FED takes on the PMP

by 1LT Zachary Hawkins, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District
Stripes Korea

Members of the Family Housing Residence Office (FHRO) and the Program and Project Management Division (PPMD) at Camp Humphreys are taking the extra step to further their careers by preparing to earn their Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

The PMP is an internationally recognized professional designation offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). As of March 2018, there are 833,025 active PMP certified individuals and 286 chartered chapters across 210 countries and territories worldwide.

There are many reasons why I am striving to earn the certification. I first heard about the PMP when I was in Engineer Basic Officer Leaders Course (EBOLC). Many of the instructors encouraged the students to earn their PMP while they were an officer because you gain substantial project management experience that you can document when applying to take the exam. With the certification, Army officers can earn the additional skill identifier (ASI) of W5, which opens the door for many unique assignments within the engineer branch and sets you apart from your peers. Once you transition out of the military, or if you are already not in the military, the PMP makes you more marketable to civilian employers. According to the Project Management Salary Survey, PMP holders earn 17% more money than non-PMP holders in the project management field. The education gained by taking the exam will also assist when taking on future projects in my career. No matter how large or how small the project is, I will understand all the necessary resources and skills for successful project management and utilize this knowledge efficiently and effectively.

In order to earn your PMP certification, you must first prove that you have project management experience. Although there are many resources out there to help you study for the PMP, nothing will prepare you for the exam more than actual project management experience. For candidates that have a high school diploma or an associate’s degree, they must have 60 months and 7,500 hours of project management experience. Candidates that possess a bachelor's degree must have 36 months and 4,500 hours of project management experience. In both cases, candidates must also have 35 contact hours of project management education. After your application is accepted, you should schedule an exam date and develop a study plan. The PMP exam is a 200 question multiple choice, computer based exam in which you have four hours to complete.

Once you pass the exam and receive your PMP certification, you must earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) every three years, to maintain the certification. There are two types of PDUs that you can earn – Education and Giving Back. Education PDUs are earned through courses or training organization meetings, online or digital media, reading, and informal learning. Giving Back PDUs are attained by working as a practitioner, creating content, giving a presentation, sharing knowledge, or volunteering. You must earn a minimum of 35 Education PDUs and are only allowed to earn a maximum of 25 Giving Back PDUs.

Candidates without the requisite experience for the PMP can consider the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), also from PMI. To apply for the PMP, visit www.pmi.org and create an account. The application for the exam and verification of education and experience can be completed online at the PMI website for free.

The FED PMP study group meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in room G221 on the second floor of the district headquarters building. I encourage anyone that is interested in taking the exam to join the study group. Facilitating group discussions regarding project management experiences, study techniques, and practical exercises can hold you accountable and help you prepare for the exam. For more information on the PMP, go to www.pmi.org/certifications/types/project-management-pmp.

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