PMP vs PRINCE2 Certification

One of the most powerful advantages of being a Project Manager is its a skill set not confined to any industry or business type. Project Management Institute (PMI) research indicates project management-oriented careers in seven sectors are expected to grow by 33%, or nearly 22 million jobs, through 2027. In the next seven years, that means employers will need 88 million people for project management jobs; competition for project management jobs is fierce. Obtaining a professional designation, like the PMP or PRINCE2 certification, can give you a professional advantage. However, given the PMP and PRINCE2 certifications are commitments of time and expense, it is important to decide which is better for your immediate career goal.

7 Secrets to Passing the PMP Exam

What is the PMP certification?

The Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is a professional designation managed by Project Management Institute (PMI). The first PMP certifications were issued in October 1984, and in 2021, PMI reports that there are over 1,000,000 certification holders around the world. For many US-based project management jobs, PMP certification is the preferred certification.

What is PRINCE2 certification?

PRojects IN Controlled Environments, or PRINCE, is a process-based method for project management. Updated to reflect business needs, the PRINCE2 method was released in 1989 by a UK government support agency. The two primary PRINCE2 certifications are Foundation and Practitioner.  The Foundation is a prerequisite for the Practitioner certification. PRINCE2 certification is overseen by Axelos, a joint venture of a private company and government organization. Some sources state that there are over 2 million PRINCE2 certificate holders since 1996.

PMP certification vs PRINCE2 certification

Project Managers seeking to advance their career by demonstrating their dedication to the profession seek globally recognized certification. The PMP and PRINCE2 certifications are two of the most established and industry-recognized certifications.

PMP or PRINCE2 Certification

With a combined potential of almost 3 million certificate holders, it can be difficult to determine the difference in value between PMP and PRINCE2, and even harder to know which would be better for an individual project manager. With the following information, differences between the certifications are provided to better inform a decision on which (or if both) to pursue. Some may think of the PMP and PRINCE2 certifications as a “vs” situation, but in fact, it is more like a “and/or” as both have value.


An obvious difference in the PMP and PRINCE2 certifications are the providers: PMI vs Axelos, respectively. For provider differences, PRINCE2 certification vs PMP comparisons includes the geographic location of their headquarters, collaboration with a national government agency, and origins. Both and provide information on preferred training vendors and certification exam course options.

An obvious difference in the PMP and PRINCE2 certifications are the providers: PMI vs Axelos, respectively. For provider differences, PRINCE2 certification vs PMP comparisons includes the geographic location of their headquarters, collaboration with a national government agency, and origins. Both and provide information on preferred training vendors and certification exam course options.

PMI, a global non-profit organization formed in 1969, uses education, networking, and standardized resources to manage project management standards for over 3 million members and over 1 million active certification holders, including the prestigious Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification.    AXELOS is a joint venture set up in 2014 by the Government of the United Kingdom and Capita, to develop, manage and operate qualifications in best practice, in methodologies formerly owned by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC). PeopleCert, an examination institute that was responsible for delivering AXELOS exams, acquired AXELOS in 2021.

Types of Certifications

Which certification is better? It depends on your career level and goal. PMP and PRINCE2 certification options include foundational level (CAPM® or PRINCE2 Foundation), professional level (PMP or PRINCE2 Practitioner), and even levels within Agile project management (PMI-ACP® vs PRINCE2 Agile Foundation, and DASSM® vs PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner). There are courses specific to the exams for each certification. Take only prep courses from a verified or provider preferred vendors to ensure alignment with the actual exam.

– Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®
– Project Management Professional (PMP)
– PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®
– Disciplined Agile Senior Scrum Master (DASSM)®
– PRINCE2 Foundation
– PRINCE2 Practitioner
– PRINCE2 Agile Foundation
– PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner

Certification Exam Requirements

Which exam has easier requirements? Some may list PRINCE2 as their preferred choice simply because it has less intimidating requirements. Whether looking at PRINCE2 or PMP certification requirements, know that professional experience is a must. However, one difference between PMP and PRINCE2 certification requirements is PMI demands formal documentation of minimum levels of work experience and education to gain permission to take a certification exam, whereas Axelos does not for the PRINCE2 Foundation exam.

