Which Project Management Certification is Right for Me?
by Christopher J. Bart, PMP
Instructor for Intro to Project Management, and PMP Certification Exam Prep.
Private Project Management Training & Consulting
The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute is the gold standard for Project Managers world-wide. Although it will not guarantee you a job, increasingly, it is a requirement or a “strongly recommended” resume component for Project Managers (PMs).
The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is a new Project management certification that is also increasing in popularity rapidly. Which might be right for you?
Which Project Management Certification to choose?
First off, the PMP certification is the more preferable of the two, but getting it can be tough or even impossible for some candidates. Would-be PMPs are not allowed to sit for the exam if they do not have 4500* hours of demonstrated project management experience (7,500 is you do not have a college degree). This barrier stops a lot of people.
Those who clear it must then sit for the exam, which many candidates describe as one of the more difficult experiences in their careers. Years of Project Management experience, expertise in software, an MBA -all these are of little use when sitting for the exam. One must be familiar with The Project Management Institute’s specific processes, as well as other specialized material. The pass rate for those who do not take a prep class for the certification is not good.
Though you may not have had the formal title of Project Manager, you may still qualify to sit for the exam. Any activity with a start, end, and goal is a project. If you are the first person who will get yelled at if the goal is not attained, you are probably the Project Manager! Therefore, you can claim time spent in pursuing that goal against your 4500 hours.
So, what about the CAPM (pronounced CAP-M)? This certification is viewed as an excellent stair-step credential. It is popular with less-experienced individuals, those who are recent college graduates, and those who would like to show a connection to their Project Manager colleagues. This may be important if your organization has a culture where people in your job category sometimes face difficulties doing their work because they are not taken seriously by the PMs.
The CAPM Certification exam is much less burdensome, and there is no experience requirement. Many who pass the PMPcertification at a later date, but the CAPM Certification is a legitimate credential in its own right.
If you work in or around the world of Project Management, it is likely that getting a PMP or CAPMcredential is a good career move for you.
Project Management Instructor
Chris is a project management instructor with real world experience. He helps students understand how to bring ivory tower concepts into the field to improve their projects.
Chris holds an MBA in finance and a Masters certificate in Project Management from George Washington University and has been a leading project management instructor across the country.
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