of your chosen PBT Centre
So for the rest of us, just calculate the PMP cost with the Computer Based Testing fee.