PMP / PMBOK Guide FAQ 3 – Project Management Experience for PMP Certification

pmp / pmbok guide faq 1

In order to be eligible for the PMP® Certification Exam, an applicant must have at least 4500 hours of project management experience (for degree holders) or 7500 hours of project management experience (for secondary degree holders).  Is there any requirement for the project management experience to be gained after completing the education (i.e. after the degree/secondary degree is conferred)? I recently received an email enquiry exactly about this and thought that some PMP® aspirants may have the same query. The question and answer is recorded below for reference for PMP® aspirants.

Question on PMP® Project Management Experience

Hi Edward,

How are you? I’m glad that I found your website, I was looking for some info about PMP® requirement until I found you.

From the PMP® Handbook we know that the PMP® pre-qualification requirements are either

  1. 4500 hours + college degree + 36 month of non-overlapping experience … OR
  2. 7500 hours without a college degree


All along I knew (or maybe assumed) that for the first condition stated above, the 4500 hours must be earned AFTER obtaining a college degree. Is this the case? Can these EXPERIENCE hours be earned while someone is in college?

I’ve been working full time with the same company since 2008 and going to school at the same time (taking online and evening classes). Do I need to accumulate 4500H or 7500H. I have enough work hours for both situations I just want to follow the rules and avoid being audited.

Thank you very much.

Bouchaib Afrej

After looking again at the wording of the requirements for the project management experience in the PMP® Handbook in details again, I replied the email as follows:

Hi Bouchaib,

Thanks for your email.

According to the PMP® handbook (which is the official guide for the PMP® Certification), there is NO requirement for the experience to be gained after getting the college degree. The education background and working experience are treated separately. For the working experience, the only requirement is that the experience should be accumulated over the last eight consecutive years.

Based on the above, it can be concluded that you will only need 4500 hours of project management experience in order to qualify for the PMP® exam.

Wish you PMP® success!

Edward Chung

Further Question About Project Management Experience

The following question about the sample for project management experience description was received as a follow-up.

Thanks for your reply Edward. I greatly appreciate your response 😉 Edward, do you by chance have a sample of your PMP® application? especially the work experience. Thank you very much for helping.

In fact, a sample of my working experience description for PMP® Certification has already been posted on my website.

Hi Bouchaib,

Please refer to this post (around the middle of the page):

Hope this helps!

Edward Chung

In essence, the job experience description for PMP® Certification application should include the following:

  • a brief description of the project, objectives, key deliverables, project outcome and your personal role
  • the description should make use of the “language of the PMBOK® Guide” (i.e. the key terms about project and planning tasks, deliverables, etc.) to demonstrate you really understand project management according to the PMI’s perspective

Wish this little piece of tips will be able to help PMP® aspirants to pass the PMI’s inspection of the application form more easily!

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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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