If you’ve ever heard the term CAPM you may have wondered ‘what is CAPM and what are the CAPM requirements needed to be eligible?’ Starting off in a new field takes effort. You may be right out of school, looking to move up in your current profession, or you might be looking to change careers. If you’ve ever been the person people come to when there’s a problem that needs a solution, the field of project management may be for you. CAPM is the perfect place to start. It’s not as hard as you might think to become a Certified Associate in Project Management.
One of many certifications available through PMI (Project Management Institute), CAPM is made for those that are new to the field. Meeting PMI’s CAPM certification requirements is not as difficult as you would imagine.
So, pull up a chair, take a seat, and read on to find out how you can take the next step in your project management journey.
CAPM Certification Requirements For Eligibility
Project Management Institute (PMI)
Since 1969, Project Management Institute (PMI) has been promoting the field of project management. PMI is the leading project management association, promoting and encouraging growth, ethical standards, and governance throughout the profession worldwide. PMI not only certifies associate project managers through CAPM exams, they also provide educational platforms for Agile methodology, including Scrum, and PMP, the Project Management Professional certification. Their guidelines and standards supply those in the field, those who employ those in the field, and those looking to get into the field of project management with best practices to guide them.
What Does an Associate Project Manager do?
Associate Project Managers are used in a variety of industries. From Construction and Information Technology, to Manufacturing and Energy, projects large and small require management. The field is growing and the employers that require certification are growing as well.
CAPM certificate holders have a step up into the field, putting them in a place to secure one of the many positions that continues to grow in demand. Among the CAPM prerequisites, you may already have had experience in:
- Understanding a project’s scope and creating documents
- Conducting project meetings
- Monitoring projects
- Evaluating progress and quality
- Managing issue resolution and/or
- Working with the project manager.
CAPM provides you with the recognition for the duties you take on every day.
CAPM Certification Prerequisite and Contact Hours Requirement
Once you’ve decided to go forward with getting your CAPM certificate, you will need to determine what CAPM prerequisites are necessary. You may be closer than you think.
The first thing you need in order to go forward with CAPM certification is a minimum of a secondary degree or equivalent. In the U.S., a high school diploma or G.E.D., (General Educational Development) meets the requirement. Everything above that is icing on the cake. Some individuals may have a Bachelor’s degree or above but they don’t have the experience requirement necessary to go forward with their PMP certificate.
CAPM has no work experience requirement. So, for those starting out or changing paths, it’s a good way to hop right in.
CAPM Contact Hours Requirement: Project Management Education
The next step is to complete 23 contact hours. Contact hours are defined as instruction or educational courses designed to throw you into the deep end of project management. Below we’ll explore more about how to acquire those contact hours and what benefit they have for you.
At a high-level, here are the CAPM eligibility requirements
Project Management Education
Secondary diploma (high school diploma/ global equivalent)
23 contact hours of formal education
CAPM Training Courses: 23 Contact Hours
Most CAPM training courses provide you with the 23 hours required to sit for the CAPM exam. They will also provide you with the knowledge to continue forward in your project management career. The 23 hours actually count towards the 35 hours you will need in order to go forward with your PMP certification exam. Contact hours don’t expire.
Most courses also provide you with customer service to help answer questions you may have, sample questions and answers that focus on the knowledge areas within the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK), the standards set by PMI for the field of project management.
Breakdown of CAPM Training Courses: What to look for
CAPM training is available in many forms and through many companies. There are things that you should look for in picking a CAPM training course.
Does the course provide you with the 23 project management contact hours? All courses should provide you with the minimum 23 contact hours necessary to meet the CAPM requirement. Many of the training courses actually go beyond the actual 23 contact hours
Does the course provide Sample Questions? Sample questions and answers are important so that you can review the items that you may be having difficulty with. Good programs not only provide you with both, but descriptions of how the exam reaches those answers. They should provide you with the means to look up the answers within the PMBOK for further study.
Does the course provide an exam simulator or practice exams? These should be taken from the actual CAPM exam in order for you to be able to prepare for the style as well as the questions themselves.
Does the course focus on the PMBOK Guide for the current exam? The course should utilize the PMBOK as its knowledge base. All exam questions and answers are arrived at through the PMBOK. Note that the current exam may not always be based on the latest PMBOK guide, so be sure to check with your course provider that their course aligns to the material for the current exam.
Do they have Expert Instructors (if it’s a live course)? Unlike many vocations, most project managers who decide to become instructors do so because they want to share their knowledge. They want to help maintain the high standards set by PMI. Check their references, their LinkedIn, make sure they are someone that you want to learn from.
There are in person classes, however, if you are working, or even looking for work, you already have a full time job. Getting to and from a classroom may be difficult on the days and times allotted. Many of the courses have attendance requirements. If you miss one, you have to start back at the beginning, and in those cases very few offer a refund.
Most individuals now opt for online coursework. The self-paced learning modules available for CAPM training allows up and coming associate project managers to work while they learn. You will have the ability to go at your own pace, in your own space.
Many of the online courses provide you with the ability to join networking groups on social media so that you have the ability to vent, discuss, and study with fellow students.
They also provide periodical assessments to help you focus your study where you need it.
The course will help you prepare for the exam. They provide you with the instructors who know the exam and the knowledge to teach you what it takes to become a Certified Associate Project Manager.
Tips and Pointers for your CAPM Exam
If you’ve come this far, you are enrolling in a course, enrolled in a course, or done and waiting for the exam.
Tip one: STUDY!!!!
Prepare for the exam. Create a study plan to focus on the areas that you need additional study on, but make sure to keep track of the ones that you know. Don’t let the knowledge you have fall by the wayside.
Tip Two: STUDY!!!!
CAPM sample questions and answers and practice exams will help you learn the phrasing of the exam itself. Sometimes we get caught up in the wording and lose track of the answer.
Tip Thee: STUDY!!!!
Watch training videos, listen to podcasts, talk to other students, and read the PMBOK.
Tip Four: You guessed it – STUDY!!!!
Math. Yes, there is math. Make sure you know what types of math questions there will be on the exam and if need be, get some outside math assistance, books, tutors, whatever you need to succeed.
All that’s left is the exam itself. Apply online at pmi.org. The price for non-members is $300 and for members of PMI the price is $225. Membership has its privileges, so you may want to go forward with an annual membership of $129 so you can take advantage of the many opportunities PMI has to offer (including a free PDF version of the latest PMBOK Guide). Students can become members for $32 per year and many organizations have group memberships that you may be eligible for.
Once you have submitted your information to PMI you will get your eligibility ID and you can schedule your exam.
The exam is 3 hours, 150 questions all based on the PMBOK Guide and framework, and that’s all there is to it.
CAPM is a great start to a new career in an ever-growing field with plenty of job prospects. There will always be a need for project managers. Give yourself the push you need.