PMI Announces CAPM Revision

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The Project Management Institute (PMI) has announced the release of a revised version of its Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification, which is a foundation-level credential that verifies project team members’ knowledge of project management terms and concepts.

“It helps employers distinguish current and prospective employees who have the fundamental skills needed for effective project team performance,” said Denny Smith, manager of certification at PMI. “It also provides project team members with a credential that is offered by a globally recognized organization that is based on their knowledge and understanding of project terminology. All of PMI’s certifications are cut across industries. IT professionals can benefit by it, as can those in construction, finance, what have you.”


The changes to the CAPM involve both prerequisites and exam content, Smith said. To be eligible for the credential, candidates are required to have either a high school diploma and 1,500 hours of project management team experience, or high school diploma and 23 contact hours of project management education. Formerly, CAPM participants had to have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, all of the exam subject matter is now based on the “Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge—Third Edition (The PMBOK Guide).” CAPM holders will have to take the exam once every five years to maintain their certification status.


“The target audience for the CAPM are students who are coming out of school who have an interest in project management, individuals who are new to the project management arena and for those who want to get the PMP someday but don’t have the eligibility requirements right now,” Smith said. “The essence is that we made it a lot more market-friendly by linking it to one of our standards. It really strengthens the whole offering.”


“We did a yearlong research project to understand the needs of the marketplace for a junior-level credential,” Smith said of the revision process. “We based all of our decisions on our research, so we’re pretty comfortable that this is the right blend of eligibility and experience requirements. What came out resoundingly in that research was that project managers really would like to have their project team members have the ability to all speak a similar language. If you form a project team, and your team members don’t know what a work breakdown structure is or don’t know what a milestone is, then they’re going to be less able to be fully engaged in the activities of the team.”


Smith added that while the CAPM previously had been viewed as a springboard to PMI’s advanced Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, this was no longer the case. “It’s more than just a stepping-stone now,” he said. “When we did our research, we found that there may be individuals who are schedulers, cost-estimators or in other disciplines who never want to become a PMP. There are other team members who will never aspire to be a PMP. The idea was that through our credential, project team members will know and be able to demonstrate that they have mastered the basic knowledge in project management so they can be more effective participants on teams. This credential can give them some recognition for their accomplishments.”


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