PMP Certification vs. CAPM Certification

May 10th, 2011

The PMP certification is one of the best project management certifications and is intended for experienced project managers who want to get a formal certification which proves they are serious about their job. To become a Project Management Professional, you need satisfy certain requirements and pass the PMP test. A lot of project managers find that the PMP is the best certification a project manager can have due to its prestige and renown all over the world. The CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) is another project management certification offered by PMI. This certification was introduced a few years after the PMP was offered in 1998 and has become quite popular with project managers as well, but which one is right for you?

The PMP certification is best suited for project managers who have years of professional experience in project management and only want the certification to verify their skills and acquire some new ones along the way. A PMP is not intended for a new project manager or project team member who isn’t fully responsible for leading a project from the beginning to the end. The CAPM certification on the other hand is for new graduates who would like to start working in a position that requires knowledge of certain project management terminology and would like to demonstrate that they have a clear understanding of the main PM concepts.

The requirements for applying for the CAPM certification are a lot less demanding than those the PMP needs, which is one of the main differences between these two credentials. The price of taking the certification exam is less expensive for the CAPM exam than it is for the PMP exam. The exam for the CAPM is shorter than that of the PMP test in terms of length and time (oh, and it’s also easier). The major difference between the exam questions is that the questions on the CAPM exam are pretty much just copy/paste from the PMBOK Guide. As for the PMP exam questions, those are all situational and will require you to make decisions based on your experience of what the “best” thing to do is.

The last difference is that the CAPM is valid for 5 years and then you’ll need to retake the exam or apply for the PMP certification. Once you get that, you will need to earn your PDUs in order to maintain your status as a Project Management Professional.

Preparation for both exams can be done using books, seminars, websites, or project management bootcamps.

To conclude, the CAPM is a new certification which is intended for new graduates or individuals with little project management experience who would like to pursue a higher level project management position in the future. The PMP certification is for project managers who already have experience but would like to gain a competitive edge over others.

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