How do you use CAPM to become a PMP?

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So you’re already a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®? Congratulations!

Now you might be thinking of moving on in your career to earn the Project Management Professional (PMP)® designation.

The good news is that your CAPM studies and exam experience will help you get there faster. If you’re ready to take the next step, let me explain how to use your CAPM credential to fast-track your way to passing the PMP exam.

But before we get started, let me address a common question: is it possible to convert your CAPM to a PMP somehow?

woman in graduation cap and gown

Is it possible to convert CAPM to PMP?

No, you can’t convert your CAPM certificate or ‘upgrade’ it to become a PMP. You have to take the PMP assessment.

There’s no shortcut that lets you save time and only do a shorter version of the exam, for example. There are routes to ‘upgrade’ other certificates – for example, PRINCE2 Practitioner holders can take an accelerated route to earn the APM PMQ certification – but currently, there is nothing like that for PMP.

But don’t worry, there are still advantages to being a CAPM holder.

Want to get your CAPM? Check out the CAPM Exam Prep course that I recommend.

Use your CAPM training hours towards PMP

PMP applicants have to evidence 35 hours of project management education, but you don’t. Even if you only did 23 hours of project management training to get your CAPM, you bypass the education requirement.

PMI already knows that you have the basics down.

You might still want to take a PMP prep course, but you don’t have to, and that means you can more process your application more quickly.

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Use your study schedule again

Did you make a study schedule? You can use the basics of that as a template to help you refresh and revise the key topics that will be tested in the PMP exam.

Update the template or calendar with your new revision plans.

Read next: Make time to study for your PMP Exam.

Use your study notes

It might be a couple of years since you last read the PMBOK Guide, so pull out your study notes and use them to remind yourself of the basics.

Remember, the PMP exam does test more deeply and more widely, and the domains are different, so it’s certainly not the case that you can use only your own study notes. But you would definitely have some that will fast-track your learning this time round.

You’ll need to work on situational knowledge and other contextual elements to round out your project management learning to make it through the PMP exam, but you won’t have to learn the basics again.

Use your work experience

You probably chose to take the CAPM exam because it helped you in your current job or helped you get a project management job. Now you’ve got some work experience.

Even if you don’t have a project management job title, you may still have enough experience leading projects in your day job to qualify for the 36 months of non-overlapping professional project management experience (which is further reduced if your degree was accredited by PMI’s global accreditation center).

Work experience is the thing that holds back a lot of CAPM holders from reaching PMP. You need to be able to demonstrate that you have done the job. Hopefully, your CAPM certificate has helped you get a job to earn the experience required.

pin image with text: how do you use CAPM to become a PMP?

Use your exam experience

You’re an exam pro now! You’ve already successfully made it through the shorter, slightly less stressful CAPM exam experience. That should give you the confidence to be able to face the PMP marathon exam.

Remember: stay positive. You’ve already done a PMI exam. You know what to expect from the exam situation, the proctoring, the technology. You’ve got insider knowledge that students who go straight to the PMP have not, so you can breathe a little easier!

If you want an extra dose of confidence, an exam simulator is a great way to prepare for the exam.

Keep your CAPM certificate active!

The recommendations above only apply if you are an active certification holder, in other words, your certificate is renewed and up-to-date. If you took the CAPM exam 15 years ago and haven’t kept up your skills, and your certificate is no longer current (as PMI introduced renewal requirements for it), then you’ll have to act as if you don’t have it.

That’s why I think it’s important to keep your CAPM certificate active. Go through renewal. Earn your PDUs. Then when you are ready to move on to PMP, it will be there to support you.