CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2 -Which Certification Best Suits Me?

CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2 – Which certification is best suited for me? Is the question that many project managers have in their mind, before they decide on their project management certification path.

But for many of us, PMP is the most popular and known project management certification. Some of us are not aware of the full details of the remaining two certifications namely CAPM and PRINCE2.

To understand which project management certification is right for you, it is essential to understand in detail about each of these certifications and then decide which works for you.

CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2 Certifications – Brief Introduction

CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2

CAPM® Certification

CAPM is the short form for Certified Associate in Project Management. CAPM is an entry level certification offered by PMI for the project managers. PMI introduced CAPM certification in the year 2003.

Primarily, CAPM Certification is for project managers who has very limited or no experience in the field of project management.

CAPM Certification mainly focus on testing the knowledge of the candidate in the concepts, processes and terminology mentioned in the PMBOK Guide (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge). The current version of PMBOK as of writing this blog post is PMBOK 6th edition.

PMP® Certification

Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is also offered by PMI, but is meant for experienced project managers. PMI introduced the PMP certification in the year 1984.

PMP Certification has a stringent eligibility criterion compared to CAPM and PRINCE2, which we will see in a while.

PMP Certification not just focus on the knowledge from PMBOK (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge), but also tests the candidate on how efficiently he/she is applying the knowledge on practical scenarios.

Both CAPM and PMP is widely popular across the globe, they both are primarily popular in America (US, Canada), Asia, and Middle East.

PRINCE2® Certification

PRINCE2 stands for Projects IN Controlled Environments. It is a process based method for managing projects effectively. PRINCE2 is offered by AXELOS Limited.

PRINCE2 certification is also popular across the globe, but is primarily popular in Europe, especially in UK. Nevertheless to mention, the UK Government uses PRINCE2 as a methodology for the government projects. Besides that, many other private and public sectors also use PRINCE2, for managing projects.

There are two levels of certifications for PRINCE2

  • PRINCE2 Foundation – Entry level certification
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner – Practitioner level certification

Eligibility Criteria for CAPM, PMP and PRINCE2

CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2 - Eligibility-Criteria-Requirements

CAPM Requirements – Eligibility Criteria

CAPM certification has simpler eligibility requirements compared to PMP.

  1. Educational Background: Secondary diploma (High school diploma/global equivalent)
  2. 1,500 hours of professional experience on a project team OR 23 contact hours of formal education

So, it means almost anyone can appear for CAPM certification exam. If the candidate does not have 1500 hours of project experience, then he can opt of the 23 contact hours of formal project management education and then get eligibility for the CAPM exam. Even students can appear for the CAPM exam with these eligibility criteria.

PMP Requirements – Eligibility Criteria

Essentially, PMP eligibility requirements primarily consists of two parts.

  1. Project Management Experience – Candidate must have
    1. If holding a Bachelor degree, at least 4500 hours/3 years of project experience OR
    2. If a high school graduate, at least 7500 hours/5 years of project experience
  2. Project Management Education – Candidate must have 35 hours of formal project management education.

The critical part here is the project management experience, which most beginner to intermediate level project managers are lacking. So, if you are one of them, you can wait and target to PMP certification in future or you can opt for CAPM or PRINCE2 Certification.

Project Management Education with 35 hours contact hours (PDUs) can be achieved by formally attending a classroom or online PMP training. And if it is classroom, this is usually a 4 day or a 5-day training. Upon completion of the training, you get 35 PDUs (Professional Development Units) along with course completion certificate.

PRINCE2 Requirements – Eligibility Criteria

For PRINCE2 Foundation, formally there is no eligibility criteria.

However, for PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, you must have any one of the following credentials.

  1. PRINCE2 Foundation
  2. Project Management Professional (PMP)
  3. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  4. IPMA Certification (Any of the levels A/B/C/D)

CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2 – Exam Format

CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2 - Exam-Format

CAPM certification exam has 150 multiple choice questions to be completed within 3 hours (180 minutes) time. Out of 150 questions, 135 questions are scoring and the remaining are non-scoring questions.

On the other hand, PMP certification exam has 200 multiple choice questions to be completed within 4 hours (240 minutes) time. Out of 200 questions 175 questions are scoring and 25 are non-scoring questions.

PMI do not reveal the passing score for both the CAPM and PMP exams. PMI uses sound psychometric analysis for each candidate based on the exam level of difficulty, to determine the passing score. And both the CAPM and PMP are closed book exams.

Essentially, PRINCE2 Foundation exam has 60 multiple choice questions to be completed within 60 minutes. It is closed book examination and the pass percentage of the exam is 55%. So, you must score 33 marks out of 60 to pass the exam.

On the other hand, PRINCE2 Practitioner exam has 68 questions to be completed within 150 minutes’ time. The pass percentage is again 55%. However, this is an open book (Official PRINCE2 manual can only be used) exam.

Study Material for CAPM, PMP and PRINCE2

For CAPM and PMP, the official reference book is PMBOK (The guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge). This serves as a best reference to pass both the exams. There are other PMP study guides and CAPM study guides available to ease the preparation process for these exams. For best results, it is better to use one of the study guides along with PMBOK side by side for your exam preparation.

