Select Page

PMI offers a comprehensive certification program for project managers with different levels of experience. The program supports a career framework in the project management profession. PMI’s credentials and professional development can help business professionals start, build, or advance their careers in project management, program management, and scheduling and risk management

Levels of PMI Credentials

PMI credentials establish your dedication and proficiency in project management. To attain one of PMI’s credentials, you must satisfy defined education and professional experience requirements. To better understand PMI credentials and the requirements needed to obtain certification, review the following definitions and then refer to Table 1-1 (later in this
chapter) for the necessary requirements, project roles, and details.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

The CAPM credential is geared toward people who contribute to a project team but who are not leading or directing the team (see the PMP credential, explained next, for those who are leading and directing project teams). The CAPM credential recognizes a person’s ability to demonstrate their capabilities by:

  • Having a fundamental knowledge of the PMBOK Guide
  • Understanding the standard PMBOK processes and terminology
  • Demonstrating knowledge of basic project management practices
  • Being responsible for individual project tasks in their area of expertise (e.g., finance, marketing, legal, customer care, market research, fulfillment, processing).
  • Contributing to the project team as a subject matter expert (SME)


Project Management Professional (PMP)

The PMP credential is for people who are leading and directing a project team. PMPs are

  • Responsible for all aspects of the project through its entire life cycle
  • Capable of leading and directing cross-functional teams in delivering project results
  • Able to demonstrate sufficient knowledge and experience to apply a methodology to projects within the constraints of schedule, budget, and resources
  • Responsible for managing risk, communications, stakeholder expectations, and effectively performing their duties in a professional manner


Program Management Professional (PgMP)

PMI’s Program Management Professional credential is specifically developed to acknowledge the qualification of the professional who leads the coordinated management of multiple projects toward a strategic goal and ensures the ultimate success of the overall program

A sample of the PgMP’s capabilities are

  • Responsible for achieving an organizational objective by overseeing a program that consists of multiple projects
  • Defines and initiates projects and assigns project managers to manage cost, schedule, and performance
  • Maintains alignment of program scope with strategic business objectives
  • Effectively monitors and responds to the needs of the PMs in their program


PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP

The PMI Risk Management Professional credential recognizes knowledge, skills, and experience in the area of project risk management. A Risk Management Professional provides expertise in the specialized area of assessing and identifying project risks, along with plans to mitigate threats and capitalize on opportunities. RMPs are typically:

  • Responsible for identifying project risks, assigning owners and reviewing mitigation plans
  • In direct support of project managers and the project team as a contributing member
  • Able to document a minimum of three years of project risk management experience


PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)

The Scheduling Professional credential recognizes the specialized skills needed for developing and maintaining the project schedule.

Scheduling Professionals are

  • Responsible for creating and maintaining the project schedule
  • In direct support of the project manager and project team as a contributing member in managing the overall schedule
  • Able to document a minimum of three years of project scheduling experience


Differences Between the Exams

Because the PMP certification exam was introduced first, it has the highest number of credentialed PMs. It is by far the most sought-after exam of all the credentials. Because of its popularity, we will focus mostly on the details of the PMP exam. According to PMI, the PMP exam is designed to determine your ability to demonstrate proficiency in each of the five process groups (also known as “domains”): Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing.

The PMP exam is composed of 200 multiple-choice questions. Of the 200 questions, 25 are considered “pretest” questions. Pretest questions do not affect the score and are used in examinations as an effective and legitimate way to test the validity of future examination questions. All questions are randomly placed throughout the examination.

Each question on the exam is developed and independently validated by global work groups (credential holders) and assigned a complexity rating. Each exam is unique in that the system selects a random group of questions for each participant and the number of correct answers needed to pass the exam depends on the complexity of the questions selected. For example, if many of the questions in your exam are higher in complexity, then you can pass with a slightly lower number of correct answers—say, 69 percent as opposed to 70 percent. (These percentages are examples only
and are subject to change without notice.)

The allotted time to complete the PMP computer-based examination is four hours. The CAPM, on the other hand, has 150 multiple-choice questions, with three hours allotted to complete the test. These time limits are tightly controlled at the test center and, in general, most people feel they have more than enough time to complete the exams. You can sign in and out to take short breaks, eat a snack, and so on—however, the clock is still ticking.

Candidates for the CAPM credential must be able to document their contribution to projects as subject matter experts (SMEs) and team members. They may also serve as