How to get 35 contact hours for PMP?

Contact hours required by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in order to qualify and be able to apply for your PMP exam might create some stress and confusion. You may be wondering how to exactly obtain these 35 contact hours and what qualifies as a contact hour and what does not.

This blog post covers everything you need to know about how to successfully get your 35 contact hours to move on to your PMP exam application afterward.

PMI contact hours guide

The Project Management Professional Handbook limits the providers for training or courses that qualify as contact hours to:

  • PMI Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.s)
  • PMI Authorized Training Partners (ATPs)
  • Employer/company-sponsored programs
  • Training companies or consultants (e.g., training schools)
  • Distance-learning companies, including an end-of-course assessment
  • University/college academic and continuing education programs

As pointed out in the PMP handbook, it is possible to get your contact hours through online training or courses which can be the most cost-effective option. Other alternatives include choosing an authorized training center, which kills two birds with one stone as it will get you the needed 35 contact hours as well as prepare you for the exam through a PMI authorized trainer.

Online courses

Online training is quick, convenient, and easily accessible from any location at any time. Udemy, for instance, offers a range of online courses addressing PMP certification exam preparation. Joseph Phillips’ PMP prep course is among the most renowned courses for getting the required 35 contact hours. It covers a thorough PMP exam preparation, offering plenty of assignments, videos, and explanations, as well as a couple of full-length tests. It has also been updated to match the latest PMP exam alterations.

Joseph’s course as well as other Udemy courses usually have an initial price of $129.99 to $139.99. However, Udemy launches sales and promotions almost every day so keep an eye on the course you want to purchase and you’ll be able to get it for $9.99 to $19.99.

Training providers and PMI® Authorized Training Partners

Authorized training partners use the official PMI-developed course, and as any recording is prohibited, all training sessions must be live. Since such training providers have to pay PMI an annual fee to be authorized as partners, their training programs are becoming increasingly expensive, costing $1,500 and more.
You can find PMP courses or providers in your area through the PMI website, or directly through providers’ websites, such as PM Training.

What counts as a Contact Hour and what does not?

Your training does not have to be delivered by a PMI provider, but it must include some contact with a trainer and time must be logged. Passively watching YouTube videos or studying the PMBOK® Guide by yourself, for example, does not count. Self-study, no matter how good and structured it is, does not meet PMI’s requirements for contact hours.

However, taking a college or university Project Management class may count for 35 contact hours. According to the PMP handbook, each course hour is equivalent to one contact hour: “The course hours may include content on project quality, project scope, project schedule, project budget, project communications, project risk, project procurement, project cost, project resources, project stakeholder, and project integration management.”

When inspected, you will most likely be requested to provide the course curriculum and the evidence on how many hours were spent on the course. If the course does not account for the total of 35 contact hours required, you will need to take an additional course to make up the difference.

If you decide to go with an in-house course that your company is providing, keep in mind that a completion certificate may be needed. If your company’s sponsored training does not include a certificate, PMI can accept a letter of completion instead from the course administrator, HR department, or manager to verify that the course was indeed completed. 

Now that you have all the requisite details about PMP contact hours, making your choice on how you want to acquire the needed 35 contact hours mainly depends on your budget, learning pattern, and personal preferences.