You might be looking for the difference between CAPM and PMP certification from Project Management Institute (PMI). We have here written this post to compare and distinguish between these two credentials. After reading this, you will know which one is best for you.
CAPM vs PMP: CAPM is an entry-level project management certification while PMP is meant for experienced project management professionals. You can apply to the CAPM exam without any PM experience but you need at least 36 months of experience in leading and directing projects to apply to the PMP exam.
CAPM vs PMP Certification
The table below gives a quick snapshot of the major differences between CAPM and PMP certifications. These are described in more detail in the following sections.
|Suitable For||Beginner, without any PM experience||Experienced PM professionals|
|Basic Requirement||Secondary diploma
(high school diploma/
global equivalent) + 23 contact hours of PM education
|Secondary degree + 60 months PM experience + 35 contact hours
4-year degree + 36 months PM experience + 35 contact hours
|Fee||$225 for PMI members
$300 for PMI non-members
|$405 for PMI members
$555 for PMI non-members
|Validity||5 years||3 years|
|Exam Pattern||150 multiple-choice questions||180 multiple-choice questions|
|Exam Duration||3 hours||3 hours 50 minutes|
|Syllabus||PMBOK Guide 6th edition||PMP Exam Content Outline that covers three domains: People, Process, and Business Environment|
|Exam Difficulty||Relatively easy||Tough|
|Certificate Renewal||Every 3 years/15 PDUs||Every 3 years/60 PDUs|
|Potential of Salary Increase
||Yes||High increase in salary|
|Benefits||Salary growth, professional & career growth||Salary growth, global opportunities, professional respect, professional & career growth|
1. Eligibility Requirements
CAPM is an entry-level certification. It is useful for professionals who want to make a career in project management.
You can take the CAPM exam even if you do not have any work experience or have a limited knowledge of project management. For taking the exam, you should have a secondary diploma (high school diploma/global equivalent) and 23 contact hours of project management education.
You can refer to CAPM handbook for the details of CAPM eligibility requirements.
On the other hand, PMP certification is designed for experienced professionals. It is one of the most renowned professionals certifications in the World.
You can take the PMP exam only after meeting the basic experience and education requirements. The experience requirements are:
- You should have secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent) and minimum 60 months of project management experience.
- You should have 4-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent) and minimum 36 months of project management experience.
Additionally, you need to get 35 contact hours to apply for the PMP exam.
2. Cost and Expenses
The CAPM exam fee for PMI non-members and PMI members is $300 and $225 respectively. The 23 hours or project management education can cost between $150 to $250.
Apart from the above two costs, following are the optional expenses:
- PMBOK Guide – about $40 on Amazon
- References Books – $50-$100 on Amazon
- Simulator – about $50-$100
In order to pass the CAPM exam, you can take a maximum of three attempts at the exam. The CAPM re-examination fee for non-members and members is $200 and $150 respectively.
You can refer to CAPM handbook for the details of exam fee and re-examination fee.
The PMP exam fee for PMI non-members and PMI members is $555 and $405 respectively. The 35 hours or project management education can cost between $300 to $2000.
Apart from the above two costs, following are some other optional expenses:
- PMBOK Guide – about $40 on Amazon
- References Books – $50-$100 on Amazon
- Simulator – about $50-$200
In order to pass the PMP exam, you can take a maximum of three attempts at the exam. The PMP re-examination fee for non-members and members is $375 and $275 respectively.
Our other article gives complete details about PMP exam expenses. PMP credential may look be an expensive proposition but benefits of PMP far outweigh its cost.
PMP Exam Prep at Reasonable Price
Our PMP training program contains a lot of study material that will help you to pass the exam in your first attempt. You can our training program at a very reasonable cost.
Our PMP program is priced as low as USD 99 in USA. Our training is unmatched in the industry. It will enable you to pass the PMP exam in your first attempt and, in case you are unsuccessful, we will refund 100% training fee.
3. Exam and Syllabus
The CAPM exam comprises of multiple-choice questions that are based directly on the PMBOK Guide. You have to do 150 questions in 3 hours.
