Project Management is one of the fastest-growing professions around the world. Earning a project management certificate is not only a great way to build skills, position yourself as a valuable asset in your organization, and earn a bigger cheque, but also a great way to stay ahead of your peers.
Two popular and in-demand certification options are the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification and the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Certification. Both of these certifications are offered by Project Management Institute (PMI) and understanding the difference between these two certifications is critical to decide and choose the right course that fits your career goals.
In this blog, we will look into the differences between PMP and CAPM certification, including cost, difficulty levels, prerequisites, and industry demand; so, you can make an informed decision to fast-track your career towards success.
Before figuring out which course is right for you, let us start by understanding the differences. In simple terms, CAPM is considered as the beginner-level certification compared to PMP, which is a professional level course.
Hence, the prerequisites required for CAPM are much lesser than PMP and the exam for CAPM is considered to be easier and less expensive as well. Having said that, PMP certification is better known, more prestigious, and highly likely to earn you a bigger paycheque.
The Certified Associate Project Management (CAPM)® will help you stand out from your competitors and enhance your effectiveness and credibility while working on different projects.
On the other hand, the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification course is a qualification that is recognized industry wide. Becoming a PMP will enhance your work methodologies in any industry, regardless of the complexity of the projects being handled. This course covers a wide range of techniques and tools necessary in project management. This will help increase your earning potential as well as your confidence in your work.
|Category||Certified Associate Project Management (CAPM)®||Project Management Professional (PMP)®|
|Difficulty Level||Entry Level||Professional Level|
|What is examined||Knowledge of Project Management processes and understanding of terminology||Knowledge of Project Management and the ability to apply the same in real-life scenarios.|
|Cost||Relatively cheaper, compared to PMP||Relatively more expensive, compared to CAPM|
Both CAPM and PMP have their own set of benefits. Let us look into each one of them.
If you wish to acquire a CAPM certification, you should know that it will enhance your efficiency and is recognized to distinguish you from the others in the industry. Benefits of CAPM course include:
If you have made up your mind about taking up the PMP certification, it will benefit you in the following ways:
Both these courses give you access to a range of professional resources and an international network of fellow certificate holders.
|Certified Associate Project Management (CAPM)®||Project Management Professional (PMP)®|
|Respect from your peers and project management professionals||Higher understanding and experience in project management process.|
|Increased confidence in your abilities||Higher salary compared to un-certified project managers.|
|Career progression||Wider range of job opportunities|
|Possibility of receiving a higher salary at work||Greater professional responsibility|
|Affordable compared to PMP certification||Greater recognition compared to CAPM certification|
Before understanding the difficulty of the exams, let us learn the similarities between CAPM and PMP exams.
There are fewer guidelines for CAPM exam compared to PMP as it is created for entry-level professionals who have minimal to no project management experience. On the other hand, PMP requires more time and effort and is designed for professionals who have experience in project management. Let us look at the requirements in detail.
There are two routes to consider a PMP Certification.
PMI will waive off the 35-hour education requirement for the PMP exam if you are an active CAPM certification holder.
Like mentioned earlier, there are many similarities between CAPM and PMP exams. Both follow the PMBOK Guide and are designed by PMI and administered by Pearson VUE. Both exams cover a few of the same topics and neither exam allows reference material during the test. But there are some unique features to each of these exams. They are:
|CAPM vs PMP Exam||CAPM Exam||PMP Exam|
|Exam Components||150 multiple-choice questions||180 questions including multiple-choice, multiple response, matching, hotspot, and limited fill-in-the-blanks|
|Exam Time Limit||3 hours or 180 minutes||3 hours and 50 minutes or 230 minutes.|
|Exam Content||Covers chapters from 1 to 13 of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)||Covers three domains: People, Process, and Business Environment. Use the PMP Examination Content Outline provided by PMI to prepare.|
|Non-scoring questions||15 questions||25 questions|
|Format of exam||Multiple choice||Multiple choice|
|Method of exam||Computer-based||Computer-based|
The real understanding of either of these certifications happens when you understand their real-world applications. After all, certifications are a means to a better career and if they do not meet your expectations, you should reconsider your choices.
CAPM will give you a chance to start with entry-level project management roles. Assistant project manager, project coordinator, junior business analyst are some positions you would be qualified for. In these roles, you would be applying your coordinating skills, scheduling meetings, and creating an effective platform for communication.
However, if you are someone with considerable technical experience, the CAPM certification will pave the way for a leadership position, which in turn can lead to a full-time project management position.
With a PMP certification, the scenario is slightly different. You will be qualified for full-time project management roles where you will deal with different projects of all sizes and complexities. Project manager, program manager, project controller are some roles in your reach with this certification. You will be expected to lead large projects to their success on time and within budget. Once you are at the PMP level, your performance expectations are high, and it is assumed that you come with a great project management history.
Since we are on this topic, it is important to understand that a single certification is only a section of what qualifies you for a given role. Enterprises will also look into your account experience, overall performance, communication skills, leadership capabilities, and other important variables while hiring.
To put it in simpler words, a PMP certification will imply that you are excellent when it comes to understanding and implying project management principles in real-world situations whereas, a CAPM certification will imply that you have a good grasp of conceptual understanding of project management principles.
With this outlook, it is easier to understand why PMP has a higher level of demand and why PMPs are placed into roles with higher responsibilities.
You might think if converting a CAPM to PMP is possible. Since the CAPM is the first level on your PM journey, it does serve as the steppingstone to a PMP certification.
While you cannot upgrade a CAPM to a PMP, obtaining a CAPM certification will definitely help you pursue a PMP certification. You will be able to add the project management education hours you gained while preparing for CAPM to your PMP exam prerequisite. But you cannot upgrade your CAPM certificate to a PMP certificate without sitting for and passing the PMP exam as well.
If you are just beginning your career in project management, a CAPM certification can be a great step towards becoming a PMP and successfully shaping your career, with higher pay and recognition as a project manager.
To wrap things up, we have discussed the differences, similarities, and prerequisites of each of these courses. Both PMP and CAPM certifications can add value to an aspiring project manager's career.
If you are someone just starting out in the project management field, CAPM is a recommended course as it is an entry-level certification. But on the other hand, if you have the necessary experience in the project management field, PMP should be your go-to course to enhance your career, as CAPM would do little for you from a development perspective in your career.
Both these certifications have their own list of pros and cons. They are both highly recognized certifications and as a certification-seeker, you need to make your choice based on what you are eligible for and what your end goal is.
What will you decide?
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