The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a world-renowned and recognized organization instituted for the promotion and induction of project management skills and professionals across the globe. This institute churns out high profile project managers with a view to empower projects and organizations with standard project management best practices. Founded in 1969, PMI got the world together to recognize industry best practices to be followed across businesses, with a world view of helping such organizations to bring out the best with regard to their processes and functioning.
With PMI gaining accolades for their work and standardizations, it started offering Certification courses such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) in the years 1984 and 2003 respectively. These certification courses gathered a huge chunk of manager aspirants to come together and be part of a unique learning experience. As these exams gained popularity, so did the wave of adoption of best practices and methodologies swamped businesses and organizations. Individuals would study hard and gain a lot of exposure with these courses and bring about great improvements in the business outputs.
These changes sparked a whole new era of competitiveness among organizations and PMP and CAPM were at the forefront of them. So, in this article we will dive into learning a little bit more about these two competitive exams and help you find the best one!
All About Project Management
In this section, let’s brush on what is project management and what brings you closer to getting all your projects completed and executed in the most efficient and effective manner.
Managing a project is much an art as it is a science. There are 5 points that a project manager or a certification aspirant should look out for:
- In every project, a day’s delay always adds on to a lot of cost
- Issues need resolution as early as possible; they can later turn out to be barriers in implementation
- Scope management is important at all times, and the delay caused by scope expansion can be detrimental on the project’s ROI
- Effective project management can help organizations to be able to conduct superb initiatives if triggered in a systematic and professional manner
- Progress is assured when project management is conducted efficiently
Project management is this application of the knowledge you garner, the skills you hone, and the techniques you master to effectively and efficiently implement projects under your forte. Along with PMI’s certification course, the Project Management Institute also initiated “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge” (PMBOK® Guide). This all-encompassing guide was all set to build up a project management paradigm with standards and best practices to be then uniformly used throughout the global business.
Project management basically follows a 5-step process; as depicted below:
Why Do You Need a Certification?
While at the end of the day it is the experience and caliber you possess that makes you worth an awesome project, nowadays, certification course offered by PMI, such as PMP and CAPM, are bringing in some stardust to sprinkle on your resume and work experience that could benefit you immensely and welcome you into the fraternity of project managers, aiming to break the jinx of unsuccessful projects or unruly management across the different industries.
Certifications are a basic means of unifying the entire profession of project managers, with a view to creating a common language to look up to and to be able to help project managers resort to standard practices while executing different projects. This has been proven to improve a project’s performance tremendously.
While a certification to your name doesn’t necessarily make you better than a non-certified project manager, it is based on your caliber to pull it off and help you benefit from it. All the training and hours spent on concentrating on your profession will always give you an edge in this competitive world.
The training and study that a project manager is exposed to while pursuing either a PMP or a CAPM certificate is extremely beneficial to the project’s outcome. With in-depth knowledge of the different tools and techniques and of the best ways to carry out those procedures out, you can systematically put the project into high gear and get your wheels rolling towards success.
CAPM vs PMP Certification Infographics
What is CAPM?
Now we understand what we are headed towards and you’ve made up your mind of pursuing a PMI certificate, I am sure you’re faced with the issue of which one should you go for. Each certificate aims at achieving a different set of functionalities, and it thoroughly depends on what you are looking out for in your development areas that you should choose one of the two: PMP or CAPM. In this section we will be answering your question on what exactly is CAPM. Let’s dive in.
CAPM is an entry-level certification for project managers. An abbreviation for Certified Associate in Project Management, CAPM are for those interested in gaining a great entry into the world of project management on the whole. It captures the essence of the PMI’s project management framework mentioned in the PMBOK® Guide. As compared to PMP, CAPM was introduced in the year 2003 and is relatively a new certification offered for project manager aspirants and those who want to cover up the basics of the gigantic framework.
The eligibility criteria need you to have some kind of experience in any kind of project, basic knowledge and know-how of the field of project management and a secondary degree or equivalent diploma. This certification in addition requires that the project team member is able to document their work experience and pass through an online examination based on the PMBOK® Guide.
I’ve enlisted the complete requirement needed in order to get closer to achieving a CAPM certificate:
- Project management education not needed
- Secondary diploma or global equivalent degree is mandatory
- 1500 hours of work performed with a project team (roughly 3 years’ experience on a project), or 23 hours of project management education from a PMI REP (Registered Education Provider)
- Re-examination is required every 5 years to be constantly updated of the changes in the project management world
- Members of the PMI will pay $225 for the test, while non-members will have to pay $300
- PMI memberships cost $32 for students but as an individual you pay $139
The online examinations look something like this:
- 135 scored multiple-choice questions
- 15 pretest multiple-choice questions
- 3 hours for the completion of the examination
Pros and Cons of CAPM
CAPM can be a great effort to begin with in project management and can give you that undue advantage over your peers and colleagues. Listed here are a few pros and cons to CAPM.
