The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a global non-profit governing body that assists as the official world-wide standard for the project, portfolio and program management occupation. PMI offers seven certifications:
- CAPM: Certified Associate in Project Management
- PMP: Project Management Professional
- PgMP: Program Management Professional
- PfMP: Portfolio Management Professional
- PMI-ACP: PMI Agile Certified Practitioner
- PMI-RMP: PMI Risk Management Professional
- PMI-SP: PMI Scheduling Professional
Each of these certifications is dissimilar in its own way but the joint query among those planning to take these tests is this: What are the essential differences between the CAPM and the PMP certifications? I would be happy to answer this question and will also highpoint the major differences in the exam format between the two.
The CAPM is a good entry-level qualification to follow which does not essentially require years of experience. The individuals that decide to follow this certification are either involved in projects at a low level i.e. they do not need years of project management experience or they have none whatever and are still not sure of what their career path may be. The PMP, on the other hand, is the most applicable and important certificate to have if you want to be a project manager. It is the most widely accepted and reputed of all of PMI’s certifications and a usual applicant must have at least 3-4 years of real-world experiences where they have lead project teams. This vigorous difference is also highlighted later in the format of the exam.
CAPM applicants must have a high school degree, associate degree or the global corresponding whereas PMP applicants would value highly from an added bachelor’s degree to boot. CAPM applicants also need to normally have 1500 hours of experience in being part of a project team; PMP candidates will have to do much enhanced with 4500 (for a candidate with a bachelor degree) to 7500 hours (for a candidate with only a high school degree) of leading a project team. Lastly, applicants will need to complete 23 hours of compulsory online coursework to sit for the CAPM exam as opposite to 35 hours needed for the PMP exam.
The key difference between the two exams is the way they test you on the information. CAPM exams will focus on the basic processes and knowledge areas offered in the PMBOK 5 guide and the questions are fairly direct. There are 150 multiple choice questions to be answered over 3 hours. PMP exams will have a more composite set of question which represent more real-world scenarios because they will expect the applicant to have been in these situations in his/her years of experience as a project manager. There are 200 multiple choice questions to be answered over 4 hours and it is a more difficult exam
CAPM is almost 100% based out of the PMBOK 5 guide and should be justly straightforward to prepare for whereas the PMP needs a higher number of resources to fill in the information gaps as PMBOK do not adequately equip you for all the questions. I would strongly commend Rita Mulcahy’s prep book and Headfirst PMP by Stellman and Greene to complement the base knowledge attained by PMBOK.