CAPM vs. PMP: Which Is Best for You?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

The CAPM is an entry-level project management certification, while the PMP is a certification for project managers with at least three years of experience.

[Featured image] A project manager writes out a project plan on a whiteboard in front of two coworkers.

The  Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® and the Project Management Professional (PMP)® are two certifications administered by a professional project management organisation called the Project Management Institute (PMI). The CAPM is an entry-level certification designed to prepare candidates for positions in project management, while the PMP is a credential for project managers with at least three years of experience. 

Here is a quick overview of how they compare.


Who's it for?Entry-level project managersThose with at least three years of project management experience
Jobs postings that mention certification on Naukri (February 2022)16,69039,742
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 India salary (from Payscale, February 2022)₹684,000₹2,000,000
Cost₹23,169 for non-PMI members, ₹17,377 for PMI members₹42,863 for non-PMI members, ₹23,459 for PMI members
Exam3 hours, 150 questions3 hours 50 minutes, 180 questions


Let’s take a look at the requirements, costs, and other details of each.

CAPM vs. PMP certification requirements

The requirements to qualify for the CAPM are as follows:


  • 23 hours of project management education, completed before you take the exam

  • Secondary school degree, such as a senior school certificate, pre-degree certificate, or pre-university certificate


The requirements to qualify for the PMP are:


  • 35 hours of project management education. This can be waived if you have the CAPM certification.

  • 36 months (3 years total) of experience leading projects if you have a four-year degree, or 60 months (5 years total) if you have a high school diploma, an associate’s degree or the global equivalent


You will need to pay for and pass a certification exam to receive each certification.


How do I fulfill my project management education requirements?

There are several online courses from various providers that can fulfill the education requirement. If you do not know where to start, take a look at the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate, which qualifies you for over 100 hours of project management education. If you prefer in-person options, your local community college may have some project management courses that will fulfill the requirement.


CAPM vs. PMP exam cost

The PMP certification exam costs more than the CAPM certification. The PMP costs ₹42,863 for non-PMI members and the CAPM ₹23,169 for non-members [1]. Here is a breakdown of their costs.

Note that a PMI membership costs ₹9,963 a year, plus a ₹772 application fee [2]. 

CAPM cost: 

  • ₹17,377 for PMI members (₹28,112 total with membership and membership application fee)

  • ₹23,169 for non-PMI members


PMP cost: 

  • ₹23,459 for PMI members (₹34,194 total with membership and membership application fee)

  • ₹42,863 for non-PMI members [1]

 Read more: What is the CAPM Certification? Requirements and More

CAPM vs. PMP salary

PMP holders generally make more than CAPM holders.

The average India salary for CAPM holders is ₹684,000, while for PMP holders it is ₹2,000,000, according to Payscale as of February 2022 [3]. Similar data is reported by Invensis, with an annual average salary of ₹647,000-2,000,000 for CAPM holders and ₹2,000,000 for PMP holders [4].

Does getting a CAPM or PMP earn you more money?

CAPM or PMP certifications tend to lead to higher pay. A 2018 global survey conducted by PMI revealed that PMP-certified project managers made nearly ₹500,000 more per year than non-PMI-certified project managers [5]. Invensis maintains getting a CAPM certification will increase your salary by 25 percent [4].

Certifications may lead to higher-paying jobs or a salary increment in your current one. If you recently got certified, it can be worth approaching your manager to discuss a raise. Other factors like experience level and location can affect your salary.

CAPM and PMP: Are they worth it?

Certifications may give you an edge in the job search process, show hiring managers that you have a baseline knowledge of what they expect from you, and help you learn new skills. They may also lead to higher incomes and qualify you for positions that require certification. Here are a few things to keep in mind.


  • The CAPM and PMP both have high approval ratings by certificate earners. Both were recommended by around 95 percent of Indeed survey respondents who had earned the certification. Indeed surveys also showed that 50 percent of CAPM earners believed the certification helped them get a job, while 64 percent of PMP earners thought the same [6].


  • The PMP is more in-demand than the CAPM. The CAPM was mentioned in 16,690 job listings on Naukri in February 2022, while the PMP was mentioned in more than 39,742 [7].


Think about your professional goals to decide if it’s worth it for you.

Read more: 10 PMI Certifications to Level Up Your Project Management Career

CAPM vs. PMP: Which should you get?

The CAPM and PMP serve different purposes; which you decide to get should depend on your professional circumstances. 

If you are looking to get started in the field of project management, the CAPM may be more useful (and manageable) than the PMP. If you have some experience and are looking to expand your skillset and be more competitive in the job market, the PMP might make more sense to get.

CAPM vs. PMP exam

The CAPM and PMP exams differ in content and difficulty. The CAPM is a knowledge-based exam, testing candidates on project management theory and processes. The PMP extends into the practical application of project management, including tools and techniques. The CAPM sticks to material in the PMBOK Guide, while the PMP tests you on knowledge beyond.

CAPM exam

The CAPM tests you on concepts covered in the PMBOK Guide. Here’s a breakdown of what percentage of each chapter is covered in the exam:


  1. Introduction to Project Management: 6%

  2. Project Environment: 6%

  3. Role of the Project Manager: 7%

  4. Project Integration Management: 9%

  5. Project Scope Management: 9%

  6. Project Schedule Management: 9%

  7. Project Cost Management: 8%

  8. Project Quality Management: 7%

  9. Project Resource Management: 8%

  10. Project Communication Management: 10%

  11. Project Risk Management: 8%

  12. Project Procurement Management: 4%

  13. Project Stakeholder Management: 9%

PMP exam

The PMP exam covers material in the PMBOK Guide and beyond. The topics covered broadly break down as follows:

1. People: 42%

The people portion includes questions on managing conflict, leading a team, assisting team performance, negotiating project agreements, supporting virtual teams, and other people-related topics.

2. Process: 50%

The process part of the exam covers the tactics used to execute a project. That includes managing communications, assessing risks, engaging stakeholders, planning budgets and schedules, quality management, determining scope, and several other topics.

3. Business: 8%

For the business portion of the exam, you will have to learn concepts in planning and managing project compliance, evaluating project benefits and value, addressing external factors for their impact on project scope, and supporting organisational change.


Keep in mind

The PMP exam was updated beginning January 2, 2021. The new exam now comprises 180 questions instead of 200, two 10-minute breaks instead of one, three “domains”—phases of project management—instead of five, among other changes. Make sure your study materials reflect the change.



Getting ready for the CAPM and PMP

There are many courses you can take to learn concepts tested on the CAPM and the PMP. Here are a few options. 

Google Project Management: Professional Certificate 

The Google Project Management: Professional Certificate covers essential project concepts. Accessible for anybody regardless of experience, the certificate was designed to be completed in six months or less. Though not an official CAPM training course, the certificate covers essential topics covered in the CAPM exam. You can gain skills that prepare you for the job and fulfill the project management education requirement. You will also receive a professional certificate upon completion that you can add to your resume.

UCI Project Management Professional Certificate

The Project Management Professional Certificate from the University of California, Irvine includes four courses on project management that can be completed in six months. The certificate is designed for professionals with three to five years of experience and will help you prepare for the PMP exam. It’ll also fulfill the educational requirement for the exam.

Article sources


Project Management Institute - Project Management Certifications India. “PMI India Storefront," Accessed July 22, 2022.

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