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PMI® certifications

By Simon Buehring on 09 Oct 2019

PMI certifications

The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers several project management certifications. PMI is the American not-for-profit membership body for the project management profession.

The PMI is best-known project management professional body with chapters of members across the globe.

You can prepare for your PMI certification online by taking a PMI course offered by a Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.), or you can self-study.

PMI certification pre-requisites

There are 8 PMI certifications in total which are described below. Each one has one has a set of pre-requisites which must be met before you can gain certification. These are usually a combination of experience, qualifications and passing the relevant examination.

We currently offer a range of online PMI courses. These are online self-learning courses that can be completed anywhere in the world.

Project Management Professional (PMP)®

PMP is the most well-known PMI certification. Over 750,000 people have gained PMP certification. In the Project Management Salary Survey (2018), people holding PMP certification on average earned 20% higher salaries than those without.

It is designed for practicing project managers responsible for all aspects of a project. PMP certification indicates that you speak and understand the global language of project management.

Pre-requisites

  • 35 hours of project management education; and either,
  • A secondary degree and 7,500 hours of experience leading or directing projects; or,
  • A four-year degree and 4,500 hours of experience leading or directing projects.

To gain PMP certification you must also pass the 4-hour PMP exam (200 multiple-choice questions). In your PMP exam you will be tested primarily on your deeper knowledge of the PMBOK® Guide.

Maintaining PMI certification

To maintain certification, you must gain 60 PDUs every 3 years.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®

CAPM is the entry-level PMI certification in project management. It is suitable for aspiring/current project team members or project managers. Apply for this certification if you’d like to manage larger projects and gain more responsibility or add project management skills into your current role.

CAPM certification indicates that you have knowledge of the principles and terminology within the Project Management Body of Knowledge® Guide (PMBOK® Guide) - an American-based standard for project management.

Pre-requisites

  • Either have 1,500 hours of project experience and a secondary degree; or,
  • 23 hours of project management education.

To gain CAPM certification you must also pass the 3-hour CAPM exam (150 multiple-choice questions). In your PMP exam you will be tested primarily on your deeper knowledge of the PMBOK® Guide. The CAPM exam is available as an online proctored exam.

Maintaining PMI certification

To maintain certification, you must re-take the CAPM exam every 5 years.

Program Management Professional (PgMP)®

PgMP certification is an advanced qualification for senior project and programme managers. You should apply for this certification if you want recognition of your ability to manage multiple, related projects which align results with organizational goals.

Pre-requisites

  • 6,000 hours of project management experience; and either,
  • A secondary degree and 10,500 hours of program management experience; or,
  • A 4-year degree and 6,000 hours of program management experience.

To gain PgMP certification you must also pass the 4-hour PgMP exam (170 multiple-choice questions). You must pass a panel review evaluation before sitting the PgMP exam.

The PgMP exam is not written according to any single text or reference, so candidates need a broad and deep understanding of project and programme management.

Maintaining PMI certification

To maintain certification, you must gain 60 PDUs every 3 years.

Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)®

PfMP certification is designed for senior project professionals managing portfolios of projects and/or programmes. PfMP certification shows your advanced competency in the coordinated management of one or more portfolios to achieve strategic objectives.

Pre-requisites

  • A minimum of 8 years professional business experience; and,
  • A secondary degree and 10,500 hours of portfolio management experience; or,
  • A 4-year degree and 6,000 hours of portfolio management experience.

To gain PfMP certification you must also pass the 4-hour PfMP exam (170 multiple-choice questions). You must pass a panel review evaluation before sitting the PfMP exam.

Maintaining PMI certification

To maintain certification, you must earn 60 portfolio-related PDUs every 3 years.

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®

PMI-ACP certification is designed for people working on or managing Agile projects. You should gain this certification if you want formal recognition of your knowledge of agile principles and your skill with agile techniques.

