What Is the CAPM Certification? Requirements and More

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

The CAPM—or Certified Associate in Project Management—certification is designed to help candidates learn the skills necessary for entry-level project management positions. It can be the first stepping stone to a career in the field.

[Featured image] A project manager in a yellow sweater holds a mug and studies for the CAPM on a laptop at a desk with a small glass vase filled with pink flowers.

If you enjoy maintaining organization and leading team members on a project, you could be interested in becoming a project manager.

Earning a CAPM certification prepares job seekers for entry-level project management roles. You'll learn the principles of project management and be certified in the proven frameworks and methodologies.

Here's what you need to know about getting a CAPM certification.

What is the CAPM certification? 

The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification is a credential designed to prepare candidates for entry-level project management positions. It is administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), a leading worldwide organization in project management. It costs PMI members $225 and $300 for non-members and can be used as a stepping stone to the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification.

CAPM requirements

You’ll need to have the following in order to sit for the CAPM exam:

  • A high school diploma, GED, associate degree, or equivalent

  • 23 hours of project management education completed before the time of the exam

Once you've completed at least 23 hours of education, you're qualified to take the exam. The CAPM exam contains 150 questions and you’ll have three hours to complete it. 

How can I fulfill my 23 hours of project management education?

There are several project management courses you can take, both online and in-person, that will fulfill this requirement, like the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate. You can also look for courses at your local community college.

CAPM certification cost

The CAPM requires passing one exam. The exam is priced as follows, as of July 2022:

  • Non-PMI members: $300

  • PMI members: $225

Becoming a PMI member costs $129 a year, plus a one-time $10 application fee. This brings the total of becoming CAPM-certified as a new member to $364. Membership comes with perks such as a complimentary download of the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) Guide, lower costs for other career-advancing certifications, and access to a project management job board.

If you’re a full-time student in an accredited, degree-granting program, you may also be eligible for the student bundle, which costs $257. This includes a membership fee of $32, plus the cost of the CAPM exam. You might also approach faculty members teaching project management courses at your school to see if they have bulk purchase agreements with PMI, which may save you further costs.

If you're employed and think the CAPM can be beneficial to your work, consider approaching your manager to see if your organization will cover exam and training costs.

Is the CAPM worth it?

The CAPM is generally considered an entry-level project management certification. So how do you know it’ll be worth the effort? Here are a few things to consider.

CAPM salary and jobs

The CAPM can prepare you for entry-level project management jobs such as project coordinator, junior project manager, and associate project manager.

Project management is an in-demand skill and a growing career field. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for project management specialists is expected to grow 7 percent, a rate as fast as the national average for all other occupations [1]. In a report published by the PMI, the project-oriented job market is projected to grow 33 percent, equivalent to 22 million new jobs, and by 2027, employers are projected to need almost 88 million project management roles [2].

According to Payscale, a Certified Associate in Project Management makes an average salary of $68,000 in the US as of October 2022 [3]. Below are some of the average salaries for positions that have listed the CAPM in calls for job applicants, collected from Payscale.

Project coordinator$50,531
Junior project manager$63,281
Associate project manager$60,387
Project analyst$64,001
Project manager$67,911
Project control specialist$69,000

Read more: How to Become a Project Manager in 6 Steps


The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is also administered by the PMI. While the CAPM is generally seen as an entry-level certification, the PMP is considered a professional-level credential. The PMP is also far more popular than the CAPM, with over one million PMP holders worldwide [4]. 

Here’s a quick summary of their differences.

Who's it for?Entry-level project managersThose with at least three years of project management experience
Jobs postings that mention certification on Indeed (October 2022)1,73834,231
RequirementsSecondary degree, plus 23 hours of project management education35 hours of project management training (can be replaced with CAPM), and 36 months of experience leading projects with a four-year degree, or 60 months with a secondary degree
Average US salary (from Payscale, October 2022)$68,000$111,000
Cost$300 for non-PMI members, $225 for PMI members$555 for non-PMI members, $405 for PMI members
Exam3 hours, 150 questions3 hours 50 minutes, 180 questions

Should I get the CAPM or PMP?

As an entry-level certification, obtaining the CAPM certification makes sense if you have little or no experience with project management. It can be a good way to break into the field. If you have at least three years of project management experience, it's worth considering the PMP. Your decision should depend on what your individual goals are.


Read more: CAPM vs. PMP: Which Is Best for You?

CAPM training

To train for the CAPM exam, you can self-study or enroll in a course. Here’s a quick look at two online training courses.

Project Management Basics

  • What you need to know: Project Management Basics is a course offered by the PMI designed to prepare you for the CAPM. Lessons are 20-minute online modules that are accessible in any order. The course is based on content in the PMI project management guide, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide), and includes a free digital copy of the guide.

  • Price: $400 for non-PMI members, $350 for PMI members

Google Project Management: Professional Certificate

  • What you need to know: The Google Project Management: Professional Certificate includes six courses on various aspects of project management, including project initiation, project planning, and agile project management. Completing the coursework will also earn you a professional certificate, and qualifies you with over 100 hours of project management education that you can use toward requirements for PMI certifications, the CAPM included. The certificate is not an official CAPM training course.

  • Price: $49 a month subscription

Opting to self-study?

You’ll want to at least get a copy of the most recent PMBOK Guide, which the CAPM is based on. You can also start getting acquainted with the contents and structure of the exam through the PMI’s CAPM handbook.


Getting started

As an entry-level project management certification, the CAPM can be a great way to build up needed skills to get your foot in the door to the project management world. If you’re ready to get started, consider checking out the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate.

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Project management specialists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/project-management-specialists.htm." Accessed February 6, 2023.

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