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PMP® Eligibility Requirements



This page outlines the requirements you must fulfil to be eligible to apply for the PMP examination including education (degree or not), training (such as our PMP courses) and documenting your work experience.

To apply for the PMP examination you must demonstrate the following requirements:

Requirements – Category 1
(Hold a baccalaureate degree or equivalent - the subject does not matter)
Experience 'directing and leading' project teams 4,500 Hrs
Number of unique months of non-overlapping project management experience 36 Months
Allowable timeframe for accumulating experience, prior to date of application 3 to 8 years
Formal, project management specific training contact hours (prior to application) 35 Hrs
Requirements – Category 2
(Hold a high school diploma or equivalent)
Experience 'directing and leading' project teams 7,500 Hrs
Number of unique months of non-overlapping project management experience 60 Months
Allowable timeframe for accumulating experience, prior to date of application 5 to 8 years
Formal, project management specific training contact hours (prior to application) 35 Hrs

If you are not a PMI member and intend joining; complete your PMI application first, receive your membership # and then apply for the PMP exam:
-  This means you only have one 'number' in the PMI system
-  Plus you receive the discount on the examination fee

Special test accommodations.  PMI have processes to provide exam access to individuals with documented disabilities. Arranging special access takes 30 to 60 days - details are available from the PMI website.




You need to demonstrate 35 hours of approved education. PMP training courses offered by Mosaic and other R.E.P.s (see more on PMI Registered Education Providers) are pre-approved by PMI for the designated Contact Hours in fulfilment of your PMP eligibility requirements. In the event of an audit, all that is required is a copy of our certificate.

The eligibility of contact hours from other training sources are the responsibility of the PMP candidate and will be determined on a case-by-case basis through the application audit process. You need to be able to demonstrate 35 hours of project management education that covers the 10 knowledge areas defined in the PMBOK® Guide and the five domains (process groups). This information needs to be entered into the application and in the event of an audit proof of attendance and a course transcript are needed. 

Eligible training hours and PDUs are assessed differently - many 'PDUs' will not count as eligible training hours needed to apply for a credential. For more on this see: PDUs and the PMI Examination Eligibility Requirements. Mosaic's exam prep courses are pre-approved by PMI as eligible training for the PMP examination. 



Experience - Headline Issues

  • Do not over apply - the application is a threshold process. There is absolutely no benefit in having more than the specified minimums.  Round out the last project or training that crosses the final threshold and STOP!
  • Every item entered in your application must be fully documented if you are audited.  If you enter 10,000 hours of experience and fail to document 500 you will fail the audit.
  • All of your project management experience must have been accrued within the last eight consecutive years prior to your application submission
  • Make 100% sure you can contact all of your referees. PMI do not like to accept substitute referees without very powerful extenuating circumstances.
  • Nothing is uploaded when you apply for a credential - everything is entered into web-forms. Supporting documents are only needed if you are in the random 10% selected for audit.
  • Your experience needs to be 'real':
    • You do not need hours against every line item only those that you worked on.
    • You do not need hours against every domain in every project, PMI's requirements are that overall you have at least 1 hour from one project in each domain.
    • Your descriptions need to conform to PMI's requirements (see below).
  • For full details, download the PMP Handbook


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Counting Months and Hours

When looking for 'hours', remember the five 'domains' or process groups apply to each phase of a project as well as to the overall project. And, the bulk of hours spent by candidates on project work would normally be attributable to the executing and controlling process groups. If you are working on multiple overlapping projects, every hour counts but each month is only counted once.

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The total number of hours worked on projects 1, 2 and 3 performing the tasks outlined in the figure above count towards the required total of 4,500 (or 7,500) required to be eligible for the PMP exam. However, the months of February and March can only be counted once towards the required total of 36 (or 60) non-overlapping months of project management experience. The 'months of experience' require you to be working on a project for some of the time within the month (not necessarily full time). The web-based application form automatically manages this process for you during your application.

