APM vs PMP: Understanding the Curriculum and Core Competencies Covered


In the world of project management, two significant certifications stand out: the APM (Association for Project Management) and PMP (Project Management Professional). These certifications, APM Training and PMP, are highly valued in the industry, serving as benchmarks for professionals seeking to enhance their expertise and credibility. However, understanding the nuances between these certifications, particularly in terms of their curriculum and core competencies covered, is crucial for aspiring project managers. Let’s delve into the key aspects of both APM and PMP certifications to understand the difference between APM vs PMP in the context of their respective educational frameworks.

APM Certification

The APM certification, offered by the Association for Project Management, is widely recognized in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. It focuses on comprehensive project management methodologies, emphasizing both theoretical concepts and practical application. The APM Body of Knowledge (BoK) serves as the cornerstone of the APM certification, encompassing various domains crucial for effective project management.

The APM curriculum covers a broad spectrum of topics, including project planning and control, risk management, quality management, stakeholder engagement, and leadership. One of the distinctive features of APM Certification is its holistic approach to project management, incorporating softer skills such as communication, leadership, and teamwork alongside technical competencies.

The certification process typically involves completing modules or courses, followed by an examination to test candidates’ understanding of the principles outlined in the APM BoK. Candidates are evaluated on their ability to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world project scenarios, demonstrating a practical understanding of project management methodologies.

PMP Certification

On the other hand, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), is globally recognized and widely esteemed within the field of project management. The PMP certification focuses on a structured framework outlined in the PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).

The PMP curriculum revolves around core areas such as project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, controlling, and closing. It emphasizes a process-oriented approach, providing candidates with a systematic methodology to manage projects across various industries and sectors.

The PMP certification process involves meeting specific eligibility criteria, including a requisite number of hours leading and directing projects, followed by a rigorous examination assessing candidates’ comprehension of project management principles outlined in the PMBOK. The exam evaluates candidates’ ability to apply theoretical concepts to practical scenarios, emphasizing knowledge of project management processes, tools, and techniques.

Comparing Curriculum and Core Competencies

When examining the curriculum and core competencies covered in APM Certification versus PMP certification, several notable distinctions emerge.

Holistic vs. Process-Oriented Approach

APM Certification takes a holistic approach, emphasizing a blend of technical expertise and interpersonal skills necessary for effective project management. Conversely, the PMP certification focuses on a more process-oriented methodology, detailing the sequential steps and processes involved in managing projects.

Inclusion of Soft Skills

APM Certification places significant emphasis on developing softer skills such as leadership, communication, and stakeholder engagement alongside technical project management competencies. In contrast, while PMP acknowledges the importance of these skills, its primary focus is on the process-driven aspects of project management.

Geographic Recognition

APM Certification holds significant recognition, especially in the UK and parts of Europe, while the PMP certification enjoys global recognition and is widely sought after across various industries and countries.

Framework and Body of Knowledge

APM Certification follows the APM Body of Knowledge, covering a broad spectrum of project management domains, while PMP adheres to the PMBOK framework, which provides a structured methodology for managing projects.

Choosing the Right Certification

Ultimately, the choice between APM Certification and PMP Certification depends on various factors, including geographical location, industry preferences, career aspirations, and individual strengths. Professionals seeking a more comprehensive and holistic approach to project management might find APM Certification more aligned with their goals. On the other hand, individuals inclined towards a process-oriented methodology with global recognition might opt for the PMP certification.

It’s essential to assess personal career objectives, industry requirements, and the specific skill set one aims to develop before deciding which certification best aligns with their professional aspirations.


Both APM Certification and PMP certifications hold immense value in the field of project management, offering distinct perspectives and methodologies for managing projects efficiently. While APM Certification focuses on a holistic approach integrating technical and soft skills, PMP certification emphasizes a structured, process-oriented methodology. Understanding the nuances between these certifications is pivotal for aspiring project managers to choose the one that best suits their career goals and aspirations, ensuring a solid foundation in project management principles and practices.