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Episode 457: Do I Qualify for The PMP Exam? (Free)

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The Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam is not an easy exam. It is an advanced, experience-based exam that you can only take if you can successfully show that you meet all the requirements.

And the requirement that most candidates have a hard time with is the need to show at least 4,500 (in some cases even 7,500) hours of leading and directing projects. Even though candidates know all of their projects and how many hours they have worked on, they find it difficult to quickly identify if their experience hours actually count.

In this episode, Cornelius Fichtner helps you answer the question Do I Qualify for the PMP® Exam? by walking you through this simple, five-step process:

  1. Know the definition of "Project Manager"
  2. Download the PMP Handbook
  3. Make a list of your projects
  4. Download the PMP Exam Content Outline (ECO)
  5. Bring it all together

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Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Webinar Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: In this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, I’ll introduce you to my simple five-step approach if you determine if you qualify to take the Project Management PrepCast (PMP)® Exam.

Hello and welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™ at This is Episode #457 and I’m Cornelius Fichtner. Thank you for once again joining me today.

Now, the Project Management Professional, the PMP® Exam is not an easy exam. It is an advanced, experience-based exam that you can only take if you can successfully show that you need certain requirements. And the one requirement that most candidates have a hard time with is the need to show that you have at least four-and-a-half thousand, in some cases even seven-and-a-half thousand hours of leading and directing projects. And even though candidates really know all the projects that they have worked on, what exactly that they have done during this project work. It’s really hard for them to make the connection and say now: ‘All that work that I’ve done here, does this experience really count towards my PMP® Exam application?’ Hmm, but worry no more. Help is here. I have developed a simple five-step approach so that you and everyone else can quickly verify that you qualify.

What you are going to see is a recording of a live event that I did a little while back both on Facebook and YouTube. And as always with lots and lots of questions from the audience.


Cornelius Fichtner: Hello everyone! And welcome to today’s live streaming event. Do I quality for the PMP® Exam?. That is a question that I as a PMP trainer get quite often. So the intent today is to show you how to easily determine if you meet the PMP eligibility requirements.

Welcome! Welcome! My name is Cornelius Fichtner, and I have been a PMP® trainer since about 2006, 2007, 2008, something like that, so quite a while. And my claim to fame is here on the screen. I am the host of The PM PrepCast™ where I’ve helped 50,000 people prep for their PMP® Exam. But I also do host The Project Management Podcast™, so hello to all my Project Management Podcast™ listeners out there who are interested in becoming PMP certified.

Alright! I would also like to welcome everybody here on Facebook and on YouTube if you have any questions, please feel free to just type the questions into the comments on YouTube and on Facebook. I will bring them up. I will try and answer them live here on the air. I also have a colleague of mine, Shannon, who is joining us today and she will be looking at your comments and answering as many as she possibly can. Here are the learning goals of today’s webinar.

First of all, at the end of this webinar, you will be able to name the most competent person to determine your exam qualifications. And second, in about three to four minutes from now, I will show you the recommended steps in determining whether or not you qualify to take the PMP® Exam. But before we get there: Hi, Qasim! Nice to have you back! I believe you were here last time. Somebody is joining us. Qasim is joining us here on Facebook.

So let’s take a look at the agenda first, what are we going to be doing? Quick introduction here, don’t worry, just a minute long or so. And then we’re going to jump straight into the main topic, the qualification sections here where I’ll introduce you to the most competent person who is the person who is most competent to determine whether you qualify and I’ll show you the five steps to follow. Then I also want to look at a few what-if scenarios, and finally, I have a couple of links for you to remember. Hello also to Osamah who also joins us here on Facebook.

