How Much Time, Effort and Money is Required for the PMP Credential?

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pmp certification input money and time

Earning the PMP® Certification involves a lot of money, time and efforts. It is imperative to estimate whether your budget and study time allow you to take on PMP® as your next professional achievement.

This article gives will you some ballpark figures on the money, time and efforts required for writing the PMP® exam and maintaining the PMP® Certification to help you estimate resource availability.

Time and Study Effort Inputs

It is often said that the PMP® exam is very hard and requires a lot of preparation (and that’s why the PMP® Certification is such a valuable professional recognition).

But as someone who are new to the PMP® Exam, the actual length of study required usually cannot be determined until you are half way in the study.

Luckily, a recent survey of 100 PMP® who successfully passed the PMP® exam gives us some hints on the amount of time required. The survey shows that PMP® aspirants may need as short as a week of study or as long as over 6 months of preparation to pass the PMP® exam. The average time required is around 2 months with 3 hours of studies every day (you may refer to the survey for more detailed discussion).

The average PMP® Certification Aspirants need around 180 hours of studies for successfully pursuing the PMP® Certification.

Money Input – PMP® Certification Cost

The minimal payable items required for the PMP® certification exam for most people are listed below:

  1. Becoming a PMI member (US$139) — you will get saving for the PMP® Exam Fee
  2. The PMP® Certification Exam Fee (US$405) — this is for PMI members only, non members will need to pay US$555
  3. 35 Hours Project Management Education (~US$200, depending on courses) – It is advisable to take one even if you have previous project management education as exam prep courses will help you to prepare and pass the PMP® exam
  4. PMP® Exam Simulator (cost depends) — that’s the mock exams to be tackled before the real PMP® Exam to understand if you are ready for writing the real one (there are some available for free)
  5. PMP® Exam Prep Study Guide (~US$100) — the textbook for your revision

By adding up the above items, the minimum PMP® Certification cost would be around US$1000. You may optionally want to study in a classroom environment with an instructor (that’s around US$1000, no to mention the travel cost and days off).

Detailed discussion of the cost involved in getting PMP® Certified and cost saving tips can be found here.

PMP® Re-certification Inputs

Please bear in mind that passing the PMP® exam and getting the PMP® certificate is not the end.

PMI requires PMP® to obtain at least 60 PDUs in each 3-year re-certification cycle (1 PDU is equivalent to 1 hour of project management education/service). You will need to spare at least 60 hours each 3 years to collect, record and report the PDU you have gained during the re-certification cycle. Luckily, this is not a large amount of time.

Also, some PDUs may cost you money but yet there are numerous ways to obtain PDUs for free.

Being a member of PMI, for example, you get you enough free PDU every 3 years (essentially this is NOT free as you will have to pass the membership fee US$129 X 3 for each 3-year cycle, i.e. US$ 387). Of course, if you would rather attend courses that are more tailored to your needs, the course fees have to be taken into account.

What’s Next?

If PMP® is your next professional target and you are able to set aside the money and time to prepare for the PMP® exam, it is time to actually begin the PMP® journey – to know how to get 35 contact hours for project management education and select a PMP® training suitable for you.



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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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