Posted on Nov 11, 2014
COL Doctoral Candidate In Emergency Management
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To the PMPs out there or those in the process, what way did you use to become certified? did you use a specific company? how did you determine which company offered the best quality for your investment? what did you discover were advantages of having the credential? what is the appropriate amount to invest for the credential (have seen everything from $500-$2500)?
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CMSgt Mark Lewis
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Ma'am, I recently retired from the Air Force and I am currently looking to earn my PMP certification. I too was looking for the best route to complete the educational requirements. I have looked at on-line training companies as well as colleges and university programs. Recently, I had a fellow retired CMSgt recommend the Syracuse University's Veteran's Career Transition Program at: http://vets.syr.edu/education/employment-programs/

The program is fully funded by JP Morgan Chase so there is no cost to veterans. There are numerous certification tracks to include Project Management. Training is on-line and once completed you receive a Certificate in Project Management from Syracuse University and the program will pay for the actual certification exam from PMI.
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COL Doctoral Candidate In Emergency Management
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Thank you very much CMSgt Mark Lewis
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CPT Engineer Officer
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Ma'am,
In order to complete the classroom requirement, you can either bring someone in (we had a guy named perry jones come to Leonard wood and give the course when I was in ECCC. Dont recall the name of his company though) or you can take online classes through the army eLearning portal (on ako). The army eLearning portal has a ton of PMP courses and you can also use them for the continuing education requirement when renewing your certification.
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COL Doctoral Candidate In Emergency Management
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Apologies for the length of this (and these are my own thoughts, I don't work for PMI or any other company mentioned in this). Also, I am writing from the perspective of an Army officer with military education through CGSC and AWC.

1. You need the minimal requirements for the application, so don’t overthink it. You need a four-year degree, 4,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education.
a. Four-year degree. Any four-year degree works.
b. 4,500 hours leading and directing projects. This is easier than it sounds. First, PMI takes a broad perspective on defining a “project” as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result”. You decide how to split this up, but all PMO wants to see 4500 hours over at least three years. PMI also likes to see a spread across the five domains (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing).
c. 35 hours of project management education – you should be able to come up with this based on prior training – either as part of your four-year degree, or some later training. (If you do the PMP boot camp that I recommend, that also fulfills this requirement).
2. The experience sounds like a tough requirement to fill – it is not. I broke my experiences down by year, tracking my OERs in the Army, and lumped them into big chunks. I got audited. I panicked. I should not. All they want to respond to an audit is you fill out a form, send it to the person you said was your supervisor for the period in time, and they sign a form that verifies that you worked for them, did the hours you claim. That was it. I worried about nothing. All PMI wants is a signature that supports your claim. I suspect I got audited because some of my experiences were two years while deployed, and I claimed more than 2000 hours in a year (in three separate jobs). For the “typical” job that works 40 hours a week and 50 weeks a year, claiming 2000+ hours in a year managing projects sticks out, even if it was the reality of life deployed. I recommend staying around 1500-1600 hours to keep it under the PMI radar. You decide how to count hours – I just took a guess, to be honest – and PMI is not looking for some detailed spreadsheet. By splitting it up to match OERs, I rolled multiple projects into the one job – make it easier on yourself.
3. Training. You know what you know. You do not need another formal class on project management. I knew I needed to immerse myself in the technical language of PMI, not general concepts. A friend pointed me to Edwel and their four-day boot camp, which I highly recommend. It was four days of intense class, multiple practice exams, and I learned a lot about project management, PMP, and PMI. I came home, continued to read, review my notes and boot camp prep book, and did at least four full practice exams, then took the PMP exam about 10 days after the boot camp – and passed. I used Edwel, and have referred several others to it – and everybody has been satisfied with the training. http://www.edwel.com They offer an expensive version with guaranteed pass (basically, they pay for your re-test if you don’t pass on the first try). If you sign up in advance, it’s about $1500 but well worth it, in my opinion. Syracuse has a program, but for me - I didn't need more formal training. I understood the processes - I just needed to immerse myself in the PMI language so I could take and pass the test. To be brutally honest - MDMP and PMI's processes are very similar, so if you understand MDMP, you should handle getting the PMP.
4. When you apply, go ahead and join PMI, for two reasons
a. First, you can download PMI materials for free – like the PMBOK. I also recommend getting it in hard copy from Amazon or somebody – and only buy the current edition, don’t try and cut corners and get an old version – they do change.
b. Second, you can join groups within PMI, and do webinars for free. You will need 60 hours of continuing education (Professional Development Units or PDUs) every three years, after you pass the PMP exam. You can claim 5 hours a year just for being a project manager, so you need another 45 hours of PDUs. You can listen to free PMI webinars – you register, log in, and stay on until the end – then you automatically get credit. It is listen only, so I used to connect to the lunchtime webinars, and work on email or other things with the webinar playing in the background. There are no tests. Some people pay thousands of dollars to fly to conferences to accumulate their PDUs … what a waste of money when you can do the webinars for free.
5. The exam. It is offered at designated exam centers, and your application has to be approved before you can sign up for the exam. It is four hours, didn’t take me that long, all on a computer. At the end, you have to do a survey about the test center – the exam is being graded in the background, so you will know before you leave if you passed or failed.
6. I hope this helps. Feel free to email me at [login to see] if anybody wants more detail.

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