An Analysis Of Certifications From PMI

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11th Mar, 2021
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24th Jul, 2017
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An Analysis Of Certifications From PMI

The Project Management Institute (PMI®), the leading professional body for project management, defines and administers the standards and practices related to project management, agile management and various aspects of project management related to scope and time risk. The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) and the various guides related to risk management, schedule management, business analysis etc. provides knowledge on various concepts, tools, techniques and methodologies related to each profession.

PMI® offers a whole variety of professional certifications based on the aforementioned documentation.  Although a few of these certifications are popular all over the world and are considered as the de-facto certification for the profession of project management, many a professional do not know the value of each certification and most of all the learning they would obtain by going through the material related to them.

This article is an attempt to list down the certifications offered by PMI along with the requirements to apply for and attempt each certification. Obtaining the key credentials such as CAPM®, PMP®, PMI-ACP® and even PMI-PBA® not only provides the recognition in the profession of project management but also recognized the individual as someone who is knowledgeable with the principles and best practices pertaining to the profession and that he or she is capable of adapting to each situation.

PMI® Certifications are based on competency of each individual and is mainly in line with the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®). The current version of PMBOK® is version 5.0 with version 6.0 scheduled to be released in 2017. Even the credential such as PMI-PBA®, PMI-SMP®, PMI-RMP® etc. expects the participant to go through relevant knowledge areas in the PMBOK® along with the other recommended reading material.

The certifications from PMI® and the requirements are as listed below.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®)

CAPM® is the recommended certification for a professional who is new to the profession of project management or is someone attempting a transition from another profession to a role as a project manager or coordinator.
To earn your Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification, you need to meet the education requirements, and pass the CAPM® examination

The requirements to sit for CAPM® are as follows.

  • 23 contact hours of Project Management Education obtained within the last 2 years time period from the time of application.
  • A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent) with 1500 hours of experience in being part of a project.

The CAPM® exam is available as a PBT or CBT format and is of 3 hours duration, consisting of 150 theory and scenario based MCQ questions. The pass mark is approximately 67% (though not published). The individual must retake the exam every five years in order to maintain the credential.

Project Management Professional (PMP®)

PMP® is the most sought after certification for a project manager who has a considerable amount of experience as a project manager and is looking for a certification to further enhance his reputation and knowledge. By obtaining a PMP certification, you will learn valuable skills that will in turn help you to evaluate whether or not that potential team member will be able to work well with everyone.

The prerequisites for PMP® are as follows.

  • 35 contact hours of Project Management Education obtained within the last 2 years time period from the time of application.
  • A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent) with 7500 hours of experience in leading and directing projects.                                                                                                                                                                   Or

A four-year degree from any field with 4500 hours of experience in leading and directing projects.

The PMP® exam is available as a PBT or CBT format and is of 4 hours duration consisting of 200 theory, scenario and case study (1 to 1 ½ pages) based MCQ questions. The pass mark is approximately 65% (though not published). In order to maintain the certification, the individual must report 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every three years.

PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA®)

A relatively new addition to the list of certifications offered by PMI®, the PMI-PBA® certification is a certification for business analysis which is rapidly gaining popularity. PMI-PBA® is a certification suitable for anyone playing an analyst or consultant role or dealing with scopes and requirements in the context of a project.

The eligibility criteria for PMI-PBA® are as follows.

  • 35 contact hours of Education in Business Analysis obtained within the last 2 years time period from the time of application.
  • A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent) or 7500 hours of business analysis experience with 2000 hours of experience by working on project teams.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Or

A four-year Bachelor’s degree or global equivalent with 4500 hours of business analysis experience with 2000 hours of experience working in project teams.

The PMI-PBA® exam is available as a PBT or CBT format and is of 4 hours duration consisting of 200 theory, scenario and case study (1 to 1 ½ pages) based MCQ questions. The pass mark is approximately 65% (though not published). In order to maintain the certification, as with PMP® the individual must report 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every three years.

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP®)

Agile project management comes in multiple flavours- Scrum, Kanban, Lean, DSDM, XP, Pair Programming to name a few. Each Agile method has its own set of principles and practices that drives delivery of projects.  PMI-ACP® recognizes the professional’s knowledge and skills on Agile techniques. It is one of the fastest growing and highly recognized agile certifications in the world.

The eligibility criteria for PMI-ACP® are as follows.

  • 21 contact hours of training in agile practices obtained within the last 2 years time period from the time of application.
  • 2000 hours of general project experience gained by working in project teams with an additional 1500 hours experience working on agile project teams or with agile methodologies.

