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PRINCE2 vs. PMP: Which One Should You Go For?

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If you’re embarking on a project management career, you’re more likely to get ahead with certification. If you’re considering that, you must have come across the PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) and the PMP (Project Management Professional) exams.

Both of them make a huge difference in how employers see you and deem your project management capabilities. But the question is: PRINCE2 vs. PMP: which one should you choose to sit through to get the highest return on your investment?

The short answer is, if you’re seeking a job in Europe, especially in the U.K., you should opt for PRINCE2. On the other hand, if you’re seeking a job in South or North America, chiefly the U.S., you should opt for the PMP. Otherwise, both are equally preferred.

It’s worth mentioning that each of them focuses on different aspects and industries. So, if your target job focuses on something, in particular, you should seek the exam that includes that aspect.

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PRINCE2 vs. PMP: The Full Comparison

Although it’s easy to decide using the geographical aspect, it’s not just a matter of geography. Depending on the industry you’re planning to work in, you’ll have to know the difference between the two certifications well.

Background

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is issued by the PMI (Project Management Institute), and it suits various industries because it prepares you to work with whatever methodology. It can considerably increase your income and earning potential as it teaches you a myriad of project management techniques and makes you more competent.

The Projects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) is a method that’s based on processes. It follows a systematic path with steps, processes, and defined templates to help you deliver your projects successfully.

Qualifications

The PMP exam relies on and is indicative of your proficiency in the PMBOK Guide, the Project Management Book of Knowledge. When you’re PMP-certified, you’re verified as a person who has the knowledge that’s generally accepted as the optimum practices and principles of managing projects.

On the other hand, the PRINCE2 is a set of principles that define a framework that you can implement and use for pretty much any project. The fact that there are a layout and a set of steps makes the approach easier to digest as it assigns responsibilities and roles to each member of the team during the project management.

PRINCE2 categorizes the main project into team plans, stage plans, and project plans, leaving no space for confusion or vagueness, consequently making the project’s execution as smooth as silk.

Demand in Regions

As I’ve mentioned, the PMP certification is preferred in the U.S, Canada, and the Middle East. On the other hand, PRINCE2 is preferred in the UK, Europe, Africa, and Asia. In Australia, either certification will give you a headstart. 

Potential Salary

Surveys and studies have proven that project managers earn a lot more when they’re certified than when they aren’t. And in terms of certifications, the PRINCE2 and PMP definitely take the lead in the industry as they’re strong indicators that their holder is well-versed and knowledgeable about the project management language.

According to the tenth edition salary survey of the PMI Project Management, a PMP-certified individual’s average annual salary is around $112,000. This means that they earn 20% more than non-certified project managers on average. The highest salary would be Switzerland, where a PMP-certified project manager earns $130,966.

On average, the salary of a PRINCE2-certified project manager is around $85,800. Bear in mind, however, that there’s a difference in currency and that PRINCE2 certifications are more prevalent in Europe and the U.K., where the euro and pound are stronger as currencies than the American dollar.

Advantages

If you get a PMP certification, you’ll enjoy the following benefits:

  1. Higher Potential Salaries: When you’re PMP-certified, your pay raises increase both in terms of frequency and significance compared to other peers without a certification.
  2. Networking: Most individuals that aim for a PMP certification are already members of the PMI. Once you’re a member, you get access to a vast network of professionals with similar interests and qualifications of varying levels. Through these contacts, you can land plenty of jobs or learn vital information to get and stay ahead.
  3. Potential Higher Quality Jobs: Since the PMP certification is the most popular project management certification globally, it opens up plenty of reputable career opportunities for you, not just on a regional level but worldwide.

If you get a PRINCE2 certification, you’ll be enjoying the following benefits:

  1. Comprehensive Knowledge: When you have a PRINCE2 certification, you’ll be equipped with plenty of analysis tools that help you break down any project from all angles. This qualifies you to decide whether a project is viable very early on. You’ll be well-versed with user requirements, potential risks, and how to face and overcome obstacles that arise during the planning stages.
  2. Precise Methodology: Many projects waste a lot of money due to the unclear methodologies that people use to plan the project, but that’s not a possibility with PRINCE2 certifications.
  3. Unity: Since PRINCE2 uses standard methodologies and processes with clearly defined steps regarding the filing systems, documents, and procedures, there’s little to no room for confusion during the execution of the project.
  4. Better Employability and Salary Potential: If you’re looking for a job in the U.K., you’re far more likely to land one with a PRINCE2 certification. On the other hand, getting a PRINCE2 certification is a justified and basically guaranteed way to get a raise if you’re already employed.
  5. Business Case-based: With a PRINCE2 certification, you’ll be able to self-assess and offer updates when it comes to different business cases and at particular points in their progress to guarantee a successful delivery to customers and organizations.

Exams

The PMP exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, and its duration is four hours. The exam is divided into different areas called performance domains, which are as follows:

  1. The first domain: Initiating (13%).
  2. The second domain: Planning (24%).
  3. The third domain: Executing (31%).
  4. The fourth domain: Monitoring and Controlling (25%).
  5. The fifth domain: Closing (7%).

In each domain, you’re tested for numerous skills, including but not limited to: managing materials, managing change, managing quality, and identifying risks.

On the other hand, the PRINCE2 exam is divided into two: Foundation Exam and Practitioner. The Foundation one consists of 75 multiple-choice questions, and its duration is 60 minutes. 5 questions out of the 75 are based on trial and aren’t calculated when the test score is processed.

The Practitioner one is a scenario-based exam, so it’s quite objective. It includes 9 questions with a 180-minute time cap.

Minimum Requirements

There are a couple of minimum requirements that you have to meet to sit for the PMP exam. These requirements differ according to your education level. If your highest education level is a secondary education (high school diploma or equivalent), then you’ll need 7,500 hours of project leading and directing as well as 35 hours of education related to project management.

On the other hand, if your highest degree is a four-year one or higher (bachelor’s, masters, doctorate,), you’ll need 4,500 hours of project leading and directing as well as 35 hours of education related to project management. In both cases, it doesn’t have to be a direct project manager position, but the mere participation in a project-based environment is enough, especially if you have supervised a team, team member, or even a junior team member.

As for the PRINCE2 exam, there are no prerequisites. You just need some experience with project management and perhaps some formal training before you sit for the exam. To sit for the Practitioner exam, you need to pass the Foundation one.

Cost

If you’re a PMI member, sitting for the PMP exam will cost you $405, while non-members need to pay a $555 fee.

As for the PRINCE2 exam, the fees vary according to the region in which you’ll sit for the exam.

Maintaining or Renewing Certification

To maintain your PMP certification, you’ll have to renew it before a period of 3 years has passed. You can do this by gaining 60 PDUs (Professional Development Units).

As for the PRINCE2 certification, the Foundation exam lasts for a lifetime, while the Practitioner one remains valid for 5 years, before which you need to renew it. 


So, Should you Pick the PRINCE2 or the PMP?

To sum up, choosing between the PRINCE2 vs. PMP certification depends on the region you’ll be seeking a job in and the kind of technique you’re looking to learn. In the long run, it’s best if you tackle the one you haven’t started with, but until then, decide based on the geographical location and impact of the certification on your career.

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