Founded in 1969, the Project Management Institute (PMI) is the industry leader in project management training and certification. PMI literally wrote the book on project management: "A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge," known by project managers around the world as the PMBOK Guide (commonly pronounced "pem-bock" in conversation). The PMBOK Guide, currently in its fifth edition, is widely recognized as the global standard for project management information and best practices.
PMI also has a globally recognized training and certification program for project managers for numerous industries, including information technology. One of these certifications, the Program Management Professional (PgMP), goes a level higher than project management, focusing on people who oversee and organize multiple projects into a cohesive organizational program.
Overview of PgMP Certification
PgMP certification candidates must meet some advanced requirements to earn the designation.
To qualify for the PgMP, candidates must have one of the following sets of education and experience:
- A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate degree or global equivalent), with a minimum of four years of project management experience and seven years of program management experience.
- A four-year degree (bachelor's degree or global equivalent), with a minimum of four years of project management experience and four years of program management experience.
If a candidate meets one of the above requirements, they can proceed to the next step of the PgMP application process, known as the Panel Review. In this phase, a panel of certified program managers reviews the candidate's application and performs an assessment of the candidate's professional experience.
The PMI provides detailed information about the application process that candidates can refer to when creating their applications. For more information about the PgMP application process, visit the PgMP page on the PMI website.
Candidates who make it past the Panel Review must then pass the PgMP certification exam.
PgMP Certification Exam Details
Candidates must take the PgMP certification exam within twelve months of passing the PMI Panel Review phase. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and lasts for four hours. Candidates may not bring any materials into the examination room, but they are provided with either blank paper and pencils or a marker board and markers.
Here is a breakdown of the major knowledge domains covered by the PgMP exam, with an approximate percentage of how many questions are dedicated to each domain:
- Strategic Program Management (15 percent)
- Program Life Cycle (44 percent)
- Benefits Management (11 percent)
- Stakeholder Management (16 percent)
- Governance (14 percent)
Candidates who do not pass the PgMP exam on their first attempt may retake the exam up to two more times in the one-year qualification period. Candidates who do not pass the exam after three attempts must wait twelve months from the last exam attempt before reapplying for the PgMP.
The PgMP certification exam is offered through Prometric test centers around the world.
Renewing the PgMP Certification
The PgMP certification is valid for three years from the day PMI awards it. In order to maintain their credential, certification holders are required to participate in PMI's Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) program and earn at least 60 Personal Development Units (PDUs) during the three-year certified period. Individuals have several options for earning PDUs, some of which are listed below:
- Continuing education
- Self-directed learning
- Volunteer service
- Further program management work experience
By earning the PgMP certification, professionals can demonstrate their advanced experience in managing programs and fulfilling strategic business objectives.
PgMP Exam Guidance, Project Management Institute, http://www.pmi.org/en/Certification/Project-Management-Professional-PgMP/PgMP-Exam-Prep.aspx
PMI Program Management Professional (PgMP) Handbook, Project Management Institute, November 13, 2013, http://www.pmi.org/en/Certification/~/media/PDF/Certifications/pdc_pgmphandbook.ashx
Program Management Professional (PgMP) Examination Content Outline, Project Management Institute, April 2011, http://www.pmi.org/Certification/Project-Management-Professional-PgMP/~/media/PDF/Certifications/PgMP_Examination_Content_Outline_2011_sec.ashx
Program Management Professional (PgMP), Project Management Institute, http://www.pmi.org/en/Certification/Program-Management-Professional-PgMP.aspx