PMP vs PRINCE2 vs CAPM: Which One's Right for Me?

PMP vs PRINCE2 vs CAPM: Which One's Right For Me?
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Avantika Monnappa

Published on July 27, 2015


  • 14589 Views

The Project Management Institute defines Project Management as ‘the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements'. Planning, motivating, organizing, and controlling resources, protocols, and procedures are involved in this field.

Preparing for PMP® Certification? Take this test to know where you stand!

The Project Management Institute conducts these exams and certifies people in various levels of project management like PMP®, CAPM®, PgMP®, PfMP®, PMI-ACP®, PMI-PBA®, PMI-RMP®, PMI-SP® and OPM3® Professional Certification. Project Management is a rapidly growing profession, and to make it in this field, it is a must that you know all about the top 3 certifications –PMP®, PRINCE2, and CAPM® in this profession.


Individuals aspiring to be project managers often face a common confusion as to which project management certification to take up – CAPM®, PMP®, or PRINCE2. Though poles apart, the three among the highest paying and most preferred project management certifications. It is important for an applicant looking to get certified to know the differences in each certification and accordingly plan their next step.

Read ahead as we give you a quick comparison between the CAPM®, PMP® and PRINCE2 certifications so you can pick the best for yourself.

An overview of the three certifications

The CAPM® or Certified Associate Project Management is an entry level certification. If you are just starting off your project management career then this course is apt for you. It will distinguish you from your competitors. It is the most basic course of Project Management. Professionals take up this course to enhance their effectiveness and credibility while they are working on or with any project team.
 
The Project Management Professional certification course is a qualification program that is offered and overseen by the Project Management Institute. PMP® is an industry recognized certification course for project managers.  Becoming a PMP® empowers you to work with any methodology and in any industry. The course covers a wide spectrum of project management techniques and competencies that are necessary, as well as increasing your earning potential. This course, administered by PMI in the USA, has also gained popularity in Europe and Asia.
 
The PRINCE2, ‘Projects IN Controlled Environments' certification, is a process-based project management method that provides a step-by-step, detailed method for delivering a successful project with clear templates, processes, and steps. The certification is both, process and project focused. PRINCE2 is administered in the UK by the APMG, but is also recognized and valued throughout the world, with an especially-strong presence in Europe and Australia.

Prince2 Certification The main difference between the three exams, is project experience. PMP® requires the highest number of hours whereas CAPM® requires the least. So if you are a professional wanting to take the Project Management road, with only a few years of experience, then opt for the CAPM® certification and take it from there.

Project Management Around the world

The PMI® has a relatively low, but growing, penetration in the United Kingdom. Thus PMP® or CAPM® are not very preferred there. However, PRINCE2 remains the foothold standard certification in the UK. Industries there prefer to hire PRINCE2 certified professionals as compared to any other. Employers may not know about the

PMI® credentials especially if they firms that are relatively new to project management or the project management department is small. There are 1,090,000 certified PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner certified professionals worldwide.

This is not the case in The United States. PMP® or CAPM® is more preferred than a PRINCE2 certification.

These two remain the standard and most preferred project management certifications.

As of July 2015, there are 665,651 PMP® certified professionals and 29,038 CAPM® certified professionals worldwide.

This table shows the number of PMP®, CAPM®, and PRINCE2 professionals worldwide.

Post-certification

Having a CAPM® certification will highlight your resume in the sense that your employer will know how dedicated and committed you are to project management. Even if you decide not to take up project management in the future, the information on project management processes and how to manage time and effort are both valuable professional skills. If you wish to take up a PMP® certification later, you will still benefit as you already have the basic knowledge of Project Management.
 
The downside of this certification, however, is that it is not as well recognized as the other two Project Management certifications. Getting into higher management positions on larger projects with just this certification is tougher.
 
With the more reputed PMP® certification, however, you stand apart from the crowd because of the skills and knowledge acquired from a more in-depth curriculum that help you execute projects more efficiently and improve team productivity. PMP® are generally found at higher tiers of an organization, as opposed to PRINCE2 or CAPM® holders.
 
PRINCE2 certification on your resume will clearly mark you as an ideal candidate for the roles of a project executive, project manager, senior supplier, and financier.

Salary Prospects

According to the Project Management Salary Survey, Eighth Edition, PMP® certified professionals earn more than their non-certified counterparts. Having a PMP® certification signifies that you know and understand the universal language of project management and connects you to a large community of organizations and professionals who possess the same qualification.
 
A CAPM® certificate will enable you to work on a project, whereas with a PMP® certification you will be able to lead and direct projects giving you more power. Employers usually give more value to a PMP® certification as compared to any other project management certification.
 
The PMI® Project Management Salary Survey – Seventh Edition, states that the salaries of project managers around the world continue to climb. In the US alone, the average annual salary of a PMP® professional is $105,000 per year. They earn an average of 16% more than their non-certified peers.
 
