Everything you need to know about the program management professional (PgMP) ® certification

Everything you need to know about the program management professional (PgMP) ® certification

Program Management Professional PgMP® is a credential that is offered by the Project Management Institute PMI® to individuals who successfully qualify for the PgMP® exam. It certifies individuals as having the requisite experience in program management, and demonstrates their competency in overseeing multiple, related projects in order to achieve the strategic goals of the organization.

To be more precise, as a program manager, you’re a senior-level practitioner on the forefront of advancing your organisation’s strategic goals. You'll manage multiple, related projects in a coordinated way, achieving benefits that could not occur if the projects were handled separately. Your leadership is instrumental. With program management maturity, an organisation’s projects are far more successful than without it — 76% compared to 54% according to the PMI’s 2015 Pulse of the Profession® report. The Program Management Professional PgMP ® qualification is a quantifiable record of your advanced experience and skill, and gives you a distinct advantage when it comes to employment and promotion.

The PMI - PgMP® certification is an international, expert-level credential designed to ensure the skills and knowledge required for Program Managers, as well as the huge wealth of experience possessed by Project Managers/Directors, is recognised. This ensures those who have achieved this qualification are able to deliver the strategic objectives to enhance business results. The PMI PgMP® exam objectives are as follows:

• Governance
• Program life cycle
• Benefits Management
• Stakeholder management
• Strategic program management

The PMI-PgMP® training validates work experience and knowledge of project risk management to manage multiple, related projects and navigate complex activities that span functions, organisations, regions or cultures, and to align the results of these projects with organisational goals.

Any leading large-scale program candidates must:

Meet eligibility requirements

Have completed an application, including written program description and program management experience.

Eligibility requirements:

To be eligible for the program there are certain professional and educational requirements that must be met. Depending on your educational background, you will need a different amount of experience, but all experience must have been accrued over the last fifteen consecutive years.

For those with a high school, associate or equivalent degree you must have completed two corresponding projects that share the common strategic goal and budget of the programme. One of your project management roles must have lasted for at least four years 6,000 hours, whilst the other must have lasted for at least seven years 10,500 hours.

For those with a Bachelor's degree or higher level of education, your two corresponding projects must each have lasted for a minimum of four years 6,000 hours.

All experience must be unique and non-overlapping.


What is the PgMP exam?

The PgMP exam is conducted by the Project Management Institute PMI. Passing the PgMP exam is the prime process for certification. The PgMP certification is designed to designate those professionals that meet the criteria for the qualification through their experience, program management knowledge and review by professional peers as certified program managers.

Who should do this course?

If you have working experience as a Project 4 years and Program 4 years Manager and expect to be working as a program management practitioner, then this course is an excellent choice. It’s the perfect fit if you define projects, assign project managers and oversee programs. If you’re a program manager looking to demonstrate a proven ability to manage complex, multiple projects and align results to organisational goals; increase your visibility and value with your organisation, and differentiate yourself in the eyes of employers, the PgMP credential is for you.

Please note, as long as you can prove that you have led Programs, your organisational role does not matter.

The two cases we refer to below are example individuals who would be the perfect fit for the PgMP qualification:

Case 1:  Abdul is working as Project Manager on a $5b project, building 100 km of road between two major cities. Due to lack of Project Management maturity, many organisations describe even the largest of programs as projects. For PMI, as long as you can demonstrate that your work has multiple interrelated projects, with common goals, you are eligible for PgMP. Based on the description, Abdul is eligible for PgMP.

Case 2:  John is PMO Head and is running a compliance project impacting almost every part of the organisation, which includes application and infrastructure upgrades. For PMI, as long as you can demonstrate that your work has multiple interrelated projects, with common goals, you are eligible for PgMP. Based on the description, John is eligible for PgMP.

Why PgMP ?

For the certified program manager professional the certification opens various opportunities for climbing up the professional ladder. With the experience you already possess, the credibility of PMI will come in very handy. As a program manager, your leadership will be instrumental in obtaining myriad benefits for your organisation. You are managing multiple, related projects in a coordinated way, achieving advantages that will not occur if the projects were handled separately. As such a crucial team leader, it's important that the qualifications you have acquired reflect the benefits you can bring to any team.

What are the benefits to becoming a PgMP certified program manager?

As a certified program manager, you demonstrate your ability to lead, manage, and direct programs. One of the primary goals of the certification is to display the certified program managers within your high-performing organisation, as well as in the international program and project management community. It ensures you have an elite reputation, and that you stand out from the crowd.

Will the PGMP increase my salary?

The PMI performs regular global surveys of project and program managers to track salary performance of candidates with and without PMI qualifications.

A survey performed by PMI of 26,000 respondents in 34 countries in 2015 found that those respondents with a Project Management Professional PMP® certification garner a higher salary 20% higher on average than those without a PMP certification. While the PgMP doesn’t have the same level of data in these surveys as the PMP due to it being a far more exclusive certification, the PgMP is the next level of certification in PMI’s project management pathway, and therefore signals an additional edge and external validation for any senior project/program manager’s experience and management abilities - above those of just a PMP.

