The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® from the Project Management Institute (PMI)® is an internationally recognized project management certification. Unlike the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification, also from PMI, the CAPM certification does not require previous project management experience. (Read about the PMP application process.)
PMI publishes a CAPM handbook that describes everything you need to know about the certification process, but the eligibility requirements are that you must have at least a high-school diploma and then EITHER 1,500 hours of professional experience on a project team OR 23 hours of formal project management education.
The CAPM exam is provided at Prometric testing centers around the world, Typically the exam is available year-round, during normal business hours. It is computer-based, closed-book, three (3) hours long, and requires detailed knowledge of PMI’s Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). There are various self-study books you can buy to help you prepare, or you can take CAPM training.
CAPM Continuing Education
Unlike the PMP certification, which has continuing education requirements, the CAPM does not. However, the CAPM only lasts for five years, and then it goes away. PMI assumes that during that five years you will gain enough experience to sit for the PMP.
The CAPM does not have the same level of resume-boosting impact as the PMP, but it does demonstrate you have investigated significant time and effort into learning about project management best practices, and should help differentiate you from others seeking to break into project management. Harold Kernzner discusses the value of the CAPM in this article, where he quotes International Institute of Learning statistics that “75% of CAPMs say that their certification has had a positive effect on their job”, and “85% say it has helped them advance professionally”. (If you’re not familiar with Kernzer, he has been a best selling project management author since the days when I joined PMI, and PMI was 2% of the size it is today.)
CAPM Certification Next Steps