A frequent question that students ask is 'What is the difference between the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) and PMP® (Project Management Professional)?'
The PMP® designation is more recognized and has a much tougher certification exam. The CAPM® is normally acquired by people who want to work in the field of project management and are willing to start in a junior position. In order to qualify for either exam you need a combination of education and experience hours and the CAPM® requirement is less stringent.
The PMP® designation is preferred by project managers. However, there are times when you want to acquire a CAPM® designation then move to the PMP®. One of my former students explains the reasons why she took the CAPM® exam first.
(Kelly) "The CAPM® certification is definitely not as valuable as having a PMP®. The benefit depends on the situation you're in. If you're in the market for a job, then the CAPM® is a great asset to have. It shows potential employers that you are working on getting your credentials and your PMP® will come when you have the hours of experience required. I got my CAPM® for the purpose of employment. My company hires based on a points matrix and you are only considered for a position if you have a certain numbers of points. Having the CAPM® increased my points significantly and qualified me for the position and salary range that I have now.
If you are already employed, it may not be as valuable and you could potentially wait to just go for the PMP®. However, a lot of employers are willing to pay for certification exams so I would take advantage of that. If nothing else the CAPM® is a smaller but major practice test for the PMP®. Going into my PMP® exam in the upcoming year I feel a lot more confident having the CAPM® already. I know what the exam will be like and I have an idea of the types of questions to expect."
That's a great explanation. Thanks Kelly!