PRINCE2® Vs PMP® – The Battle of Certifications

PMP vs PRINCE2 – The Battle of Certifications

Avantika Monnappa

Published on December 14, 2012


Prior to taking up a project management certification, professionals tend to grapple with the issue of choosing between the PMP and PRINCE2 certifications, two very reputed credentials in the project management field. This makes the question of which to invest in difficult to answer.

Worry not - we've done all the hard work for you! This article offers an overview of the two certifications and job prospects for both. Read on for more - and make the right choice!

What is the Basic Difference Between PMP & PRINCE2?

The PRINCE2 and PMP certifications involve two different project management frameworks. Both offer a body of knowledge and a proven approach to managing projects effectively. Picking one over the other is a decision that is a function of various factors. The ideal choice should be based on the industry or company you are aiming to build a career in, and the type of project one is leading or directing. Both the certification programs are of equal value, albeit in different aspects of project management.


The Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification

One of the most-reputed certifications in the world for project managers, the PMP or Project Management Professional Certification is a qualification program that is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Various industries use PMP as a standard requirement 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 for any project manager, as well as increasing your earning potential. This course, administered by PMI in the USA, has also gained popularity in Europe and Asia.

A few features of the PMP qualification include:

  • It is indicative of your proficiency in using the PMBOK, the Project Management Book of Knowledge.
  • It validates your knowledge of "generally-accepted" best practices and principles of project management.

The Projects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) Certification

The PRINCE2, or ‘Projects IN Controlled Environments' certification, is a process-based project management method that offers a systematic 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.

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A few features of PRINCE2 are as follows-

  • It is a broad, high-level, general framework of project management principles, which means it is recommended for and implemented on just about any kind of project.
  • It has a well-laid out and standardized approach to project management.
  • It spells out the roles and responsibilities of each member of the team tasked with managing the project.
  • It divides the master project plan into Project Plans, Stage Plans, and Team Plans, which eliminates ambiguity and makes it easier to execute the project.
  • It is both project and process-focused.

Industry Demand

If you wish to get one of these certifications, it is important that you do your research before you begin to walk down one path or the other. Each of the certifications is more popular in some geographies than others, making it important to determine which of the two certifications will boost your employability. In addition, a few industry sectors prefer the PRINCE2 certification, while others prefer the PMP certification.
The PMP certification is preferred in the USA, Canada, Middle East and Australia. PRINCE2, however, is recognized in UK, Europe, and Australia.

Salary Prospects

A number of studies and surveys show that certified professionals earn much more than their non-certified peers.  Having a project management certification, especially ones like PMP and PRINCE2, signifies that an individual knows and understands the universal language of Project Management.
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 certified PMP is $105,000 per year. They earn an average of 16% more than their non-certified peers. The highest salary a PMP can earn is in Switzerland, $160,409.

Region wise PMP salaryThe average salary for professionals with a PRINCE2 certification is $77,540.

Salary by Gender:

According to a survey conducted by the PMI, male PMPs earn $105,577 while female PMPs earn $95,349, $10,000 less than their male counterparts.

Image 5The same goes for PRINCE2 professionals. According to a survey, male PRINCE2 professionals earn £45,365 ($70,395) while women earn £39,002 ($60,521).

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Salary by Industry:

According to a PMI survey, the highest salary a PMP can earn is in the resources industry or in the primary sector (agriculture, mining, etc), at $120,000.

Image 7According to, the highest salary a PRINCE2 certified professional can earn is in the Banking industry.

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Benefits to Getting a PMP vs Getting a PRINCE2

Benefits of getting the PMP certification include:

  • Better Salary Prospects: Certified PMPs get larger and more frequent pay raises than their non-certified peers.
  • Networking Opportunities: To obtain a PMP certification, it is recommended that you become a member of PMI. Once you are a member, you have access to a vast network of professionals with similar qualifications. These contacts can prove crucial in helping you land a project management job.
  • Better Employment Prospects: As the world's most popular project management certification, the PMP credential is recognized and trusted by employers worldwide.

The benefits of the PMP or PRINCE2 certifications

Benefits of getting the PRINCE2 certification include:

  • Exhaustive Body of Knowledge: The PRINCE2 body of knowledge equips credential-holders with the tools to analyze a project from all angles, ensuring its viability before it is initiated. Factors like user requirements and potential risks are taken into consideration ensuring that a project that is bound to encounter hurdles is nippeds in the planning stages.
  • Well Laid-out Methodology: A lot of time and resource-usage is saved during the completion of a unique project since the certification has a clearly laid out methodology.
  • Standardization: Confusion in project execution is eliminated since the same, standard approach is used throughout, with common filing systems, procedures, and documents.
  • Improved Salary and Better Employability Prospects: There is a higher chance of landing a better job that pays well, in countries like the United Kingdom. Your employer is provided with enough justification of your skills to give you a pay raise.
  • Driven by Business Case: PRINCE2 requires users to self-assess and provide updates on business cases at defined points to ensure that a project will deliver value to the organization and its customers. Failure to do so will eliminate the justification for the continuity of the project.

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The Exams

With a total of 200 questions, the PMP exam lasts four hours and is split into the areas of Project Initiation, Project Planning, Project Execution, Monitoring and Controlling, and Project Closing. Within these five larger domains are a multitude of other skills like risk identification, quality management, change management, materials management, and much more.
The PRINCE2 Foundation exam tests the individual with 75 multiple choice questions, for 60 minutes. Out of the 75 questions, 5 are trial based and not counted during the scoring process.
The Practitioner exam is an objective, scenario based paper. The individual is tested based on 9 questions with a time limit of 2.5 hours.

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There is a set of prerequisites that one will need to meet to take up the PMP exam.

  • Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate's degree or the global equivalent)
  • 7,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management education


  • A four-year degree
  • 4,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management education

There are no defined pre requisites for the PRINCE2 exams. However, it is recommended that you have some project management experience and formal training before you sit for the exam.The Practitioner exam will require you to have passed the Foundation exam.

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The Exam Cost

The cost of the PMP exam - though a little expensive - is well worth the investment. For members of the PMI, it is $405, while for non-members it is $555.

The cost of the PRINCE to exam varies according to the region you are taking the exam in.

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Maintaining your Credential

To maintain the PMP certification, you will need to attain 60 PDUs or Professional Development Units, every three years.

The PRINCE2 Foundation exam needs no renewal. The Practitioner exam, however, is valid for 5 years, after which it will become invalid. Professionals will have to complete and pass the PRINCE2 re-registration examination 3-5 years following their previous practitioner exam.

Differences between PMP and PRINCE2 exam

Is it advisable to do both?

Many people view the PRINCE2 and PMP certifications as different, which is why there is a battle between the two certifications.

The PMP is related to the knowledge and skills necessary to attain successfully manage a project and its delivery.

PRINCE2 is focused mainly on the processes and the framework to successfully execute the project.
Therefore, it is advisable that you do both of these certifications as it helps in the development of the professional's all round Project Management skills.
There may be a few drawbacks to this-

  • Conflicting language: The two courses use different terminologies, which can be confusing at first. For example, project charter in PMP is what is known as project brief in PRINCE2.
  • Different Techniques: Some techniques differ vastly, such as the categorization of risk.

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The certification you choose should depend on your job prospects and the region you are working in. PMP and PRINCE2 are not competing credentials in all regions. A professional would benefit from the skills and knowledge that both of these certifications offer.

Get a taste of our PMP and PRINCE2 certification courses with this preview video!

About the Author

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




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