PMP vs. AWP Certification: Which One to Choose?

Learn the difference between these two popular approaches to project management to make the right choice for you

When I’m traveling and speaking about Advanced Work Packaging training and certification, one of the most common questions I get relates to the Project Management Professional (PMP)® designation. People are curious about the difference between the PMP designation and Certified Advanced Work Packaging Professional® designation, and they wonder whether an individual who is already a certified PMP can benefit from AWP certification, or vice-versa. In this article, I’m going to answer all of these questions and more. 


What is the difference between PMP and AWP Certification?

During the certification process, a PMP gains a foundational understanding of the principles of project management. Once certified, a PMP has the basic knowledge required to participate in a project in industries ranging from aerospace and financial services to healthcare and IT. In other words, the PMP training is a multi-tool that can be leveraged in many organizational contexts.

By contrast, AWP Certification prepares an individual to apply construction-driven planning and collaboration systems to complex capital construction projects. While some have begun to apply work packaging principles to fields outside capital project management, AWP was purpose-built by and for capital project organizations specifically to support their efforts to deliver on-time and on-budget. The AWP training is laser focused on capital projects. 


Which certification should I get? Should I get both or just one?

If you’re a capital project professional, you need the Certified AWP Professional®  designation. Many who pursue AWP Certification through Concord® Academy already hold a PMP designation and are looking to deepen their understanding of capital project construction; these individuals are typically working in a capital project organization and have recognized the limits of PMP training in the context of a complex capital construction project. We also see many established capital project professionals who do not have their PMP designation but pursue AWP Certification to keep pace with best practices. 

I cannot say with certainty how many AWP certificants pursue the PMP designation after becoming a Certified AWP Professional®, but I suggest this might be an excellent choice for a young professional looking to position themselves for a leadership role in project management.  


Is PMP training sufficient for project management professionals working on complex capital projects?

The short answer is no. The Project Management Institute, the organization that established the PMP certification, was established in the late 1960s and has been certifying project management professionals since the 1970s. The training is excellent, and PMPs have delivered solid value to organizations for decades.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that capital project professionals developed AWP in the early 2000s precisely because existing project management systems were not working to deliver capital projects on-time and on-budget. If the project management tools that form the core of the PMP training were sufficient to manage the extraordinary complexities of multi-billion dollar capital construction projects, AWP would never have been developed. The fact that world-class organizations like NASA have moved to adopt AWP further buttresses my belief that AWP is a necessary and valuable addition to the project management cannon.


Why take the AWP Certification Program at Concord® Academy?

Here at Concord®®, our goal is to become the go-to certification program for capital project professionals who work on large construction projects. During their training, Certified AWP Professionals® get: 

  • Principles for on-time, on-budget capital project delivery;
  • Definitions, core concepts and key challenges;
  • Tactical skills and information to improve delivery of capital projects;
  • Industry-specific knowledge derived from first-hand experience;
  • Recognition among Owner organizations and EPC in mining, oil and gas and many additional industrial sectors

Are you ready to get yourself and your team certified in Advanced Work Packaging? The Concord® Academy offers self-paced, on-demand training from anywhere with an internet connection. Learn more today!

Share This Post