PMP® vs. CAPM® : What’s The Difference?

September28, 2017
by Emil Tarka

There’s two main certifications floating out there from the Project Management Institute: Project Management Professional (PMP® ) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM® ). What are they, what are the differences, and which one of them should you get?

Certification Requirements

There’s two ways to qualify for the PMP® exam:
Route 1: Bachelor’s degree (in any field of study, from an accredited institution) + 3 years or 4500 hours leading and managing projects + 35 hours formal project management training.
Route 2: No post-secondary degree + 5 years leading and managing projects + 35 hours formal project management training.

The exam itself is 4 hours long, and 200 rigorous questions cover the entire Project Management Body of Knowledge book. To maintain this certification, you have to obtain 60 professional development units (PDUs) every 3 years.

Qualifying for the CAPM® exam is easier. No post-secondary degree is required, just highschool or equivalent. You also need 1500 hours of experience OR 23 hours of formal project management training. This exam, while still rigorous, is shorter, at only 135 questions completed over 3 hours. To maintain this certification, you need to retake the exam every 5 years.

How does CAPM® differ from PMP® ?

The CAPM® certification is newer than the PMP® , dating back to only 2003. This is an entry-level certification for those who don’t yet have the experience to qualify them for PMP® . It’s one great way for students and early professionals to break into the always-challenging “need experience to get experience” cycle. While both employers and employees (or potential employees) know that CAPM® doesn’t show much experience in project management, it does indicate strong interest and commitment to the field of project management.

PMP® , by contrast, is a certification which demonstrates extensive project management training and experience. It requires some formal training, just like the CAPM® certification, as well as continual learning (60 PDU’s every 3 years). While CAPM® is for those just starting out, PMP® is for those demonstrating earned experience. PMP® is a much more widely recognized certification than CAPM® .

What does Tarka offer?

We can help you reach your certification goals! Whether you’re looking for personal education, studying for PMP® or CAPM® , or looking for corporate training, we can help. We offer the 35 hours of training you need in order to write the PMP® exam (incidentally, this will more than qualify you for the CAPM® exam as well!). But that’s not all: we also give you insider tips and tricks about the exam, help you create a customized study plan, and provide support with your application to write the exam. Check out our class offerings today!

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