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Earn a certified associate in project management in under 6 months 8 min read
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With an estimated 87 million project practitioners employed in the field by 2027, project management is a fast-growing career path with opportunities across almost every industry. This spike in demand creates a critical need for qualified project managers armed with the education and expertise necessary to make a positive impact.

Through 2027, the project management jobs demand in seven project-oriented sectors is expected to grow by 33%, generating nearly 22 million new jobs.

Controlling the trajectory and scope of your career is a key contributor to your long-term productivity and overall work satisfaction. Fortify your natural skills in communication, time management, problem-solving, and leadership by acquiring a certified associate in project management. In this article, we’ll cover what this credential is and how you can get it.

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What is a certified associate in project management?

A certified associate in project management, or CAPM, is an entry-level certification that validates a project practitioner’s knowledge and ability to lead a project team through the organizational timeline and deliver on a project’s expected outcome on time and within budget.

Offered and accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified associate in project management is globally recognized and provides a jump-start into the introductory level of project management. For those without the requisite experience to pass the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, the CAPM certification offers added credibility and signifies a concentrated commitment to project management as a profession.

What are the benefits of achieving a CAPM?

Adding to your knowledge base and legitimizing this accomplishment with a well-earned certification can lead to increased opportunities. After earning a certified associate in project management, new project managers can benefit from the following advantages:

  • Recognition from a well-established, industry-relevant professional institute
  • Increased assurance in your capabilities
  • A strengthened comprehension of project management
  • Increased integrity
  • Respect from co-workers and project leaders
  • An added achievement to your professional resume
  • The escalated likelihood of career advancement
  • An improved salary base

Before you can work to increase your salary or enjoy those benefits, you obviously have to get through a CAPM program and pass the required exam. Following some proven steps to success can help you get there.

A step-by-step guide to getting a CAPM

1. Earn a high school diploma or global equivalent

The Project Management Institute requires that individuals interested in taking the CAPM certification exam have a high school diploma or global equivalent. Having an associate or bachelor’s degree in a related field might make for a more seamless transition into the role of project manager, but it’s not a necessary prerequisite. For those without university degrees, a CAPM represents a unique chance to pursue employment opportunities offering equivalent income and benefits as those sought by college-educated applicants.

2. Focus on acquiring professional experience or formal project management education

Certification candidates must complete 23 hours of formal project management education in addition to a secondary degree prior to sitting for the exam. An online course is available through PMI that fulfills this formal education requirement. Individuals with limited project management experience benefit from taking this course as it provides an introduction to the fundamental responsibilities of project management. The formal education requirement may be waived for experienced candidates who have logged 1,500 hours as a project manager or member of a project management team.

3. Submit an application form to determine your eligibility to take the CAPM exam

Once you meet the required prerequisites, you can apply to take the CAPM certification exam. The cost of the exam is $300, but members of PMI pay a reduced fee. In addition to the 23-hour formal education course, PMI offers CAPM certification study materials and practice tests designed to better position you to perform well on the exam. These courses can also be taken by individuals with a desire to further develop project management skills without the need to take a certification exam.

4. Complete the CAPM certification exam

After it receives your completed application, PMI conducts a completeness review. This could take as little as 24 hours but may take up to 5 days to conclude. Once you’re determined qualified to take the exam, you receive a confirmation code via email. You need this code to pay your exam fees and schedule a date to take the CAPM certification exam.

5. Create a study guide and prepare to take the exam

All candidates have 3 hours to answer 150 questions comprising the exam. With the first 15 questions considered pre-exam questions, your final score is calculated using only the remaining 135 questions. Rather than using a pre-determined value to grade your exam, a team of project professionals from various subject-relevant fields determines the number of questions candidates must answer correctly to receive a passing grade.

Once you’ve done the work to earn your CAPM, it’s time to put it into action. The right tools make slipping into project management roles even easier. Consider how solutions such as can help you succeed in a new project management role.

Get started lets you put your CAPM to use managing projects

When working on, project teams can create customizable workflow templates that are easily captured and shared, bringing visibility and opportunities for collaboration. At each milestone, the relevant information is recorded by team members, allowing project managers to gain valuable insights and know where things stand at a glance. offers a myriad of templates designed to assist project managers. Team members can easily keep track of changes to the project scope, timeline, or budget in real-time, creating the efficiency needed to deliver optimal results. Consider starting with some of the following templates for project management :

  • Project Management Plan Template: Assign team members to each action item and monitor your plan’s progress at every stage.
  • Project Portfolio Management Template: Plan, track, and manage complex projects across multiple teams and departments. Streamline project requests and get a high-level view of your entire portfolio.
  • Single Product Template: Bring deadlines, stakeholders, budget, and other factors together in one place. Plan, manage, and track every aspect of your project so nothing is overlooked.

Going from interest in project management or a desire for career growth to a CAPM credential requires attention to detail and a good bit of work. We’ve answered a few more common questions below to help you get started on the right path.

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Frequently asked questions about CAPM

How much does CAPM certification cost?

Students and PMI members pay a $225 fee to take the CAPM certification exam, while non-members are charged a fee of $300. You may incur additional costs if you elect to enroll in preparatory classes or choose to purchase test prep materials. However, the exam fee is the only required cost associated with CAPM certification.

How long does it take to get a CAPM?

To be eligible to take the online proctored exam offered through the Project Management Institute, a high school degree or the global equivalent is required. Additionally, you must log 23 hours of project management education prior to taking the exam. Test questions are drawn directly from the Project Management Book of Knowledge Guide. Candidates are allotted three hours to complete the exam, which consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. Once you earn your certification, you must acquire 15 PDUs every three years to keep the credential.

Which is better: PMP or CAPM?

If you’re new to project management with limited or no practical experience, the CAPM certification introduces you to the fundamentals of project management and helps you enter the field and gain valuable hands-on experience. If you’re already working in project management, it’s likely on-the-job encounters have already taught you everything you would learn preparing for the CAPM certification exam. For those with at least 4,500 hours leading and directing project teams, the project management professional (PMP) certification is a better fit.

Use to put your associate in project management to work

The need for qualified project managers spans almost every industry and is expected to increase in the future. Countless employment prospects, impressive earnings potential, and a relatively light educational time commitment make a career in project management a strong choice on your path to professional fulfillment.

Once you earn an associate in project management, backing your knowledge with the right tools can help you demonstrate success and continue moving your career forward.

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