The PMI-ACP® exam is available as a PBT or CBT format and is of 3 hours duration, consisting of 120 theory, scenario and case study (1 to 1 ½ pages) based MCQ questions. In order to maintain the certification, the individual must report 30 PDUs in agile topics every three years.

PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP®)

A professional with a risk management professional certification is recognized for the capability to identify and assess project risks, mitigate risks and respond to such situations. PMI-RMP® is one of the key certifications of professionals involved in performing risk management activities especially in large multi-national organizations.

The eligibility criteria for PMI-RMP® are as follows.

  • A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent) with 4500 hours of risk management experience, along with 40 contact hours of training in risk management obtained within the last 2 years time period from the time of application.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or

A four-year Bachelor’s degree or global equivalent with 3000 hours of risk management experience with 30 hours of risk management education.

The PMI-RMP® exam is available as a PBT or CBT format and is of 3 ½ hours duration consisting of 170 theory, scenario and case study (1 to 1 ½ pages) based MCQ questions. In order to maintain the certification, the individual must report 30 PDUs in risk management topics every three years.

PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP®)

PMI-SP® is suitable for professionals who are involved in developing, managing and maintaining project schedules and would like to get a professional certification to back it up. The certification enlightens participants on concepts in managing activities, resources, dependencies, schedules and ultimately the outcomes of the projects and will equip them with best practices on improving project schedule management.

The eligibility criteria for PMI-SP® are as follows.

  • A secondary degree with 5000 hours of project scheduling experience, along with 40 contact hours of training in project scheduling obtained within the last 2 years time period from the time of application or a four-year Bachelor’s degree with 3500 hours of project scheduling experience with 30 hours of project scheduling education.

The PMI-SP® exam is available as a PBT or CBT format and is of 3½ hours duration, consisting of 170 theory, scenario and case study type MCQ questions. In order to maintain the certification, the individual must report 30 PDUs in project scheduling topics every three years.

Program Management Professional (PgMP®)

PMI’s Program Management Professional certification is ideal for senior project management professionals who are managing multiple related projects which may span multiple functional units or even organizations. PgMP® equips the professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills in managing such high valued complex projects and gets him recognized as a seasoned and experienced project management practitioner.

The eligibility criteria for PgMP® are as follows.

  • A secondary degree with 6000 hours of project management experience with 10500 hours of program management experience                                                                                                                                                                                                  Or

A four-year Bachelor’s degree with 6000 hours of project management experience along with 6000 hours of program management experience.

The process of obtaining PgMP® is different from the certifications discussed previously. Awarding the credential occurs in stages where the individual must

  • First face an evaluation conducted by a panel
  • Sit for the certification exam which has 170 MCQ questions within a 4 hour time duration

In order to maintain the credential, the professional must earn 60 PDUs on program management during every 3-year review cycle.

Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP®)

PfMP® is the highest certification offered by PMI® and is suitable for professionals holding C-Level positions in organizations. Portfolios of projects involve large strategic initiatives, which encompasses business units, functional units, organizations which may span across multiple geographies and cultures and requires significant and advanced competencies in coordinated management of such initiatives.

The eligibility criteria for PfMP® are as follows.

  • Possess a minimum of 8 years of professional business experience
  • Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or equivalent)
  • 10,500 hours of portfolio management experience                                                                                                                                                       or
  • A 4 year Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)
  • 6000 hours of portfolio management experience

The process of obtaining and maintaining the PfMP® is similar to PgMP®. Awarding the credential occurs in stages where the individual must

  • First face a review conducted by a panel
  • Sit for the certification exam which has 170 MCQ questions to be completed within a 4 hour time duration

In order to maintain the credential, the professional must earn 60 PDUs in portfolio management topics during every 3-year review cycle.

Obtaining and maintaining a PMI® credential is not an easy task. It requires meticulous planning, diligent preparation and experience to obtain the credential, followed by continuous professional development to maintain the same. However, if you manage to obtain and maintain some of these credentials, you are sure to succeed and thrive in the competitive world of project management.

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Rumesh Wijetunge

Chief Innovation Officer - Zaizi Limited, Chief Operating Officer - LearntIn (Pvt) Ltd., Director /

Rumesh is an IT business leader with over 12 years of industry experience as a business analyst and project manager. He is currently the CIO of Zaizi Limited, a UK based data management company heading the operations in Sri Lanka, the COO of LearntIn, a global training institute based in Sri Lanka and is also a lecturer / trainer at multiple private universities on management, IT, business analysis and project management subjects. He is the current president of the IIBA Sri Lanka chapter and is one of the most qualified and sought after trainers in Sri Lanka. Refer his LinkedIn profile for more details and to see more articles he has written on linkedin