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    • PMI PBA vs CBAP - A detailed comparison - Adaptive US

    PMI PBA vs CBAP - A detailed comparison - Adaptive US

    Written by:             Published on: Nov 16, 2020 12:00:00 AM

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    Confused between PBA and CBAP-1PMI PBA vs IIBA CBAP: Which is Better?

    This is a question that arises in many professionals' minds. CBAP has been in existence for more than a decade now. But PMI as an institution is much older and commands considerable respect in the project management world. 

    The good news is now the world recognizes the value of business analysis. A newer player will surely expand the market and demand for business analysis. PMI has finally come up with a new certification to satisfy the hunger of the project business analysis community. Of late, business analysis has been a very valuable skill to learn for the project management community as well due to the need for the PM to perform BA roles also.

    The certification space for the BA community has been dominated by IIBA with its certifications, CCBA (basic level) and CBAP certification (Advanced level). In fact,  ranks the IIBA certifications among the top 10 certifications to opt for to advance your BA career.

    PMI has recently come up with a BA certification, PMI-PBA for business analysts. And all of us are aware of the market share of PMI for its most popular certification for Project management stream viz PMP. This gives rise to the dilemma for the BA community on which certification to go for in the current scenario.


    Here is the high level comparison of PMI-PBA and IIBA Certification:

    • PMI PBA has come to market early in 2015 and is yet to gain familiarity with the market. Whereas IIBA has already got the early mover advantage and has been very popular in corporate and as well as among professionals. However, the rate of growth of PMI PBA has been impressive. By mid of 2018, there are about 2850 PMI PBA certified individuals.
    • However, PMI has got a huge following from the corporates and individuals for various project management related certifications (there are more than 600,000 PMP certified professionals worldwide). PMI PBA has relaxed the eligibility criteria by considering 2000 hours of Project management experience in the applicant’s career.

    PMI PBA vs CBAP Infographic

    Rest of the points seems to be more or less similar, please see the exact apple to apple comparison below.

    Educational Qualification IIBA CBAP:

    • No criteria listed

    PMI PBA:  

    • Secondary degree – 7,500 hours (5 years) of work experience
    • Bachelor’s degree - 4,500 hours (3 years) of work experience

    Contact Hours


    • 35 PDU

    PMI PBA:  

    • 35 Contact hours

    Eligibility/ Experience


    • 7,500 hours (five years) of BA work experience in the last 10 years

    PMI PBA:  

    • Secondary degree- 7,500 hours (5 years) BA experience in the last 8 years.                 
    • Bachelor’s degree- 4,500 hours (5 years) BA experience in the last 8 years.
    • Out of this experience *2,000 hours can be on project teams.

    Application Processing Timeline IIBA CBAP:

    • Mostly within a day. If selected for the audit, can take usually up to 2 weeks.
      50 CBAP questions booklet


    PMI PBA:  

    • Online - 5 calendar days
    • Paper (individuals) - 10 business days
    • Paper (corporations) - 20 business days



    • Two references from a career manager, Client, or a CBAP

    PMI PBA:  

    • Not required

     Certification Fees


    • Computer based
    • Membership Fee– varies as per country of residence
    • Application Fee (non-refundable) - $125
    • Exam Fee – $325

    PMI PBA:  

    • Computer-based testing (CBT)
    • Membership fee – $129
    • Certification Fee - $405
    • Paper-based testing (PBT)
    • Membership fee – $129
    • Certification Fee - $250



    • Members – $250
    • Non-Members – $375
    • Twice after the first examination within one year of approval with no wait time.

    PMI PBA:  

    • Computer-based testing (CBT)
    • Membership fee – $129
    • Re-examination Fee - $275                  
    • Paper-based testing (PBT)  
    • Membership fee – $129                
    • Certification Fee - $150                  
    • You are granted a one-year eligibility period in which to pass the examination. During the eligibility period, you may take the examination up to three times by paying the re-examination fees for the second and third attempt.


    Questions pattern


    • 120 Multiple Choice questions based on BABOK Guide                    
    • Examination time – 3.5 hours                  
    • Passing Score- The IIBA Certification Body does not publicly reveal the cut score or the pass rate for any exam.

    PMI PBA:  

    • of Scored Questions -175                    
    • of Pre-test (Unscored) Questions – 25                  
    • Total Examination Questions -200                
    • Examination time – 4hours                  
    • Passing Score-PMI uses subject matter experts from across the globe to help establish a point at which each candidate should pass the examination(s) and the examination point of difficulty. Data that show how candidates actually performed are cross referenced with the subject matter experts to ensure that the point of difficulty on each examination is healthy.



    • Once Every 3 years need 60 CDU for renewal                  
    • Member - $85                  
    • Non-Member – $125

    PMI PBA:  

    • Once Every 3 years need 60 PDU for renewal                  
    • Member - $60                   
    • Non-member - $150

    CBAP Recommended -

    Pure play BA/enterprise level BA and planning to stay in the same path

    • Part of BA Center of Excellence/BA Competency team
    • If your organization has IIBA certifications as part of the competency framework

    PMI PBA Recommended –

    • Business analysts with a project or program management background/experience
    • Business analysts with PMP certification
    • PMP certified professional /Project manager with BA responsibility
    • If your organization has a partnership with PMI
    • If your organization has PMI certifications as part of the competency framework

    PMI-PBA is for business analysts who work on projects and programs and have project management experience in their career, whereas, in contrast, IIBA looks at Business Analysis in a much broader perspective and covers activities that exceed project and program and applies to the entire organizational involvement/initiative.

    Sources of Information for this article - and


    Suggested readings on CBAP

    How to prepare for CBAP certification - A step by step approach

    What is Business analysis

    50 Mock CBAP questions booklet


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