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35 Contact Hours for the PMP Exam

Feb 4, 2008
In order to apply for the PMP Exam you will have to evidence "35 contact hours of formal education". The PMI explains this as follows in the PMP Credentials Handbook :

"Verify at least 35 contact hours of specific instruction that addresses learning objectives in project management. Document all project management education hours, regardless of when they were accrued. The course work must be completed at the time of application. The course hours may include content on project quality, scope, time, cost, human resources, communications, risk, procurement and integration management."

Here are some solid tips regarding these 35 contact hours:

* Read the PMI's Credentials Handbook to learn everything there is to know about the 35 hours: (http://www.pmi.org/PDF/PDC_PMPHandbook.pdf)
* There is an important difference between Contact Hours and PDUs. A PMP exam candidate requires 35 Contact Hours to be able to apply for the exam and a PMP requires 60 PDUs every 3 years to keep the certification active. Don't collect PDUs before you are a PMP. You need Contact Hours.
* Go through all your past training records. Look at training that you have received in educational institutions (i.e. colleges), evening classes, weekend seminars and work related seminars. Claim them if they relate to the PMBOK Guide's knowledge areas.
* You can go back as far in time as you would like. A seminar that you have taken 20 years ago is still valid for your 35 contact hours.
* Make sure that you have written proof for all courses taken and don't stop at 35 hours - go as high as you can. Should your application be audited, then it is good to have both proof and some buffer.
* If you don't have a total of 35 contact hours, then you will have to take additional training. Consider the following:
- Check the listings of your local community college
- See if your employer offers a PM related seminar
- Contact your local PMI Chapter. Most chapters offer weekend seminars and PMP workshops at low cost.
- Consider a PMP workshop offered by a commercial training company. Ask your employer for reimbursement.
- Many vendors offer PM related training in combination with a sales event.
* In the situation, when you do not have enough hours, then a PMP workshop is your best option. It will help you gain the necessary hours as well as prepare you for the exam.
Please note that neither self study (for instance reading a book) nor attending the dinner meeting of your local chapter count toward the 35 contact hours. Exception: If at least one hour of the dinner meeting is spent on formal training then it counts.
About the Author
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is the host of The Project Management PrepCast, the first true PMP podcast. It's the easiest way to prepare for and pass the PMP exam at http://www.pmprepcast.com
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