If you’ve set your sights on earning your PMP certification for project management, it may seem like an overwhelming undertaking due to the requirements. Of course, this is precisely why the PMP certificate holds such weight in the industry. Someone with this certification is a skilled project manager that has all the necessary qualifications, including adequate training and relevant credentials.
What is Project Management Experience?
When reporting your experience for your PMP certification, you’ll be asked to list your experience in the following five categories:
InitiationStarting the project and defining the goals
PlanningDetermining the scope and creating the project plan, considering costs, quality, resources, and the timeline
ExecutionCompleting the project deliverables
Monitoring and ControllingMeasuring project performance and progress during the execution phase, and at the end of execution.
ClosingReporting on the outcome of the project and archiving it
Start by reviewing your past positions. Remember that you don’t need to have worked as a project manager to have performed relevant project management tasks and duties. You may already have some experience under your belt, but it doesn’t include operational, administrative, or routine tasks.
PMP Certification and Training Requirements
The PMP certificate has two requirements:
- 35 hours of project management education
- A specified number of experience hours
Simplilearn's PMP Certification Training Course can help you meet the requirement for the 35 hours of project management education, with 36 hours of instructor-led training and 29 hours of eLearning content. The course also prepares you for the exam with six hands-on projects and seven simulation test papers, along with a 100 percent money-back guarantee. You’ll walk away with all the preparation and confidence you need to conquer the exam and earn the PMP certification.
In addition to completing the required education and passing the exam, you’ll also need to have two to four years of project management experience. Depending on your level of formal education, the PMP requires a set number of hours of experience. With a four-year degree, you’ll need to provide 4,500 hours leading and directing projects, and without a four-year degree, you’ll need 7,500 hours, along with the 35 hours of education.
The required 4,500 hours for someone with a four-year degree will take about two and a half years of full-time work in the field. If you don’t have a degree and need the 7,500 hours of experience, this will require about four years of full-time work in the area. Now, you might ask, “how do I get the project management experience without my PMP Certificate?”
How to Get Project Management Experience Without a PMP?
First, you don't need to have previously had the title of the project manager to have project management experience. You likely have the experience already. Have you been a team leader? Have you participated in the testing or evaluation of a solution? Have you taken the lead in organizing a food drive or coordinating a donation effort? These things can all be considered project management experience.
If you don’t have enough previous experience to meet the PMP requirements, don’t fret. There are several ways to gain the knowledge you need:
Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to volunteer for managing “project-like” efforts. You might find that you can help set up a food drive for your child’s school, help your church set up their website, or help coordinate the efforts for a 5K run for a non-profit. All of these could be opportunities to gain the required experience.
Side Hustle Hours
You might be able to find a part-time side gig to lead or assist in a project management effort. If this is something you might consider, try searching on one of the many freelance job sites, such as Upwork or Freelancer.
Stepping Up at Work
Even in your current position, you might be able to volunteer to participate in a project. Remember that participation in execution (category #3) or monitoring and controlling (category #4) counts towards your experience requirements.
Attend Project Management Training
Attend project management training courses to learn the latest project management tools and techniques. These courses can be taken online or in person and will help you gain practical project management experience.
Join Professional Associations
Joining professional associations such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) can provide you with access to project management resources, training, and networking opportunities. You can also volunteer for positions within these organizations to gain additional project management experience.
Seek a Mentor
Look for a project management mentor who can guide you and provide you with feedback on your project management skills. This can be someone within your organization or a mentor from a professional association.
What Qualifies as Project Management Experience?
Project management experience typically involves managing projects through their entire life cycle, from conception to completion. This involves planning, organizing, leading, and controlling resources (such as people, time, and money) to achieve specific goals and objectives within a defined scope, timeline, and budget.
Some examples of project management experience include:
- Leading a team to complete a specific project, such as designing and implementing a new software system, launching a new product, or organizing a large-scale event.
- Managing multiple projects simultaneously, ensuring that each project is on track and within budget.
- Creating and managing project plans, timelines, and budgets.
- Monitoring project progress and making adjustments as required.
- Coordinating project stakeholders, such as team members, clients, vendors, and contractors.
- Conducting risk assessments and creating contingency plans to mitigate potential issues.
- Communicating project status and updates to stakeholders through various mediums such as emails, presentations or meetings.
Jobs that Give You Project Management Experience
If you’re looking for a new job opportunity or to change careers, some positions have project management responsibilities without the project manager title. Consider roles such as:
Personal assistants are organization gurus. You’ll hone your time management and organization skills, and will likely have multiple small projects that require right project management tasks and responsibilities.
Business analysts are often tasked with gathering requirements that ultimately become part of a project, or are assigning tasks during the execution of a project.
Event organizers do a lot of planning and coordinating, just like a project manager. Each event will take on similar traits as a project. Events have a start, and a finish, a budget, a scope, and they require coordination to get them from idea to reality.
Office Administrator or Manager
Both roles have a varied set of responsibilities, most of which are valuable to a project manager. This role requires excellent communication and organization skills, along with the ability to plan and execute larger tasks. And like the other roles mentioned here, you’ll likely lead small projects that will require project management skills.
Training coordinators have the benefit of being both parts of a larger project and managing your own. On large projects, training is often a component, allowing you to participate in a project. The task of developing a course or training plan for a department or group can be viewed as a project, requiring a similar set of skills as a project manager.
Find Our PMP Training in Top Cities
Remember that it takes two to four years to gain the experience required for the PMP certificate. As you take steps toward your goal, keep an accurate record of the hours you put in on projects, tracking them according to the experience category. This extra effort will make completing your application less challenging.
Don’t let the experience requirement of the PMP deter you. Taking steps to prove you meet the criteria only makes the PMP certificate more valuable. If it were easy, everyone would have one.
Simplilearn’s PMP Certification Training can help you meet the requirement for the 35 hours of project management education. In this course, you’ll have access to 36 hours of instructor-led training (one more hour than required for the PMP certification) and 29 hours of eLearning content. Get all the preparation and take up the PMP Practice Test to build the needed confidence to conquer the exam and earn the PMP certification.
1. What is project management experience?
Project management experience refers to the knowledge, skills, and expertise gained through planning, organizing, leading, and controlling projects. It involves managing resources, setting goals and objectives, identifying and managing risks, communicating effectively with stakeholders, and ensuring that projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the desired quality standards.
2. How do you write project management experience?
To write project management experience, start by outlining the projects you have managed, including their objectives, timelines, and budgets. Describe your role in each project, highlighting your responsibilities, accomplishments, and challenges. Use action-oriented language and quantify your achievements where possible. Emphasize your use of project management methodologies and tools, and highlight your ability to effectively communicate with stakeholders and team members.
3. What is good project management experience?
Good project management experience involves successfully leading projects to achieve their objectives on time, within budget, and to the desired quality standards. This requires a combination of technical knowledge, interpersonal skills, and the ability to effectively manage resources and stakeholders. Good project managers also continuously seek to improve their skills and knowledge through ongoing learning and development opportunities.