Our experience verification spreadsheet helps you to tracks these requirements correctly before logging onto PMI's website: download our free experience verification spreadsheet



Documenting your experience

PMI is very particular on the way your experience is described in the examination application, this section provides guidance on what we see PMI accepting as appropriate - in the event of an audit PMI will determine what experience is acceptable.

As a start, all project management experience must have been accrued within the last eight consecutive years prior to your application submission. You must have some experience leading and directing project activities in all five domains (ie, process groups) somewhere in your project management experience submitted in your application - you need at least one hour against each domain on at least one project. However, on a single project, you do not need to have experience in all five process groups.

The two key documents you need to review are:

  • The Project Management Professional (PMP)® Handbook This contains valuable information on what is expected―refer to pages 6-9 specifically for how to describe your project management experience and education.
  • The Project Management Professional (PMP)® Examination Content Outline This defines the PMP examination syllabus but also describes the work you have to define that is relevant for the assessment - you only need some tasks in each domain, but work that is not related to a task in either a 'domain' or in the 'cross cutting' skills and knowledge section may not be seen as relevant.

The key element in defining your experience is that you lead and directed the work of a project:

  • A project is defined as: ‘a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result’ (PMBOK® Guide—Fifth Edition, p. 553).
  • Leading and directing the project is identified by the tasks, knowledge, and skills specified in the Project Management Professional Examination (PMP) Content Outline; which in turn is based on the PMP Role Delineation Study (PMP RDS). The PMP Role Delineation is an analysis of the 'job' of a project manager, based on global feedback that provides a blueprint for the PMP exam and links the exam questions to the role. 

The PMP Role Delineation states and PMI require that candidates for the PMP credential:

  • Perform their duties under general supervision and are responsible for all aspects of the project for the life of the project;
  • Lead and direct cross-functional teams to deliver projects within the constraints of schedule, budget, and scope - PMI's definition of cross-functional is confused, but you should seek to identify team members from different parts of the organisation (eg, other departments or the customer), or with different functional expertise (ie, skills or knowledge);
  • Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and experience to appropriately apply a methodology to projects that have reasonably well-defined requirements and deliverables.


These requirements mean you need to describe your area of management responsibility as a ‘project’; ie, a temporary endeavor to create a unique product service or result. In addition, to be eligible your experience:

  • Must represent professional and compensated work.
  • The tasks documented must be project tasks, and not routine, operational or administrative in nature.
  • You should include a very brief 'SMART' project objective. For example, Project XXX was to develop a cloud-based PMP exam simulator to help PMP candidates prepare for their exam by July 20??.
  • Each project must be documented individually (multiple projects should not be documented as one).
  • The hours of experience must be reasonable for the timeframe of the project (≈40 hours per week).
  • Project titles reflect the candidate’s true project role, and not their organizational role or function (ie, a test manager is still responsible for project managing the various testing projects under her control).
  • Your experience verification forms must identify hours against some of the specified tasks in each of the five 'domains' within a project's overall life cycle (the minimum requirement is 1 hour in each (% values are 'normal'):
    • Initiating processes: Recognizing that your project should begin and commit to do so (1% to 10%).
    • Planning processes: Devising and maintaining a workable scheme to accomplish the business need that the project was undertaken to address (10% to 30%).
    • Executing processes: Coordinating people and other resources to carry out the plan (20% to 90%).
    • Controlling processes: Ensuring that project objectives are met by monitoring and measuring progress and taking corrective action when necessary (10% to 60%).
    • Closing processes: Formalising acceptance of your project and bringing it to an orderly end (1% to 10%).
  • In each project, deliverables are documented against each domain (process group) in which hours are claimed.

