Last updated on August 29th, 2023.
The Project Management Professional, or PMP, Certification is awarded to project managers who pass the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) rigorous exam. But, before you can even qualify for this test, you need at least 35 hours of formal project management training.
If you need to gain formal experience with project management before taking the exam, there are several applicable courses online. Some of these courses are free, while others require an enrollment fee. Whichever you choose, be sure it includes a certificate of completion to prove you meet the requirements.
The 5 Best PMP Certifications Online are from:
- Project Management Academy
- Udemy PMP Certification
- PM Sprout
- George Washington University
- Rice University
Below, we’ll discuss more information on taking the PMP Exam online. Then, read on to see our five picks for the best courses to help you prepare.
Can PMP Be Done Online?
Today, project managers looking to increase their qualifications can take the PMP exam online from the comfort and convenience of their own homes. The online PMP exam is the same as those administered at your local testing center. There are no discrepancies in terms of quality or content, and each online test even features a live proctor. To take the online PMP exam, all you’ll need is:
- A computer with a webcam
- A reliable Internet connection
- 35 project management contact hours
What is the Best Way to Get PMP Certification?
Both online and in-person PMP Certification exams test a person’s ability to manage the people, processes, and other aspects involved in professional project management. The test will take approximately four hours to complete, and while there is no difference in terms of quality, there are a few procedural differences between online and in-person exams.
Generally, the online exam will be easier to accommodate into your schedule than the in-person exam. With 24/7 testing options available, you can schedule your exam for any time of day that works best for you. You can take the test right from home, eliminating any need to drive to a testing center or arrange childcare for the day. This makes the online exam a popular option for stay-at-home parents or those who don’t live close to a testing center.
However, there are some advantages to taking the PMP Certification exam in person. While you will still have a live proctor and be on camera for the duration of your test, the online exam essentially allows you to take your test in an unmonitored environment. For this reason, there are much stricter limitations on what you can do during the exam. For example, any of the following actions may cause you to fail your exam automatically:
- Using a piece of paper to take notes
- Having anyone else enter the room while you take your test
- Leaving the room or moving out of the webcam frame, other than during the scheduled 10-minute break
Remembering to follow all these rules while still staying focused on the test can be stressful for many, and impossible for some. If you already have anxiety centered around test-taking, opting for the in-person exam may be best.
The 5 Best PMP Certifications Online
One of the prerequisites for the PMP Certification is 35 hours of formal, instructor-led project management training. If you have never taken any courses related to project management, you will need to do so before you qualify to take the exam.
If you have a full-time job or other obligations, it can be difficult to fit these courses into your busy schedule. For that reason, many people choose to complete their training online. Here are our picks for the five best online courses for your PMP Certification.
1. Project Management Academy Online PMP Certification Training
Project Management Academy’s PMP course is verified by the PMI, giving you peace of mind that the contact hours you earn will qualify you for the exam. This course prepares students to complete their exams by teaching complex concepts in an easy-to-understand way. Throughout the 35-hour course, you’ll work through:
- Real-world examples
- Interactive knowledge checks
- Detailed explanations of project management concepts
You can choose an intense boot camp version of the course, finishing the entire course in four days, or move at your own pace to increase your understanding and gain the confidence you need to pass on the first try. The choice is yours!
2. Udemy PMP Certification Exam Prep Course
Udemy’s PMP Certification prep course is updated regularly to teach all the latest concepts on the official PMP Certification Exam. This introduction to project management will cover everything you need to know to pass your test on the first try, including tips and tricks you can use during the exam. It covers all aspects of project management, including:
- Agile Project Management
- Hybrid Project Management
- Traditional Project Management
3. PM Sprout 35 Contact Hours PMP Training Program
PM Sprout offers a PMP training program that fulfills the 35-hour knowledge requirement. This is a self-paced, video and text-based PMP training course, featuring practice questions and a mock test that mimics the actual PMP Exam. This is all meant to boost the course’s effectiveness, helping you understand all the relevant content to increase your chances of passing on your first try.
PM Sprout constantly updates their teachings to ensure the program stays competitive with the actual questions on your test. The self-paced nature of the course allows all individuals to learn and prepare on their own time, ensuring you retain as much information as possible.
4. GWU Project Management Essentials
The George Washington School of Business offers a full course in Project Management Essentials, giving you all the hours you need and more to qualify for the exam. In addition to passing your test, this course will help you develop the fundamental skills you need to become an effective project manager, keeping projects on time, within the desired scope, and on budget.
While it is more expensive and exhaustive than other courses on this list, Project Management Essentials is an excellent choice if you’re looking to:
- Gain insight into practical project management
- Understand the principles, tools, and skills for effective project management
- Learn how to strategically plan projects based on time, scope, and cost restraints
5. Engineering Project Management: Initiating and Planning
Rice University offers Engineering Project Management: Initiating and Planning via Coursera. This course is approximately 20 hours long, meaning it won’t completely satisfy the 35-hour requirement set by the PMI. However, it will give you a great head start.
This course teaches the skills, knowledge, and tools for effectively planning projects, including:
- Organizing a project team
- Developing a project charter
- Building a case for your specific project
- Managing stakeholders and relationships
It also includes a case study assignment, giving you real-world examples of project management in action.
How Much is the Online PMP Exam?
Currently, the cost of the online PMP Exam varies based on whether or not you are a member of the PMI. Members will pay $405 plus a one-time application fee of $10, while the course costs $555 for non-members. With PMI memberships costing $129 per year, the overall cost is about the same for members and non-members.
Final Thoughts on Getting a PMP Certification Online
Getting your PMP certification is the next step for anyone looking to start working in project management or increase their expertise in almost any industry. The salaries for a PMP are wide and varied but it’s still a great career field.
Whether you should take your exam in-person or online depends on your circumstances and preferences, but regardless of your choice, you’ll need 35 contact hours through formal project management training before you qualify.