CAPM vs PMP Certification – A detailed Comparison

Why CAPM vs PMP Are Getting More And More Important?

CAPM: The CAPM® is registered against the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 standard for quality management systems, hence, providing a third-party affirmation of quality in the development, management, and governance of the certification. So, The CAPM Certification shows that the candidate has demonstrated the understanding of the fundamental knowledge, processes, and terminology defined in A Guide To The Project Management Body Of Knowledge (PMBOK ® Guide) that are required for effective project management performance. For CAPM vs PMP certification, PMBOK Guide outlines generally recognized good practices in project management. This knowledge can be applied to on-the-job experiences. This certification will help individuals who do not have relevant experience but are interested in project management. since, CAPM provides a high level of credibility to the individuals who carry this certificate.

PMP: For instance, The PMP® certification is accredited against the internationally recognized ISO 9001 and ISO/ANSI 17024 standards. A project manager, holding PMP Certification, demonstrates to employers, clients, and colleagues that she/he possesses project management knowledge, experience, and skills in order to bring projects to successful completion. The practitioners who hold the PMP Certification are well-positioned in order to provide the professional skills necessary to lead project teams and achieve project results as the demand for the skilled project manager is at a critically urgent level. The specific skills employers seek like dedication to excellence and the capacity in order to perform at the highest level. The PMP Certification has garnered global recognition and commanded a higher salary for certified individuals over non-certified individuals. The PMP recognizes the competence of an individual to perform in the role of a project manager, specifically experience in leading and directing projects.

CAPM vs PMP: What’s the Difference?

Since, Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is an entry-level or associate level PMI certification based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). hence, The CAPM certification is a knowledge-based exam and recognizes the knowledge of its certification holder. As it is an entry-level exam, it does not require its aspirants in order to have any previous project management experience. This one reason makes CAPM an excellent choice for individuals who wish to start their project management careers. Project Management Professional (PMP) is professional-level PMI certification based on generally recognized good practices. PMP certification is an experience-based exam and recognizes a high level of professionalism for experienced project managers. It requires its aspirants to have at least 3 years of project management experience as one of the eligibility criteria.

Benefits of the CAPM vs PMP Certifications

For instance, The CAPM Certification holder shows demonstrated understanding of the fundamental knowledge, processes, and terminology defined in A Guide To The Project Management Body Of Knowledge that are needed for effective project management performance. As a result, This knowledge can be applied to on-the-job experience that helps develop growing levels of competence in the practice of project management. so, The CAPM Certification holder will differentiate herself as she comes out of college or is new to the workforce by showing she is ready for greater responsibility.

For instance, The PMP Certification holder is well-positioned to provide the professional skills necessary to lead project teams and achieve successful project results. Since, With the inclusion of Agile Methodologies in the exam, the PMP Certification is well-equipped with practicing predictive, agile, and hybrid project management approaches. Moreover, the PMP proves that the certification holder has leadership experience and expertise in different ways of working.

Regardless of whether the candidate holds a PMP or CAPM certification, she is valued in the organization. She carries the coveted badge of PMI which is recognized across the geographies. Overall, a certification from PMI comes with benefits that are helpful in excelling the professionals.

Eligibility Criteria for PMP and CAPM


If you are also looking towards managing large projects and are willing to take on more responsibility. And add an additional skill of project management into your profile, then the CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) is the correct option for you.

CAPM  Eligibility
CAPM Eligibility


The PMP certification is meant for experienced project management professionals.

PMP  Eligibility
PMP Eligibility

How Do We Calculate the Experience Hours?

  • If you possess a 4 year graduation degree, then must have experience of atleast 4500 hours in your projects. And those project experience must be non-overlapping for 3 years
  • If you do not possess a 4 year graduation degree, then you must show that you have an experience of minimum 7500 hours in your  projects. And also those project experience must be non-overlapping for 5 years.

NOTE: “Non-overlapping” here would mean that if Project A and Project B started at the same time and Project A got completed in 1 year and Project B finished in 1 year and 2 months, then we can only either show 1 year from Project A and last 2 months of Project B or 1 year and 2 months from Project B only.

