So I have been transparent that I had a boot-camp PMP exam prep instead of self-study. But if my company did not sponsor me, I will self-study for PMP because that seems the most financially wise approach.

When I had to put together proposal for getting my PMP exam bootcamp sponsored, I went through a thorough research on various PMP exam courses available in my region and online.

Now that you know my story, there are several scenarios you may be in:

  1. You are a project manager and looking for professional accreditation sponsored by your employer:
  2. You get sponsored but you want to go the extra mile through extra PMP prep materials
  3. You are a professional looking for career change into project management through self-study
  4. You are an ambitious professional that wants more for your career!

Regardless which scenario you are in right now, having awareness about PMP certification cost is necessary. However much money you spent does not guarantee success. It is the effort you put in that makes the difference.

These are my notes from the PMP certification cost research. And let us start from looking at all different costs involved in PMP certification because that will be the best motivation why we all want to pass the first time! 🙂

Part 1: PMP Application Costs:

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  • Certification:
    • As PMI members, your investment for PMP computer-based exam and PMI membership will be USD$544
      • PMI Membership costs USD$139
      • PMP Exam Application fee (for members) costs USD $405 or EUR340
    • As non-PMI members, your investment will be $555 on PMI exam fee.
    • If you are taking paper-based PMP exam, you will pay about $USD155 less for both members and non-membersapplication PMP - EasyPM Best PMP Resources
  • Re-examination: If you unfortunately do not pass your PMP exam, you will have to pay USD$275 (members) or USD$375(non-members) for a retaking the PMP exam. It is USD$140 less than the full costs. But it is painful enough to be a motivation for you to prepare well and pass for the first time.
  • Refund: If you do change your mind about the certification, PMI does provide refund but retain USD$100 from the amount given that you have not scheduled an exam. However you need to request for the refund 30 days before the expiry of your PMP exam eligibility. If you have scheduled the exam, you will need to cancel it with Prometric before you can request for a refund. Otherwise everything will be forfeited.

Part 2: PMP Prep Material Costs

  • PMP Exam Prep Guides:Most of the PMP prep guides will cost around USD$30, USD$50 or above USD$100. Some of the best and widely recommended ones (including myself) are from Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep, Andrew Stellman’s Head First PMP, Andy Crowe’s How to Pass PMP at First Try.
  • PMP Exam Practice Questions:As emphasized in the earlier pages, the key component that I used to pass PMP exam was the PMP exam sample and practice questions. EasyPM’s PMP Exam Study Guide shows you where to free practice questions online. There are also paid options for a total exam simulation experience which I find to be quite crucial to start training yourself for exam day. For example, PM Exam Simulator can provide 9 PMP mock exam sets for unlimited tries for about $99.99. That leads to about USD$10++ per exam sets.
  • FREE stuff: Addition PMP Exam Prep guides are recommended due to the additional effort to present PMBOK concepts in the format that helps effective learning. However, you can also work with the free PMBOK 5th Edition from PMI website. It is a comprehensive guide although there are some areas from the exam that I noticed were not covered in PMBOK guide. You can also find free PMP exam questions from PMI websites as well.

Based on this list of different costs for PMP prep materials. You should have a rough figure in your head how much do you want to invest. Do you want the most efficient way where a professionally written PMP exam prep guide will walk you through everything, or would you rather do-it-yourself? Either way works, with different impact on time investment, which we will get to in a minute.

Part 3: PMP Exam Training/Prep Courses/Bootcamps

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  • PMP Exam Classroom Training/Prep Courses/Bootcamps:

Whether it is a bootcamp, prep courses or classroom trainings, these types of courses require you to be physically present. You will get face to face interaction with the students and instructor. However it will take a huge chunk of time out of your time. The offerings of classroom training often differ by the region.

Bootcamps may help you to prepare during the last week right before you exam so that you can sit the exam with fresh memory from the training. Some classroom trainings may or may not include scheduling the exam for you.

This is usually the most expensive PMP exam prep route. It may easily cost you USD$1000 to USD$5000 depending on the country and course content. You may find a more affordable bootcamp courses in Asia due to currency difference. The most expensive ones are usually the residential trainings that include accommodation.

