For professionals looking to becomeproject managers, there is often a pull between three primary types of certification in the field. The CAPM, PRINCE2 certification and all offer excellent information and training for project management and related careers, but are vastly different in their approach.
So, which one should you choose? It’s important to understand the differences between these certifications and how each may or may not apply to your desired application in order to plan your next educational step and secure the training that is right for you.
Let’s start with a breakdown of the three certifications, and examine the similarities and differences therein. Once you know more about what each certification entails, you can make a more informed decision as to which one is best suited for your needs.
The CAPM or Certified Associate Project Management certificate is one that is awarded as an entry-level certification. This course is best suited to those just beginning their career or seeking their first certification in the field. Individuals with this certification can expect to be set apart from fellow entry-level employees in their field and gain experience that will help them secure better jobs as they move up the ladder. Requiring the fewest hours of committed time, this course is the basic requirement for those looking to advance in the field of project management and who want to make a meaningful contribution to their team.
The PMP or Project Management Professional certification is the gold standard for the industry in much of North America. Taking this course – the longest time commitment of the group – enhances your earning potential dramatically and equips you with myriad management skills as it covers a wider variety of topics than any other course. PMP training enables you to work in nearly any industry, and is a certification that is gaining popularity in parts of Europe and Asia. For most, this is the certification you will be best suited for if you are looking to take the next step in your career as a project management professional.
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Administered in the UK but with a growing global presence and value, this certification is process and project based in its approach Providing a greater depth of detail than either of the other certificate options, the PRINCE2 or Projects in Controlled Environments certification offers clear and easy-to-use templates for project management structuring and gives students highly-detailed methodology for using them effectively. This course’s approach to project management holds special favor in parts of Europe and Australia.
Making Your Decision
With a little background info on the available choices for project management certification, it’s easy to see that the selection process is more about narrowing those choices down than simply rolling the dice. Knowing what you want and need as a professional – and what employers in your field are looking for – will enable you to make the best choice for your future.
Worldwide, there are tremendously fewer CAPM certificate holders than those who hold either a PMP certification or. This is likely because CAPM simply has less to offer on a professional level. True, many holders of the CAPM certification go on to obtain higher-level certificates, but many do not see the need to invest in one course only to take another, longer course later.
A CAPM is certainly not without value, but while it will allow you to participate in a project, PRINCE2 or PMP training will allow you to lead or manage that project. Those who choose to secure a CAPM certificate typically do so to bolster their resume and add proof of specific skills thereto. For those interested in serious pursuit of project management as a career, this certificate just doesn’t bring enough to the table to be a contender.
Between the remaining selections, two options for further deciding between your options is the comparison of salary potential and the length and difficulty of the tests involved. Let’s look at both.
Potential Salary Comparisons
The potential salaries for both the PMP and PRINCE2 certifications vary drastically depending on several factors, including geographic location, level of experience in addition to education, race, gender and more. Another factor is what type of work is being performed by the certificate holder, be it the duties of a web development specialist or a training professional; every industry offers different opportunities. Although some of these factors are less likely to affect overall, they should all be considered when examining the varied salaries earned by project management professionals.
- The average annual wage earned by PRINCE2 certificate holders is between 75k-100k, worldwide.
- The average annual wage earned by holders of the PMP certificate is approximately 100K, with noticeably less variance.
It should also be noted that the PRINCE2 and PMP certifications are favored in different parts of the world, where the typical salaries and cost of living will vary dramatically, so all factors should be considered as part of the decision-making process.
Some of the differences in the PRINCE2 and PMP certifications lie within the tests, themselves. Variances include:
- The PMP is a much longer test, clocking in at an allotted four hours, compared to a single hour given for the foundational level of the PRINCE2 exam.
- However, the PRINCE2 is given in two parts for complete certification.
- The PMP is entirely multiple choice in format, while the PRINCE2 is part multiple choice, part objective testing.
- The PMP has fewer prerequisites than the PRINCE in regard to exams passed or finished courses on the subject of project management, specifically.
- However, the PRINCE2 has no prior work experience requirement, whereas the PMP does.
- The PMP, an American-based exam, has a hefty fee associated with the test, whereas the PRINCE2 varies drastically in price depending on the region where it is being given.
The Final Word
The ultimate decision in which of the three primary certifications you should elect to pursue lies with you as an individual and a professional Your region may be your deciding factor, or it might be the type of positions you intend to work in. Whatever influences your choice, be sure to research programs in your area, and prepare for your exam with confidence. This is one certificate that’s worth far more than the paper it’s printed on!