This article compares the differences between PRINCE2 vs PMP® as professional project management certifications.
There are several factors to consider when weighing up PMP vs PRINCE2. These will now be explained.
PMP vs PRINCE2 difficulty
The most difficult certification is PMP. That’s because it requires a minimum of 4,500 hours and a 4-year degree. Alternatively, 7,500 hours plus a secondary degree would suffice.
PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner certification can be obtained just by passing an exam. No experience or degree is required for either the Foundation or Practitioner levels. Several certifications can qualify you to sit the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam.
|Degree||Hours of project experience||Previous qualifications|
|PMP||Minimum of secondary degree||Minimum of 4,500||None|
|PRINCE2 Practitioner||None||0||Any of: PRINCE2 Foundation, or PMI CAPM®, or PMI PMP®, or IPMA Level A® to D®.|
The PMP exam is the longest and has the most questions. The pass mark is not published by PMI.
|Duration (minutes)||Questions||Pass mark||Style||Exam format|
|PMP||240||200 multiple-choice||Unknown||Closed-book||Exam centre|
|PRINCE2 Foundation||60||60 multiple-choice||55%||Closed-book||Exam centre or online using remote proctor|
|PRINCE2 Practitioner||150||68 multiple-choice||55%||Open-book||Exam centre or online using remote proctor|
The PMP exam is based primarily upon the content of the PMBOK® Guide (sixth edition), but not exclusively. Both PRINCE2 exams are based upon the official manual Managing Successful Projects Using PRINCE2® (2017 Edition). You can read how PRINCE2 compares with the PMBOK® Guide in this PRINCE2 and PMBOK Guide comparison article.
|What is examined?||Pages of guidance|
|PMP||PMBOK Guide Process groups||756 (for PMBOK Guide, but other reading is recommended)|
|PRINCE2 Foundation||PRINCE2 methodology and terminology||400|
|PRINCE2 Practitioner||Application of the methodology to a scenario||400|
PMP exams can be purchased directly from the Project Management Institute. The cost is cheaper if you are a PMI member.
|Exam price* (correct on 17/03/2019)|
|PMP||PMI member: US$405|
|PRINCE2 Foundation||GBP299 (exam centre)|
|PRINCE2 Practitioner||GBP349 (exam centre)|
Popularity of PRINCE2 vs PMP
|When did it start?||Countries/regions where popular||Number of exams taken|
|PMP||1984||USA, Americas, Africa, Asia||750,000*|
|PRINCE2||1996||UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand||1,000,000* (Foundation) 500,000* (Practitioner)|
*Neither PMI nor AXELOS publish the number of exams undertaken but reasonable estimates can be given based upon information in the public domain.
PRINCE2 vx PMP trainer accreditation
The quality of PMP training and trainers is variable. This is because there is no accreditation for either PMP courses or trainers. Anyone can set themselves up as a PMP trainer.
All PRINCE2 courses and PRINCE2 trainers however must be accredited by PeopleCert. This means that there is a minimum level of quality if you take an accredited PRINCE2 course.
Of course, there is a lot of ‘grey market’ training provided by people or companies with no accreditation in PRINCE2. The quality of such training is likely to be poor.
|Accreditation body||Accreditation of trainers||Accreditation of courses|
|PRINCE2||PeopleCert of on behalf of AXELOS||Yes||Yes|
Maintaining PRINCE2 and PMP certification
PMI requires a candidate to maintain professional development units (PDUs). These can be obtained in a variety of ways including attending classroom, online or virtual training, reading relevant materials or attending relevant events.
Similarly, AXELOS has Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points. These can be obtained in similar ways to those of PMI’s PDUs. PRINCE2 Foundation certificate never expires, so there is no requirement for renewal.
|Ways to renew|
|PMP||60 PDUs every 3 years|
|PRINCE2 Practitioner||20 CPDs per year for 3 years; OR, pass Practitioner exam within 3 years.|
Which is better – PMP or PRINCE2?
When deciding whether PMP or PRINCE2 is best consider these factors.
1. Do you have project management experience?
If not, take PRINCE2.
2. Do you have at least a secondary degree?
If not, take PRINCE2.
3. Where do you intend to seek work?
If it’s Europe or Australasia, choose PRINCE2, otherwise PMP.
4. Do you want to get certified quickly?
If so, choose PRINCE2 – it’s faster and easier.
5. Do you want to learn detailed project management techniques?
If so, choose PMP, although this will be a harder choice.
CAPM®, PMBOK®, Project Management Body of Knowledge®, PMP®, Project Management Professional (PMP)® are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.
IPMA Level A® and IPMA Level D® are Registered Trade Marks of IPMA in Switzerland and other countries.