If you are an aspiring project management professional looking to obtain your PMP® certification, you’ve likely encountered the term “contact hours”. But what exactly are contact hours, and how do they differ from Professional Development Units (PDUs)? In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to understanding the contact hours requirement for PMP certification and how to meet it.
Understanding the PMP Contact Hours Requirement
Before we dive into the specifics, let’s make sure we understand what the PMP contact hours requirement is and why it’s important. In order to be eligible to sit for the PMP exam, you must have completed a certain number of hours of project management education. Specifically, you need to have accumulated 35 contact hours. These contact hours must be obtained through an approved education provider.
What Are Contact Hours and Why Are They Important?
Contact hours refer to the amount of time spent in formal project management education. This education should cover project management topics as outlined in the PMP Examination Content Outline. The reason contact hours are important is that they demonstrate to PMI (the Project Management Institute, which administers the PMP exam) that you have a solid understanding of project management principles and techniques.
It’s important to note that not all project management education counts towards the PMP contact hours requirement. For example, attending a conference or reading a book on project management does not count towards the 35 contact hours. The education must be formal and structured, with a clear curriculum and learning objectives.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that the 35 contact hours requirement is just one of the eligibility criteria for the PMP exam. You must also have a certain amount of project management experience, which varies depending on your level of education. For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree, you need to have at least 4,500 hours of project management experience, in addition to the 35 contact hours. If you have a high school diploma or equivalent, you need to have at least 7,500 hours of project management experience, in addition to the 35 contact hours.
How to Effectively Accumulate and Track Your Contact Hours
Now that we know what contact hours are and why they’re important, let’s talk about how to accumulate and track them. First and foremost, it’s important to choose an education provider that is approved by PMI. You can find a list of approved providers on the PMI website.
Once you’ve chosen an education provider, you’ll want to make sure that the program you participate in meets the requirements for contact hours. This means that the program should cover topics included in the PMP Examination Content Outline and should provide a certificate of completion that verifies the number of contact hours earned.
It’s also critical to keep track of your contact hours once you’ve earned them. You can do this using PMI’s online Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) system. This system allows you to track your progress toward certification, including the number of contact hours you’ve earned and your PDUs (we’ll get to those in a minute). You can also use the CCR system to report your contact hours to PMI when you’re ready to apply for the PMP exam.
Tips for Meeting Your Contact Hour Requirements
Meeting the contact hour requirement can seem daunting, but there are a number of strategies you can use to make it more manageable. One approach is to break down the 35 hours into smaller increments. For example, you might plan to earn five or ten contact hours per month over a period of several months.
You can also look for ways to earn contact hours through your work or professional organizations. For example, you may be able to attend project management-related webinars or conferences that count toward your contact hour requirement. Just make sure that the provider of these education opportunities is approved by PMI.
Another way to earn contact hours is by volunteering for project management-related activities. This could include serving on a project team, mentoring other project managers, or contributing to a project management publication. PMI recognizes the value of volunteer work and allows up to 5 PDUs per year for volunteer activities.
Top Education Providers for PMP Contact Hours
Speaking of education providers, let’s take a look at some of the top providers for PMP contact hours. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, but rather a starting point for your research.
A Comprehensive List of Approved Providers
PMI provides a comprehensive list of approved education providers on their website. These providers offer a wide range of courses and formats, including online, self-paced, and in-person options.
One of the top education providers for PMP contact hours is Project Management Academy. They offer a variety of courses, including boot camps and online classes, and have a high pass rate for the PMP exam. Another popular provider is Simplilearn, which offers both self-paced and instructor-led courses, as well as a money-back guarantee if you don’t pass the exam on your first try.
It’s important to do your research and choose a provider that fits your learning style and schedule. Some providers offer more interactive courses with group discussions and hands-on activities, while others may be more focused on self-study and test-taking strategies. Consider your own preferences and needs when selecting a provider for your PMP contact hours.
Preapproved Sources for PMP Contact Hours
If you’re short on time, you may want to consider preapproved sources for PMP contact hours. These are specific education programs that have already been approved by PMI for contact hours. Examples of preapproved sources include PMI chapters, and Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.s).
Where to Find High-Quality Contact Hour Programs
If you’re looking for high-quality contact hour programs, consider looking for providers that have been accredited by organizations like the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) or the Project Management Institute’s Global Accreditation Center (GAC). These accreditations demonstrate that the provider offers high-quality education that meets professional standards.
It’s important to note that not all contact hour programs are created equal. Some may not meet the standards required by PMI, or may not provide the depth of knowledge necessary to pass the PMP exam. When selecting a program, be sure to review the course content and ensure that it covers all of the necessary topics. Additionally, consider reading reviews or speaking with others who have taken the course to get a better understanding of its quality and effectiveness.
Exploring Different Contact Hour Programs
Not all contact hour programs are created equal. There are a wide range of programs available, each with its own approach and focus. Some programs are designed specifically to prepare students for the PMP exam, while others are more general in nature. When choosing a program, consider your own needs and learning preferences.
Which Type of Program is Right for You?
The type of contact hour program that’s right for you will depend on a number of factors, including your budget, your learning style, and your professional goals. You may want to choose a program that’s specifically geared toward helping you prepare for the PMP exam if that’s your primary goal. Conversely, if you’re looking for more general project management education, you may want to choose a more comprehensive program.
It’s also important to consider the format of the program. Some contact hour programs are offered online, while others are in-person. Online programs offer the convenience of being able to complete the coursework on your own schedule, but in-person programs may provide more opportunities for networking and hands-on learning experiences. Additionally, some programs may offer a combination of online and in-person coursework, which can provide the best of both worlds.
Convenient Online PMP Exam Prep Classes with Contact Hours
If you’re looking for a convenient and flexible way to meet your contact hour requirements while also preparing for the PMP exam, consider taking an online exam prep class. These classes are designed to help you not only earn your contact hours, but also prepare for the exam itself.
The Benefits of Online Learning for Contact Hour Requirements
Online learning has a number of benefits over traditional classroom-based learning. For one thing, it’s more convenient and flexible. You can complete coursework on your own schedule and from the comfort of your own home. Online classes also tend to be more affordable than in-person classes, making them a great choice for those on a tight budget.
Ultimately, meeting the contact hour requirement for PMP certification is an essential step toward achieving your professional goals as a project management professional. By choosing the right education provider and program, and by staying organized and proactive in tracking your progress toward your certification, you can successfully meet this requirement and take the first step toward achieving your goals.
Another benefit of online PMP exam prep classes is the ability to access a wider range of resources. With online classes, you can access a variety of study materials, including videos, practice exams, and interactive quizzes. This can help you to better understand the material and prepare for the exam more effectively. Additionally, online classes often provide access to experienced instructors who can answer your questions and provide guidance throughout the course.