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What are APM qualifications?

By Simon Buehring on 12 Jul 2019

Find out about the different Association for Project Management (APM) qualifications.

APM qualifications.

APM qualifications are a range of project management qualifications from the Association for Project Management (APM). The APM is the chartered body for the project profession in the UK.

APM qualifications are based on best practice from the APM Body of Knowledge 6th Edition (APM BoK). This publication is considered a cornerstone within the project management profession.

You can gain an APM project management qualification by taking accredited APM courses and passing APM exams. Knowledge Train currently offer a range of APM online courses. These can be completed anywhere in the world.

Which APM qualifications are available?

There are several APM qualifications available. Each has different requirements and is aimed at people at different stages of their project management career.

Here are the different APM qualifications:

APM Project Fundamentals Qualification (PFQ)

APM PFQ is the entry-level APM qualification. It is designed for early-career project managers or project team members. You’ll learn the practical skills required for effective project management, such as:

  • Leadership and teamwork;
  • Project life-cycle;
  • Communication;
  • Planning and scheduling;
  • Risk and quality management.

To get APM PFQ you need to pass a 1-hour multiple-choice exam. You must score 60% or more to pass. There are no pre-requisites, so it’s ideal for aspiring project managers or those with little experience.

APM PFQ was formerly called the APM Introductory Certificate. The name was changed in 2016.

APM Project Management Qualification (PMQ)

APM PMQ is designed for project managers. It is a good next step for APM PFQ certified people. You’ll expand on the skills learned at PFQ level and learn about things such as:

  • Organisation and project structure;
  • Project context and environment;
  • Governance and methodology;
  • Procurement.

To get this APM PMQ you need to pass a 3-hour written exam. You must score 55% or more to pass. There are no pre-requisites, though many students have some project management experience.

If you hold a PRINCE2® Practitioner certificate you can get the APM PMQ by taking the shorter APM PMQ for PRINCE2 Practitioners exam. This is a 2-hour written exam with less questions to answer.

APM PMQ was formerly called APMP (APM for PRINCE2 Practitioners). The name of the qualification was changed in 2016.

APM Project Professional Qualification (PPQ)

APM PPQ assesses your ability to deliver projects, programmes or portfolios. It is designed for:

  • anyone holding APM PMQ certification;
  • anyone working in project, programme or portfolio management;
  • anyone wanting to achieve Chartered Project Professional (ChPP).

You’ll need to pass three core modules: professionalism and managing others, planning and control and governance. You’ll also need to pass one module specific to your role: project, programme or portfolio.

Each module has a 3-hour exam based on a scenario. There are four written questions in each exam.

APM Registered Project Professional (RPP)

This APM qualification is designed for experienced project professionals. It allows you to prove your leadership and project, programme or portfolio management skills. You must have:

  • a minimum of 7 years project, programme or portfolio management experience or;
  • APM PPQ or APM PQ certification (APM PQ was discontinued in March 2019)

You’ll be assessed with an interview and written submission. The interview is based on the evidence in your written submission, which must include:

  • an overview of two projects, programmes or portfolios you have managed in the last 7 years;
  • evidence of 35 hours continuing professional development (CPD) within the last year;
  • your answers to five sets of questions about projects, programmes or portfolios;
  • details of two referees.

APM Project Risk Management Single Subject Certificate

This APM qualification is designed for those with APM PMQ qualification (or equivalent) who wish to demonstrate project risk management knowledge. It has two levels:

  • Level 1 requires you to pass a 1-hour multiple-choice exam. Gaining this certificate shows you can contribute to project risk management;
  • Level 2 requires you to pass a 3-hour 15-minute written exam. Gaining this certificate proves your understanding and ability to carry out formal project risk management.

IPMA Level A, B, C and D

IPMA qualifications are international qualifications for experienced project, programme or portfolio managers. APM are the accreditation body for IPMA in the UK. You will need to demonstrate experience and take a formal assessment for each.

APM qualifications and your career

APM qualifications help you develop your career in project management by equipping you with a broad range of skills. They are also an excellent way to prove your experience and knowledge to employers.

Unlike qualifications such as PRINCE2, you won’t just learn a project management framework. You’ll also learn how to be an effective leader, how to communicate correctly and how to work in a team.

APM qualifications are highly respected in the UK. Many different industries use guidance from the APM BoK to manage projects. However, you’ll find APM qualifications are especially popular in:

  • Construction;
  • Engineering;
  • Oil and gas;
  • Government;
  • Defence;
  • Transport.

Comparing APM and other qualifications

This table compares APM qualifications against other popular project management qualifications:

Qualification Accreditation body Pre-requisite Industry Exams Suitable for What is taught
PRINCE2 AXELOS Foundation level: none. Practitioner level: requires Foundation. All Multiple-choice Current or aspiring project managers or team members. Especially popular in UK, Europe, Australia, NZ, South Africa. The PRINCE2 framework and its application.
AgilePM APMG Foundation level: none. Practitioner level: requires Foundation. IT or creative. Multiple-choice Current or aspiring agile project managers or team members. How to manage Agile projects.
PMP/CAPM PMI Project management experience and required education levels. All Multiple-choice Current or aspiring project managers in America, Africa, Asia, Middle East Common project management techniques and knowledge areas.
APM PFQ APM None All Multiple-choice Current or aspiring project managers in the UK Awareness of project management and terminology.
APM PMQ APM Some project management experience is recommended. All Written Current or aspiring project managers in the UK Common project management techniques and knowledge areas.

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