See this survey for more details relating to salaries and PMI qualifications:


How do you obtain the certification?

Passing the PgMP exam is the prime process for being PgMP certified.

How many questions are asked in the test?


What is the duration of the test?

4 hours or 240 minutes

Which type of the test is it?


This is a linear test, meaning it includes adaptive testing and fixed-form delivery.

What is the passing score?

PMI never reveal the passing marks/percentages. Once you have completed your exam, PMI will issue a sheet which will reveal if you are 'Above Target', 'Target', 'Below Target' or if you 'Need Improvement'. If you have scored enough to meet Target, you will pass the exam. Based on the candidate’s feedback, we are able to estimate that the passing mark is around 65%.

What is the test retake policy?

You can take the PgMP assessment exam up to three times within the one-year period after receiving your authorisation to test letter. PMI members will have to pay re-examination fees of $500 after failing the first test. Non-PMI members will have to pay a slightly higher fee of $600. In the case of an important family emergency, you will be able to apply for another attempt, and in the instance PMI accepts your reason, it will be necessary to provide proof. If PMI are satisfied with the reason given and proof provided, they will then extend your exam eligibility or allow you to re-take the test. Please call us if you have any further questions about this aspect of the PgMP exam policy.

Is the PgMP exam right for me?

This exam requires four years of project management work and four years of program management work as a minimum. If you have this level of experience and you want to stand out from the crowd, the exam is right for you.

What to expect in the exam?

It is a multiple-choice exam. You will need to have revised to ensure you are comfortable choosing from a selection of answers to find the correct option.

What are the skills being measured for the PgMP exam?

PMI has specified more than 72 objectives for the PgMP test. These objectives are grouped under nine topics. The following listed are the important areas in which an individual should possess good knowledge before taking the PgMP test:

1. Initiating the program
2. Planning the program
3. Executing the program
4. Controlling the program
5. Closing the program
6. Strategic Program Management
7. Benefits Management
8. Governance
9. Stakeholder Engagement

Where to take the test?

The PgMP certification exam is provided through Prometric Centres [https://www.prometric.com/en-us/clients/pages/contact-numbers.aspx?client=pmi]. Most major cities have Prometric Centres, however if you are living 300 km away from the Prometric Centre, you will have to look for the Paper Based Test PBT. For the PBT, please check your local PMI Chapters.

Exam and certification

How do I become a PgMP® Certified Professional?

To begin the PgMP certification process, you need to fill out a detailed application form highlighting your program management experience and other career highlights over the years. You can apply online at www.pmi.org or download printable application forms from the same website.

Some applications will go through an audit review. It is recommended to be prepared for this review.

The credentialing process consists of two evaluations: panel review and multiple-choice examination. In panel review, your application will be reviewed by a panel of credentialed program managers. They will check for clarity of thought, consistency in approach and assess your program management experience.

The examination consists of 200 questions that need to be answered in four hours.

Your certification begins the day you pass the exam and is valid for three years from the date of obtaining the certification. Once you have attained the PgMP credential, you must participate in the Continuing Certification Requirements CCR program to maintain an active certification status. The PgMP certification cycle lasts three years during which you must attain no less than 60 professional development units PDUs toward credential maintenance.

To summarise, as well as gaining your PgMP qualification, it's important to be able to commit to maintaining it, too.


Member: US$800.00

Non-member: US$1,000.00

Course Benefits

Projects in the Program are oriented towards benefit conferment and development of the organisation. With a charter to enable and enhance the industry's competency level and maturity in Program Management, ' PgMP ® Certification Preparatory Workshop' is designed to facilitate the participants to gain an internationally recognised certification from the Project Management Institute PMI®, USA.

As per PMI®, "Programs are groups of related Projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually."

Is this course right for you?

Are you finding it difficult to manage a large number of related projects, as well as your project managers and stakeholders, in order to manage a program that you are leading? Perhaps you're struggling a little when it comes to aligning your organisation's strategic directives with program objectives, whilst still delivering benefits to the organisation and your customers?

Are you able to successfully manage stakeholder expectations representing people from different domains, expertise, and hierarchy levels within internal/external organisations? If you're comfortable in managing program budget, whilst being able to successfully consider program risks, then the PgMP qualification is undoubtedly for you. You'll need to be keen to learn about the best practices out there when it comes to managing a program of any domain, type, size and complexity that may be offered to you.

Whilst developing you personally, your efforts to achieve this qualification will mean unbounded professional development in the process. What's stopping you? Make the first steps to becoming a globally recognised and certified program management professional today.