I had the opportunity to attend a PMP residential bootcamp. I find the focus and isolation provided by residential experience extremely helpful. But these two elements can also be replicated easily in self-study experience through discipline. And that is a separate post on its own.


  • PMP Online Prep Courses:

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Most people that choose self-study route for PMP exam would enjoy the flexibility of doing it at their own terms, their own time, and some times their own pace.

I have included key providers that offers PMP online prep guide or tools that I have reviewed. There are actually many online PMP prep courses. However I have included only the PMP prep courses that received widely known student testimonials. It does not mean the others are lesser of quality. I just have not heard about them before and could not vouch for them.

  • PM Prepcast: According to Pmlessonlearned website, pm-prepcast has been voted as the PMP’s favourite PMP online course in their survey.
    • What do they offer: 50+ hours of video lessons, course workbook downloadable to smartphones for unlimited use, 300 practice questions
    • Price: $179.99
  • Simplilearn: Simplilearn is an India-based startup that has been success in providing various online courses to corporates and individuals.
    • What do they offer: 29 hours lessons, 83 quizzes, downloadable e-book (which means unlimited use!), 5 sets of PMP simulation exams, and quite a lot of freebies.
    • Price: $199.00 (30 days access), $299 (90 days access)
  • Brainbok: This is the brainchild of Deepfriedbrainproject blog. I admire Harwinder that started the blog with the intention to give. And now he has taken it one step further by creating an innovative tool for PMP aspirants. BrainBOK is a PMP prep tool instead of a usual step-by-step exam prep guide.
    • What do they offer: flashcards, questions, practice exams, innovative ITTO explorer that covers all the concepts in PMBOK. 
    • Price: Free, USD$29.99, USD$59.99, USD$99.99. Different price level gives you access to different amount of content for 90 days.
  • GreyCampus via Udemy: Udemy is an online learning platform with several vendors providing PMP prep courses. Given the content and pricing, GreyCampus came across as the reasonable one.
    • What do they offer: 7 hours content, 78 lectures, flashcards, practice questions.
    • Price: EUR247 (USD$260 equivalent by July 2015)

So now you can see the average costs for PMP online prep courses. Of course they are also online PMP prep courses that charges from USD$500 to USD$700. Since there are already a few high quality products between USD$100 to USD$300. I did not look into reviewing these higher priced ticket items.

Part 4: PMP Recertification Costs

When you have received your PMP certification, you are only just beginning the journey of PMP. As part of PMI’s Continuous Certification Requirement (CCR), you need to obtain 60 PDUs every three years. Although there are a lot of resources that provides free PDUs, you may choose to invest for some courses that will provide more units of PDUs at one go. I will speak more about the best and free options to get recertified shortly.

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In summary, dear PMP aspirants, some PMP prep routes you can consider:

  1. You can spent the least money, USD$544, and do everything else yourself.
  2. You can get a PMP exam prep guide and study at your own pace. It will be about USD $600 (rough estimate only), for both the certification fee and the most recommended PMP prep guide from Rita Mulcahy (Read my review here).
  3. You can get a PMP online course and let the expert’s PMP prep strategy guide you to success. That will cost about a total of USD$750, if you go for PM Prepcast which is the cheapest PMP online prep course. Or you can also pay more through other options.
  4. Of course, you can also go for PMP prep courses, bootcamps in your country. Then there are a lot of PMP exam questions on this site that will also help you to beef up your PMP exam confidence.
  5. Lastly, whichever route you choose, you can always benefit from a good PM exam simulator. You can  find some sites that sell the questions set by set. But I would recommend my personal favourite PM Exam Simulator that offered 9 sets of PMP mock exams at USD$99. If you can finish all the 9 exams, you should be ready for exam in no time.

The decision is get PMP is indeed costly. But the reward is just abundant as mentioned in the earlier post. Since every step along the way costs you money, let us all pass at the first time and use them to boost our career right away. I am sure you can recoup these costs easily.

Did I miss any other hidden costs of being PMPs? Please comment below so that I can update this post accordingly. 🙂