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CAPM or PMP - Which Certification Should I Go For?

If you have been working as a project manager and are ready to take your career to the next level, then becoming certified is definitely the way to go. Project mangers who are certified are more likely to find job opportunities, be trusted with more complicated projects and have a higher salary. 

When it comes to deciding what certification to go for, most project managers choose between the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification or the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) exam. Although they are similar and are both offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), there are some differences between them.

Here we will highlight what is included in both certifications so you can decide which one you should go for!

What is the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)?

The CAPM qualification was created in 2003 by the Project Management Institute and is designed as an entry-level certification for project managers.

This qualification is attainable no matter the stage you are at in your career. According to PMI, "it is an asset that will distinguish you in the job market and enhance your credibility and effectiveness working on — or with — project teams."

The CAPM is a great way to set your self apart in the early years of your career.

What is the Project Management Professional (PMP)?

The PMP qualification was create in 1984 and has become the the most highly-recognized standard for project managers all around the globe. 

According to PMI, "As a PMP, you can work in virtually any industry, with any methodology and in any location." Becoming PMP certified can truly help you take your career to the next level.

The catch with this certification is that you must have a a substantial amount of experience to be eligible to attain it. 

What does it take to become certified?

Both certifications have different requirements. According to the findcourses.com Project Management Infographic, these are the pre-requisites for each certification. 

CAPM Pre-requisites

  • Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate's degree or the global equivalent)
  • 1,500 hours of project experience or
  • 23 hours of project management education completed by the time you sit for the exam

PMP Pre-requisites

  • Without a four-year degree: 
    • 7,500 hours of leading and directing projects
    • 35 hours of project management education
  • With a four-year degree: 
    • 4,500 hours leading and directing projects
    • 35 hours of project management education

In addition to these pre-requisites, the CAPM exam costs $300 ($225 for PMI members) and only lasts 5 years. The PMP exam costs $555 ($405 for PMI members) and only lasts 3 years. 

Which certification should I go for?

When it comes to choosing what qualification you should go for, it is best to go through the check list above and determine what exam you're qualified for. If you find that you do not yet have all of the experience and hours needed to become a PMP then aim for the CAPM and slowly work your way up the certification ladder. 

Last updated: 01 Mar 2019

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