PRINCE2 Vs PMP: How to choose the right credential for your Project Management career?

Project management has been one of the most lucrative and in-demand career options for the last many years. This trend is expected to continue in the foreseeable future, and the need for proficient, experienced project managers will soar..

As per research conducted by PMI, employers will require 87.7 million project management oriented roles by 2027. If you are a current or aspiring project manager, choosing the appropriate project management certification right now is going to be definitive for your career in the next many years to come.

Why do you need a Project Management certification?

Project Managers with an industry-recognized certification have the edge over non-certified PM professionals. Certification provides industry recognition and choosing the right certification will help you gain recognition globally across any industry and location.

72% of PMO leaders feel certification is very relevant for mid-career project managers.
— PMI Report, Pulse of the Profession: 2018

The most common project management certifications you might already be considering are the PMP (Project Management Professional) and PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments). To know which one’s going to suit your needs, it’s imperative to understand each in a bit more detail, including their demand across geographies, and the career prospects after getting certified.


Before we get into the differences between the two certifications, let’s begin with a brief introduction of each certification.

What is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 stands for “PRojects IN Controlled Environments.” The British central Computer & Telecommunications Agency originally established it for Information Technology projects in the year 1989. Later, PRINCE2 was released in the year 1996 as a methodology with the inputs from 150 European organizations. Currently, PRINCE2 certification is owned by Axelos, UK. Axelos ( was formed in 2014 with a joint venture of the UK government and Capita (a public company).

Video credits: Axelos Global Best Practice

PRINCE2 project management is a process-based methodology for projects. It offers the official manual “Managing successful projects with PRINCE2” for the practitioners following PRINCE2.

PRINCE2 integrates with some of the globally known and practiced IT frameworks including ITIL. This makes it more applicable in the techno-driven environments, where technology is embedded into the fabrics of the new generation IT organizations. As per the Axelos report 2016, 90% of the PRINCE2 practitioners value the certification for their career progression.

What are the different PRINCE2 Certifications?

PRINCE2 offers the following certifications-

  1. PRINCE2 2009 - Certification for Project Management

  2. PRINCE2 2017 - Certification for Project Management with tailored consideration including Agile

  3. PRINCE2 Agile – Based on agile approaches to provide PM solutions

  4. AgileSHIFT – Certification providing an enterprise agility solution

  5. MSP – Program Management Certification

  6. M_o_R – Risk management

  7. P3O – Project, Program, and Portfolio

  8. MoP – Portfolio management

  9. MoV – Value management

  10. ITIL – IT service management based on ITIL framework

  11. RESILIA – Cyber resilience

PRINCE2 2009 certification offers three levels of project management certifications –

  1. Foundation – Basic level

  2. Practitioner – Significantly valued

  3. Professional – Extremely difficult & seldom accomplished

While PRINCE2 2017 comprises of PRINCE2 Foundation and practitioner along with PRINCE2 Agile scheme.

PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner are the most common and widely accomplished certifications.

Axelos revised the PRINCE2 guidance and certification scheme last year 2017 to accommodate changes related to tailoring considerations. From, 1 January 2018, Axelos has mandated all the English versions of Foundation & Practitioner exams to be based on the 2017 edition. Hence, going forward PRINCE2 2017 started offering four different certification exams in the English language –

  1. PRINCE2 2017 Foundation Examination

  2. PRINCE2 2017 Practitioner Examination

  3. PRINCE2 Agile Foundation Examination

  4. PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner Examination

Axelos is not a training organization, and hence, PRINCE2 certifications are public domain. However, training on PRINCE2 certification modules can be obtained from training partners. Training fee varies and is based on accredited training providers (ATO).

What is PMP?

PMP certification is a popular certification among project management professionals, which is administered by PMI (Project Management Institute), USA.

PMI is headquartered in Philadelphia, USA and was founded in 1969 ( It is the world’s leading not-for-profit membership association for the Project Management profession.