The CAPM exam is fairly easy and you can crack it after a bit of self-study.
The questions in the CAPM exam come from the thirteen chapters of the PMBOK Guide. Following is the list of the chapters and percentage of questions coming from each chapter:
1. Introduction to Project Management (6%)
2. Project Environment (6%)
3. Role of the Project Manager (7%)
4. Project Integration Management (9%)
5. Project Scope Management (9%)
6. Project Schedule Management (9%)
7. Project Cost Management (8%)
8. Project Quality Management (7%)
9. Project Resource Management (8%)
10. Project Communication Management (10%)
11. Project Risk Management (8%)
12. Project Procurement Management (4%)
13. Project Stakeholder Management (9%)
The PMP exam of too comprises multiple-choice questions. You have to do 180 questions in 230 minutes.
The major reference for the PMP exam is PMBOK Guide but the exam is not solely based on the Guide.
The PMP exam is one of the toughest exams in the World. You need to do a rigorous study to pass the exam.
The PMP exam curriculum is part of the PMP Exam Content Outline (ECO). The exam questions are based on the tasks defined under three performance domains of ECO. Following is the list of three domains and percentage of questions coming from each domain:
1. People (42%)
2. Process (50%)
3. Business Environment (8%)
While both the exam require a good preparation, CAPM is considered less difficult than the PMP exam as CAPM is an entry-level exam that is directly based on the PMBOK Guide whereas PMP test the practical project management knowledge of the exam takers. You can read our other article on pattern of the PMP exam to understand how it is structured.
4. Certification Benefits
There are several benefits of the CAPM certification. Some of them are listed below.
- CAPM credential is a trusted by the employers. It proves that you can handle increased responsibilities.
- It improves your project management knowledge and gives you extra confidence while doing your job..
- It enhances your career growth prospects.
- Employers prefer PMI certified professionals over non-certified professionals and they are willing to give them a higher salary.
- It can be used as a stepping stone to clear the next higher credential exam i.e. PMP.
There are several benefits of the PMP certification. Some of them are listed below.
- The PMP certification adds value to your resume. It is the most valuable certification and employers will prioritize your profile if you are a PMP certified professional.
- It gives you global recognition and it increases your employability across different countries.
- It validates your project management knowledge and skills.
- It enables you to network with other PMPs from different parts of the world.
- Above everything else, PMPs get much higher salary than the non-certified project managers.
To understand the advantages of PMP in detail, you can refer to our other article on value of PMP.
5. Salary and Compensation
The average salaries of both CAPM and PMP certified professionals are much higher than their peers but PMPs just outperform everyone.
According the payscale.com, CAPMs earn an average salary of $67K per year. This is very good considering CAPM is an entry level certification and any person coming out the college can get it.
According the payscale.com, PMPs earn an average salary of $110K per year. Salary.com says that the average salary of PMPs is $161,408.
According to Project Management Salary Survey, PMP certified project managers can earn 16% higher on average than non-certified project managers.
We have written a detailed article on PMP earnings. You can read it to find about about various stats across different geographies.
6. Certification Validity/Renewal
CAPM certification is valid for 3 years. You are required to earn and report 15 Professional Development Units (PDUs) within this 3-year cycle.
PMP certification is also valid for 3 years. However, you have to collect 60 PDUs every 3 years to maintian the certification.
There is a formal process for renewing the certificate, which involves paying a fee of $60 and $150 respectively for members and non-members.
Which Project Management Certification is Right for you?
PMP is an advanced level certification whereas CAPM is an entry-level exam. So, if you meet the requirement and experience for PMP, then you should start preparing for the exam by joining a training course as it is one of the most prestigious certification.
If you do not have the requisite experience for PMP then CAPM is a good option. CAPM credential will start your journey in project management. It will increase your project management knowledge and become a valuable asset in your career.
Over to You
Which certification are you thinking of pursuing? What is the reason for your decision? Have you considered any other project management certification apart from these two.
we would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
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