How to complete PMP Application without project manager job title


Last Updated on July 6, 2024 by andrewshih

Do you have questions or concerns about complete your PMP application without a project manager job title? Or how do you get project management certification without experience?  And what is considered project management experience anyway?

I am here to help.  These are all common questions when you begin the PMP application process.

Being a project manager can be a rewarding career, and there are many benefits to completing the PMP certification.  I assume you are probably looking into project management as a possible career and exploring if PMP is right for you, even if you don’t have a project manager title or experience.

In this article, I will share how I got the PMP certification, although I do not have a project manager job title on my PMP application.  I will take you over this process in 4 steps.

  • Step 1: Help you understand the project management experience and requirements by answering common FAQs.
  • Step 2: Help you understand the difference between Project vs Operation.
  • Step 3: Help you extract qualify projects that you can put on PMP application.
  • Step 4: Work on your PMP application with job title and role.

Step 1: Understand PMP Project Management Experience Requirements

Can I apply for PMP without project management experience?

Unlike many other professional certifications, PMI requires that you meet the minimum project management work experience before you can apply for the exam and certification.

PMI has different work experience requirements depending on whether you have completed a 4-year college degree or not.

If you have a 4-year college degree, you will need to have a minimum of 3 years of leading or directing project experience.

If you do not have a college degree, you will need to have a minimum of 5 years of leading or directing project experience.

While it can be a disappointment for people without project management experience, one big benefit to this approach is that you do not have to worry about devoting time and resources to pass the exam and later find out that your experience does not qualify and cannot use the designation.

How to get project management certification without experience?

If you do not have project management-related experience but want to become a project manager, you should consider a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).

This certification does not require project management experience.  It only requires a Secondary Degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent) and completing the 23 hours of project management education with PMI’s  Project Management Basics online course.

What is considered project management experience?

According to PMI, a project is a temporary endeavor to create a unique product, service, or result.

To create a product or deliver a service, there are initiation, planning, execution, quality control, and closing phases to complete the job.

You could be involved in dealing with the scope, scheduling, cost, quality, procurement, human resource, communication, stakeholders, risk, and/or managing changes to get the job completed.

All these tasks are all elements of project management.  If you manage or lead in completing any of those tasks, those hours can count toward your project management experience.

Can I apply for PMP certification without the project manager title?

If you have project-related work experience but without the project manager title, you can still apply for the PMP certification.

PMI will review your application first and let you know if you meet the minimum work experience qualification before you commit more time and resources.

Keep in mind PMI does not have restrictions for the industry nor the job title requirement for applying for the PMP certification.  However, the candidate must have relevant project management experience leading or directing a project; being a project member is not enough.

You will need to demonstrate that you have experience in all 5 domain groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing) and have applied project management methodologies while you directed the project.

STEP 2: Understand the Difference Between Project and Operation

If you do not have a project manager title, it’s very likely that your job consists of both project and operational tasks.  Therefore, it is important that you understand the difference between projects and operations.

Keep in mind that according to PMI, a project is a temporary endeavor to create a unique product, service, or result. Whereas operation is continuous and administrative.

You will need to determine what type of work you did can be considered as a project and what type of work is operational.  If you need additional help determining what work is considered a project, please refer to PMP Project vs Operation Demystify.

STEP 3: Extract your project work

Once you understand the difference between projects and operations according to PMI’s definition, the next step is to

  1. Take a closer look and list out the activities you perform for the job.
  2. Separate out the activities into project or operational categories.  The activities listed under the project category will need to have a start and end date and that you have applied project methodologies with a unique deliverable.  After all, you are expected to write a project description for each of the projects.
  3. Determine the amount of work that can be considered projects.

Project vs Operation Example: Infrastructure Manager

Here is an example: let’s say you have been working as an Infrastructure Manager, and here is your activity list for the operation and project category:

Operation work:

  • Provide mentorship and train staff.
  • Resolve day-to-day environment and server-related issues.

Project work:

  • Major system upgrade and procurement project.
  • VMWare, AWS migration projects
  • Decommission of the old system

STEP 4: Work on your PMP Application

Once you complete the hard work of extracting all the projects, you should determine if you satisfy the 3-year (or 5-year) project management experience.  If you do, you will need to write a project description for each of the projects that you will put on the PMP application.

On the PMP application job title field, you should put your job title at your company.  In the project description, you can include your role in the project.  You can explain that you were working as a project manager or project lead for project-related tasks.  Be honest and don’t exaggerate.

If you are looking for more tips and examples for completing the PMP application, please refer to the Complete guide for PMP project description.

If you are ready or want to prepare yourself for writing the project description, please refer to the Complete guide for PMP project description and the resource page when you are ready to prepare for the PMP Exam.

Good luck!

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments