Training and Certification

What is the Difference Between CAPM® and PMP®?

January 15, 2016

Guest Author

Where do you stand in your career as a Project Manager? Ask yourself this question before we explore the differences between CAPM® and PMP® certifications.

CAPM® vs PMP®: CAPM® is for Entry-Level Project Management Pros

The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® accredidation is designed for entry-level professionals new to project management. According to this past blog post “Project Management Certification Career Path”, CAPM®“candidates need a high school diploma AND at least 1,500 hours of project management experience OR 23 hours of project management education” to qualify for the certification exam.

Think of the CAPM® as an undergraduate degree for project management. Once you graduate and gain experience, then it’s time to return to graduate school and pursue the PMP® certification to advance your career further.

The CAPM® isn’t intended for every project management professional. You may want to consider CompTIA’s Project+ certification if you are more familiar with the CompTIA testing and certifications. Both certifications act as a prerequisite for advanced certifications, such as the PMP®. Explore the differences, pros, and cons further between CAPM® and Project+ in this blog post.

PMP® Certification is for Experienced Project Management Pros

To qualify for the PMP® exam, candidates for the exam need a “high school degree with 7,500 hours of work experience leading projects and 35 hours of project management education” or an undergraduate degree “with at least 3 years of project management experience, 4,500 hours leading projects and 35 hours of project management education”.

Conclusions about the difference between CAPM® and PMP®

1. The work experience prerequisites clearly separate the two certifications. Inexperienced project management professionals cannot qualify for the PMP® exam.
2. Professionals who meet the work experience and education requirements (or come close), should not pursue a CAPM® certification. The CAPM® may prepare you for the content and the format of the PMI® exams, but this may prove to be a waste of time and money.
3. The PMP® certification holds more value than CAPM®. This conclusion stems from the fact that PMP® requires more work experience, hours leading projects, and educational hours. The PMP® certification verifies your documented experience and knowledge.

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