A PMP bootcamp is an intensive experience designed to help you gain the background, skills, and experience necessary to launch a successful career as a project manager. Before diving in, it’s important to note that one of the major milestones in the PMP career path is the PMP exam.
Taking the PMP exam is not easy, regardless of how many years of project management experience you have, what industries you have worked in, or what other degree programs you might have completed in the past. Less than 50 percent of test-takers pass the PMP exam on the first try.
However, passing the PMP exam is not impossible, but you certainly have your work cut out for you. With the right level of commitment and the right resources, you will set yourself up for success to pass the PMP exam.
So, where do you start? Before rushing to Amazon to purchase every PMP exam prep eBook or book known to man, check out some online PMP bootcamp programs.
This guide will explain what a PMP bootcamp program is, what to look for in such a program, and how to select the best one to help you pass the PMP exam on the first try.
What is a PMP or Project Manager?
For those interested in taking the PMP exam but who want to learn more about it, the PMP designation is an official credential that proves you are competent in the core principles, practices, processes, techniques, and tools of all areas of project management.
Because project management is only growing in demand, and project management spreads across many areas, disciplines, and industries, you can earn many different certifications that will help you accelerate your career.
For example, depending on the industry you work in, the types of projects you manage, or your career level, one kind of certification might be more in line with your interests or your career goals than another.
Some of the different types of project management certification programs available include the following:
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
- PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)
- PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
- Program Management Professional (PgMP)
- Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)
- PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)
- PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)
- PMI Project Management Ready
The beauty of this is that if you focus on a specific area of project management, such as following the agile framework and working with IT departments, software developers, or engineers, you might pursue the ACP certification. This means that you can take an exam and earn a certification in a specific area or discipline of project management rather than take the full, traditional PMP exam.
What is a PMP Bootcamp?
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, if you decide to go for the PMP exam and have all the requirements, it is highly recommended that you take a PMP bootcamp program to help you prepare for the exam.
PMP bootcamp is just what it sounds like: a highly intense, super in-depth, robust training program that will help you prepare for the PMP exam. It also provides you with the qualifications to satisfy the 35-hour project management education requirements to qualify to take the PMP exam.
The good news is that many institutions offer PMP bootcamp programs in online and offline formats. Some are available online in a self-paced format; others are offered in-person over three to five days.
During the PMP bootcamp training, instructors will take a deep dive into the PMBOK Guide, covering topics such as:
- The five core phases of a project lifecycle (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing
- The inputs and outputs of each process and the necessary tools and techniques used to manage them
- The ten project management knowledge areas
- Tips for taking the PMP exam
Finding PMP Bootcamp Programs Near Me
Of course, every individual learns differently. A PMP bootcamp training program that works for one individual might not work for another. For example, you might learn best by reading and going through the material at your own pace. Or maybe you prefer to watch videos or listen to recorded audio lectures. You might prefer online, self-paced programs versus in-person programs.
Before selecting a PMP bootcamp PMP exam prep program, take some time to think about your learning style and habits and think of what you would need to grasp and learn the subject matter of the PMP exam.
Therefore, before looking for a PMP Bootcamp program, decide if you will enroll in an online course or an in-person program. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to each format, which we outline below in the next section.
Top PMP Bootcamp Training Programs
If it is important for you to interact with other participants, students, and peers, or to be able to ask questions to an instructor, then a traditional in-classroom program might be best for you. Start by researching where these training programs take place in your local area. You can begin by looking at local community colleges, universities, or continuing education institutions.
It’s also important to note that due to COVID-19, many institutions may not be offering in-person classroom training programs. Be sure to contact the host institution to learn more about how they are currently offering these programs.
One possible disadvantage to in-person classroom-style programs is that they are often offered as four- to five-day intensive programs. This means that you may need to take time off work to attend, which may or may not be feasible with your work schedule.
As mentioned above, many institutions and organizations offer PMP bootcamp training programs. Here are just a few examples:
Again, depending on your geographic location, you can also research some local colleges, universities, and continuing education institutions to see if they offer any online or in-person PMP bootcamp training programs. And be sure to check out the PMP certification page for related information.
