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Difference Between PMP and CAPM Exam

PMP vs CAPM Exam

Both PMP and CAPM exams are certification exams for projects managers.
“PMP” stands for “Project Management Professional” while “CAPM” is the abbreviated form of “Certified Associate in Project Management.” Both certification exams are issued by the Project Management Institute for its members and non-members. Both exams reflect concepts from the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide.

The exams are different from each other in many terms, from the focus to requirements, eligibility, and the exam itself. Both exams are in multiple-choice format. The PMP exam has 200 questions with a time limit of 4 hours to complete while the CAPM exam has less questions and hours–only 150 questions to be answered under the limit of 3 hours.

The CAPM exam has twice the number of areas covered (12 areas) compared to the PMP exam which has only 6 areas. Those who are eligible to take the PMP exam must have 45,000 hours of Project Management experience and 35 hours of Project Management education. On the other hand, the prerequisite for CAPM exams includes 15,000 hours of project management experience and 23 hours of project management education. Documentation of work experience and an online exam are also part of the prerequisites of both exams.

Another important prerequisite is the Professional Development Units or PDU. The PDU are project management related classes. For CAPM examinees, there is no requirement for PDU. On the other hand, 60 PDUs are a must for PMP examinees.
The comparative cost between the two exams is also significant. A CAPM exam costs more than double a PMP exam.

Certification for a PMP exam is every five years while CAPM renewals are every three years. The aim and focus of both exams are also different. The CAPM exam is for project team members while the PMP exam is designed for project team leaders and directors. In comparison, CAPM measures basic project management subjects and all its inputs, tools, and outputs. The PMP exam, meanwhile, is more inclined toward in-depth knowledge and situation-based questions.

Taking The CAPM exam requires less experience in project management in comparison to the PMP exam. The PMP exam, in essence, is more difficult, lengthy, and more complex than the other certification exam. Passing the PMP exam also gives a higher level of certification and undisputed recognition and reputation compared to passing the CAPM exam.


1.Both CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) and PMP (Project Management Professional) are certification exams for people in project management. Both exams are conducted by the Project Management Institute.
2.PMP exams are conducted for project team leaders while CAPM exams are focused on project team members. Since the focus of both exams is on different members, there is a many comparative differences in many areas.
3.The prerequisites for the exams are also different from each other. The PMP exam requires more hours of project management experience and education in comparison to the CAPM exam. PDUs (or Project Development Units) are another requirement for a PMP exam but not for a CAPM exam.
4.Even though both exams are both multiple-choice exams, the PMP exam is also longer and more difficult compared to the CAPM exam. The former exam has 200 questions that must be answered within 4 hours while the length and time limit for the latter exam is 3 hours and 150 questions.
5.In contrast, the CAPM exam has 12 covered areas of basic project management concepts while the PMP exam has 6 areas of in-depth knowledge.
6.CAPM is more costly than a PMP exam. It also has a longer recertification cycle of five years compared to the PMP’s three years.

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1 Comment

  1. Several of your facts are wrong in this article. The number of hours of experience are off by a factor of 10.
    CAPM is NOT more expensive that the PMP.
    PDUs are only for renewing the certification, not required to sit for the exam.

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