Thinking About Becoming A PMP? Here’s What You Should Know.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-9-59-20-amHi, I’m Charlene. I’m a PMP. No, I didn’t say PIMP; PMP stands for Project Management Professional. I’m sure that you can imagine the quality of the jokes that I heard when I revealed that I was preparing for the PMP exam.

You’re probably thinking, “Why did you want to become a Project Management Professional?” Here’s my story.

It was 2012. I was working in the Controllers group at one of the largest financial services firms in the world. The Controllers group operated through a partnership among Corporate Accounting Policies, Corporate Regulatory Policy & Reporting and Corporate Financial Reporting, Corporate Sector Accounting, Global Finance Operations (GFO), Global Finance India, and Finance Platform Strategy & Controls. Each group worked together to ensure the integrity of the firms’ consolidated books and records, and the results of individual legal entities within the firm. The controllership function is focused on ensuring accountability and improving the organization’s credibility. The focus is on accounting, financial controls, systems, and reporting.

The Controllers groups within many banks became very popular. A long list of jobs filled the internet, looking for individuals with SEC and Bank Regulatory Reporting experience. Why? Regulators around the world were laser focused on regulatory reform following the 2007-2008 global financial crisis. Regulators wanted more transparency behind the numbers and were giving banks more reporting requirements in order to avoid another financial system collapse. Reform was focused on achieving consistent and predictable frameworks for the recovery and resolution of failing financial institutions and, in particular, banks.

My forward thinking mind figured that this growth in reporting assignments would also lead to more opportunities for another group of workers–project managers! Of course, someone would have to manage all of the regulatory projects that were coming down the pipeline and that’s exactly what I wanted to do.

I was lucky to have had the opportunity to meet a league of project managers at my job’s recently formed Toastmasters club. So, I picked their brains and asked as many questions that came to mind regarding project management. Five weeks later, I found myself in the PM Study 40 hour boot camp course. This was October 2012.

Now, of course, it didn’t happen as fast as I’m typing the words; I had to write a letter to my manager informing her about my goals and how my project management skills would add value to the team. I also needed approval to attend the one-week boot camp course from 8-5pm and most importantly, I needed the green stuff. The course was expensive compared to other project management courses, but it was well worth my money and time.

My instructor recommended that we take the exam a week after the course. Some did, but I didn’t. I was going through the quarter end at work and couldn’t afford to take more time off. I was also planning for a big trip to Australia. So, I pushed my study plans aside until December. When I came back from Australia, I buckled down. I had to review everything that I had learned in the boot camp because I could barely remember the name of the course after an eight-day vacation down under. I came back to Chicago and passed the PMP exam on my first try. Hallelujah! It was tough because I didn’t have the traditional tech background, so I was learning many new terms. But I did it! And you can too.

This is what you should know if you are thinking about becoming an internationally known PMP:

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 10.34.18 PM


  • Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent)
  • 7,500 hours leading and directing projects (Volunteer experience counts!)
  • 35 hours of project management education (PMP boot camp and training courses can count!)




200 Multiple Choice Questions

  • 175 Questions Scored
  • 25 Questions Unscored (Pretest)

Exam Content Outline












PMP Certification Fees

Source: as of September 2016










Gain and Maintain Your PMP

  • The certification exam has 200 multiple-choice questions, and you have four hours to complete it.
  • To maintain your PMP, you must earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) every three years.


  • Since all project management experience must have been accrued within the last eight consecutive years prior to your application submission, you should identify all the roles that would qualify as project management experience. For example, I wrote down my role as President of Golden Key International Honor Society and Dean for the Toastmasters Leadership Institute. After listing my various roles, I identified eligible projects that allowed me to demonstrate project management process.
  • You have 90 days to complete the application once you started it. You can complete the application in less than a week if you review everything that is needed and create a personal timeline for completing those sections of the application.
  • You want to have supporting documentation available just in case you were selected for the application audit.
  • Invest in a quality study program. Your teacher and study habits can be the difference between obtaining your PMP next month, next year, or never. Lynne Warren from PM Study was my instructor and she was absolutely AMAZING. You decide.
  • Discounted exam rates are available if you become a member of

Any more questions? Feel free to reach out. If you still want to move forward and pursue the PMP designation, make sure you are associating with PMPs. Your network is EVERYTHING. LinkedIn is a great place to start building a network of PMPs. Download my Free copy of The Ultimate LinkedIn Cheatsheet. 

Twitter: @careergoddess



Charlene Rhinehart

I’m Charlene - International Speaker, Published Writer, & Career Strategist. I help women skip the most common career mistakes, move from fear to confidence, and enhance their professional profile so that they can create a life that is better than their dreams.

5 thoughts on “Thinking About Becoming A PMP? Here’s What You Should Know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *