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PMP vs CAPM Certification

PMP vs CAPM Certification

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Last Updated October 30, 2023

The CAPM® and PMP® certifications are two effective ways project managers can bolster their resumes and reaffirm their credentials. The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers both – CAPM® for those looking to develop a career as a project manager and PMP® for those with more experience in the role. But beyond those general descriptions, how do you know which certification is right for you?

The CAPM® Certification

Of the two certifications, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification generally has a lower threshold for testing. The prerequisites are a secondary degree, which includes a high school diploma, an associate’s degree or the global equivalent, and at least 1,500 hours of project experience. Alternatively, the work experience is waived if the tester has completed 23 hours of project management education by the date of the exam. If those requirements are met and you are eligible for testing, you can sit for the CAPM® exam for $300 (PMI members can test for a discounted rate of $225).

Because of the prerequisites, the CAPM® certification has been growing in popularity. The certification isn’t considered as prestigious as the PMP® certification, but it’s an effective way to break into project management. The CAPM® certification provides the opportunity to learn about the role, and in many cases, it may be enough to persuade employers to afford you the chance to manage projects and earn some valuable experience.

The PMP® Certification

While the CAPM® certification may be more accessible than the PMP® certification, it doesn’t typically carry the same prominence or significance in professional networks. The Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is for experienced project managers, evident by its prerequisites. Those interested in testing for the PMP® exam need a secondary degree, at least 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

Having a four-year degree can help cut the experience requirement down to 4,500 hours, but that still equates to more than two years in a project management role. Along with the enhanced requirements, the price point is also higher than the CAPM® certification – $555 and $405 for PMI members.

The PMP® certification is one of the well-respected credentials for project managers because of its high entry point. The certification is designed for working professionals who are experienced in their roles, and those eligible for the credential generally exhibit several important competencies. According to PMI, candidates can be relied upon to:

  • Perform their duties under general supervision and be responsible for all aspects of the project for the life of the project.
  • Lead and direct cross-functional teams to deliver projects within the constraints of schedule, budget and scope.
  • Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and experience to appropriately apply a methodology to projects that have reasonably well-defined requirements and deliverables.

The right certification for you depends on your experience as a project manager. If you are aspiring to develop in your role, then the CAPM® certification might be what you need to get a foot in the door and seize an opportunity. If you are a veteran of creating project schedules, managing expectations and leading teams, you can prove your proficiencies with the PMP® certification.