PMP stands for Project Management Professional. PMP certificate is most popular in the USA, Australia, and America. However, it is valued worldwide within the project management domain. The PMP certification exam structure is primarily based on PMBOK. PMBOK guide is also called as a bible for project managers and stands for Project Management Body Of Knowledge. The latest PMBOK Guide 6th Edition was published in Sep’17.

What are the different certificates accredited by PMI?

Below is the list of certifications offered by PMI:

  1. Project Management Professional (PMP)

  2. Program Management Professional (PgMP)

  3. Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)

  4. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

  5. PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI – PBA)

  6. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI – ACP)

  7. PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI – RMP)

  8. PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI – SP)

Top 10 Differences between PRINCE2 and PMP

# Points of Difference PRINCE2 PMP
1 Place of Origin UK region USA
  Controlled & managed by Owned by Axelos, UK Administered by PMI, USA
2 Answers to What/ When/ Whom? How?
3 Methodology Process-based Knowledge-based
4 Guidelines (Exam Scope) Official manual, “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2® (2017 Edition) PMBOK® Guide - Project Management Body of Knowledge Edition 6 along with standards & practice frameworks available on PMI site
5 Framework Prescriptive: based on best practices in the project environment Descriptive: based on knowledge areas such as scope, schedule, cost, risk, etc.
6 Structure An integrated set of themes & processes along with 7 mandatory principles 10 Knowledge areas, which can be referred to in isolation to master a specific project management knowledge
7 Project Roles All project roles are well defined Emphasizes the role of a project manager
8 Certifications PRINCE2 provides two levels of certifications:
  • PRINCE2 Foundation
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner
PMP is a stand-alone certificate for project management. However, there are other project management related to certifications provided by PMI. Moreover, the basic understanding of project management can be obtained with the CAPM certificate offered by PMI.
9 Widely popular in UK, Australia and most parts of the European region USA, Canada, Australia, Switzerland and Some portions of Asia
10 Eligibility There are no eligibility criteria for Foundation level. However, to apply for the Practitioner level, you must have obtained a Foundation certificate. Eligibility criteria are there, which includes-
  • Academic level (Higher secondary or Degree holder)
  • Experience in projects
  • 35 Contact hours training

Which Project Management Certification is in demand across geographies?

Geographic Region PRINCE2 PMP
United Kingdom Preferred  
United States (USA)   Preferred
Asia Equally Preferred Equally Preferred
Australia Equally Preferred Equally Preferred
Africa Equally Preferred Equally Preferred
Europe Preferred  
Middle East Equally Preferred Equally Preferred
North America   Preferred
South America   Preferred

The popularity of PRINCE2 certification has gone up in some Asian regions especially, India by 86% from the year 2012 to 2014 as per the ATO (Accredited Training Organization) reports from Axelos.

Career Prospects

A career in the project management field is highly prospective. According to the PMI report, there is expected substantial job growth for project-oriented roles. The report highlights the following region-wise statistics depicting project-oriented job requirements by the year 2027 compared to 2017:

PMI job growth report 2017 - 2027

Image Source: PMI job growth report 2017 - 2027

Based on the same report, employers would require to fill about 2.2 million new project-oriented roles on an annual basis through the year 2027.

However, with the increasing job prospects in project-oriented roles, a lot of challenges are yet to be addressed by aspiring project managers. The importance of certifications in project management is becoming paramount and mandatory for a rewarding career. Hence, certified project management practitioners are going to benefit in the long run in their career.

A PMP certified project manager salary is a little more in comparison to PRINCE2 for the same project roles. But, this doesn’t affect the popularity of any of these certifications. They are equally valued and preferred by industries. Irrespective of the certification, a certified project management professional can demonstrate high PM skills.

