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How Does CompTIA's Project+ Compare to PMI's PMP?

 

So you are a project manager — you run large projects, small projects and everything in between. You gather resources from all corners of the business, you have your budget set, and you understand the time-frame for the project. You consider yourself very good at managing projects.  So how do you get better? How do you improve your performance? The answer is simple — get certified. The salary range for project managers is between $80,000 and $116,000 (U.S.), and certification is a great way to move the needle.

Currently, there are two widely respected project management certifications available in the marketplace: CompTIA’s Project+ and PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP). While the overall focus of both certifications is “Project Management,” their details are significantly different.

PMP is perhaps the largest, most popular certification out there. It is the gold standard for the industry, with bragging rights for increased salary and breadth of adoption among credentialed individuals. You can find PMPs leading projects in nearly every country and, unlike other certifications that focus on a particular geography or domain, the PMP is truly global. As a PMP, you can work in virtually any industry, with any methodology and in any location.” PMP is popular, currently boasting a certification base of 713,000 individuals.

CompTIA’s Project+ is considered more of a stepping stone. Much like CompTIA’s other certifications, it is more humble in aspect, with little bragging done about it raw numbers, or overwhelming quality and popularity. Project+ certifies the knowledge and skills of professionals in project management and “validates the ability to initiate, manage and support a project or business initiative.” Project+ isn’t just for experienced IT professionals — it’s designed for individuals looking to validate project management experience in many different disciplines.

Certifications, at their core, are measured in a standard format. A set number of questions, a finite time allotted to answer them and a score for doing so correctly. Comparing sometimes comes down to taking a view of ancillary factors: cost to certify, benefits of membership among the certifying organization, and so forth.

 

Currently, the PMP exam will cost you $555. The exam itself consists of 200 multiple-choice questions (MCQ) to be answered in a four-hour time limit. In comparison, Project+ is a brief 90 minutes with a maximum of 100 MCQs and drag and drops. The exam will set you back $285.

If your pocket-book is tight and your employer isn’t footing the bill for your certification, then you may want to start out with the less expensive Project+. It should be noted that you can get $100 off the cost of the PMP test if you become a member of PMI, the sponsoring organization.

With respect to PMI membership, an added bonus is that the more than 700,000 PMPs have formed a national chapter and a number of local city chapters where the members meet and discuss topics relating to project management. These chapters can be a great resource for support and information about the certification and the exam, and even leads for job opportunities.

When deciding between Project+ and PMP, you also need to consider your job and future career outlook, and carefully weigh which certification best meets your needs. Do take note of how much time you will also have to commit to study — Project+ takes approximately 30 days of self-study, where the PMP typically requires 90 days or more. Also take care to consider your cash outlay during study time. While some of these questions may seem trivial or evident, careful consideration will put you ahead of the game.