Project management is a challenging profession that requires highly-skilled professionals with strong leadership and communication skills, in addition to a solid background knowledge base.
According to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, the project management profession is one of the most stable career choices ever, even in unstable economies.
One of the best ways to improve your knowledge in this field is by pursuing highly-recognized certifications to validate your project management skills to potential employers.
In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about the benefits of CAPM® certification to help you decide whether it’s worth it or not for your career. Before we get started, be sure to sign up for our free course to learn how you can get certified on your first try!
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What Is the CAPM® Certification?
CAPM® (Certified Associate of Project Management) is a certification designed for junior project managers with little or no experience in the field. You can think of it as a “foot in the door” or project management. The requirements to take this certification exam is a lot more relaxed than the PMP®Ⓡ (Project Management Professional) certification. You do not need any work experience to qualify for the CAPM® exam.
Like the PMP®Ⓡ certification, the CAPM® certification is awarded by PMIⓇ (Project Management Institute) based in Pennsylvania, United States. The PMIⓇ is the most globally recognized project management certification body in the world, which means that any certification you obtain from there can be of high value.
The CAPM® certification is based on the PMI framework, with the PMBOK®Ⓡ (Project Management Body of Knowledge) Guide being the primary reference book that CAPM® candidates use to prepare for the exam.
The exam tests your knowledge of the basic principles of project management, knowledge areas, and processes. Here are the ten knowledge areas of project management as set by the PMBOK®Ⓡ Guide:
- Project Cost Management
- Project Scope Management
- Project Schedule Management
- Project Integration Management
- Project Communications Management
- Project Quality Management
- Project Resource Management
- Project Risk Management
- Project Procurement Management
- Project Stakeholder Management
You’re expected to be aware of all the 10 knowledge areas when taking the exam since each knowledge area will have its share of questions.
Advantages of the CAPM® Certification
There are many benefits of acquiring the CAPM® certification, and we’re going to discuss everything in detail in the following sections.
Enhance Your Expertise in Project Management
Companies initiate projects that align with their strategies and goals. By having extensive knowledge of the project management practices, you’re more likely to be a candidate for leading projects in your company.
By having the CAPM® Certification, you are signalling to potential employers that you understand a proven methodology for management projects properly. This will give the employer more reassurance that they made the right choice to hire you.
If you do manage to complete the project smoothly, you’ll be viewed as the leader who managed to push the organization forward in such a competitive global market. Not to mention, it’ll be an opportunity for you to grow out of your comfort zone at work as you’ll get the chance to learn new things and work with new people.
Getting the CAPM® certification will help you acquire the needed competencies, knowledge, and tools that increase your chances of completing a project successfully.
Career Advancement & Personal Growth
By successfully passing the CAPM® certification, you’ll be aware of all the project management processes, tools, and best practices, which can significantly increase your confidence. The CAPM® certification can be quite beneficial to you if you’re a part of a project team, even if you don’t lead projects on your own in the beginning. You will be able to understand all the project management lingos that the other project managers may frequently throw around.
The career prospects of a certified CAPM® are definitely worth the effort it takes to get that certification. Another benefits of CAPM® Certification is that it is sought after from employers looking to hire for junior PM roles.
Improve Your Leadership Skills
Leadership is a transferable skill, which means that if you can lead a project, you can be a leader in anything else you do in your company and even in your daily life.
When you become a certified CAPM®, you give yourself a chance to develop your leadership skills, which can help you become a leader in your workplace even when it comes to small-scale group tasks.
Better Job Opportunities
Becoming a certified CAPM® can give your credibility as a highly-skilled project manager a boost. Here are some of the jobs you can get as a certified CAPM®:
- Business Analyst
- Social Administrator
- Operational Support partner
- Marketing Coordinator for Communications
- Member Relations Administrator
- Project Management Consultant
- Senior Project Manager
The CAPM® certification also increases your chance of getting promoted to better job positions with more responsibilities.
The CAPM® certification is widely acknowledged worldwide due to PMI’s global trust, allowing you to get jobs in more countries. You also become more likely to get selected to work overseas within your company if the need arises.
