A closer look at CAPM vs PMP is necessary when you’re considering a project management certification. These are two very popular options and both offer plenty of benefits. If you’re a project manager, you might be trying to figure out which certification is right for you.
With the fast-growing field expected to add even more jobs over the next ten years, getting certified is important. It shows your qualifications as a project manager. Let’s look at the CAPM and the PMP to help you choose the right option for your needs.
What is the CAPM?
CAPM or Certified Associate in Project Management comes from the Project Management Institute (PMI). This certification shows that you understand project management well enough to start a new career in this field. It also can help you if you’ve been working in the field, already.
While the CAPM is looked at as an entry-level certification, it does come with requirements including:
- A high school diploma or equivalent
- At least 1,500 hours of project management working experience or 23 hours of formal project management education
- Must pass the 150-question multiple-choice exam
Often, the CAPM is used to begin a career in the project management industry. This is a growing field and many employers are seeking people with a CAPM certification. It has become a minimum requirement to gain a job in project management for many employers.
What is the PMP?
Another certification from the PMI is the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. This certification shows you have the experience, education, and mastery of project management. It certifies you to handle more extensive projects.
The PMP certification is higher than the CAPM but does have some differences, too. It will require you to meet the following requirements:
- Three years of experience in project management
- At least 4,500 hours of time spent leading projects
- A CAPM certification or 35 hours of formal education in project management
- A four-year degree
- If you don’t have a four-year degree, you will need to meet the following requirements:
- High school diploma, associate degree, or GED
- Five years of experience in project management
- At least 7,500 hours of time leading projects
- 35 hours of formal project management education or a CAPM certification
The PMP certification is a more advanced certification that requires you to pass a 200-question exam, as well. It has higher requirements and employers understand this. It will show that you have advanced skills and knowledge in the field and can lead to higher-paying positions.
CAPM vs. PMP: The Main Differences
1. Difficulty of the Exam
The PMP is designed for those already with a CAPM or more experience in project management. The exam to get the PMP certification is going to be more difficult than the exam for the CAPM. That’s not to say the CAPM exam is easy.
When you take the CAPM exam, it will cover a smaller portion of the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide. It will mainly focus on professional terminology. The PMP exam, however, covers five process groups, which are:
- Monitor and Control
It will also include questions designed to test your ability to handle real-world project management scenarios. These types of questions are not found on the CAPM exam.
The CAPM exam will cover 150 multiple-choice questions and you will have three hours to complete it. The PMP exam covers 180 total questions with multiple-choice, multiple responses, hotspots, fill-in-the-blank, and matching questions. You will have three hours and fifty minutes to complete the PMP exam.
2. The Cost
The CAPM certification won’t cost as much as the PMP certification. If you’re not a member of the PMI, the CAPM will cost $300, but if you’re a member it’s $225. The PMP is $555 for non-members and $405 for members.
As you can see from the description above, the PMP has a much higher requirement than the CAPM. The CAPM certification is considered to be an entry-level option for project managers. The PMP certification isn’t an entry-level option. It’s considered more advanced and requires more experience before you can become certified.
4. Requirements for Renewal
You will be able to enjoy the benefits of the CAPM certification for five years before you have to recertify. With the PMP certification, you have to renew after three years.
The CAPM requires you to take the exam again to recertify or take the PMP exam to earn a higher certification. These are your only options for recertification or renewal of the CAPM certification.
The PMP will require you to earn 60 Personal Development Units (PDUs) during the three years before renewal. Each PDU requires one hour of education or helping others learn project management. You will need units from both categories, which are Educational and Giving Back to the Profession.
Some of the ways you can earn your PDUs include:
- PMI-accredited education programs
- Attending webinars or live seminars
- Attending project management events
- Approved coursework not from PMI
- Creating informational videos or online content for project management
- Volunteering at a project management organization or even PMI
- Giving presentations for project management
There isn’t another exam you have to take to renew the PMP certification.
CAPM vs. PMP: Which is Right for You?
It might not be easy to choose the right certification for you between the CAPM and PMP. However, you can certainly start with the CAPM and work your way towards the PMP while working in project management. If you already meet the PMP certification requirements, it’s the right choice.
The main factor to look at is where you’re at in your career path. If you’re early in your career, the CAPM is likely the right choice. However, as you advance in your career, the PMP certification makes quite a bit of sense.
When you compare CAPM and PMP certifications you will find plenty of differences. Both are great options for project managers and can help you advance your career in project management.