Project management is usually a critical tool in any organization. It involves seeing a project from its conception to completion. Due to its importance, project practitioners, teams, and managers must be adequately educated on the subject.
The job market has also been competitive of late, with employers mostly looking for people who can improve the efficiency of their operations. Even entry-level jobs are hard to find without the proper certification. If you are interested in project management, you should strive to get a credential.
This article looks at one of the certifications that every project practitioner should undertake-the Certified Associate in Project Management, commonly abbreviated as CAPM. We will look at the eligibility requirements, costs, passing score, policies, and procedures.
Let’s dive right into it!
What is CAPM Certification?
CAPM is an entry-level certification that project practitioners should undertake. It aims to demonstrate a project practitioner’s understanding of the basic knowledge, terminologies, and processes required for quality project management.
It is a Project Management Institute (PMI) course for anyone who wants to be a project management professional or understand project management basics. Keep in mind that PMI is globally renowned and is the largest project management profession in the world.
This certification allows you to acquire basic skills and knowledge relating to project management. You will also understand the challenges encountered in project management, which opens you to the project environment.
CPAM certification usually is valid for five years from the time one passes its exams. One must earn 15 professional development units every three years to maintain his/ her credentials. Keep in mind that it is also the most popular certification.
According to PMI, this certification aims to recognize different practitioners new to the project management world and project team members seeking to portray how good they are at project management.
This certification is not limited to those in the project management world. You can also undertake it if you are in other fields but interested in project management. It is an excellent way to commence a career change.
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Who Should Obtain CAPM Certification?
We may have mentioned this at some point in our discussion, albeit indirectly. CAPM certification should be done by everybody involved in project management. These include the project team members, project practitioners, project managers, or any other person interested in project management.
Remember that this is an industry-recognized certification, and serious companies may require it before giving you a job. It is meant for entry-level professionals. However, this does not mean that senior project managers do not need it; they still have to pass the CAPM exams once the validity period expires.
There is no renewal process for CAPM credentials, and as you scale forward, you will realize that you must pass the CPAM exams repeatedly.
CAPM Certification Requirements
Given that this is an entry-level certification, it is usually open to several individuals. Anybody with a high school diploma or a secondary degree can apply. A secondary degree entails an associate degree or any global equivalent. You will then wait for a year after PMI approves your application to sit for the exams.
However, you must have at least 1500 hours of experience in project management. PMI also understands that not everybody interested in CAPM may have had experience with project management.
Therefore, it requires people with no project management experience to attend a 23 contact hours training course to include them. Here, they learn the basics of project management and familiarize themselves with PMBOK Guide and CAPM exam content outline.
PMI Audit Process
For all application cycles, applicants are normally randomly selected for an audit. This may be stressful, but you will be glad to know that it is a pretty simple exercise. The Project Management Institute uses the audit to guarantee the proper standards for checking different documentation from applicants.
If you are selected for the audit, PMI will inform you after submitting your application fee. The audit confirms all the eligibility requirements for sitting the CAPM exams. Therefore, you will have to send the following to PMI for the audit:
- Proof of education– You will have to send a photocopy of your high school diploma or secondary degree. However, you can also include a photocopy of the degree certificate for the highest levels of education.
- Proof of 23 Contact hours training course– Without 1500 hours of project management experience, you cannot sit the CAPM exam. It would help if you had a photocopy of this certificate alongside proof of education.
- Details of your Project Management Experience– This will come in handy if you have been a project practitioner for quite some time. It may be more detailed and lengthier than the second one, but it is relatively easy.
Once you have registered for the CAPM exam, you will be given access to a section of the PMI website, where PMI provides the audit package. You are expected to print the package in pdf form and mail them to your supervisors. These supervisors should prove that you have the requisite experience or have attended the training.
The supervisors should sign all the documents before returning them to you, having signed over the envelope’s seal. However, ensure that you warn them to send the envelopes directly to PMI. For the audit process to go on smoothly, you should be the only one sending documents to PMI, and in this case, the envelopes from the supervisors.
Therefore, mail the whole audit package to the address provided by PMI. PMI will take roughly a week to receive the package before reviewing it and processing the audit. You can schedule your exams once the audit is complete.
This may be scary, but it should not take much of your time. The audit process is meant to ensure that you are qualified to sit the CAPM examinations. Therefore, know the eligibility requirements and what to prove when called upon.
