The process for becoming a certified Project Management Professional involves a review of prior education and work experience followed by a written examination. Holders of the certification may use the designation "PMP" after their names in professional correspondence and publication. Each holder of the certification must adhere to a formal code of professional conduct and accumulate a certain minimum amount of relevant experience over a period of three years starting January 1 after successfully completing the examination process.

Project Management Professional is the second of three formal credentials administered by the PMI. The first or basic level is Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®), which qualifies the holder for work as part of a project team. The third or highest level is Program Management Professional (PgMP®), which certifies that the holder is competent to function as the leader of a team.