Online PMP Bootcamp Training
Many institutions and programs offer online PMP bootcamp training courses. These programs are often self-paced and are best for individuals who learn best by reviewing and learning material independently or who need more flexibility around work and home life to dedicate to studying the course and PMP exam material.
On the other hand, many online PMP bootcamp training courses may not necessarily satisfy the 35-hour project management requirement to take the PMP exam. So be sure to verify this before enrolling in an online program.
The PMP Exam
The PMI recently changed and updated the PMP exam. The exam now contains the following:
- 180 questions
- 230 minutes to complete the exam
- Questions include multiple-choice, multiple responses, fill-in-the-blank, and matching type
- All questions are related to the application and usage of the core principles, practices, techniques, and tools outlined in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide by the Project Management Institute (PMI)
What Do I Need to Take the PMP Exam?
The first step in taking the PMP exam is to apply. You must prove to the PMI that you have the following qualifications:
- A four-year degree
- 36 months leading projects
- 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM Certification
- A high school diploma or an associate’s degree (or global equivalent)
- 60 months leading projects
- 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM Certification
The qualifications above are needed for the official PMP exam. However, if you decide to take a different exam to earn a certification, such as Agile, the CAPM exam, or portfolio or program management, then the requirements may differ.
The PMP Exam: Pass or Fail?
If you don’t pass on the first try, don’t panic; it’s not the end of the world—and you certainly aren’t alone. The good news is that the PMI allows you to retake the exam in the near future for approximately half the cost of the initial exam fee.
Our recommendation? If you fail, plan to retake the PMP exam in the next three to six months. Because the PMI and PMBOK Guide are always changing, retaking the exam sooner rather than later will prevent you from having to re-learn all new or updated material—plus, all the information you just studied for and crammed will all be fresh in your mind. If you wait to retake the exam, you may have to start all over. If you pass your exam on the first try, congratulations! Now you can break open the champagne and celebrate all your hard work, recent achievement, and a more rewarding career.
No, you won’t have to retake the PMP exam. However, you will need to maintain your hard-earned PMP certification by earning a specific number of PDUs every two to three years. Of course, this depends on the certification that you earn. So, be sure to fully investigate the PMP exam certification program to understand what maintaining the credential will mean for you throughout your career.
Although the objective of every PMP bootcamp training program is the same, each program is unique. To ensure you invest in the best PMP bootcamp training for you, here are some things to look for.
Do a little investigative work on the instructor. Research them on Google or LinkedIn to get a feel for their experience level, personality, and even what other participants’ or students’ experiences looked like working with the particular instructor. If possible, try to get a feel for their teaching style to see if it’s aligned with your learning style.
Many reputable PMP bootcamp training programs provide students and participants with guides, workbooks, official PMP exam practice tests, or even a copy of the most recent PMBOK Guide. If you don’t receive any resources or materials when you enroll, you should purchase your copy of the PMBOK Guide. (The PMBOK Guide is now in the Seventh Edition at the time of this writing.) PMI members can download a copy from the PMI website. You can also download an eBook or order a hard copy from Amazon.
Verify that the program covers all the subject matter that will appear on the PMP exam. Be sure that you will also have the opportunity to take a practice exam as part of the course. This is one of the best ways to help you prepare for taking the exam, understand how the exam and questions are structured, and help you get a feel for what exam day will be like.
Are there any testimonials from previous participants? Are there any course reviews? You can also do your homework and reach out to former students and participants to see what they thought of the course and if it helped them pass the exam.
Are you able to contact the instructor directly if you have questions? Are you able to interact with other program participants or peers? Where and to whom can you go if you have additional questions? Take the time to understand the structure of the bootcamp program to see if it fits your learning needs.
Many PMP bootcamp programs cost upwards of $900 to $1,000. Life happens, so be sure to review the program’s terms and conditions, specifically regarding rescheduling your course or if you can get your money back if needed. Some PMP bootcamp training courses offer money-back guarantees, so be on the lookout for this and read the fine print.
All in all, deciding to take the PMP exam is a big decision. It requires a substantial investment in time and money. Although a PMP bootcamp training program can do wonders to help you prepare for the PMP exam, it won’t do the work for you. The level of dedication, time, effort, and energy you put into it will ultimately determine your success and whether or not you pass the PMP exam on the first try.