Getting Your Project Management Certification

Are you interested in becoming a certified project manager? In this video, Jennifer Bridges, PMP, shares advice on how and where to get your certification.

In Review: Getting Your Project Management Certification

Jennifer acknowledged that if you’re interested in certification that generally means you’re committed to being a professional project manager or you already are operating in the field of project management.

She clarified the point that some universities or colleges offer project management certificates, which are distinct from official certifications from the primary bodies.

There are two major certifying bodies: PRINCE2 and the Project Management Institute (PMI). PMI offers a certification called the Project Management Professional (PMP), the primary credential for professional PMs.

The PMP certification has certain eligibility requirements that are outlined in a guide available on the PMI website. There you can see what category applies to you, which will depend on the level of experience and education you’ve completed so far.

The standards taught in pursuit of the PMP are outlined in the Project Management Book of Knowledge Guide (PMBOK®), also by PMI, which is a good resource whether you’re an apprentice or journeyman in the field.

Jennifer went into greater detail about how your educational background informs the certification category you’re eligible for, if you are interested in the other types of certifications. And if you’ve watched her video then you already have an interest, which we encourage you to pursue. Good luck!

Pro-Tip: Whether you have an associate, four-year or graduate degree, it’s important that you know the facts. There are certification pathways that may not be best suited to your level of education OR your professional development needs. Check with the industry standard practices in your field to determine the right path for you.

Thanks for watching!


Hello. My Name is Jennifer Whitt, Director of One of the best calls I can get is when someone calls me to ask, “How do I get certified as a project manager?” I love that question, because now I’m talking with the person who’s committed to project management.

There’s a little bit of confusion out in the market though, however, because some people can get confused on universities or colleges offering a project management certificate. Therefore, people think that maybe they are certified, but that’s not actually being certified. You can get a project management certificate from a university or college or other entity, but what we’re talking about is a professional certification.

There are two certifying bodies. One is by the PRINCE2 organization which we will talk about in another session, but this one I want to focus on, the project management certification by the entity the “Project Management Institute”. Again, people ask “How do I get certified as a project manager?” They ask “Who? Who is the certifying body?” The certifying entity is the Project Management Institute, or better known as PMI for short. Their website is They have a certification. The certification is called the Project Management Professional. Sometimes you’ll see PMP as the credential. You may see a project manager using their name with the PMP at the end. That means they are certified.

There are eligibility requirements. Sometimes I get calls from people saying they want to change fields, maybe they are in some other field, and they call and say they want a job as a project manager, so they want a project management certification. Well, it actually works in reverse. You may think intuitively that you need a certification in order to go into that field, but for the eligibility requirements, PMI, the Project Management Institute, as part of their requirements, requires that you have project management experience before you can earn your certification.

There are some eligibility requirements that I want to talk about, because that’s where some of the confusion really begins. I brought this. If you go to you can go to the certification area and what you want to reference is the Project Management Professional handbook. It looks like this. This one was current. I just downloaded it, but always, for the most current version, go to and always reference this.

The eligibility requirements in the handbook. There’s a section. This handbook tells all about the certification, how you get it, how you qualify and, once you do become PMP certified, how to maintain your credentials. If you look here, there’s a page identified here and here’s some of the elements they talk about.

The three areas that you need to have eligibility requirements in. One is education, what is your education background, your project management experience and your formal project management education. They have it in two categories, because different people come in. Remember Project Management Institute is a global international organization. There are chapters all over the world. They recognize that some people may have gone to college, maybe they haven’t, so they found a way to have credentials for people in both categories.

When you are looking at the handbook, you look for “which category do I fall in?”, so start with the education background. For those people who have a secondary degree, meaning a high school diploma or an Associate’s degree, there are global or international requirements that are similar to that, or if you may have a four year degree, meaning you may have a Bachelor’s degree, again, there’s a global equivalent to that. That’s how you start.

If you have the secondary degree, the project management experience requirement is 75 hours, so it’s a minimum of five years over 60 months, which comes out to be 7500 hours and the education you need is 35 contact hours of formal project management training. That means that it needs to be based on the PMI, the Project Management Institute’s, standards which are outlined in the PMBOK Guide. The acronym is PMBOK, Project Management Body of Knowledge. The training needs to be based on those credentials, because that’s what the test is going to be testing you on. The “contact hours” means contact with instructors. Many of the online programs do not qualify for that, because it must be a contact hour.

If you are in the four year degree category, they require less hours, because some of the training you receive earning your degree counts toward the credential requirement. It’s a minimum of three years or 36 months or a total of 4500 hours and then again the 35 contact hours of formal education. Again, a “contact hour” meaning contact with an instructor, “formal” being based on the Project Management Institute standards outlines in the PMBOK Guide, the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

Some people may look at this and say “Wow. Well, I don’t quite yet qualify for that.” and even with these three categories there’s another requirement that PMI says you need to have managed projects from beginning to end of a project. There are some other items that need to be looked at, but some people say “Well, I don’t qualify for either the education experience or the education here.” There is an alternative.

There is another certification that you can reference in the handbook or on the site and it’s the CAPM. It’s the certification the you earn prior to, or as you are preparing for the PMP certification.

That’s a little bit about how to become certified as a project manager. Those are some of the common questions we have. Again, always reference the PMI website, and also knowing that there is an alternative. Again, there is another certifying body by PRINCE2. You can Google more information about PRINCE2 and we will be addressing that certification in a different whiteboard session.

I’m excited for those of you who seeking this. If you’ve watched this video, you are obviously interested in becoming certified. We’ve found that employers and job opportunities, that’s one qualifying piece of information or credential that you can have that you can stand out and can help manage your projects better.

If you are seeking to become certified as a project manager and you need tips, tools, techniques or training or maybe some experience online with software, we hope that you’ll visit us at

Related Posts

Back to Blog

Get the Best PM Tools for Your Team

Start a Free Trial