The program is designed to equip you with verification of the following skills and experience :

• Implementing organisation strategy through program management
• Understanding the difference between multiple independent projects and program
• Managing inter-dependent projects involved in a program
• Understanding the program lifecycle and recognising the value of following this approach
• Increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of Program Management
• Effective benefit management to allow for the realisation of organisation objectives
• Engaging stakeholders effectively to meet the program objectives
• Managing the organisational changes required for the transitioning the benefits delivered in the organisation
• Effective program governance

Course Agenda:

1. Project Management Context and Concepts

- Programs vs. projects vs. portfolios
- Benefit management
- Stakeholder management
-“The Standard for Program Management” overview

The five process groups and the nine knowledge areas

2. The Program Management Life Cycle

- Program life cycle vs. program management process

Phase 1: Program initiation

Establishing program direction

Defining the program scope and charter

Defining accountability, roles, and responsibilities

Differentiating between program and project resources

Establishing governance, tools, finance, and reporting

Identifying success criteria

Phase 2: Program planning

Interface and transition planning

Planning program scope, schedule, cost, resources, and quality

Planning program communication, risk, and procurement

Integrating constituent project plans

Determining program deliverables and tasks

Phase 3: Program execution

Acquiring and developing the program team

Performing quality assurance and information distribution

Consolidating project and program data

Monitoring program performance

Chartering constituent projects

Assigning project managers and allocating resources

Establishing consistent project standards

Phase 4: Program monitoring and control

Controlling program risks, issues, communications, and contracts

Measuring benefits realisation

Forecasting simulated program outcomes

Managing program-level issues

Applying the change management plan

Phase 5: Program closure

Closing components and contracts

Comparing actual and planned quality, cost, and schedule values

Executing the transition plan

Initiating a benefits-realisation measurement

Releasing resources

Reporting lessons learned

• What are programs and how are they different from projects?
• Relationships between projects, programs and portfolios
• When do programs arise and in which types of organisations are they predominant?
• How to undertake program portfolio planning
• Program lifecycle management
• Multiple phases in the program lifecycle

- Pre-program preparations

- Program initiation

- Program setup

- Delivery of program benefits

- Program closure

• Program benefits management life cycle
• Program management processes

- Initiating a process group

- Planning a process group

- Executing a process group

- Monitoring and controlling a process group

- Closing a process group

• Program management knowledge areas and processes

- Program integration management

- Program scope management

- Program time management

- Program cost management

- Program quality management

- Program HR management

- Program communication management

- Program risk management

- Program procurement management

- Program financial management

- Program stakeholder management

- Program governance

• Development of the program management plan by integrating the plans for component projects
• Component transition management
• Role of project healthchecks in program management
• Program managerial skills – an overview
• The role of Program Management Office PMO in successful execution of programs
• Roadmap for setting up and operationalising PMOs

Is PgMP harder than PMP?

PMP is for project managers with 3 years or experience, and the exam is based on your project management experience, as well as the PMBOK and PMP Exam Outline. This exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions and the allocated time is 4 hours. At the Project management level, this exam has its complexities.

Whereas PgMP is for Program Managers organisation roles don’t matter, with at least 4 years of project and 4 years of program management experience. This exam is based on The Standard for Program Management, PMBOK and PgMP Exam Content Outline. For PgMP, you have to read one extra book. The questions in PgMP are relatively harder and more scenario based questions, so if you are not well prepared, you will struggle to pass the exam. This is why it's important to receive assistance from a recognised company such as vCare.

How many PgMP certified individuals are there currently?

As of the 1st September 2017, there are 2,125 PgMPs globally. To read the latest list of those with the PgMP qualification listed by country, please visit https://vcareprojectmanagement.com/courses/pgmp-classroom/ to find out more. If acquiring PgMP certification is something that you're interested in, talk to us today to find out more about the qualification and how we can help you to achieve it. Join the global ranks of those project and program managers who have proven themselves to be above a cut above the rest.

vCare Project Management

vCare provides study guides for the PMI-PgMP® exam to ensure you are fully prepared for the assessment of required skills.

Our comprehensive workshop covers the Project Management process from beginning to end, honing your skills in the six prime focus areas: Governance, Prioritisation, Escalation, Resource Management, Benefits Realisation, and Stakeholder Management. As a PgMP® credential holder, you will be able to promote better integration and coordination of multiple projects for the overall benefit of the program.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Key program management principles relevant to this exam -
  • How to align your program management experience with PgMP terminology and definitions
  • What a program is and how it differs from portfolios and projects
  • The identification and sequencing of projects to help estimate, schedule, and optimise resources
  • How to set up communication, collaboration, and reporting structures
  • How to align program objectives with those of the organisation
  • The tools and techniques essential for PgMP exam success

Training Deliverables:

• PgMP Complete Reference Guide - based on The Standard For Program Management 3rd Edition SPMv3, PMBOK 5th Edition and PgMP Examination Content Outline ECO
• Pre-recorded videos of every domain and sub-domain
• The Challenger - PgMP Question Bank
• The Pathfinder - Mapping ECO Task and SPMv3
• Assistance in completion of PgMP application
• Assistance during audit and panel review
• Personal coaching and mentoring at every step
• PgMP® Exam Prep Course Oriented Tips & Traps
• 26 PDUs/Contact Hours

Who can attend our class?

Anyone who meets the criteria for the PgMP® certification are welcome to attend the classes we offer. We also welcome those who might be likely to meet the criteria at some point in the future. This includes Project Managers, Project Team Members, Project Coordinators, Operation Managers, and Program Managers. Our course materials are also appropriate for Vice Presidents and Assistant Vice Presidents, as well as members of project office management and project office management consultants.