The fact that people need to gain 35 contact hours before they can take their Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam leads to a lot of confusion. First, there are many of them! They must complete 35 contact hours before they can complete their PMP® exam. Second, what does ‘contact hour’ even mean? Many students these days choose online project management education over face-to-face courses.

It is essential to determine if the course counts as ‘formal’ education. You also need to find a training company that meets your needs and one that you would like to work with.

This article will tell you everything about the PMP® contact hours requirement. We’ll help you understand the myths and provide a clear definition of how to fulfil this qualification.

Let’s start by looking at what PMI® requires of you.

You must have 35 hours of formal project management education.

The Project Management Professional Handbook, which you can get online from PMI, specifies what you need. You will need at least three years of project management experience and pre-requisite training that includes:

  • At least 35 hours long
  • Measured in ‘hours of specific instruction’.
  • Formal
  • About project management 

Let’s break that down a little more.

1. The time requirement 

There’s a common misconception that you only need to take one course that counts for all the educational hours. That’s not true; you can take more than one course that equals the 35 hours necessary.

2. What are the contact hours?

A contact hour is the equivalent of one hour of training (60 minutes), and you can claim it to get certified. So, if you attend a course that is nine hours in one day, and there’s a lunch break for an hour, Which Means you’ve attended ten hours of training.

Online courses and project management podcasts can be an excellent way to study the course materials and understand the format of courses.

3. Formal

Formal project management education is a part of online, virtual, or face-to-face classes and training run by reputable organisations. There are many different organisations to choose from, including universities, local firms, national training providers and community colleges.

You can’t study a guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) independently or seven as a group, and it has to be structured in a specific way for it to validate with PMI 

4. The subject matter

The project management education they offer must cover all the topics. Make sure to evaluate your course before you register for it.

  • The Project quality
  • Project scope
  • The Project schedule
  • Project budget
  • The Project communications
  • Project risk
  • The Project procurement
  • Project integration management.

You might find other courses to be exciting and relevant for your job. General leadership skills, for example, won’t count towards your PMP® training hours.

One of the most important things you can do with any project management course is to prove that you have studied the course. This includes certificates, tests (and your results), course syllabus, course descriptions and transcripts.

PMI requires you to show that you have done the prior training before they certify your experience for the PMP® exam you take the test, which means that you will likely not be able to research anything further before applying.

Also Read – PMP® Cheat Sheet to Use in 2022 and Beyond

Your contact hours never expire.

Project management education doesn’t have an expiration date, and you don’t need to complete your training within the last few years or anything like that. Even if you are nearing retirement right now, the studies you undertook at college still count (assuming you can prove what you did and are relevant to the PMP).

Keep in mind that you have to have documents detailing your 35 hours of contact before you can apply for a PMP exam. You can’t put anything on your application form about what training you intend to do at a later time, and this won’t be good enough for the certification boards.

What else does not count?

PMI led sessions can’t always count towards your instructional hours. The length of your day depends on what you’re doing during the meetings. Most people use this time to learn as much as possible.

Learning the PMBOK® Guide does not count towards your instructional hour requirement, and you can’t gain credit for self-study when trying to qualify for the PMP® exam.

A degree program such as an MBA is not considered to be completed. You cannot tell PMI that you have an MBA and expect to get admitted for the credential process. However, you can document each relevant and applicable class you took within the program and receive credit.

From the PMP Handbook 

If you completed a course that was three hours per week for 15 weeks, the total hours would be 45. If only a portion of the course dealt with project management, the hours spent on project management can be applied toward the total.

Do PDUs count?

  1. You may have seen the terms used interchangeably online, but that doesn’t mean they are the same thing. Let’s clear up this problem now.

Industry professionals take courses that qualify for PDUs right after they are certified. They can also earn PDUs through volunteering, self-study, and completing a recognized project management education course.

Contact Hours

It will take 35 hours of training to show the certification board that you have enough project management experience.

PDUs

PMP Certification requires that people prove they are keeping up-to-date in their field and continuing to learn. You would need 60 continuing education credits every three years of the life of your certification.

The GOOD News!

If you attended a project management professional training before passing your PMP exam, these hours would count towards your contact time.

Contact hours are hours that you must earn before becoming certified. You can only make them through traditional, formal education time (such as classroom training, online training and distance learning programs like my own product, the Project Management (Knowledgewoods) that focus on project management.

You will not have to meet the requirements for PDUs until you are certified. Once you know this, it is easy to determine how many PDUs you need.

Documentation Needed

The application process for PMI can seem lengthy and tedious. An easy way to guarantee that your documentation covers all the necessary hours is to keep a copy of your transcripts and supporting documents, like letters from professors or proof of a course syllabus.

It is easy to prove that you completed the course, and it was relevant. Your training provider will provide you with a certificate of attendance that requires a list of the necessary information.

  • That you attended a course (in other words, your name is on it)
  • How many hours of project management training the course covered
  • The training company’s details
  • Whether you passed or failed if there was an exam component.

If you are in doubt that the course you have signed up for will meet your needs, contact PMI. They are the final authority, and everything you need to know is documented in their official Project Management Professional handbook.

There are two likely outcomes when a project management learning experience is documented.

  1. You can prove you have 35 hours
  2. You can’t!

To apply for a job in project management, you need to prove that you have completed the necessary education requirements.