Example for a Project Duration of 1000 hours (Across project phases)

A Project Initiation: 12% = (0.12 * 1000) hours = 120 hours

Project Planning: 23% = (0.23 * 1000) hours = 230 hours

A Project Executing: 44% = (0.44 * 1000) hours = 440 hours

Project Controlling and Monitoring: 14% = (0.14 * 1000) hours = 140 hours

A Project Closing: 7% = (0.07 * 1000) hours = 70 hours

CAPM Vs PMP – Exam Syllabus and Pattern


For Instance, in the CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) exam, each knowledge area carries a specific weightage. it is shown as below.

#Knowledge AreaWt.
1Introduction to Project Management6%
2Project Environment6%
3Role of the Project Manager7%
4Project Integration Management9%
5Project Scope Management9%
6Project Schedule Management9%
7Project Cost Management8%
8Project Quality Management7%
9Project Resource Management8%
10Project Communication Management10%
11Project Risk Management8%
12Project Procurement Management4%
13Project Stakeholder Management9%
Source: PMI CAPM handbook


The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification gives a credential. for instance, you are highly skilled in:

  • People: People skills which you need in order to efficiently lead a project team
  • Process: Stressing on the technical aspects of efficiently managing projects
  • Business Environment: Reiterating the influence on projects from outside the Project
3Business Environment8%
Project Management Professional (PMP) certification Process

For instance, PMP certification hints that the certification holder has project leadership skills. the employers are searching for. The new PMP content includes three methodologies:

  • Agile
  • Predictive (waterfall)
  • Hybrid
1Predictive or Waterfall50%
2Agile (Adaptive) + Hybrid50%
Source: PMI PMP handbook

CAPM vs PMP Exam Requirements

The exam requirements or the eligibility criteria of CAPM and PMP are different. While the CAPM does not prescribe any work experience to appear for the certification, PMP has 3 different eligibility criteria to be fulfilled to appear for the certification. The candidate needs to earn 23 Contact Hours to be eligible for CAPM whereas she needs 35 contact hours to be eligible for PMP. Hence, The table below shows a detailed comparison between CAPM and PMP. Besides showing the eligibility criteria, the table shows the comparison based on exam format, duration of exam, the proportion of questions, and types of questions.

Eligibility (Years of Experience) —1. Minimum five years/60 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience*.
2. Minimum three years/36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience*.
3. Minimum two years/24 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience*.
Educational BackgroundA secondary diploma (high school diploma/ global equivalent)-Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or global equivalent.
-Four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent).
-Bachelors or post-graduate degree from a GAC accredited program (bachelor’s degree or master’s or global equivalent).
No of hrs of PD required23 contact hours of formal education35 contact hours of formal education unless you are an active CAPM
Exam Format (Number of questions and duration in Minutes)150 and 180180 and 230
Types of Questions –Multiple Choice QuestionsMultiple Choice Questions, Drag & Drop Questions, Matching Questions
Breaks –Proportions of Questions for CAPM based on PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition
Chapter – 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Percentage of Questions – 6 6 7 9 9 9 8 7 8 10 8 4 9
Proportions of Questions

People – 42 %
Process – 50 %
Business Environment – 8 %

*Leading and directing the project as identified with the tasks, knowledge, and skills specifically in the Project Management Professional Examination Content Outline.

NOTE: If you are an active CAPM certification holder, you do NOT need to document the 35 contact hours. Your project management education requirement is waived.

NOTE: If you are a graduate of a GAC accredited degree program you will receive a 12- month credit towards the work experience requirement. Also, you can use the GAC coursework to fulfill the 35 education contact hour requirement.

Learn more about the PMI Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC).

Can You Upgrade CAPM to a PMP?

For instance, Can I upgrade CAPM to PMP the way I can upgrade my Windows-7 Operating System to Windows-10? so, The answer to this seemingly simple question is no. There is one best advantage of being a CAPM. You know the PMBOK guide inside out and are one step closer in order to passing PMP Certification. But, it is accurate to call CAPM an entry-level certification. Particularly when it comes to PMI certifications. You might have guessed by now. The CAPM exam is meant for anyone who is looking to learn or accumulate project management skills.

