What is the PMP Application Process?

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May 28, 2024

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As someone deeply entrenched in project management, I understand the importance of obtaining the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. However, getting a PMP Certification requires accurate planning, hard work, and adherence to the PMP application process. In this article, I will walk you through each step of the PMP application process, highlight common pitfalls to avoid, and shed light on what to expect after submitting your application.

What is the PMP Application Process?

The PMP application process is more or less the very first step of getting the PMP certification. It includes a series of steps, ranging from eligibility assessment to application submission, payment of exam fees, exam scheduling, preparation, and finally, the nerve-wracking PMP exam. Each step is crucial in ensuring candidates meet the stringent requirements set forth by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and are adequately prepared to tackle the exam.

Steps of PMP Application Process

Step 1: Eligibility Assessment

Even before the application process, ascertain whether you meet the eligibility criteria stipulated by PMI. To be eligible for the PMP exam, candidates must possess a secondary degree (such as a high school diploma, associate's degree, or global equivalent) with a minimum of five years of project management experience, or a four-year degree (such as a bachelor's degree or global equivalent) with a minimum of three years of project management experience. Additionally, candidates must have completed 35 hours of project management education.

Step 2: Preparation and Account Setup

Once eligibility is confirmed, the next step is thorough preparation for the application process. Create an account on the PMI website if you haven't done so already. This account will serve as your portal for submitting the application, scheduling the exam, and accessing invaluable study resources.

Step 3: Initiating Your Application

With your account set up, it's time to kickstart the PMP application process by selecting the "Apply for PMP" option. This will guide you through the application form, where you'll furnish personal information, educational background, project management experience, and other pertinent details.

Step 4: Education Background

This segment of the application requires you to provide comprehensive information about your educational background, including the highest level of education attained, institution name, degree earned, and graduation date. Accuracy and completeness are paramount in this section to preempt any delays in the application review process.

Step 5: Project Management Experience

Here, you'll document your project management experience, and submit details such as project titles, organization names, project durations, and a succinct description of your role and responsibilities. PMI mandates that candidates demonstrate experience in leading and directing project tasks across all five process groups: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.

Step 6: Educational Credentials

Candidates are required to document their project management education in this section, delineating any formal training or coursework completed to fulfill the 35-hour project management education prerequisite. It's imperative to include course titles, training providers, and completion dates for each attended course.

Step 7: Application Review and Submission

Upon completion of all application sections, carefully review your submission to ensure each bit of information is correct. Once you are done cross-checking, submit your application for PMI's review. The review process typically takes five to ten business days, during which PMI verifies the furnished information and ensures that candidates meet the eligibility criteria.

Step 8: Exam Fee Payment

Following the successful review of your application, PMI will dispatch an email notification containing instructions for payment of the exam fee. Presently, the exam fee for PMI members is $405 USD, while non-members are required to remit $555 USD. Adhere to the provided instructions to complete the payment process and proceed to schedule your exam.

Step 9: Exam Scheduling

With the exam fee settled, you are now required to schedule your PMP exam through the PMI website or by liaising with a Pearson VUE test center. Opt for a date and location that aligns with your preparation timeline and availability.

Step 10: Exam Preparation

As your exam date looms, devote ample time to rigorous exam preparation. Leverage the internet as well as offline sources for study resources, including PMI's official PMP Handbook, the PMBOK Guide, practice exams, and collaborative study groups, to fortify your understanding of project management concepts and acclimatize yourself to the exam format.

Step 11: Taking the Exam

On the designated exam day, arrive at the test center well in advance to complete the requisite check-in procedures. The PMP exam comprises 180 multiple-choice questions and spans a four-hour duration. Maintain a steady pace, carefully read each question, and judiciously allocate your time to maximize your attempts.