Exam Prerequisites

Prerequisites/ Eligibility

PMP certification PMP certification eligibility: To apply for PMP certification, below are the PMP prerequisites:
  • A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent)
  • Minimum 5 years / 60 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience
  • At least 7,500 hours spent leading and directing the project
  • 35 contact hours of formal education
  • A four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent
  • Minimum 3 years / 36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience
  • At least 4,500 hours spent leading and directing the project
  • 35 contact hours of formal education
PRINCE2 Foundation PRINCE2 foundation requirements: No Prerequisites recommended by Axelos. However, it would be useful to have prior project management experience, and formal training is recommended. PRINCE2 requirements for Practitioner certification: Need to qualify and obtain at least one of the below certifications to be qualified to apply for PRINCE2 Practitioner certificate:
  • PRINCE2 Foundation (or higher) - this only applies to certificates obtained after1 January 2009
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)*
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)*
  • IPMA Level A® (Certified Projects Director)
  • IPMA Level B® (Certified Senior Project Manager)
  • IPMA Level C® (Certified Project Manager)
  • IPMA Level D® (Certified Project Management Associate).
PRINCE2 Practitioner

How to register?

PMP certification Registration for the exam can be done on the PMI website, Need to fill and submit the application form with supporting details. Applications can be audited on a sampling basis. Post application submission & audit (if applicable), you’ll need to pay the exam fee with the payment link shared by PMI. Post submission of exam fee, you can select the preferred exam center and schedule for the examination. Aspirants can register themselves for PMI membership before applying for PMP examination. PMI Membership would provide you with the following advantages:
  • Access to knowledge, networks, and resources
  • Opportunities to lead,
  • To grow your technical and people skills, and to advance the profession
  • Discounts on the cost of credential exams & professional development courses
PRINCE2 Foundation
  • Registration can be done in two ways:
  1. Sit in the exams at the end of a training course with an Accredited Training Organization (ATO),
  1. Study privately and then book the exam without a training coursewithPeopleCert, Axelos’ PRINCE2 Examination Institute.
More information is available on the Axelos web portal,
PRINCE2 Practitioner

Examination cost

PMP certification Cost of PMP exam differs for PMI members and non-members: PMI Members: 405 USD Non-PMI Members: 555 USD Membership fee: 139 USD
PRINCE2 Foundation Cost varies according to the region for taking the test and the ATO (Accredited Training Organization)
PRINCE2 Practitioner

Examination Structure

PMP certification
  • Computer-based exam
  • 4 hours long proctored exam at Prometric center
  • 200 multiple choice questions
  • No negative marking
PRINCE2 Foundation
  • Computer-based exam
  • 60 multiple choice questions
  • 60 minutes duration
PRINCE2 Practitioner
  • Objective, scenario-based exam
  • 68 questions
  • 2.5 hours (150 minutes)

Passing Criteria

PMP certification Non-disclosure of marks by PMI. However, scoring more than 62% would likely ensure the certification.
PRINCE2 Foundation Approximately 55% marks, i.e., at least 33 marks out of 60.
PRINCE2 Practitioner About 55% marks, i.e., at least 38 marks out of 68.

Certification validity

PMP certification PMP certification validity is 3 years. Post certification, you need to earn at 60 PDUs in 3 years to continue the certification.
PRINCE2 Foundation No expiry.
PRINCE2 Practitioner Valid for 3 years. However, a certified PRINCE2 practitioner can enroll on PRINCE2 subscription to maintain the Practitioner certificate.

PMP certification cost:

Project management certification costs you around USD 555 for exam fee & PMI membership cost is USD 139 along with about USD 800 – 1200 for formal PMP classroom training.


Both the certificates are valuable within the project management fabrics. However, they can be preferred over the other based on geographical distributions. Both the certifications have been tested for years of project successes. PMP is knowledge-based, while PRINCE2 methodology is process-based for uncovering the best-proven practices in project management. To excel in the project management area, one needs to have both kinds of exposure. Thus, I would say both PMP & PRINCE2 are not competitors. Rather they complement each other. PMP equips you as a knowledge-driven project manager with the “HOW” of project management. While, PRINCE2 deals with WHEN, WHAT & WHOM. To advance your career as a proficient project manager, you can opt both. And make yourself a globally valued project manager.

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About Author
Ankit Rastogi