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Making Sense of Certifications: Your Path to the PMP

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By: Olivia

June 5, 2017

At Cybrary, we’re doing our best to offer career guidance on the latest certifications, such as the PMP.Our goal is to make your decision on which courses to take and credentials to obtain more straightforward. With so many certifications available, it’s hard to know where to begin, which are most reputable and what is best for your specific career goals.The answer, as I’ve said, isn’t one size fits all. But, I’m hoping to make it easier to make these critical decisions by compiling information surrounding some of the most popular topics on the site.Recently, I’ve discussed CSA+ vs. CEH and MCSA vs. MCSE, and tried to differentiate between the two. Since these posts have published, we’ve seen an influx of requests regarding the PMP.In this post, I’ll discuss the route to becoming PMP certified, including more entry level certifications, like CAPM and CompTIA Project+.As you may or may not know, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from PMI is the gold standard of project management credentials. In order to obtain your PMP, there are few things to keep in mind:The prerequisites for taking the PMP exam are a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent), 7,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education, or a four-year degree, 4,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education.

Where Should I Start?

If you’re not ready or unable to meet the prerequisites for the PMP at this time, there are two other project management certifications you can take to get started: the Certified Associate In Project Management (CAPM) from PMI or the Project+ from CompTIA.

Why Earn a Project Management Certification?

Through 2020, 1.57 million new jobs will be created each year and among those, qualified management practitioners are in high demand. Whether you have a technical background or work in an enterprise environment and are looking to assume a leadership role, management is a skill every professional needs.Among survey respondents to PMI’s Earning Power Salary Survey, those with a PMP certification garner a higher salary (20% higher on average) than those without a PMP certification.Similarly, CompTIA reports “Project Management is fourth in specialized skills in IT job postings. It is also the third hottest in demand tech skill with 39% of respondents with hiring plans said they will be seeking people with this skill in the next 12 months.”

PMI CAPM Overview

Designed for those with less project experience, the CAPM is intended to demonstrate candidates' understanding of the fundamental knowledge, terminology and processes of effective project management.According to PMI, “If you’d like to manage larger projects and gain more responsibility or add project management skills into your current role, then the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is right for you.”

What are the Prerequisites?

Similar to the PMP, PMI has implemented fairly strict requirement before one can sit for the certification exam. The prerequisites for taking the CAPM exam are a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent) and 1,500 hours of project experience or 23 hours of project management education completed by the time you sit for the exam.

CAPM Exam Details

The certification exam has 150 multiple choice questions which testers have three hours to complete.

What Does Earning the CAPM Mean?

Obtaining your certification signifies that you possess the fundamental knowledge to manage all aspects of any project, regardless of scope, budget and time constraints.

What Tools Does Cybrary Offer In Preparation for the CAPM?

Cybrary offers a ‘Practical Project Management Course’ as well as the CAPM practice test.

CompTIA Project+ Overview

Project+ validates the ability to initiate, manage and support a project or business initiative. Project+ is designed for any individual who wants to validate project management experience.

What are the Prerequisites?

CompTIA Project+ requires no prerequisites or application submission. Also, the need of continuous education upgrading is not required.Instead, they recommend one year of managing, directing or participating in small- to medium-scale projects prior to pursuing this certification.

Project+ Exam Details

The certification exam, code PK0-003, has 100 multiple choice and drag/drop questions which testers have 90 minutes to complete. You must receive a score of 710 or higher out of 900 in order to pass.

What Does Earning the Project+ Mean?

Obtaining your certification signifies that you possess the fundamental knowledge to initiate, manage and support a project or business initiative.

What Tools Does Cybrary Offer In Preparation for the Project+?

Cybrary offers a ‘Practical Project Management Course’ as well as the Project+ practice test.

How Do CAPM and Project+ Compare?

As you can see, the prerequisites for the CAPM exam may make this certification less attainable for many.While the CAPM may appear to be a better option since it is also developed by PMI, the Project+ was developed on the same PMBOK (project management body of knowledge), meaning it covers the same information as the CAPM, and both require passing only 1 test to become certified.In a write up from, they say, “Compared to the CAPM, Project+ comes from a computing industry-spanning organization that develops its certification programs based on the needs and input from industry stakeholders, from leading IT companies to government organizations, education institutions etc. This way, CompTIA Project+ credential targets the needs of project management with a special focus on the IT industry – which adds a huge value to this certification.”Although some many consider the Project+ may seem less valuable to some, it is just as good of a stepping stone to PMP as the CAPM is. CAPM offers more of a challenge, but Project+ is more IT industry focused, which may be a defining factor for those looking to work as a technical PM.

PMP Overview

For those who meet the previously mentioned requirements needed for PMP and are considering preparing for the certification exam, we will cover everything you need to get certified.According to PMI, “If you’re an experienced project manager responsible for all aspects of project delivery, leading and directing cross-functional teams, then the PMP is the right choice for you.”Throughout your PMP training, you will cover and subsequently be tested on:
  • Management and processes in context
  • Integration management
  • Scope management
  • Time management
  • Cost management
  • Quality management
  • Human Resource management
  • Communication management
  • Risk management
  • Procurement management
  • Stakeholder management

Additional PMP Information

PMP has over 500,000 active certified holders.

PMP Exam Details

The certification exam has 200 multiple choice questions which testers have four hours to complete. It is known for being an especially difficult exam.

What Does Earning the PMP Mean?

Obtaining your certification signifies that you possess the fundamental knowledge to initiate, plan and manage a project, control the process behind analyzing risk, monitor and control project contracts and develop schedules and budgets.It also “signifies that you speak and understand the global language of project management and connects you to a community of professionals, organizations and experts worldwide.”

What Tools Does Cybrary Offer In Preparation for the Project+?

Cybrary offers a ‘Project Management Professional Course’ as well as a PMP practice test.

Do Cybrary Courses Count as PMI Approved ‘Project Management Education Contact Hours?’

According to PMI, “Formal project management education means classes and training, online, virtual or face-to-face, that are run by a reputable vendor. That could be a community college, university, national training provider, a local firm or a training business operating entirely online. If you don't know whether your chosen provider is reputable, ask around or read some reviews. It's important because if you are audited you'll need their support in the form of a certificate of attendance or similar.”

To Summarize

Not only are project management certifications in high demand, but they come with a variety of options for those looking to get the experience and stand out in the talent pool.The Project+ has no prerequisites and is geared towards IT professionals.The CAPM has strict prerequisites and is therefore considered to be more challenging.The PMP has strict prerequisites but is considered the gold standard of project management certifications.Want More Posts Comparing Certifications?Leave a comment describing what you’d like to learn more about.
Olivia Lynch (@Cybrary_Olivia) is the Marketing Manager at Cybrary. Like many of you, she is just getting her toes wet in the field of cyber security. A firm believer that the pen is mightier than the sword, Olivia considers corny puns and an honest voice essential to any worthwhile blog.
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