On the other hand for PRINCE2, the official PRINCE2 reference manual is good enough for completing the exam with proper preparation plan.

CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2 – Certification Cost

CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2 - Certification-Cost

CAPM Exam cost is $225 for PMI members and $300 for non-PMI members. In case if you fail the CAPM exam on first attempt, and wanted to take CAPM reexamination then the cost of reexamination is $150 for PMI members and $200 for non-PMI members.

PMP certification cost for PMI members is $405 and $555 USD for non-PMI members.

PMI membership costs around $139 USD per year, which includes $10 of processing fee.

On the other hand, PRINCE2 Certification cost varies from institute and location where you are taking the exam. Approximately Foundation exam costs around 250 to 300 USD and for Practitioner it costs around $400.

Level of Difficulty – CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2

CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2 - Level-of-Difficulty

CAPM is the entry level certification, and mainly focus on testing the knowledge and terminology from PMBOK guide. Hence in my perspective this is easiest exam among the others.

PRINCE2 foundation is again simplest exam just like CAPM. However, PRINCE2 Practitioner requires understanding and application of project management concepts for difference scenarios. PRINCE2 Practitioner exam is little more difficult than CAPM exam.

Finally, PMP is the toughest among all three CAPM, PRINCE2 and PMP. As the PMP exam is for seasoned (experienced) project managers, this thoroughly tests the application of PMBOK concepts on the real scenarios.

Certification Validity & Renewal – CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2

CAPM certificate once obtained is valid for 5 years. So, after 5 years you can retake the exam or prepare for other PMI certifications based on your eligibility, preparation, and interest.

PMP certificate once achieved is valid for 3-year period. So, during this 3 years, you must earn and report 60 PDUs to renew the PMP certificate for another 3 years. PDU s can be earned in various ways such as education, contributing to project management society, etc.…

On the other hand, PRINCE2 Foundation Certification is Valid for ever (life time). However, PRINCE2 Practitioner is Valid for 5 years. So to maintain the PRINCE2 certification validity, you must take the reexamination every 5 years.

Benefits of CAPM, PMP and PRINCE2 Certifications

Although each certification has a difference level recognition in different locations, each of these certification has the similar benefits compared to the non-certified people. The benefits are as follows:

  • You get recognition that you have achieved from the authority
  • Organization and people treat you specially for your certification, which distinguish you from others for your knowledge and skills that you have earned.
  • Fine grained skills and knowledge
  • Your networking with other project managers across the world will improve.
  • Your credibility as project manager is lot more compared to the non-certified people.
  • You can earn better salary
  • Your job opportunities will eventually increase

Summary of Differences – CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2

We have seen several aspects of each of these certifications CAPM, PMP and PRINCE2. Now let us summarize these parameters to compare these certifications.

ParameterCAPMPMPPrince2
LevelBasic or BeginnerExperience and Seasoned Project Managers
  • Foundation Level (Basic)
  • Practitioner (Advanced)
Eligibility Requirements
  • Secondary diploma 1,500 hours of
  • professional experience OR 23 contact hours of formal PM education
  • Bachelor degree plus at least 4500 hours of experience OR High school graduate plus 7500 hours of experience.
  • 35 hours of project management education.
  • Foundation there is no eligibility.
  • Practitioner – You must have one of the below.
    • PMP
    • CAPM
    • PRINCE2 Foundation
    • IPMA Any Level
Exam Format150 question, 180 minutes, multiple choice, closed book200 questions, 240 minutes, multiple choice, closed book
  • Foundation – 60 questions, 60 minutes
  • Practitioner – 68 questions 150 minutes
Passing ScorePMI not revealedPMI not revealed55%
Official Study ReferencePMBOKPMBOKPrince2 Official Study Reference
Cost$225 for PMI members, $300 for non-PMI members$405 for PMI members, $555 for non-PMI members 

Not Fixed

Level of DifficultyLowHighMedium
Certification Validity5 years3 years
  • Lifetime for Foundation
  • 5 years for Practitioner

CAPM Vs PMP Vs PRINCE2 – Which Certificates Best Suites Me?

AS we have seen now, CAPM is an entry level certification for project managers. If you are a fresher or student or have less project management experience, CAPM suites you the best. And the other option is Prince 2 Foundation.

If you are seasoned or experienced project manager and eligible for PMP certification then, PMP is the better choice for you. Please do remember that PMP certification requires lots of time and efforts for the preparation.

On the other hand, if you are eligible for PRINCE2 and do not have much preparation time for PMP, Prince 2 Practitioner is also an option for you.

In fact, most organizations conduct PRINCE2 training and certification for foundation and practitioner level together at a stretch.

Summary

CAPM, PMP and PRINCE2 – all certifications meant for project managers. However, CAPM is for beginner level and PRINCE2 and PMP are there for experienced project managers.

PMP is certainly the finest choice among three. However, depending on your eligibility, you may have to appear for the suitable project management certification.

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