Following to my previous articles about 10 Reasons to Go for a Professional Certificate and my lessons learned for two certificates; PMP and PMI-RMP, this post will discuss my lessons learned for another certificate I got from PMI (Project Management Institute) which is PIM-SP (Scheduling Professional).
I studied for this certificate because I believed it was a quick win; I already had many preparation resources and study materials, I am already PMI member and most importantly, I wanted to gain a deeper knowledge about project scheduling process. I do not have an intensive work experience in project scheduling; so, I wanted to close this gap by getting this certificate. On another perspective, I wanted to report the time that I spent in preparing for this certificate as my PDUs (Professional Development Units) for my PMP and PMI-RMP certificates.
In terms of the certificate’s popularity, this certificate is less popular than PMP and PMI-RMP as shown in the statistics below. Only 1,597 professionals are certified as PMI-SP by end of November 2016, however, I still believe that it is a good certificate for professionals who are experienced in this field and would like to get a quick formal recognition.
As a summary for my preparation process:
- Time: it took me 2 weeks to study given that I did this certificate right after finishing my PMI-RMP certificate, so I already did the hard part of reviewing different resources as I will show shortly.
- Cost: 640 USD (online course= 120 USD and exam fees: 520 USD). As I mentioned above, I was already PMI member and had many preparation resources and mock exams from my PMP and PMI-RMP certificates.
My lessons learned and preparation steps for the PMI-SP certificates are:
- PMI-SP is a stand- alone certificate just like PMI-RMP and PMP. You do not have to be a PMP certified before sitting for this exam, but in order to determine if this certificate is the right one for you, you may refer to this page and this handbook.
- If it is a good certificate for you, you need to look at the training and work experience needed for the application. For the training side, you need to attend 30 training hours on project scheduling if you have a bachelor degree and 40 training hours if you have a secondary degree. In my case, I attended this online course from Ucertify website. In 2015, I paid 199 USD for the course, however, it is higher now. Honestly, I attended two online courses in preparing for certificates from PMI. The first one was from Simplilearn website for my PMI-RMP certificate and the second one was from Ucertify website from my PMI-SP certificate. I didn’t find that there are many differences between the two websites. In both cases, I attended the training just to the certificate, and I referred to other resources to understand the core concepts under each area. My advice is to select the cheapest website whenever possible. The certificate by itself is an important part in your application especially if your application is selected for the auditing process like what happened with me when I applied for the PMI-RMP certificate.
- For the work experience side, you need to show 3,500 working hours in project scheduling if you have a bachelor degree, and 5,000 working hour if you have a secondary degree. You can refer to my articles about my PMP certificate and PMI-RMP certificate to know more how did I document my working experience.
- My preparation steps were as the following. Firstly, I reviewed the PMBOK Guidebook and Rita’s Book. Secondly, I studied the Practice Standard for Scheduling from PMI. Thirdly, I solved mock exams as much as I could. Most of the questions I solved were about PMP in general, but also I got some good help from different LinkedIn contacts, so I highly recommend that you connect with people who are already certified as PMI-SP and ask them for help. As I mentioned before, I sat for this exam within two months of passing my PMI-RMP certificate, so I already had all the needed information fresh in my mind. In total, it took me around two weeks to prepare for the exam.
- When you are ready, you need to book for the exam through https: //www.prometric.com/ and follow the steps that you will receive by PMI. You can choose to sit for the exam as a PMI member or not, but I prefer to pay the membership fees in advance so you can get a free access to the practice standard and other helpful resources.
- Once you submit your application and pay for the exam, your application might be selected for the auditing process. If you need help in this area, you can referee to my article about PMI-RMP certificate for which I mentioned the detailed steps that I did when my application was selected for the auditing process.
The certification exam is a computer based with 170 multiple-choice questions. You will be given 3.5 hours including all breaks that you may wish to take.
Finally, do not forget to review Rita’s Tips on passing the PMP exam as there are still valuable when preparing for the PMI-SP exam.