How to Get 35 Contact Hours?

project-management-education-by-knowledgewoods
  1. You could complete university-level education courses if you majored in project management or if they are related to your previous knowledge areas.
  2. Continuing education/higher education courses
  3. Classroom courses
  4. Online courses
  5. Distance-learning courses, whether led by a ‘live’ instructor or online
  6. Multimedia training
  7. Formal training courses offered by your local PMI Chapter.

Attend training provided by an ATP, not just any training. ATPs are highly reputable and approved by PMI. They have been evaluated and reviewed to ensure the content is appropriate for your personal development goals.

There are multiple options for learning with ATPs, like face-to-face and distance/online modes, to find your PMP 35 hours conveniently and cost-effectively.

Also Read – Project Manager Challenges in a Matrix Organization

How to get 35 contact hours for PMP

If you do not have time to attend a PMP course, these are two other options that can help you meet your training hours for the PMP credential.

1. Employer programs:

Company events are a great way for employees to keep up to date with new developments in the profession. Events like courses, seminars, and workshops will help you stay in touch with the latest products and learn from peers.

2. PMI Component programs:

PMI chapters, communities of practice and PMI themselves offer project management training that can be counted towards your Project Management Professional (PMP) credential.

How to get 35 Contact Hours Online?

Many online and distance learning providers can offer you the necessary credential. They offer courses that will help prepare you for your PMP certification.

Look for a course that?

  1. Provide a complete PMP course. You don’t have to worry about making up the hours with other training.
  2. The software is available for instant download to get started right away.
  3. Convenient and easy to use, videos are available for various subjects.
  4. Audio lessons are a great alternative to videos when watching a screen isn’t convenient, such as when you are driving or preparing a meal.
  5. The videos are available to download on your phone, tablet, and computer.
  6. Provides example questions for the PMP exam. After completing the course, students have an advantage in taking their exams.
  7. Offered by trusted education providers who use high-quality materials.

PMP Online Training or Classroom? Which one is better for you?

The choice to attend an online training program or a classroom training program is a personal one that depends on your needs and preferences.

Online PMP training

 AdvantagesDisadvantages
The program is very flexible, so you can study anytime it’s convenient for you. You can even use your commute to study.It is important for you to be self-motivated.
You can access them from anywhere on any device and they are very portable.It’s up to the individual to find the support needed.
Sometimes cheaper than classroom courses. 

Classroom PMP training

These are often called PMP ‘boot camps’.

Advantages Disadvantages
The trainer is always available in case you have any problems.Classroom courses happen on a fixed schedule, which make them less flexible.
The class environment can help to give you the right amount of motivation.They tend to be more expensive than online classes.
They happen in a short period of time, usually a week. You can complete the course quickly if you sign up for our online course.You will have to take time off from work to complete the course.

It’s too hard to say which option would better your PMP formal education. If you prefer the social buzz of being in a group and the networking that collective learning offers, you’ll know a classroom environment better suit you. However, we are seeing many people choosing online training for their PMP, and the reason they give is that it’s hard.

It would be best to decide what the best program is for you to learn project management.

Make Sure the Course is Well-Structured

To get the most out of this program, you need to ensure that your formal project management education program is structured. That means there are some modules or lessons to work through, and it is organized logically. In other words, the materials are easy to understand and absorb.

“Knowledgewoods” has 6 structured lessons on applied PMP concepts. It’s designed for Project Management Students. Students tell us what their needs and goals are, and we’ve made the lessons with the help of experts to explain these theoretical principles in easy-to-understand English and in terms of everyday project management situations.

6 lessons make up the whole course, and you can listen to or watch them in a single study session. The entire course is easy to digest and short enough to listen to or watch in a single study session.

Structured learning makes it easier to understand concepts because they build off each other. And as you continue your education, you’ll learn how to put the PMBOK® Guide’s ideas together in a way that makes sense in the real world. It means fewer repeats and less time spent reviewing materials.

The course is updated with the latest PMBOK® Guide to ensure you know what’s needed for exam-taking success.

How to track the hours after completing your PMP certification?

If you have completed an online professional training program for project management, your certificate will be handed to you when you complete the course.

This project management test demonstrates that you have understood the key concepts. It acts as an assurance that you have completed the course. As a further assurance, and also to give you time to prepare for the test adequately, you cannot take the exam immediately after purchasing the course. There is a two-week period where you can study your notes before taking them. 

After you pass the PMP exam, you can use your certificate as proof of certification. You can print it out and take it when applying for a new job or promotion.

Conclusion

This Guide to the PMP contact hours requirement has explained everything you’ve ever needed to know. We have explained the essential pre-requisite for formal project management education and made sure that you know all the details.

  1. Before you can get your PMP credential, you must complete 35 hours of formal project management education. If you have the documentation to prove that you completed project management training in the past, there are options for earning your PMP hours via online or classroom training.
  2. You can get your project management certification if you have any documentation showing what project management training you have done in the past
  3. You can earn hours by training online or in a classroom.
  4. There are benefits and drawbacks of both models. You’ll have to decide which is best for your learning style.
  5. Online learning from a trusted and experienced education provider means that you’re getting the same quality of learning you would receive in person.

You completely understand the hours required for the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. It’s time to check out these other articles that will help you prepare for your final PMP application.

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