CAPM certification guide: Certified Associate Project Manager exam explained

The Certified Associate Project Manager (CAPM) certification is a great starting point for those new to project management and wanting to accelerate their career. Here is everything you need to know about this certification.

What is the CAPM certification?

The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers several globally recognized certifications in project management and the Certified Associate Project Manager (CAPM) certification is a great way to jump-start a career in the field. For those without the necessary experience to meet the prerequisites for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, gaining the CAPM certification can help demonstrate a commitment to the project management profession and add credibility.

The new CAPM exam was launched in May 2018 and, in addition to proctored exams at approved test centers, the exam is now also available as an online proctored exam to accommodate individuals with busy schedules. The online exam can be scheduled, paid for, and completed from any computer in your home or office.

The exam is geared toward those interested in managing larger, more complex projects, taking on a bigger role, or expanding their project management knowledge and skills. Here is what you need to know about the new CAPM exam.

CAPM prerequisites

To be eligible to take the CAPM you will need to have a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent) and 1,500 hours of project experience, or you will need 23 hours of project management education completed by the time you take the exam.

PMI offers an online Project Management Basics course that fulfills this educational prerequisite.


PMI members pay US$225 to take the exam and non-members pay US$300. Students and members receive other benefits as well, including member pricing on other resources and services. Students are given a student bundle that includes the opportunity to submit one application form to join PMI as a student member and then take the CAPM exam at the discounted member rate.

Preparing for the CAPM exam

You may have questions about what to expect for the exam day, such as what you should bring if you are taking the test at an approved test center or what are the required technical specifications of your computer to take the exam from home. PMI offers answers to many frequently asked questions to help relieve any unnecessary stress. They also provide an exam content outline to help prepare you for what to expect in terms of learning objectives and weighting through the 13 focus and knowledge areas that the test covers:

  1. Introduction to project management
  2. Project environment
  3. Role of the project manager
  4. Project integration management
  5. Project scope management
  6. Project schedule management
  7. Project cost management
  8. Project quality management
  9. Project resource management
  10. Project communication management
  11. Project risk management
  12. Project procurement management
  13. Project stakeholder management

What you need to pass and maintain your CAPM credentials

There are 150 multiple-choice exam questions that will need to be completed within three hours. Once you have passed the exam, you must retake the exam every five years to be able to keep using the credentials.

The new CAPM exam and PMBOK changes

Changes to the exam are in keeping with the new sixth edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) and reflect the most current agile approaches and applications.

The exam aligns with the following PMBOK Guide updates:

  • There is a new chapter covering the role of the project manager, including the competencies, experience, and skills that an effective project leader is expected to be able to apply.

Two knowledge areas have been renamed. Time management is now called schedule

management, and human resource management is called resource management.

Each knowledge area now has four new sections:

  • Key concepts
  • Trends and emerging practices
  • Tailoring considerations
  • Considerations for agile/adaptive environments

There are also agile/adaptive considerations that have been changed in various chapters.

Additional resources to help you prepare

To make passing the CAPM easier, PMI offers guidance and various resources, including the CAPM Handbook, sample questions, a list of approved registered education providers, and more. 

With approximately 1.57 million new jobs being created each year, qualified project management expertise is in high demand, and the CAPM certification is a great way to launch a rewarding career in project management.