Okay! So, here is what I’m getting. As a PMP trainer, it is not unusual that people come to me and ask me questions like this one here: “Is business analyst experience considered for the PMP® Exam?” Or this one here: “Does work experience as a Scrum Master count towards Project Management experience?” Or: “Can you please review my resume and tell me if I qualify?” and then there is this one here as well: “Is it safe to assume that services provided by a PMO can be treated as a project to qualify for the PMP® Exam?” And this one here is also quite common: “I have a total experience of 10.1 years, but my designation is senior software developer. Am I eligible?” So what is becoming quite clear from these few questions here is that we have confusion, uncertainty, and frustration. Okay well: “Do I qualify? Do I not qualify?” Oh, we just got another one from Tammy Cox, very similar to the ones that I just posted. “Does teaching project management at the university level qualify as experience?” Okay. So this is another one that I can add to the list that you have just seen.

So my intent over the coming 30, maybe 45 minutes depending on how many questions you bring up is to show you a way out of this confusion, uncertainty, or frustration. Got another here from Arthur: “Does 35 years of military service as a senior office translate at all?” Okay! Don’t worry, Arthur, by the end of this presentation, you will know exactly what to do in order to determine whether it is.

Okay, so! But before we get there, let me first introduce you to the most competent person who can truly determine if you qualify. That person is, believe it or not, you! Because you know your projects best. You understand your experience best. And you know all the initiatives, all the projects that you were in charge of. No matter how long you and I jump on a phone call, there is no way that you can explain everything to me in detail, right? And that makes you the most competent person to determine whether or not you qualify for the PMP Exam. Not me, not PMI, not your PMP trainer, it is indeed you. The good news, it’s easy, okay? It’s really easy to do this. If you know what steps to follow, okay? Here they are.

Okay! I developed a simple, five-step approach to take you from not knowing whether or not you qualify to being certain in a relatively short time. Okay. Oh and one more thing quickly here, I’m going to be focusing primarily on explaining this based on somebody who is preparing for the PMP® Exam or considering preparing for the PMP Exam. This same approach goes for whether you take the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) ® or the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) ®, or the PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)®, right? The steps are exactly the same that you can see here on the screen. So you need to know the definition of a project manager. You want to download the PMP Handbook, make a list of your projects, download the PMP® Exam Content Outline and then bring all of these together. Okay. Let’s take a look at each of these steps one by one.

But I have a step zero here for you and this is the step in which I’m going to tell you what not to do. That is an important step to get across. Alright! Do not contact PMI and ask PMI about what your qualification is and whether you qualify and because all PMI will give you is a relatively generic response. PMI will simply tell you: “We are sorry. We cannot ascertain this. You have to first submit your application, and then during the application review process, that particular question will be evaluated by our experts and then we will let you know. So before you submit the application, PMI won’t even talk to you about whether or not you qualify.

And also, do not ask your PMP instructor about whether you qualify before you go through the five steps here. And trust me, by the time you know and understand these five steps, if you’ve gone through it, you don’t have to talk to your instructor anymore.

Alright, step one: What is a project manager? That’s the first thing that you have to understand. According to the PMBOK® Guide, the project manager is the person assigned by the performing organization to lead the team that is responsible for achieving the project objectives. Okay.

A couple of important definitions here: What is the performing organization? That’s the company that you work for. Okay. The performing organization, that is the company, the organization that has put you in place as the project manager. When I say ‘put you in place,’ correctly speaking, they have assigned you to lead the team on this particular project. Okay. How is this done? Sometimes, this is done officially in a project charter but here is an example, real-life example, I recently hired somebody in our own company and this is what I wrote in a Slack message to everybody. Please extend a warm welcome to, Janine Farrelly.” Janine is reporting directly to me and she is leading the project to help us develop the capabilities, to deliver live, virtual, online training. This is a project that’s currently actually going on. She’s an actual project manager, this is the message with which I have assigned her to be the person to lead the team in order to get this project done. Okay. And let’s also not forget as the project manager, you are responsible for achieving the project objectives. Okay.

Now, it says project manager here at the top of this definition, please ignore titles. You could be called a project leader, technical leader, supervisor, administrator, director, a team leader, whatever it is. Ignore the title because the title is unimportant. What’s important is the work that you do, the responsibility you have.

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP® Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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