PMI offers two very popular and well-known certifications: Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). What do you need to do to become PMI certified? What is the difference between the PMP and CAPM certifications? Answers below.

 

Why Should You Get Certified? 

Certification is a great way to demonstrate your hard-won professional knowledge and experience. For people involved in project management and its related careers, gaining an accreditation from the Project Management Institute (PMI) is an instant way of letting colleagues and prospective employers know that you’re serious about your work – and you have the skills to match.

PMI offers two very popular and well-known certifications: Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). What do you need to do to become PMI certified? What is the difference between the PMP and CAPM certifications? Those are the questions we’ll answer in this article.

CAPM vs. PMP Certification Eligibility 

CAPM certification is designed for the entry-level project management professional. To be eligible to become CAPM-certified, you have to first meet PMI’s education and experience requirements: a high school diploma or equivalent and  23 hours of qualifying project management education.

The requirements for PMP certification are much more demanding. To be eligible, you must meet one of the two sets of certification requirements: 

  • four-year degree
  • 36 months of leading projects
  • 35 hours of project management training or CAPM certification

OR

  • High school diploma or associate’s degree (or global equivalent)
  • 60 months of leading projects
  • 35 hours of project management training or CAPM certification
  • PMP Exam

PMP Exam

There are 5 domains in the PMP exam: project initiating, project planning, project execution, monitoring and controlling a project, and closing a project. The exam has a total of 200 multiple-choice questions. Both predictive project management and agile/hybrid approaches will be on the exam. 

Here are more details on the exam. For the PMP exam outline, click here

Area Topics % of exam
People Conflict management, team leadership & building, supporting team performance, negotiating project agreements, supporting virtual teams  42
Process Communications management, risk assessment & management, budget planning, schedule & scope planning, project artifacts, project continuity  50
Business Environment Project compliance, supporting organizational change, evaluating project value & scope 8

 

CAPM Exam

The CAPM exam is considerably shorter. There are 135 scored questions and 15 pretest/unscored questions for a total of 150. All questions are multiple-choice and you have three hours to complete the exam. Here’s a breakdown of the exam sections: 

Area % of exam
Introduction to Project Management 6
Project Environment 6
Role of Project Manager 7
Project Integration Management 9
Project Scope Management 9
Project Schedule Management 9
Project Cost Management 8
Project Quality Management 7
Project Resource Management 8
Project Communication Management 10
Project Risk Management 8
Project Procurement Management 4
Project Stakeholder Management  9

Which PMI Certification is the One for You?

As you can see, these two certifications are for people at very different places in the same field. If you’re just getting started in your career, then choose the Certified Associate in Project Management. If you have the experience and leadership needed, go for the Project Management Professional accreditation.

In today’s job market, setting yourself apart and having independent verification of your abilities is highly valuable. Whichever certification you choose, it will make you part of a respected community of trained and tested project managers.