Pre-requisites

  • 2,000 hours of general project experience (or current PMP or PgMP certification); and,
  • 1,500 hours of agile project experience; and,
  • 21 hours of training in agile practices.

To gain PMI-ACP certification you must pass the 3-hour PMI-ACP exam (120 multiple-choice questions). The PMI-ACP exam is available as an online proctored exam.

Maintaining PMI certification

To maintain certification, you must gain 30 agile-related PDUs every 3 years.

PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)®

PMI-PBA certification is aimed those who are working with stakeholders to define requirements, shaping project outputs and driving intended business outcomes.

Pre-requisites

  • 35 hours of business analysis education; and either,
  • A secondary degree and 7,500 hours of business analysis experience; or,
  • A bachelor’s degree and 4,500 hours of business analysis experience.

To gain PMI-PBA certification you must also pass the 4-hour PMI-PBA exam (200 multiple-choice questions).

Maintaining PMI certification

To maintain certification, you must gain 60 PDUs related to business analysis every 3 years.

PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)®

PMI-RMP certification is for those with advanced risk management skills. It is designed for project managers and other professionals to prove their ability to identify and assess project risks, mitigate threats and capitalize on opportunities.

Pre-requisites

  • A secondary degree, 4,500 hours of project risk management experience and 40 hours project risk management education; or,
  • A 4-year degree, 3,000 hours of project risk management experience and 30 hours project risk management education.

To gain PMI-RMP certification you must also pass the 3.5-hour PMI-RMP exam (170 multiple-choice questions).

Maintaining PMI certification

To maintain certification, you need to earn 30 risk management-related PDUs every 3 years.

PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)®

PMI-SP is designed for project professionals with advanced project scheduling skills. Aim for this certification if you have advanced knowledge and experience developing, managing and maintaining project schedules.

Pre-requisites

  • A secondary degree, 5,000 hours project scheduling experience and 40 hours of project scheduling education; or,
  • A 4-year degree, 3,500 project scheduling experience and 30 hours of project scheduling education.

To gain PMI-SP certification you must also pass the 3.5-hour PMI-SP exam (170 multiple-choice questions).

Maintaining PMI certification

To maintain certification, you must earn 30 PDUs related to project scheduling every 3 years.

PMI certification and careers

All the PMI certifications requires proof of related experience and education. This makes them popular qualifications for professionals seeking to prove their worth to employers and advance their careers.

Although PMI certification is valued worldwide, it is especially desirable in the US, Middle East and Asia.

Comparing PMI and other certification

This table compares PMI certification against other popular project management certification:

QualificationAccreditation bodyPre-requisiteIndustryExamsSuitable forWhat is taught
CAPM PMI Project management experience and required education levels. All Multiple-choice Current or aspiring project managers in America, Africa, Asia, Middle East Common project management techniques and knowledge areas.
PMP PMI Project management experience and certain education level. All Multiple-choice Current project managers in America, Africa, Middle East, Asia How to manage and lead projects using best practice techniques and knowledge areas.
PRINCE2 AXELOS Foundation level: none. Practitioner level: requires Foundation. All Multiple-choice Current or aspiring project managers or team members. Especially popular in UK, Europe, Australia, NZ, South Africa. The PRINCE2 framework and its application.
AgilePM APMG Foundation level: none. Practitioner level: requires Foundation. IT or creative. Multiple-choice Current or aspiring agile project managers or team members. How to manage Agile projects.
APM PFQ APM None All Multiple-choice Current or aspiring project managers in the UK Awareness of project management and terminology.
APM PMQ APM Some project management experience is recommended. All Written Current or aspiring project managers in the UK Common project management techniques and knowledge areas.

CAPM®, Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®, PfMP®, Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)®, PgMP®, Program Management Professional (PgMP)®, PMBOK®, Project Management Body of Knowledge®, PMI®, PMI-ACP®, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®, PMI-PBA®, PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)®, PMI-RMP®, PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)®, PMI-SP®, PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)®, PMP®, Project Management Professional (PMP)® are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

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