CAPM certification: Cost, salary, training, and more
The Certified Associate Project Manager (CAPM) certification is a great starting point for accelerate your project management career. Cost, salary expectations, training — here’s what you need to know.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers several globally recognized certifications in project management, and the Certified Associate Project Manager (CAPM) certification is a great introductory credential for jump-starting a career in the field. For those without the requisite experience for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, earning the CAPM certification can help demonstrate a commitment to project management as a profession and add credibility to your resume.
The CAPM requires passing a proctored exam at an approved test center or online. The exam focuses on project management concepts, processes, and terminology and is geared toward those interested in managing larger, more complex projects, taking on a bigger role, or expanding their project management knowledge and skills.
CAPM vs. PMP
The CAPM certification is an associate-level certification by PMI available to those interested in project management or new to project management with limited or no practical experience. The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is for those already working in a project management role with at least 4,500 hours leading and directing project teams.
To be eligible to take the CAPM you will need to have a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or the global equivalent) and 23 hours of project management education completed by the time you take the exam. CAPM holders will need to earn 15 PDUs every three years to maintain the certification.
The exam costs $225 for PMI members and $300 for non-members. Students and members receive other benefits as well, including member pricing on other resources and services. Students are given a student bundle that includes the opportunity to submit one application form to join PMI as a student member and then take the CAPM exam at the discounted member rate.
CAPM exam: What to expect
The CAPM exam is an online proctored exam through the Project Management Insitute (PMI) with questions drawn directly from the PMBOK Guide. It consists of 150 multiple-choice questions that will need to be completed within three hours. Once you have passed the exam, you must earn 15 PDUs every three years to keep using the credentials.
Sample questions: There are many CAPM exam simulators that can help prepare you with practice questions such as these:
Which of the following is one of the tools and techniques of the control quality process?
Which of the following describes a work breakdown structure?
Which technique is used for determining the reason for variances between the baseline and actual performance?
Based on the information provided in the table below, determine which task is on schedule and within the budget?
Which of the following is an input for planning the stakeholder management process?
Passing grade: Although there isn’t a posted pass rate, Project Management Precast recommends aiming for 75-80% on its exam simulator.
Preparing for the CAPM exam
You may have questions about what to expect for the exam day, such as what you should bring if you are taking the test at an approved test center or what are the required technical specifications of your computer to take the exam from home. PMI offers answers to many frequently asked questions to help relieve any unnecessary stress. It also provides an exam content outline to help prepare you for what to expect in terms of learning objectives and weighting through the 13 focus and knowledge areas that the test covers:
Introduction to project management
Role of the project manager
Project integration management
Project scope management
Project schedule management
Project cost management
Project quality management
Project resource management
Project communication management
Project risk management
Project procurement management
Project stakeholder management
CAPM training courses
CAPM training is offered through PMI directly or through these in-person and online PMI-certified trainers.
PMI: This official online course from PMI focuses on PMI standards and technical skills for new practitioners. It costs $400 for non-members and $350 for members.
Project Management PrepCast: This video-based training helps you master the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques needed to pass the CAPM exam. There’s also an exam simulator offered.
Simpli Learn: This online boot camp provides new project managers with an overview of core project manager philosophies and knowledge of the five process groups and 10 knowledge areas. It also comes with an exam simulator.
Is the CAPM worth it?
As with most certifications, earning the credential often leads to increased opportunities. The CAPM is recognized worldwide and offer the following potential benefits for new project managers:
Solidifies your understanding of project management
Increases your credibility
Establishes your resume with an achievement from a well-recognized professional body
Helps you gain respect from your peers and project leaders
Gives you increased confidence in your abilities
Increases the chances for career advancement and a higher salary
Given the upside and the relatively affordable price of the exam, the CAPM will be worth the time it takes to train and pass the exam for many professionals interested in a career in project management.
Project management roles are in high demand, and as competition increases for experienced Project Management Professionals (PMPs), many companies will be looking to bring in those with CAPMs. This creates opportunity for new CAPMs to take on roles such as project manager assistant, associate project manager, jr. project manager, project coordinator, project delivery manager, and others.
Becoming CAPM-certified can offer a significant boost to your salary. The national average annual salary for CAPM is $88,185, according to ZipRecruiter, with some salaries as high as $117,000. Here’s what you might expect to earn on receiving your CAPM.
Entry-level PMP project manager
Additional resources to help you prepare
To make passing the CAPM easier, PMI offers guidance and various resources, including the CAPM Handbook, sample questions, a list of approved registered education providers, and more.
With approximately 1.57 million new jobs being created each year, qualified project management expertise is in high demand, and the CAPM certification is a great way to launch a rewarding career in project management.