Difference between PMP and CAPM certifications: Project Management Institute (PMI) offers two levels of certification - Project Management Professional (PMP®) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) - for project managers, depending upon their experience, education and training. So which certification is right for me, you may ask. In this article, I’ll review the differences between PMP and CAPM certifications in order to help aspiring candidates make the right decision.
PMP vs CAPM: Comparison Chart
Let’s start with a head-to-head comparison of PMP and CAPM. After that, we’ll address other questions such as - which certification is better and which is more popular.
|Overview||CAPM certification is designed for project team members, entry-level project managers and qualified undergraduate or graduate students. CAPM is also suitable for anyone switching into Project Management Profession but is not qualified for PMP Certification. CAPM demonstrates a good knowledge of Project Management terminology, concepts and methodology.||PMP certification is meant for experienced Project Managers who want to gain credibility and recognition for their knowledge and skills in Project Management, and want to advance their project management career.|
|Who should apply?||Candidates for the CAPM credential contribute to projects as subject matter experts and team members. They may also serve as project sponsors, facilitators, liaisons or coordinators.||Those who lead and direct cross-functional teams to deliver projects within the constraints of schedule, budget, and scope.|
|Eligibility Criteria|| To qualify for the CAPM Exam, you need:|
a. Secondary Education + 1500 hrs of experience on a Project Team
b. Secondary Education + 23 hrs of formal Project Management education
| To qualify for the PMP Exam, you need:|
a. High School Diploma or a global equivalent + 60 months / 7500 hrs of PM experience + 35 hrs of formal Project Management education
b. Bachelor's degree or a global equivalent + 36 months / 4500 hrs of PM experience + 35 hrs of formal Project Management education
|Exam Fee (USD)|| a. $300 for non-PMI members|
b. $225 for PMI members
| a. $555 for non-PMI members|
b. $405 for PMI members
|Allotted Examination Time||3 hours||4 hours|
|No. of Exam Questions|| 135 Scored + 15 Pretest|
= 150 Total
| 175 Scored + 25 Pretest|
= 200 Total
|Difficulty Level||Considerably less difficult than the PMP Exam||Generally considered to be difficult (a subjective matter)|
|Type of Questions||Objective-type; Mostly direct questions based on PMBOK Guide content.||Objective-type; Mostly situational questions.|
|Application Mode||Online and paper-based||Online and paper-based|
|Subject to Audit?||Yes||Yes|
|Validity||5 years||3 years|
|Renewal||Retest after 5 years. |
a. Submit the online application in the 5th year
b. Take the exam within the 5th year
c. No need to submit eligibility info again
d. Not subject to audit again
|Earn 60 PDUs during the 3 year certification cycle. For more details, refer to How to get my 60 PDUs for PMP Certification Renewal?|
|Number of credential holders (as of Mar 31, 2017)||33,383||761,905|
|Recognition / Market Value||CAPM was introduced in 2003 and is a relatively new certification. It is steadily gaining popularity. It might not get you a Project Manager job, a promotion or a steep pay-hike immediately, but it certainly demonstrates your seriousness about pursuing Project Management as a career. It provides you a step in the door into Project Management.||PMP was introduced in 1984 and has been the premier certification in the field of Project Management for many years. It's well recognized across the world and many companies use it as a pre-requisite for Project Manager positions. For more information, refer to Value of PMP Certification.|
|More Information||Refer to About CAPM Certification and CAPM Handbook (PDF).||Refer to About PMP Certification and PMP Handbook (PDF).|
Which certification is more popular - PMP or CAPM?
As you can see from the number of PMPs and CAPMs (760K vs 33k), PMP is far more popular than CAPM. I have been running a survey of visitors of this blog, and based on the responses, PMP is at least 6 times more popular than CAPM.
Which certification is more valuable - PMP or CAPM?
PMP has undoubtedly more value than CAPM in the market as PMP affirms your knowledge and experience in the field of project management, whereas CAPM only proves your knowledge and not experience. This isn’t to say that CAPM has no value. CAPM is great for those who have no or little experience in project management, and are looking for a foot in the door to the world of project management.
Which certification is right for me - PMP or CAPM?
The answer to this question depends upon your project management experience.
If you have 3 years or more of project management experience, you should definitely go for PMP. This one is a no-brainer.
If you have 1-2 years of project management experience, you should wait it out until you have attained 3 years of project management experience, and go straight for PMP instead of spending your money and energy on CAPM.
But if you have less than 1 year of project management experience, or no project management experience at all, or as I said above, you are looking for a foot in the door to project management, then CAPM is the right certification for you. However, don’t stop at CAPM and graduate to PMP once you’ve attained the required 3 years of project management experience.
If you need additional information or have more information to share on this subject, feel free to post your comments. I’m happy to help and provide guidance to anyone who requests for it.
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