Pros of the CAPM certification:
- No prior project management work experience is needed to take on CAPM
- CAPM doesn’t require post-graduate or post-secondary education taken
- A CAPM certificate can indicate to recruiters and your employers that you’re a dedicated individual towards pursuing a career in project management
- CAPM also indicates your behavioral aspect and your willingness to learn and grow
- CAPM will give you a whole-rounded experience in the every aspect of basic project management
- The CAPM exam isn’t difficult as it is believed to be
- Studying for CAPM is the predecessor to the studies involved in PMP
Cons of the CAPM certification:
- CAPM doesn’t hold equal weightage in the industry as does PMP
- CAPM is a buddying certification and isn’t well-respected in the field currently
- CAPM involves a lot of studying
- When weighed against its benefits, CAPM does stand out as an expensive course
What is PMP?
An abbreviation for Project Management Professional, PMP is the much sought-after project management certification course. This is a popular credential for most project managers in the US and the Asian continent. This certification course is built on the assumption that the candidates pursuing it have already been working as project managers. These professionals are here to seek a higher level of understanding into what make projects click. Unlike CAPM, PMP is an advanced certification for those professionals who have completed their Bachelor’s degree and have already completed 3 years of extensive project management works.
PMP is an industry-recognized certification that offers a highly-competitive edge to the recipients on the global business stage. With PMP, you are instantly accredited as a professional project manager as you go through a rigorous test and training for your role in the project. A PMP certification demonstrates a great deal of experience and knowledge in the field of project management and also demonstrates high level of competency on the part of the candidate.
PMP certified project managers are expected to undertake heavy-duty endeavors such as turning strategic plans and goals into tangible and realistic objectives and actions, reorganizations of systems, introductions of systemic revolutions within the organization, and perfect balancing of the triple constraints clause within projects of different shapes and sizes.
Just like CAPM, PMP urges candidates and hopefuls to document their work experience and take the online tests as needed. I’ve enlisted the requirement in totality for the PMP experience:
- 35 hours of registered project management education is needed
- Secondary diploma or global equivalent degree is needed or Bachelor’s degree or global equivalent is needed
- Category 1 includes: 60 months of unique and distinctive, non-overlapping professional management experience, during which at least 7500 hours of directing and leading of the project has taken place OR Category 2 includes: 36 months of unique and distinctive, non-overlapping professional management experience, during which at least 4500 hours of leading and directing of the project has taken place
- You will need to collect 60 PDUs (professional development units) within a period of 3 years to apply for re-certification
- Members of the PMI will pay $405 for the test, while non-members will have to pay $555
- PMI memberships cost $32 for students but as an individual you pay $139
The online examinations look something like this:
- 175 scored multiple-choice questions
- 25 pretest multiple-choice questions
- 4 hours for the completion of the examination
Pros and Cons of PMP
To everything there are pros and cons and we can’t leave PMP far behind. In this section, we’ll go through a small listing of all the pros and cons of PMP. Here we go:
Pros of the PMP certification
- A PMP certification looks really good on your resume; giving you that added benefit
- It’s a certificate to give validity to your project management experience
- PMP certification can give you an improved pay scale to work with
- A PMP certification can give you vast networking opportunities and mega job openings
- Certifies your commitment toward project management
- This certification is globally renowned
- The training is vast and rigorous and ensures that you fill any gaps between your knowledge base and the collection of tools and techniques in project management
- The knowledge gained is expandable and spans a wide range of industries
Cons of the PMP certification
- There’s a lot of studying required as it is a closed book exam
- This training doesn’t provide the common sense needed to adapt to different situations
- The PMP certification is quite expensive and requires a lot of time and efforts
- The framework offered by PMI is just one framework among the many that exists on the earth
CAPM vs PMP – Differences
The table listed below will give you a sharp comparison between the two certifications:
|Official book of reference||PMI’s A Guide to the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) 5th Edition|
|Examination time||3 hours||4 hours|
|Validity period of the credential||5 years||3 years|
|Re-certification after validity||Re-exam needs to be undertaken||Collection of 60 PDUs to apply|
|Cost||PMI members: $225Non-PMI members: $300||PMI members: $405Non-PMI members: $555|
Between the 2 certification courses mentioned, employers normally give more emphasis on PMP than CAPM as they do require a project manager with advanced experience to pull off the different types of project there is to different industries. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide where you see your career heading towards. That way, you can weigh the pros and cons and according to your caliber head out towards obtaining these certification courses to enrich your project management career. All the very best!
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