Step 12: Results and Certification

Upon completion of the exam, your results will be promptly delivered on-site. If you pass, congratulations are in order! PMI will dispatch a congratulatory email within a few days, accompanied by instructions for accessing your PMP certificate and digital badge. In the event of an unsuccessful attempt, candidates are allowed to retake the exam up to three times within one year of initial application approval.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in the PMP Application Process

Incomplete or Inaccurate Information: Exercise diligence in providing accurate and comprehensive information across all application sections to preempt any impediments in the review process.

Insufficient Documentation: Give detailed descriptions of your project management experience. Include specific examples of projects you've worked on and what you achieved. Since this section takes a lot of time to fill, many professionals become impatient and submit just the summary. Remember, this section is very important and you have to be as descriptive as possible.

Missing Application Deadlines: Adhere to stipulated application deadlines and submit your application well in advance to obviate any delays in processing and review by PMI.

Failure to Schedule Exam Promptly: Post-application approval, quickly schedule your exam to secure your preferred date and venue, thus giving yourself adequate preparation time.

What to Expect After Submitting Your PMP Application

Following submission of your PMP application, anticipate an email confirmation from PMI acknowledging receipt of your submission. Thereafter, PMI will review your application for precision and eligibility. Any identified discrepancies or issues will prompt PMI to solicit clarification or supplementary information from you. Upon approval of your application, you'll receive instructions for remitting the exam fee and scheduling your exam. Post-exam completion, candidates who have passed the PMP Exam will be swiftly greeted with their PMP certification and digital badge.


The PMP application process is the first step to becoming a certified Project Management Professional. By following the steps carefully and avoiding common mistakes, you can complete this process successfully. Remember, getting a PMP Certification is not a cup of tea and requires a lot of hard work, so approach it with enthusiasm, prepare thoroughly, and open doors to many opportunities for career advancement in project management.

As mentioned earlier, obtaining a PMP Certification can be a challenging process, but having a helping hand can make it easier. Enrol in StarAgile’s PMP Certification Training to learn from industry experts and access all study resources in one place. Our trainers will guide you every step of the way, from the beginning to even submitting your application form.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. PMP Application Process and Approval Questions

The PMP Application Process involves meeting eligibility criteria, completing an online application, and awaiting approval from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Approval questions typically focus on project management experience, including hours spent leading projects and specific outcomes achieved. Accuracy and detail are crucial for successful approval.

2. Within how many days should I finish my application once started?

It's recommended to complete your PMP application within 90 days of initiating it. This timeframe ensures that your application remains active and doesn't expire before submission. However, if unforeseen circumstances arise that prevent you from completing your application within this timeframe, you may contact PMI for assistance.

3. Can I edit my PMP application?

Yes, you can edit your PMP application after initiating it. PMI allows applicants to make changes and updates to their application information, including personal details, educational background, project management experience, and project descriptions. However, it's essential to ensure accuracy and completeness in your application to avoid delays or discrepancies during the review process.

4. How should I write my project descriptions for the PMP application?

When writing project descriptions for your PMP application, it's crucial to provide concise yet comprehensive details about your role, responsibilities, and contributions to each project. Focus on key aspects such as project objectives, scope, deliverables, stakeholders, and outcomes. Use action verbs to describe your tasks and achievements effectively. Additionally, emphasize your leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills demonstrated during each project.

5. How many projects must be shown on the PMP application? Is there a minimum and maximum number?

PMI doesn't specify a minimum or maximum number of projects required for the PMP application. Instead, candidates are encouraged to showcase their project management experience by documenting relevant projects that align with PMI's eligibility criteria. Quality of experience is prioritized over quantity, so choose projects that best demonstrate your proficiency in project management across the five process groups: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.

6. Can I have multiple projects on my PMP application? For example, would several 1, 2, or 3-month projects work?

Yes, you can include multiple projects on your PMP application, even if they vary in duration. PMI assesses candidates based on the quality and depth of their project management experience rather than the duration of individual projects. However, it's essential to ensure that each project description provides sufficient detail to demonstrate your role, responsibilities, and contributions effectively. Highlighting a diverse range of project experiences can enhance your application and showcase your versatility as a project manager.

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