Pave the Way for Becoming a Certified PMP®Ⓡ
When it comes to project management, the PMP®Ⓡ certification is the ultimate certification a project manager can get throughout their career. Since the CAPM® certification is offered by the same certification body and is based on the same knowledge areas, it’s widely thought of as the entry-level version of the PMP®Ⓡ certification.
Becoming a certified CAPM® can help you pursue the more advanced PMP®Ⓡ certification in the future when you acquire enough work experience.
CAPM® Certification Minimum Requirements
As we’ve mentioned earlier, the CAPM® certification targets young professionals who’ve recently graduated in the past previous years. To become eligible for the CAPM® certification, you need:
- A high school diploma certificate or any global equivalent
- A minimum of 1,500 hours of experience in project management with the following 5 process groups: Initiating Process, Planning Process, Executing Process, Monitoring Process, and Closing Process, or a minimum of 23 hours of project management training
Compared to the PMP®Ⓡ certification, the CAPM® certification doesn’t require any experience in project management.
The PMP®Ⓡ certification requires at least 3 years of professional experience as a practicing project manager, which can be unreachable to you if you’re just starting out your career in project management. This is definitely one of the most significant advantages of the CAPM® certification over PMP®Ⓡ.
One benefits of CAPM® Certification first is that it allows you to get familiar with the PMBOK®Ⓡ guide. When you are ready to get your PMP®Ⓡ certification, you will have a leg up over your competition. Both the CAPM® and PMP®Ⓡ exams are based on the PMBOK®Ⓡ guide.
CAPM® Certification Exam
The CAPM® certification exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions, and you get 3 hours to answer all the questions. The exam’s difficulty is intermediate, and it’s easier to pass from the first attempt than the PMP®Ⓡ exam. It’s a good idea to practice using mock tests before taking the real examination. This allows you to identify your weak points and prepare better.
The CAPM® exam costs $225 for PMI members and $300 for non-PMI members. Additionally, you need to retake the exam once every 5 years if you want to maintain your certification. However, if you get the PMP®Ⓡ certification, renewing your CAPM® certification won’t likely be necessary.
Becoming a certified CAPM® can make you more in demand as a professional project manager. Getting certified enhances your skills and boosts your self-confidence when discussing your qualifications with potential employers.
Having the CAPM® certification is usually the bare minimum requirement for getting accepted in the world’s biggest multinational organizations.
Becoming a certified CAPM® means that you’ll be able to get better-paying jobs in the field. The CAPM® certification can improve your potential salary by up to 25%.
Even for two individuals applying for the same position in an organization, a certified CAPM® will get a higher salary, given that both candidates have the same level of practical experience. It’s probably one of the highest paying project management certifications, just behind the PMP® certification.
It’s also worth noting that acquiring the CAPM® certification makes you more likely to get raises more frequently. According to payscale.com, here are the mean salaries for a certified CAPM® in the United States as of 2020:
|Project Manager, (Unspecified Type / General)||$68K|
|Project Manager, Information Technology (IT)||$72K|
|Project Coordinator, (Unspecified Type / General)||$54K|
|Project Coordinator, Information Technology (IT)||$58K|
|Associate Project Manager (Unspecified Type / General)||$60K|
|Business Analyst, IT||$63K|
As you can see, acquiring the CAPM® certification not only helps you get a job as a project manager but also open up a whole new world of opportunities in other related fields and business functions.
Should I Pursue the CAPM® Certification Instead of a Master’s of Project management?
A Master’s of Project Management (MPM) can be beneficial in many ways. The main advantage of an MPM is that some high-level positions require at least one graduate-level degree.
Moreover, becoming an MPM allows you to pursue higher academic degrees like a Ph.D. This means that if you want to take the academic career path, an MPM would be an excellent option for you.
On the other hand, if you’re at the beginning of a professional career in project management, the CAPM® certification will open more doors for you due to its global recognition and status. It will also take a lot less time to get the CAPM® certificate to add to your resume and professional profiles.
Now that we’ve summarized everything you need to know about the CAPM® certification, you can start preparing to become certified. Getting ready for the CAPM® exam can be costly and will require a great deal of effort on your part, but the benefits of CAPM® certification are genuinely worth it.