CAPM vs PMP Certification: Which is Right for You?

The answer to this question is relative. It depends on the candidate’s current state and where she wants, in order to see herself in the future. This dilemma can be dealt with by considering the following factors when making a decision between CAPM and PMP.


As mentioned earlier, if the candidate carries no work experience and wants to pursue a career in project management, she can opt for CAPM which is an entry/associate level project management certification. She can opt for PMP, which is a professional-level project management certification if she carries more than 3 years of experience and wants to pursue a career in project management.

CAPM vs PMP Recognition
CAPM vs PMP Recognition


CAPM can help the candidate in order to move up the corporate ladder and take up more responsibility in the organization. This certification can also serve as a good starting point to become a full-time assistant project manager, project coordinator, or project management staff.

Hence, Aspirants who already hold PMP Certification can go for higher-level positions in the organization. They can become project managers and can manage big-budget projects. This will also open up positions like program manager or portfolio manager for them in the organization.


According to the salary survey done by PMI and the details mentioned over the site PMP Earning Power, PMPs in USA and Brazil earn 25%, in Poland 32%, in South Africa 58% and in India 36% more than the individuals who are not PMP. Unfortunately, there is no such salary survey done for CAPM. However, it is a general outlook that a CAPM holder certainly demands a higher salary than a non-CAPM.

CAPM vs PMP Salary Comparision
CAPM vs PMP Salary Comparision

So, The decision between CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) and PMP (Project Management Professional). this is a significant one. Both the PMP and CAPM certifications are offered by PMI. They are specialized credentials in Project Management.

Hence, After you understand the differences between the PMP exam and the CAPM exam. So, You can select the right option that suits your career. You will then be able to finalize the right certification. whether that is opting for the CAPM certification or selecting the PMP, the certification. you choose should be the one that aligns with your career path and eligibility.

CAPM Vs. PMPWhich Is More Valuable?

In comparison, the CAPM exam is relatively easier, has lesser prerequisites. And is also less expensive when compared with PMP. So, which one of these is more in demand? The PMP is certainly more in demand than the CAPM. This is understandable. Particularly, when you consider that PMP has been in the market longer. PMP certification was introduced in 1984, while CAPM was introduced in 2003.

Also, according to PMI, as of 2021 there were a million active PMP certification holders. Whereas CAPM certification has much lesser holders. since, CAPM is based on the PMBOK, similar to the PMP. But, CAPM is less focused on experience-based knowledge. And the focus is more on understanding the underlying concepts and principles.

Relevance of PMBOK

so, If you get to understand the core of the PMBOK content, you have a good chance of passing the CAPM exam. The CAPM exam is 3 hours long and consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. In comparison, the CAPM exam is easier than the PMPexam. But, it certainly isn’t a cakewalk.


As a matter of fact, CAPM is also made it to the 10 Most Difficult IT Certifications list. The general opinion out there is that CAPM is more difficult than other entry-level PM certifications. Once you get a PMP, you will have the credential for full-time project management roles. Where you get to manage projects of all sizes.


So, PMP is considered the gold standard in project management and is one of the toughest exams to crack. This is suitable for candidates who have at least 3 years of professional experience in leading and directing projects. However, CAPM does not prescribe any such criteria about professional experience. CAPM is considered at the entry or associate level exam in project management. It helps the aspirants to understand the processes, terminologies, and overall framework of PMBOK. Overall, it is good to hold at least one certification based on a candidate’s needs.

Janakiram SD

Janakiram is a PMI-ATP-PMP Instructor from Techcanvass Academy with over 15+ years of experience in the Software Industry including roles such as Project Manager, Engineering Manager, Development Manager and Delivery Manager. He has end to end experience in successfully delivering projects on both Predictive and Adaptive (Agile) approaches. Started his career as a Microsoft Stack Developer and has developed solutions encompassing various technologies like Web applications, Windows applications, Database design and development, Cloud based development. He is certified on PMP (PMI), CSM (Scrum Alliance), MCSD (Microsoft)

View all posts by Janakiram SD →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *