capm vs pmp

CAPM vs PMP: Which one is the best for you?

A lot of people seek information on CAPM vs. PMP. And rightly so. These are one of the most sought after project management certifications from Project Management Institute (PMI). In fact, PMP one of the most respected and widely accepted global credential.

CAPM and PMP are acronyms for Certified Associate in Project Management and Project Management Professional respectively.

You would also be looking to know the difference between CAPM and PMP. You may want to know which will give you a better salary and is good for your career. Let me tell you that both exams have their own significance and it’s not a question of one being better than the other.

Don’t worry! We will contrast the two and tell you the complete details of both certifications. We will tell you the requirements and benefits of these certifications. You would be able to decide which one is right for you after reading this post.


About CAPM

CAPM was introduced in 2003. The CAPM is an entry-level certification. It is useful for professionals who want to make a career in project management.

This exam is for you if you have no or limited knowledge of project management. If you get this certificate, it indicates that you have good knowledge of project management.

CAPM is an entry level exam.

About PMP

PMP is one of the renowned certifications in project management. It is introduced by the project management institute(PMI).

PMP certification has different requirements which are higher than the other certificate needs. This exam is for professionals who are having good experience in project management.

PMP is an advanced level certification.

Exam Pattern

Both these exams are different as their standard are far different from each other. So let’s start with CAPM.

CAPM comprises of multiple choice questions. In this exam questions are from PMBOK guide. There are 150 multiple choice questions and a 3 hours duration time. The cost of examination for non-members is around $300 and for members its around $225. You need to do a good self-study to crack the exam.

PMP exam also comprises of multiple choice questions. There are 200 questions and 25 pretest questions. Your score is based on the 175 questions. The pretest questions are randomly distributed. The level of difficulty is high as compare to CAPM. Most considered this exam as difficult and want to pursue the course to prepare for the exam. The cost of the exam for PMI members is around $405 and for non-PMI members is around $555.

What are the Requirements?

CAPM Requirements

You should have a high school diploma or equivalent with 1500 hours of professional experience on a project team or you should have 23 contact hours of project management education. Now coming to the exam pattern CAPM exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions. The duration for the exam is 3 hours.

As compared to the PMP exam this exam considers to be easy as you can crack this exam by studying PMBOK guide only. CAPM is a good exam when you have less experience and you couldn’t qualify for the PMP requirements then this option is best for you, of course, you can go for PMP exam after CAPM for more professional growth and gain more expertise.

PMP Requirements

There are two major requirements-

I. Project Management Experience

• If you are a bachelor’s degree or secondary degree holder then you need 4500 hours of project management experience.
• If you are a secondary degree holder then you need 7500 hours of project management experience.
By project management experience it means that you must have experience in leading some project or part of some project, performing project leading tasks defined by PM guidelines.

II. Project Management Training

35 contact hours professional training.

You need project management training it means 35 contact hour. You should complete 35 contact hours formal project management training. Now, you must come across the word contact hour so one contact hour is equal to one classroom instruction. You can add multiple training program hours together to complete 35 contact hours and you can also add educational hours from college programs.

When you fulfill these requirements then you are eligible to apply for PMP.


Preparation For The Examination

There are many guidelines for preparing PMP and CAPM exam but it is worth to take a course or boot camp. For preparation, you must have the latest copy of the PMBOK guide. If you are a registered member in any of the course of PMI’S then you will get the additional benefit, the exam version of the guide will be included and also other useful materials.

Prepare from the PMBOK guide.

Practice exams are an important part of preparation giving you more confidence and let you know that on which area you need to focus more. It tells your weaknesses and area of your strength.

Content For The Examination Of Certified Associate in Project Management

There are ten knowledge areas which are defined in the PMBOK guide and you get questions from every domain. Here is the percentage defined under-:

1. Project Management (6%)
2. Environment (6%)
3. Role of the Project Manager (7%)
4. Integration Management (9%)
5. Scope Management (9%)
6. Schedule Management (9%)
7. Cost Management (8%)
8. Quality Management (7%)
9. Resource Management (8%)
10. Communication Management (10%)
11. Risk Management (8%)
12. Procurement Management (4%)
13. Stakeholder Management (9%)

Content For The Examination of Project Management Professional

1. Initiation (13%)
2. Planning (24%)
3. Execution (31%)
4. Monitoring and Control (25%)
5. Closing (7%)

How Much Can You Earn?

PMP certified candidates get higher scale than CAPM certified candidates. PMP is a higher level certification with good experience in project management compared to others. Project management professionals are in high demand. So it’s a growing and developing field.

Which Certification Is Better?

PMP and CAPM both the certifications are beneficial. Both the certificate have their own significance. The PMP certifications are for professionals with high experience and knowledge in project management whereas CAPM is for the professionals with somewhat lesser experience than PMP in project management.

You can do CAPM certification with less experience also. That’s why it is called as an entry level certificate. The PMP certificate is an advance level certificate. The experienced professional can go for PMP for a better career hike. But we can say that CAPM is a path to achieve PMP certificate.

Let’s talk about the salary of both the certificates. If you are a PMP qualified professional then you can get a hike of 20% in your salary as compare to the non-pmp.

If you are a CAPM qualified professional then you will get a hike in your salary. While this may depend on your job profile and your country. Certification adds a bonus to your resume and get you better job with better salary.

Validity For The Exam

PMP certification is valid for 3 years. You need not to give the exam again to maintain its validity all you have to do is maintain 60 PDU’s for every 3 years. CAPM certification is valid for 5 years. For the validity of this exam, you have to give the exam again after 5 years.


By reading this you will get to know both the certification is very beneficial for those who want to make their career in project management. This certification tends to be a valuable asset to your career and increase your knowledge. It totally depends on you which certification you want to take.

If you met the requirement and experience for PMP, then prepare for the exam by joining course or training and successfully complete it.

If you do not have much experience and could not qualify PMP requirements then CAPM is the best option. This certification begins your journey in project management. Prepare well for this exam through online or offline medium according to your comfort and crack the exam. You will get benefited a lot.

Over to You

What you think which certification will suit your requirements and give you a better career. PMP or CAPM? Write your thoughts in the comment section below.

Related Articles

Ways to get 35 contact hours training
What you can expect after certification.

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