3 Myths That Are Discouraging You to Become PMP Certified
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PMP certification can help you big time with your career. It gives you so many benefits like an opportunity for a salary increase, promotion, and expanding your portfolio.
A professional who has PMP certification is globally recognized to handle and manage projects. It proves your expertise in the following areas:
- Project management
- Time management
- Risk management
- Quality control
All these skills can add value to your own CV and your company or organization. If you have experience in project management and you have the proficiency in handling projects and team related issues, then you can definitely go for the PMP certification.
This will not just boost your credentials, but most importantly, improve your knowledge and skills in your current career.
However, there are so many myths and misconceptions about how to be eligible for the PMP certification. And one of the most common misconceptions is that you need a project management title to be qualified for the application.
Myth #1: You have to be a project manager
If you’re not a project manager, are you still qualified to apply for the PMP certification?
Absolutely. You don’t need a project management title to be PMP certified. The word ‘project manager’ doesn’t need to appear in your resume for you to be eligible for the PMP exam.
This is the common misconception about the PMP certification, making aspirants hesitant to apply. But the truth is, aside from project managers, many other professionals are eligible to take the PMP certification.
Writers juggle a lot of tasks revolving around the content they create. They already know how to keep track of their tasks and manage their time.
A PMP certification just proves your ability to work with teams to complete content projects.
Marketers and marketing managers are expected to have experience in managing marketing and technology projects. Obtaining your PMP certification will prove that you’re capable of juggling multiple projects without compromising the quality and timeliness of your work.
PMI has a broad range of definitions of what constitutes a project. But it’s basically about anything that involves deliverables and deadlines. As a marketer, the management of the process of any deliverable can count as ‘leading and directing projects’.
Software Developers and Engineers
For software developers and engineers, PMP certification might not be the first certification that comes to mind. But being PMP certified can give you so many advantages in your career.
Every software development or maintenance project follows a project lifecycle. It’s a set of techniques to help you identify the scope of the project, the effort that needs to be executed, and make sure the work is done correctly.
Developers and engineers are already project managers in their own right. The PMP certification just proves your ability to see the big picture every time.
As an IT manager, you’ll be responsible for overseeing multiple projects. PMI’s CAPM certification will demonstrate you how to handle and manage a product or service lifecycle.
IT professionals can also take the PMP certification exam. It requires more experience and background in project management compared to CAPM, but this will give you extensive advantage in your IT career.
PMI does not limit the PMP certification for employed professionals. Unemployed individuals can also apply for the PMP certification as long as they can comply with the PMP exam requirements in terms of professional experience.
Even if you’re currently unemployed, you can still apply for the PMP certification. PMI will just ask your previous supervisors to endorse your professional experience in case you’re subjected for an audit.
Myth #2: Experience in all 5 process groups in every project
Based on the previous PMP certification requirements, an aspirant who has a 4-year degree should have a minimum of 4500 hours of leading and directing projects and 7500 hours for those who have a high school diploma.
But just recently, PMI updated the PMP requirements and removed the required 4500-7500 hours of leading and directing projects, adding a new path which allows postgraduate aspirants to apply for the PMP certification with reduced requirements.
Now, aspirants who have a 4-year bachelor’s degree must have 3 years of project management experience, 5 years for a high school graduate and 2 years for those who have a postgraduate degree.
But what if you’re not sure if you have any project management experience? This all applies to those who were never called as ‘project managers’. Are they qualified? Of course.
Even if ‘project manager’ doesn’t appear in your resume, you can count your experience in working with projects towards your certification. To understand more, experience is broken down into five separate categories.
- Initiation – This is the time when the project was introduced to you.
- Planning – In this phase, the full scope of your project was clearly defined.
- Execution – With all the important details outlined, the work begins.
- Monitoring and Controlling – This is the phase where you review and regulate the progress of the project.
- Closing – This is the point when the client signs off, as the project ends.
It’s not necessary to cover all these five phases in one single project. Also, having more experience on one phase of the project than others is also okay. In fact, you should.
What counts as project management experience?
You need to obtain the minimum years of experience to meet the PMP experience requirement which will allow you to gain your PMP certification. As discussed, you’ll need 2-5 years of project management experience depending on your educational background.
The experiences you’ve mentioned in your application must cover all the five phases which are indicated in the PMBOK Guide. However, it’s not necessary for all the phases to be in one single project.
With all the phases mentioned above, there are several ways to obtain your project management experience.
Even if you’re not managing projects, you can still participate in other phases like execution, or monitoring and controlling.
If you’re currently not managing a project at all, or managing projects part-time, you’re collecting hours slower compared to those who are working full-time. There are several ways to expedite the process.
- By changing your role – The most effective way to earn hours faster is by changing your role. You can discuss your career development with your employer by stating that you’d like to provide more value to your company by leading and directing projects.
- By changing your company – In case you didn’t get the chance to change your role in your current company, you might have to shift to another one. By changing your company, you might find better opportunities and negotiable terms and conditions your current company can’t give you.
- Volunteering – It might not be a good idea to work for free, but being a volunteer is also a great way to obtain experience. You can check for volunteering opportunities with your local PMI chapter. This will help you to obtain the necessary hours and expose you to additional benefits.
As you work towards certification, make sure to get a clear log of your hours for every project you’re working on, separating them into the correct categories. This will make the documentation easier.
Myth #3: You have to be a college graduate
Another misconception is that you have to be a college graduate before you can apply for the PMP certification. This is not true. Even high school graduates can apply as long as they meet the experience requirements.
And just recently, PMI released an update to the PMP certification requirements which allows aspirants who have a postgraduate degree to apply for the PMP certification. This will allow them to complete a reduced requirement since they only need to obtain a minimum of 2 years of project management experience.
To be eligible for the PMP certification exam, you’ll have to comply with the educational and professional experience requirements. All project management experience must be taken during the last eight consecutive years before the date of your PMP application.
A salary survey conducted by PMI shows that PMP certified professionals tend to have a higher salary compared to their counterparts. Companies give high credits to those who passed the PMP certification because they know PMI has a very strict application and audit process for education and experience requirements.
A PMP certification in your resume will prove your prospective employer that you have a certain level of practice and knowledge on project management. There are two paths of eligibility requirements you can take.
Path 1: Four-year degree
You should hold a bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent with at least 3 years of project management experience and 35 hours of project management education.
Path 2: High school diploma
If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you can use your high school diploma instead, with at least 5 years of project management experience. This must include 35 hours of project management education.
Path 3: Postgraduate degree
A postgraduate degree is also acceptable for the PMP certification. To apply, you only need to have at least 2 years of project management experience and 35 hours of project management education.
Meeting the 35-hour contact hours
You’ll need to complete 35 hours of project management education to comply with either of the three paths mentioned above. You’ll be required to put in the start date, end date and name of the course provider and training course when filling up the PMP application form.
Any training that covers the nine areas in the PMBOK Guide qualifies. This will prove that you’re eligible to sit for the PMP certification exam.
To obtain the 35 contact hours, you can enroll in a PMP certification training program. This will not just fulfill your requirements, but will also help you prepare for your PMP exam. From there, you can also get some support from experts that can help you nail the certification.
You don’t have to be a project manager to be PMP certified. Every professional who’s engaged in complying with tight deadlines and managing multiple projects is eligible to take the PMP certification.
Does your role comply with the eligibility requirements above? Then go for your PMP certification and improve your professional career now! It’s best to apply for the PMP certification when you think you’re ready so you have the confidence to nail it in your first try.
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