You went through a great effort to obtain the Project Manager Institute (PMI®) Project Manager Professional (PMP)® certification. My own efforts included (1) taking a PMP prep course, (2) completing the comprehensive application required to qualify for taking the exam (3) diligently studying for the exam (4) scheduling a test date at an official test center, (5) taking the four hour long exam, (6) and, finally , rejoicing that I miraculously passed the exam.
Why now would you fail to maintain your PMP certification that you worked so hard to achieve? When I was considering pursuing the PMP certification I spoke with one co-worker about his PMP certification, and he admitted that he let his certification lapse. Apparently, he decided it was too difficult to maintain his certification in good standing by earning continuing education credits or as PMI calls them Professional Development Units (PDUs). The difficulty in earning PDUs was one con I weighed while considering whether or not to put forth the necessary effort into pursuing the PMP certification.
PMP Go/No-go Decision
The three questions I had to answer to determine whether to proceed with pursuing the PMP certification were:
- Did I have enough experience to qualify for taking the exam? Or is my experience sufficient such that I can still qualify for taking the exam even if my application was selected for an audit?
- Once I received my certification, is the effort required to maintain my certification reasonable?
- The overarching question was will the expense or effort in both time and money required to receive and maintain my PMP certification be worth it.
All Systems Go for Launch
My first question concerning the project management experience required to qualify to take the exam was answered by Professor Leigh Geiger, who teaches PMP prep courses at the local community college. I described to her my project management experience and she encouraged me, stating that my experience was sufficient to qualify for sitting for the exam. The time and cost to maintain my certification was the big unknown. I already mentioned that a co-worker of mine let his certification lapse because he did not think the cost to maintain his certification was worth it. Concerning maintenance of my certification, I figured that I would cross this bridge when I came to it.
The last question – the overarching question was answered by my friend and fellow PMP colleague, who is a high level project manager and government contractor. He mentioned that many government contracts require the workers on the bid submission to have a PMP certification. And if a position description does not require a PMP certification it is usually listed as desired. There is no guarantee that a PMP certification will open any doors, but at the very least it is the icing on the cake giving you a leg up on job candidates without the certification. Well, with most of my reservations answered I decided it was all systems go for launching my certification effort, and I pursued, and soon after received my PMP certification.
I have been a certified PMP for six months now, and I have had the opportunity to pursue PDUs. My first attempt at earning PDUs was through the numerous Webinars available at the PMI website. The Webinars require you to listen and view an hour-long PowerPoint presentation to earn 1-PDU. This is the cheapest way to earn PDUs, because there is no cost involved, that is, no monetary cost. There is the non-recoverable cost of your time. PMI requires PMPs to earn 60 PDUs in a three year period. That would be 60 Webinars or 60-hours of viewing presentations. Although there was no monetary cost, thus far I have found the Webinar’s to be hit or miss, probably with more misses than hits. Some of them did not provide any lasting benefit for the time invested.
I also attended a luncheon with a presentation. Luncheons help you earn 1-PDU per luncheon. The luncheons cost about $30 dollars, and do include a meal. These were attractive to me, because you can meet your fellow PMP community. Also, they usually have an hour networking session before the luncheon presentation, which was beneficial to me when I was looking for work. Again, for the luncheon I attended I did not find the presentation to provide any real lasting benefit.
Ten Six Courses
The last way I have earned PDUs, which is my preferred method, is by taking one of the many courses provided by Ten Six. The time invested in taking these scheduling courses is well worth the cost in time. The fundamentals of Oracle Primavera P6 course, in particular, is two full days of information-packed presentations on the fundamentals of Primavera P6 scheduling software. The Ten Six courses include real world examples and exercises to help reinforce the presentation material. Not only is your time well spent, but the course comes with 14-PDUs for a two day 14-hour course.
It is not enough to become PMP certified, you must maintain your certification through professional development. Time is money, and is a non-recoverable resource. You want to make certain that you are utilizing the best use of your time when pursuing PDU credits. Also, you want to ensure that you are truly developing your knowledge and skill set through the continued education program. Taking a Ten Six Primavera P6 course is a great way to learn a new project management skill set and satisfy your PDU requirements.
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