The InfoSec Institute recorded the average annual salary for CAPM® professionals is $101,103. A candidate with less than a 1 year experience will have a median annual salary of $45,611 and this it will increase to $77,914 with 10 years of experience or even more.
 
The average salary for professionals with a PRINCE2 certification is £50,000, or $77,000.


Graph 2

This table compares the median salaries of PMP®’s, CAPM®’s and PRINCE2 certified professionals.


Salary by Gender

The pay disparity persists in the project management industry. However, it isn’t clear if this pay gap exists only because men have a higher level job as compared to the women who have a lower level job.

The median salary for a male PMP® is $105,000. Three fourth of male PMP®s earn more than $87,500 per year while the remaining one fourth earn more than $125,000 per year.

The figures are different and considerable low when it comes to female PMP® The median salary for a female PMP® is $95,000 per year. Three fourth of them earn more than $79,000 per year while the rest earn more than $112,918 per year.


Graph 3

The given table shows the huge salary gap among the male and female professionals of the Project Management sector.

Exam Pattern

The CAPM® exam lasts 3 hours, consisting of 150 multiple choice questions, and tests you in the areas of project management framework, project life cycle and organization, project management processes, project integration management, project scope management, project time management, project cost management, project quality management, project human resource management, project communications management, project risk management, project stakeholder management and project procurement management.
 
The upside of this exam is you do not need a Bachelor’s Degree to take it up. All that is necessary is a High School Diploma, which benefits those who are still in college looking to take up Project Management. The exam fee is $255 for PMI® members and $300 for non-members. In addition, you need to take a re-exam every five years.


Graph 4

This table shows the breakup in the CAPM® exam.


The PMP® Exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions, is four hours long and is split into areas of project initiation, project planning, project execution, monitoring and controlling, project closing, and professional and social responsibility. Within these five larger domains are a multitude of other skills like risk identification, quality management, change management, materials management, and much more.

However, unlike the CAPM®, you will need a Bachelor's Degree and a High School Diploma along with 4,500 hours of project management experience (3 years) and 7,500 hours of experience (5 years), and 35 hours of project management education. The cost of the exam is $405 for PMI members and $555 for non-members. To maintain this certificate, you will need to attain 60 PDUs or Professional Development Units, every three years.


Graph 5

 This table highlights the breakup of the PMP® exam.


The PRINCE2 Exam has no defined pre-requisites, though it is recommended that you have some experience of Project Management along with some training.  The PRINCE2 Foundation paper offers 75 multiple choice questions that you will need to answer, out of which five are trial questions and not counted during the scoring process. The time allotted is 60 minutes (1 hour) and to pass, a candidate requires 50%. The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, however, is an objective paper with nine questions to be answered in 2.5 hours.


Graph 5
This table shows the differences between the time allotted for each exam and the number of questions asked.

Table 1
The given table highlights the key differences between the exams

Alternative Credentials

If you are looking for an alternative for the PMP® or PRINCE2 or CAPM® exam, the Canadian based International Institute of Business Analysis’ (IIBA) certifications provide for a good one.

The focus of the PMI® credentials is on the management of projects to achieve a certain set of desired objectives. The IIBA®, however, is more focused on determining what these objectives are and optimizing an organization’s process.

The two certifications provided by the IIBA® is the CBAP® and CCBA®. Like PMI®, the IIBA® exams are based on BABOK® (A guide to the Business analysis Body of Knowledge).
PMI® Project Management document is comprehensive, covering the areas that are important to the project manager providing a framework.

The IIBA® document however, covers the business analysis techniques in greater detail and can be an excellent reference for a project manager.
NOTE: While the IIBA® credentials offer a great value in aspects relevant to a project manager, they are not all project oriented.

The Final Decision

The table shows which credentials employers prefer based on region. With reference to this information you can make your decision, accordingly.

 

No matter what you choose, there isn’t really a wrong decision. A lot of people end up with multiple certifications from multiple bodies over time. It adds to your skill set and pumps up your resume. So don’t fear that taking this particular certification now, will affect your need to go for other credentials later in your career.
If you decide to do a CAPM®, then follow it up with the PMP® in a couple of years. Employers always prefer a higher credential. On the other hand, if you are willing to take up the PRINCE2 certification, then do the Practitioner as well.

Your decision must be based on what you think your employers will look for in the sector you wish to enter, apart from what you can afford and what your experience level currently is. Attaining a qualification is rarely a wrong choice as any of these certifications will improve your confidence and prove to your employers that you are serious about your career in Project Management.

Get a taste of our PMP® certification course. Here is 30 minutes of our world class Project Management training course. 

 

PMP®, CAPM®, PgMP®, PfMP®, PMI-ACP®, PMI-PBA®, PMI-RMP®, PMI-SP® and OPM3® are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

About the Author

A project management and digital marketing knowledge manager at Simplilearn, Avantika’s area of interest is project design and analysis for digital marketing, data science, and analytics companies. With a degree in journalism, she also covers the latest trends in the industry, and is a passionate writer.


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