Link your work to the PMP RDS tasks!  But be brief you only have 550 characters:

  • Include as many details as possible (comprehensible abbreviations are allowed), but keep the description at a high-level focused on the project tasks you led and directed.
  • Deliverables should be described in a manner that makes it clear to PMI what they looked like. Use terms from the RDS or PMBOK® Guide such as:
    • Project charter
    • (Cross-functional) team
    • Project lifecycle
    • Requirements
    • Deliverables
    • Scope statement
    • WBS
  • It has to be clear that you were indeed managing projects (ie, a temporary endeavor focused on creating a change) and not engaged in operational or administrative work:
    • Projects have names - use the name the project was called
    • Describe the project objective and the actual outcome (one short sentence for each)
    • Define the deliverables for each process group. You can use abbreviations for them: 
      • IN for Initiating 
      • PL for Planning 
      • EX for Execution 
      • MC for Monitoring & Controlling 
      • CL for Closing


You do not need to be the overall project manager!  You only need to be managing project activities; three examples:

  • The ‘project’ a test manager is responsible for involves:
    • Initiating the testing of software or an artifact;
    • Planning the test program - deliverable may be the test plan or an update to the 'project management plan';
    • Executing the test program by allocating work to team members with different/appropriate functional skills;
    • Monitoring and controlling the test program to ensure all tests are conducted properly and successfully - deliverable may be progress reports; and
    • Closing the test program by issuing the test report and archiving the test data.
    • The objective = ensure the project deliverable meets contract requirements.
    • The deliverable = Fully tested and documented product for transition to the client. 


  • The ‘project’ a software development team leader is responsible for involves:
    • Initiating the development work with her team – understanding precisely what has to be accomplished and agreeing this with more senior managers or the client;
    • Planning the development work (possibly in conjunction with the team for Agile ‘sprints’) - deliverable may be a work plan;
    • Executing the development by allocating work to team members with different/appropriate functional skills and, leading and supervising their work;
    • Monitoring and controlling the development work to ensure it is done properly and successfully - deliverables may include progress reports and project management plan updates; and
    • Closing the development by transitioning the code to the next phase of development and archiving any relevant information.
    • The objective = design and develop a functioning module for xxxxxx
    • The deliverable = operating software ready for integration into xxxxxx 


  • The ‘project’ a change manager is responsible for involves:
    • Initiating the change management initiative and agreeing on the scope with more senior managers - deliverable may be an agreed statement of work;
    • Planning the implementation of the change initiative - deliverable the change implementation plan;
    • Executing the change initiative by allocating work to team members with different/appropriate functional skills to develop and run training courses, conduct briefings and deal with issues - deliverables include training artifacts, etc.;
    • Monitoring and controlling the change management work to ensure the change is successful, adapting the work as needed to deal with circumstances; and
    • Closing the change initiative once the change has been ‘rolled out’ and is accepted by the people in the organization - deliverables may include documented lessons learned.
    • The objective = ensure the new system is integrated into the organization within the planned timeframe.
    • The deliverable = System operating effectively and benefits being realized. 

You should define your specific responsibilities against some of the ‘Tasks’ in the PMP RDS – download the latest version of the PMP Examination Content Outline from here. You do not need to reference every task, just one or two on each domain (process group) you are claiming hours against.

Then download our free experience verification spreadsheet to start sorting out your experience, instructions for its use are on 'Tab 1' in the 'blue box' (we are happy to review this once completed if it helps).



Required Documentation

The supporting documentation/information required by a candidate before applying for the examination is: -

  • Educational background (degree or diploma or equivalent for Category 1)
  • Experience verification form(s) meeting the requirements above + referees (usually  managers) to verify the time claimed for each project listed.
  • Proof of having successfully completed the required number of contact hours of project management education.
    • Any project management training is acceptable provided it covers the 10 knowledge areas from the PMBOK but you must have certificates to prove you attended the course and details of the course content.
    • If you require Mosaic's certificate to make up the 35 Hrs do not apply until the completion of the course - Mosaic's training is pre-approved by PMI for the 35 Hrs - if you are using our certificate you do not need any other training.
  • Potential candidates must also agree to abide by the PMI Code of Ethics: Download the PMI Code of Ethics



What next?

If you are eligible for the PMP credential and given the examinations appear to be of similar difficulty, our recommendation is to sit for the PMP exam - there is no point in taking the CAPM exam in preparation for the PMP exam later. See more on our Mentored Email™ course.


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However, if you are not eligible for the PMP examination, the CAPM exam does provide a good starting point for your career development, with a view to taking the PMP in 3 to 5 years time.  See more on our CAPM courses