Program Manager Certification

by LaToya J. Murray; Updated September 26, 2017
A Program Manager Certification provides credential holders with globally recognized means to demonstrate their program management skills.

The Program Management Certification, which is exclusively offered by the Project Management Institute, is a credential available to individuals responsible for managing programs and resources. Program managers initiate projects to support the strategic goals of the program, and then assigns project managers to manage the performance of those projects. The program manager, however, is the role ultimately responsible for the success and acceptance of those projects into the overall program.


Applicants seeking the Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification must possess several years of demonstrable experience in both project and program management. Applicants holding a high school diploma, associates degree, or equivalent, must be able to provide documentation supporting at least four years of unique project management experience, and seven years of unique program management experience. Applicants who have achieved a Bachelor's degree or higher, must also be able to provide documentation supporting at least fours years of unique project management experience, but only four years of unique program management experience.


Applicants must complete three separate evaluations before the credential can be earned. During the first evaluation, the applicant's professional experience will be reviewed by a group of program management subject matter experts. If the applicant passes the panel review, they are then eligible to progress to the next evaluation. The second evaluation consists of a 170-question multiple choice exam. Applicants are allotted four hours to complete the exam, and must receive a passing score to progress to the final evaluation. The third and final evaluation consists of an online performance evaluation that must be completed by the applicant, and the applicant's twelve reference contacts that were provided on the initial application.

Credential Maintenance

In order to maintain active PgMP certification, credential holders must complete at least 60 professional development units every three years. PMI's Continuing Certification Requirements Program, encourages ongoing educational development to support credential holder's professional growth. Professional development units can be earned in a formal academic setting, via professional activities and self directed learning, or directly from classes offered by PMI registered educated providers.


Credentialing fees vary by examination method, and PMI membership status. PMI members pay $1,200 for paper based testing, and $1,500 for computer based testing. Non-PMI members pay $1,500 for paper based testing, and $1,800 for computer based testing. Additionally, credential maintenance renewal for members is $60, while credential maintenance for nonmember is considerably higher at $150.


Applicants wishing to reschedule or cancel paper based testing, must do so no later than 35 days prior to the scheduled exam date. Those wishing to reschedule or cancel computer based testing, must do so no later than 48 hours before the scheduled appointment. Failure to reschedule or cancel within the above stated times will result in a forfeiture of the full credentialing fee.

About the Author

LaToya J. Murray has been a writer for over 7 years. She has served as a technical and freelance writer, project manager, training & development program manager, and as a process improvement and quality assurance consultant for select Fortune 500 companies. Murray is also a behavioral analytics certified trainer and holds a yellow belt in Six Sigma.

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