The Complete Guide to Program Management Professional (PgMP) Certification

PgMP certification, regarded as the most coveted and widely recognised credential within the Project Management Institute (PMI), is designed for individuals aspiring to excel as certified programme managers, equipped with advanced expertise in programme management.

Achieving this esteemed certification, however, is no simple feat. The process entails several stages of rigorous review by both the PMI and a panel of experienced programme managers, culminating in a challenging four-hour examination. Moreover, candidates must be prepared to cover the associated fees to progress along the certification journey.

The PgMP certification is designed for long-term project managers who have been running projects for at least 8 years. If you have less experience, then the CAPM or PMP qualifications are better suited to your needs.

What Is The PgMP Certification?

Geared towards mid and senior-level project managers, the Program Management Professional (PgMP) training course aims to refine their abilities in overseeing multiple projects while aligning programme activities with the organisation’s business objectives, all without sacrificing speed, quality, or efficiency.

By imparting scalable frameworks, this course empowers participants to adeptly handle programmes of diverse sizes, thereby facilitating the advancement of their organisation’s strategic goals.

What Are The Benefits of The PgMP Certification?

Acquiring a PgMP certification sets aspirants apart from other job applicants, capturing the attention of potential employers. As a certified programme manager, individuals demonstrate exceptional capabilities and expertise in leading and managing programmes, making significant contributions to the overall success of the organisation.

This coveted certification opens doors to overseeing high-level programmes and projects, while also providing the opportunity to formulate strategic initiatives for businesses. Beyond merely serving as a superficial accolade for aspiring programme managers, the PgMP certification bestows upon them a deep sense of value, identity, and responsibility.

PgMP Salary

What salary improvement does a PgMP certification give you?

The salary of a PMI Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification holder can vary depending on factors such as location, industry, and years of experience. Nevertheless, on average, PgMP-certified professionals tend to earn higher salaries compared to non-certified programme managers. According to PMI’s Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey, PgMP certification holders reported a median annual salary of $135,000 in the United States, surpassing the median salary of $112,000 per year reported by their non-certified counterparts.

It is important to highlight that PgMP-certified professionals typically assume more strategic roles within organisations, which often translates to higher compensation and better benefits compared to non-certified programme managers. Moreover, holding a PgMP certification can unlock additional opportunities for career advancement and access to higher-paying positions.

What Are The PgMP Certification Requirements?

To be eligible for the certification, candidates must meet one of the following sets of criteria:

  • Secondary Degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or its global equivalent) and 48 months of project management experience, OR 84 months of programme management experience within the last 15 years, if lacking PMP certification.


  • Four-year Degree and 48 months of project management experience, OR 48 months of programme management experience within the last 15 years, if already holding a PMP certification.

What Do I Need To Know For The PgMP Exam?

The PgMP exam comprises a comprehensive set of thirty-five objectives, systematically categorised into six subject groups related to programme management. The examination assesses candidates’ proficiency in the following skills and knowledge areas:

  • Program Outline
  • Program Initiation
  • Program Planning
  • Program Implementation
  • Program Controlling or Monitoring
  • Program Closing

These subject groups encompass the essential aspects of programme management and serve as the focal points of evaluation during the examination.

How Do I Prepare for a PgMP?

The PMI Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification exam is a computer-based test comprising 170 multiple-choice questions. It centres on PMI’s Standard for Program Management and encompasses the following knowledge areas: strategic programme management, governance, benefits management, stakeholder management, and programme life cycle management. Conducted in English, the exam is accessible at authorised testing centres worldwide. PMI offers an array of study materials and resources to aid candidates in their exam preparation, including:

  • PgMP Exam Content Outline: This document provides a comprehensive breakdown of the exam content, covering the knowledge areas assessed in the certification exam.
  • PgMP Handbook: Offering detailed information about the PgMP certification, this handbook includes eligibility requirements, exam format, and the certification process.
  • PgMP Study Guide: Candidates can benefit from this guide, which presents an overview of the programme management knowledge areas tested in the exam, along with sample questions and exercises for practice.
  • PgMP Practice Exam: To simulate the actual exam experience, PMI provides an online practice exam that allows candidates to assess their knowledge and identify areas requiring additional study.
  • PgMP Review Courses: PMI offers both classroom and online review courses, delivering comprehensive instruction on the programme management knowledge areas examined in the certification test.
  • PgMP Study Groups: As a supportive forum, PMI provides online study groups where candidates can exchange study tips, seek guidance, and interact with other PgMP aspirants.

In addition to these resources, candidates are encouraged to take practice exams, review the PMBOK guide and other PMI standards, and explore further study materials like flashcards, videos, and books. It is essential to recognise that the PgMP exam is challenging and demands significant time, effort, and dedication to prepare for. As such, candidates are advised to allow ample study time and attempt the exam only when they feel confident and well-prepared.

PgMP Handbook

What is the PMI Handbook?

