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 USD and $300 USD 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 to sit for the CAPM exam:

  • Secondary degree, defined as a high school diploma, GED, associate degree, or the global equivalent

  • 23 hours of project management education, completed before the time of the exam, or 1,500 hours of experience

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 costs

The CAPM requires passing one exam. The exam is priced as follows, as of February 2023:

  • Non-PMI members: $300 USD

  • PMI members: $225 USD

Becoming a PMI member costs $129 USD a year, plus a one-time $10 USD application fee. This brings the total of becoming CAPM-certified as a new member to $364 USD. 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. PMI also offers exclusive discounts for Canadian members.

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 USD. This includes a membership fee of $32 USD, 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 employer, you can 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 if 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. In a report published by the PMI, the project-oriented job market is projected to grow 33 per cent, equivalent to 22 million new jobs globally. By 2027, employers are projected to need almost 88 million project management roles. Canada alone will add 8,964 annually until the year 2027 [1].

According to Payscale, a Certified Associate in Project Management makes an average salary of $61,000 CAD in Canada as of February 2023 [2]. Below are some of the average salaries for positions that have listed the CAPM in calls for job applicants, collected from Payscale.

Project coordinator$53,351 CAD
Human resources coordinator$47,932 CAD
Customer success manager$67,941 CAD
Project analyst$60,000 CAD
Project manager$70,173 CAD
Management Consultant$73,500 CAD


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 1.2 million PMP holders worldwide [3]. 

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 (February 2023)852,349
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 CA salary (from Payscale, February 2023)$61,000 CAD$98,000 CAD
Cost$300 USD for non-PMI members, $225 USD for PMI members$575 USD for non-PMI members, $405 USD for PMI members
Exam3 hours, 150 questions3 hours 50 minutes, 180 questions

As an entry-level certification, obtaining the CAPM certification can make sense if you have no or little experience with project management. It can be a good way to break into the field or for you to take on more project management-oriented tasks in your workplace. Your decision should depend on what your individual goals are. It’ll also be good to know the costs of the exam, as well as your other options.

If you have at least three years of project management experience, it’ll be worth considering the PMP.


CAPM training

To train for the CAPM exam, you can self-study, or enrol 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 USD for non-PMI members, $350 USD 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: $39 USD a month subscription, with a free trial week (subject to change).

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.


The CAPM exam

The CAPM exam contains 150 questions, and you’ll have three hours to complete it. 

Of these questions, 15 are “pretest questions.” These are used by PMI as a way to test future examination questions, appear randomly throughout the test, and are not counted in your score. The CAPM exam is based on the contents of the sixth edition of the PMBOK Guide.

The breakdown of exam topics across the 13 chapters of the PMBOK Guide is as follows:

  1. Introduction to Project Management: 6 per cent

  2. Project Environment: 6 per cent

  3. Role of the Project Manager: 7 per cent

  4. Project Integration: 9 per cent

  5. Project Scope: 9 per cent

  6. Project Schedule: 9 per cent

  7. Project Cost: 8 per cent

  8. Project Quality: 7 per cent

  9. Project Resource: 8 per cent

  10. Project Communication: 10 per cent

  11. Project Risk: 8 per cent

  12. Project Procurement: 4 per cent

  13. Project Stakeholder: 9 per cent

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 of the project management world. If you’re ready to get started, consider checking out the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate.

Article sources


Project Management Institute. "PROJECT MANAGEMENT Job Growth and Talent Gap, https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/job-growth-report.pdf." Accessed April 16, 2024.

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