CAPM Certification Costs
You must be wondering how much you will part with to be CAPM certified. Well, there is no definite value as the amount may vary from person to person. The value is not fixed and is highly dependent on your eligibility requirements.
However, we will offer you a near-accurate estimate to start you on your project management journey.
You do not have to train if you have the required 1500 hours of project management experience. Training is for those entering the project management world for the first time or any other person who has not been around for long.
This training program requires 23 hours of attendance. Keep in mind that it is mandatory. You will learn all the project management fundamentals to help you sit the exam. However, getting the training program may be difficult as few and some programs’ quality cannot be confirmed.
Overall, the cost of the CAPM training program varies from $10 to $200. However, a better alternative is to apply for the 35 hours contact training program for the PMP certification program and then apply for the CAPM exam. This will cost you money and should only be done if you have the resources. Its bright side is that you will be more knowledgeable.
For the 35 hours of contact training, be prepared to spend between $150- $4000. I hope you understand why we said it should only be done if you have enough resources.
Sitting for the CAPM exam is not as expensive as one may think. You will part with $225 if you are a PMI member and 300 USD if you are a non-member. This value is inclusive of two more attempts if you fail on your first trial.
The CAPM exam is valid for only a few years. Therefore, you have to sit for the exam once again for re-certification. This will cost you $150 if you are a PMI member and $200 if you are a non-member.
What we have covered are some of the main costs for CAPM certification. However, you will also need a reference book for the CAPM exam preparation, especially if you do not have project management experience. One of the essential books is the PMBOK Guide, which will help you understand project management’s process flow. Also, the entire exam is based on it.
For PMI members, the guide is free. However, if you are not a non-member, you can get the book on Amazon for roughly $60. Even though most people prefer not to use the PMBOK guide for their exam preparation, it is not advisable.
You can also get other exam preparation books. All in all, ensure that you have at least two of them, which will roughly cost you $150. You can also get a CAPM simulator for $69 to access sample questions as you prepare for your exams.
Other costs are optional, though they may be necessary for smooth sailing.
CAPM Passing Score
The CAPM certificate exam does not have a fixed passing score, contrary to what most people expect. However, it is believed that to succeed, you need a score of 61%. To be on the safe side, we encourage that you aim for at least 70%.
Remember, the 61% is a common perception, which makes aiming for 70% the best thing to do when undertaking the exams. The PMI has never made public the CAPM exam certification passing score, and therefore, they are the only ones who can offer a definite answer. The CAPM handbook does not also offer an accurate answer.
According to the institute, success in the exams comes from sound psychometric analysis. It uses several subject matter experts from different regions to determine the number of questions one must answer correctly to pass the exam.
Each score gives one point, and the total score is arrived at by totaling all the independent scores. Therefore, passing the CAPM exam highly depends on the number of questions you will answer correctly.
It would help if you strived to correctly answer as many questions as possible to hit the passing score. Therefore, get to work and use any helpful material you can find when preparing for the exam.
CAPM Certification Policies and Procedures
The CAPM certification policies and procedures are found in the CAPM handbook. You are granted the certification once you have passed the exam. You are free to term yourself a CAPM certificate holder as long as your certification status is active.
You can also use the designation in block letters after your name or in business cards, website, and even your email signature. However, you must use only the CAPM designation per the PMI Code of EthicsEthics and Professional Conduct, which bars you from using it in company, domain, and product names. To know more about these, take some time and check with the CAPM handbook. However, here are the main ones:
Exam Rescheduling Policy
PMI allows you to reschedule or cancel your exam up to 48 hours before it begins. If you choose to do this later than that, be ready to part with a fee. You will not be able to cancel the exam after the lapse of the provided 48 hours, and PMI will not refund the exam fee.
If you choose to cancel or reschedule the exam within30 days of your scheduled appointment, be ready to part with $70.
Exam Refund Policy
You can only request a refund 30 days from the purchase date, which bars you from taking the certification exam. The application is closed, and the eligibility period ceases to exist once the refund has been processed.
Anyone who needs accommodation during the examination period can request the administrator. Once it is granted, arrangements will be made for any disability, handicap, or medical condition that may hamper your exam-taking ability. The good news is that you will not spend a penny for test accommodations.
CAPM certification is a necessary addition to your project management professional credentials. It makes you a good candidate for different job positions and shows that you understand the fundamentals of project management. It is a worthy investment, and therefore, do not shy from undertaking it.