A PMP is a Project Management Professional who has been granted the prestigious PMP certification issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

A non-profit organization, the leader in the US and worldwide, the PMI has started its activity in 1969 and has nowadays reached a net of nearly 3 million members who are continuously supported through education, networking, and above all through the project management standard, which gives them a common language to talk.

The PMI’s standard for project management is contained in the Project Management Body of Knowledge, the PMBOK, whose first edition was released in 1996 and which has recently reached the 6th edition.

Updating the PMBOK guide is a necessary process, which takes place every 4-5 years and is carried out by a highly competent committee of practitioners together with members of ANSI.

The history of the certification is even longer than the one of the PMBOK: the first PMI member certificate was issued in Philadelphia in 1984. Since then, the community of certified PMPs has grown to more than 650,000 worldwide!

Let’s take a look at how you can become a PMP and what you might actually do in the workforce.

What is a Project Manager and What Does a PM Do?

How do people get PMP certified?

The PMP certification is surely not for everyone: a selection is made by PMI in order to keep the level high. The first roadblock is met immediately: in order to access the exam, the candidate must have been working as a project manager for 4,500 or 7,500 hours, depending on their previous PMP training.

Other than that, it is necessary to pass an officially recognized 35 hours of project management education before applying.

The PMP exam itself, which is undoubtedly not easy with its 200 challenging questions to be answered in four hours, is the last step of the selection process carried out by the PMI.

The very good news is that, after this hard path, the fatigue of meeting all the certification requirements is well paid.

The PMP certification has reached such a level of fame that it is often inserted as a preference or a pre-requisite in the job posts prepared by the employers worldwide. Also, the salary offered to a PMP is usually higher than the one offered to a non-certified project manager.

With that said, let’s explain why the PMP certification is such a sought after credential. Additionally, let’s discuss why it’s a good idea for non-members to achieve this professional certification if you are an experienced project manager.

What Do Project Management Professionals Do?

Projects are run everywhere in the world; they can be defined as temporary endeavors which create something new. Hence, this makes it easily understandable as to why they are so widespread and project management experience is so valuable.

Just think about an institution which has to migrate its information system to a new one, or a group of people who want to create a startup, or a chemical company which is planning to automate some of its production processes: they all are examples of organizations which need projects as a part of their strategic objectives.

To manage innovation in a structured way, project managers are highly requested in the work’s market, and even more so, the certified project managers.

The work of a PMP is similar to most project managers. However, the difference that a PMP refers to a precise standard, talks their own language and is able to interpret reality and interact with it with a confidence that is given by both the experience and the PMBOK.

Where Do Project Managers Work?

From the more obvious manufacturing industries, software development and engineering companies, till the least obvious research institutes, no-profit organizations, journals, it can be said that the employment opportunities for a project manager are wide as the number of possible temporary endeavors which create something new.

A project manager may work inside an organization or outside it as a freelancer, may manage a standard team or a virtual one, may do most of the work in office or online, and also her-his authority and autonomy may change considerably, influenced by the different organizations’ frameworks and cultures.

Because of this huge variability, and because is always dealing with innovation, there is not in the world a project manager doing the exact same job of another, or one who will repeat exactly the same work done in the past.

Nevertheless, there is something that typically does not change: a project manager will always deal with stakeholders and their requirements, lead or coordinate a team, and have the mission to reach the project’s objectives inside the constraints of time, scope, cost and quality.

For doing this, one of the main activities of the project manager will be communicating with the stakeholders, and reporting to the higher management about the actual and forecasted performances of the project.

This is, in a nutshell, the work of every PMP: a professional with the opportunity of a brilliant career, given by the high responsibility positions covered, the exposure to the Board of Directors, and the many possibilities to prove her-his value through that path of challenging endeavors which is project management.

Ready to Become a PMP?

The first step in becoming a PMP, aside from gaining work experience, is to study for the exam. Check out these courses to see which one will help you pass the exam the fastest and jump start your career as a PMP.

Kenneth W. Boyd is a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the author of several of the popular "For Dummies" books published by John Wiley & Sons including 'CPA Exam for Dummies' and 'Cost Accounting for Dummies'.

Ken has gained a wealth of business experience through his previous employment as a CPA, Auditor, Tax Preparer and College Professor. Today, Ken continues to use those finely tuned skills to educate students as a professional writer and teacher.