PMP PRINCE2 Foundation
– A four-year degree
– 36 months leading projects
– 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® Certification
— OR —
– A high school diploma or an associate’s degree (or global equivalent)
– 60 months leading projects
– 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® Certification

Delegates should have some understanding of Project Management but there is no formal pre-requisite for the Foundation qualification.

Career Prospects

When multiple qualified applicants are being reviewed for that single job opening, education and certification can be the differentiator. All levels and tenures of Project Managers should actively seek training and certification to maintain their professional edge. Which certification is preferred for job options? Some companies will have specific job requirements, listing either PMP or PRINCE2, or perhaps listing PMP and PRINCE2, or in some cases, listing a preferred not required certification like PMP or PRINCE2. Depending on your career goals, the Agile certifications (PMI-ACP or PRINCE2 Agile) will be a job requirement or a means to change your job focus. Whether it is PMP, PRINCE2, or a verified Agile certification, demonstrating your dedication to the profession can increase career prospects.

Employers worldwide consider PMP certification to be the industry standard because the knowledge, skills and experience required for the certificate are transferable across trades around the world. Project management certification is often listed as a job requirement for PM-related careers.”“Professionals who earn this certification can show employers that they have mastered the method and can implement it on the job.”

Salary Impact

There is a lot of data around Project Management jobs, encompassing the many titles for the skill set, and comparing those with professional certifications and without. Other salary factors include geographic locations and the industry in which the project manager is working. In the US leading job posting site,, their November 5, 2020, data reflects:

The average annual salary for a project manager in the U.S. is $ 86,087 with a $13,500 bonus for total compensation of $99,587.

PMI states that in the U.S., the median salary for Project Managers is $ 116,000. Access to the PMI salary report data base is available to PMI members and includes breakdowns by title and geographic regions. PMI’s 11th edition of Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey, 32,000+ project managers from 42 countries includes an interactive map of earning potential across the globe.

In the annual survey report, PMI collected self-reported data from 32,000 Project Managers from 42 countries indicating that those with a PMP® certification earn 22% more than those without. reports the average salary for a PRINCE2 certification holder in the US as $99,000/year. provides an average salary range for PRINCE2 certificate holders from  £22,997 to £42,699.

Geographic Demand

Deciding which certification to pursue, or which would be better for your specific needs, can be influenced by geography. In general, the PMP credential is preferred in the US, including federal government projects, whereas the PRINCE2 certifications are preferred in the UK.

Ranked #1 project management certification in North America by CIO magazineUK government chosen standard

Certification Exam

And of course, a comparison of PMP and PRINCE2 certification is not complete without information about the exams. There is the obvious difference of content, but there are other differences between PMP and PRINCE2 certification exams including format, length, and question types. One similarity in the PMP and PRINCE2 certification exam prep is the importance of using authorized training providers for any exam course or prep course.

PMI recommends working with either Authorized Training Partners (ATPs) or the PMI Authorized On-demand PMP® Exam Prep course.   

180 questions (the previous exam was 200), but the same number of questions will be scored
– 230 minutes to complete the exam
– One additional break for a total of two 10-minute breaks for computer-based tests. No scheduled breaks for paper-based exams.
– Questions will be a combination of multiple-choice, multiple responses, matching, hotspot and limited fill-in-the-blank.
“You can take PRINCE2 training courses via one of AXELOS’ Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs) or self-study for all the certification levels.”  

– Multiple choice
– 75 questions per paper 5 questions to be trial and not counted in scores
– 35 marks required to pass (out of 70 available) – 50%
– 60 minutes duration
– Closed book

Which certification should you choose?

Which certification to choose depends on many factors: exam requirements, career goals, geography, salary impact, exam format, etc. Take time to understand the differences between PMP and PRINCE2, including time to research the job requirements that align with your career goals. Using career sites, such as can help you make a better certification decision. And know that if you are practicing Agile methodology already, or if you are looking to add Agile to your professional certification portfolio, there are options from both the PMI and Axelos, that will fit in with other certification efforts.


Project Managers are passionate, driven types who guide work from mere ideas to finalized deliverables, products, and services. No matter the industry in which you practice your Project Management skills, having a current Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is definitive evidence of your focus on being the best.

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Megan Bell
Megan Bell
Project Manager & Writer at Project Management Academy
Megan Bell