The PMI Program Management Professional (PgMP) Handbook, offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), serves as a comprehensive guide containing in-depth information about the PgMP certification. This valuable resource covers various essential topics related to the certification, including:

  • Overview of the PgMP certification
  • Eligibility requirements for aspiring candidates
  • Application process guidelines
  • Detailed exam format and content description
  • Resources available for effective exam preparation
  • Maintenance of the PgMP certification
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Code of Ethics adhered to by PgMP professionals
  • Recertification procedures
  • Relevant policy and procedures pertaining to the certification

As a freely available download on the PMI website, the PgMP Handbook provides crucial insights into the certification’s intricacies, helping candidates navigate the entire certification process and understand the necessary steps to attain and maintain their PgMP certification.

What Does The PgMP Exam Look Like?

The PgMP exam spans four hours and comprises 170 multiple-choice questions, out of which 150 are live questions, and the remaining 20 are seeded or planted questions. Candidates are required to attempt all questions without being able to differentiate between live and planted ones. The exam follows a linear format, and in order to pass, candidates must achieve a minimum score of 65%.

Where Do I Apply For a PgMP Exam?

To locate the nearest Prometric Testing Centers in your vicinity and secure your preferred exam date, it is advisable to initiate the booking process well in advance. Prometric typically requires several weeks to finalise exam dates, making early booking essential. Remember to obtain an authorisation letter from PMI, which will contain a code to facilitate the scheduling process smoothly.

Where Do I Take The PgMP Exam?

After successfully booking your PgMP exam date, the next step is to physically appear at the designated Prometric Testing Center to take the exam.

What Happens If I Fail The PgMP Exam?

In the event of failing the PgMP exam, candidates are granted up to three opportunities to retake the exam within one year from the issuance of their authorisation letter. However, each retake requires the payment of additional fees, which amount to $500 for PMI members and $600 for non-members.

How Do I Maintain My PgMP?

To uphold your PMI Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification, it is crucial to engage in a continuous process of professional development and learning. This entails earning and reporting professional development units (PDUs) every three years. PDUs serve as a metric for measuring your ongoing growth and advancement in the field of programme management. To maintain your PgMP certification, you must accumulate a total of 60 PDUs within the three-year certification cycle.

Should I Get The PMP or PgMP Certification?

Is it worth getting a PgMP certification?

Typically, aspiring project managers at the beginner and intermediate levels opt for PMP certification. This credential has lower project management experience requirements, making it an attractive choice for those who do not yet meet the criteria for PgMP certification, especially after reading our comprehensive guide to passing your PMP exam.

On the other hand, the PgMP certification indicates that your expertise extends beyond the realm of project management. However, it’s important to note that the PgMP panel review process is rigorous and demands succinct descriptions of your past programme management experiences. Therefore, ensuring that your prior experience aligns with PgMP standards is essential before pursuing this certification.


Both the PMP and PgMP exams are demanding and necessitate substantial time, effort, and dedication for proper preparation. However, the PgMP exam is widely regarded as more challenging compared to the PMP exam. This is primarily because the PgMP certification is designed for experienced programme managers, encompassing a broader array of knowledge areas at an advanced level. Furthermore, the PgMP certification process involves an additional review step, adding to its complexity and thoroughness.


PgMP-certified professionals, on average, command higher salaries than their PMP-certified counterparts. As per PMI’s Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey, PgMP certification holders in the United States reported a median annual salary of $135,000. In comparison, PMP-certified professionals reported a median salary of $116,000 per year, indicating a notable salary difference favouring PgMP certification.


While both certifications enjoy global recognition and high regard in the field of project management, the PgMP stands out as a more advanced designation tailored specifically for experienced programme managers. It emphasises the management of multiple interconnected projects, aligning them with an organisation’s strategic objectives. The choice between the two certifications ultimately depends on an individual’s level of experience and their specific career aspirations, enabling them to select the certification that aligns best with their professional goals.

Can I Do A PgMP Without a PMP?

Meeting the eligibility requirements for the PMI Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification allows candidates to pursue it directly without obtaining the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification first. As long as the criteria for the PgMP certification are fulfilled, candidates have the technical option to pursue this advanced credential without holding a PMP certification beforehand.

Is the PMI PgMP Worth It?

The value of the PgMP certification varies depending on an individual’s career aspirations and level of experience. For seasoned programme managers seeking career advancement and the opportunity to showcase their expertise in leading and managing interconnected projects aligned with organisational objectives, the PgMP certification can be a valuable asset. Its global recognition and respect can open doors to increased earning potential, professional recognition, career growth, and enhanced networking opportunities on an international scale. Nonetheless, it is essential to take into account the associated costs and efforts involved in obtaining the certification, such as exam fees, study materials, and review courses, to make an informed decision.


In summary, the PMI Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification holds global recognition and high esteem, making it a sought-after credential among experienced programme managers. It serves as a testament to an individual’s competence in effectively leading and managing interconnected projects that align harmoniously with an organisation’s strategic goals.

If you’re not quite ready to start your PgMP yet, have a look at our guides to passing the PMP and CAPM exams.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *