How to Get Project Management Experience for PMP Certification

If you’ve set your sights on earning your PMP certificate 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. 

PMP Certification and Training Requirements

The PMP certificate has two requirements:

  1. 35 hours of project management education
  2. 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?”

Looking forward to getting certified in Project Management? Check out the PMP Certification Training Course. Enroll now!

Getting 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.

When reporting your experience for your PMP certification, you’ll be asked to list your experience in the following five categories: 

  1. Initiation

    Starting the project and defining the goals 
  2. Planning

    Determining the scope and creating the project plan, considering costs, quality, resources, and the timeline
  3. Execution

    Completing the project deliverables  
  4. Monitoring and Controlling

    Measuring project performance and progress during the execution phase, and at the end of execution. 
  5. Closing

    Reporting 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. 

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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:

Volunteer Experience

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. 

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 Assistant

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 Analyst

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 Organizer

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 Coordinator

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. 

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Complete One of the PMP Requirements Today

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.

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.