Watermark Learning Blog

Which BA Certification is Right for You?Last week, the Project Management Institute (PMI) ® announced their PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA) certification. They cite a statistic by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics that “business analysis jobs are predicted to increase by 22 percent by 2020.”
The projected growth of jobs along with PMIs recognition of business analysis as a profession is good news for business analysts across the globe.

This new certification for business analysis introduces confusion in selecting the right certification to help you achieve your professional goals. Below is what you need to know to compare and select the certification(s) that are right for you. This comparison includes application requirements, knowledge required, and your current or desired role. One thing to keep in mind is that this new PMI-PBA® certification has been undertaken to support program and project managers, so it is project and program-focused. The IIBA® Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK Guide)® extends to enterprise and strategic business analysis.

Application Requirements for CBAP, CCBA, and PMI-PBA

CBAP, CCBA, PMI-PBA Application Requirements

BA Knowledge

Note: This table provided for illustrative purposes. There is not a one-for-one correlation in the tasks and tools of the IIBA® Knowledge Areas and PMI® Domains. Please see PMI-PBA Task by Domain for additional information.

Business Analysis Role and Current Certification

Certificate Recommendations by Career for CBAP, CCBA, PMI-PBA

Watermark Learning’s Next Steps

Watermark Learning instructors were at the forefront of this new certification with the owners of Watermark, Elizabeth and Richard Larson, contributing authors of the PMI-PBA Practice Guide, and Watermark Learning instructors participated in the pilot.

Start your study preparation with Watermark’s PMI-PBA Certification Boot Camp and earn the 35 contact hours needed to apply for the exam. Plus, you will receive a copy of our PMI-PBA Certification Study Guide, a 90-day PMI-PBA Online Study Exam subscription, and PMI-PBA Study Tables with your class materials.

Visit our full catalog of Business Analysis courses.

30 thoughts on “PMI-PBA and CBAP/CCBA Side by Side

  1. Hi I have 4+ years of BA experience that includes y UK & Indian work exposure, I am pursuing IREB – German body BA certification, Does that help me in any ways as part of my professional accrediation or it is better to drop that and continue my PMI – PBA certification.

    I am looking for an full intensive training plan (Location – Chennai), I need an practical & class room training rather an online training

    Also need a reference from a previous batch certified candidates

    Kind Regards

    Mukundan N (+91 7299054990)

    • Hello Mukundan, we do have a training partner in India that I would encourage you to reach out to. You can find them online at http://www.vellicate-tech.com/. They will have better idea of what is trending in your region. I will contact them in the meantime and ask that they follow up here or with you directly as well.


      • Hello Mukundan,

        Vellicate Technologies conducts CBAP and CCBA training in 6 cities in India including Chennai in partnership with Watermark Learning. We have a large number of people in Chennai who have earned their CBAP after attending our training, including one person who passed the exam within one month of attending the training. I will be happy to connect you with some of these people separately.

        You can find the schedule of our upcoming trainings on http://vellicate-tech.com/training-calendar and register. Please feel free to call me on +91-9845392234. I will be happy to help you.

        – Surendra Saxena

  2. Business Analyst Certification gives the ability to discover professional aspirations through a variety of project experiences.

    As a Business Analyst, you will have the opportunity to help organizations tackle its complex business problems and drive tangible results.

  3. Hi Vicki,

    Thanks for informative article.
    Can you please help me in suggesting if I should go for CBAP or PMI-BA.
    I have around 9 year of IT experience which has 5 year of development, 2 years of team lead, 1 year of Project management ( Small projects) and currently Business Analyst. I choose for BA as I thought that it will improve my PM skills and understanding bussiness as close.

    I would like to work for B.A for next say 1or maximum 2 years and then would move to Project Manag

      • Thanks for your response Vicki.. I have decided to go for PBA 🙂

        How much time do you think should Ideally take to prepare for PBA with my level of experience. Say If I can put 12 hours weekly..

  4. Good day Mrs.James,

    I am civil engineer, PMP & PMI-RMP certified. Planning to move form project management to General Management (executive level)
    What certificate for me

    Many thanks

  5. I Am a Project Manager PMP and looking to get my PMI-PBA. I have taken a course in BA fundamentals and participateed in. BA Bootcamp. What should my next steps be? What is a easy way to track my project hours that are categorized as BA work?

  6. Hi,

    I started my career as financial analyst and now I am working as SME in the finance domain . I have 3+years of experience. Am I eligible to do any kind of BA certification like CBAP or PMI PBA. Ifyes please suggest me which one suits for me . I want be business Analyst in IT.


    • Hi–
      For both the CBAP and the PBA it depends on how many actual hour you have in specific areas. For the CBAP you need 900 hours each in 4 of the Knowledge Areas For the PBA you need 4500 specific BA hours and you have to list which domain your hours apply to as you’re completing your application. I hope this helps.


  7. I have a PMP in good standing.Cleared on Dec 2014( 27 PDU done till date)

    As per your table PMI-PBA is Highly recommended for me.

    Can you kindly tell me once I complete PMI PBA should I get 60 PDU for each certification there on?

    That is 60 PDU for PMP and 60 PDU for PMI PBA within 3 years?

    • Hi Abhirup,
      Some of the PDUs overlap for PBA and PMP. If you attend a one-hour presentation on business analysis at a PMI chapter, for example, you’ll get 1 PDU for the PMP and also 1 PDU for the PBA.

  8. Good morning, i have 5 years experience in manual software testing . i need a change/add to my career line, so am thinking of acquiring PMI/BA skill. i would have made automation a choice but i don’t like coding. i need your advice on where i can get a good training on PMI/BA and what do you think about my choice in the career change.

    Looking forward to hear from you soon.


  9. That is a great tip particularly to those
    new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  10. After reviewing above comments and recommendations, it feels like PMI-PBA is default choice for many Business Analyst working in IT industry. At some point of time professionals want to do PMP certification or be inline with PMI structure. I guess CBAP is getting irrelevant, or may soon get in future.

      • Thanks Richard.
        I work as a BA in IT industry, currently catering to a SCRUM team. I do a mix job of BA and Product Owner. After lot of thinking, I have finally enrolled into CBAP, and watermark learning study materials are helping me in the preparation.
        Following are the main reason for me going with CBAP:
        1. IIBA does not confine BA in the boundaries of a project. It certainly puts this profession with many higher capabilities and roles.
        2. IIBA has revamped the BABOK completely with their new version, and made it most relevant as per the industry.
        3. IIBA has introduced a Level 4 certification (yet not named), which will target the BA with 10+ years of exp, and industry leaders who wants to contribute to BA community.
        4. CBAP exam is more comprehensive, and It will be not wrong saying it has a higher difficulty level. This keeps this certification limited to the people who really are committed to business analysis.

        With all above, I can see that IIBA is putting lot of efforts to make this profession organised, and provide a career path for a college graduate to someone with many years of experience and may identifies him or herself as business architect.

  11. Hi, i want to change my career from non-IT (project planning) engineer to Business Analyst. What are my entry routes?

    • Hi Jay,

      We recommend that you start with an introduction course in business analysis, like our Getting Started in Business Analysis course. Then, a lot of people utilize our Masters Certificate in Business Analysis (MCBA) as an entry route into the field. It is made up of 6 courses (5 required and 1 elective). The MCBA produces the highest quality BA professionals in the industry who contribute great value to projects and organizations. It provides hands-on training in all the aspects of the BA role to bring a student’s skill development full circle through the life of a project. The training turns the complexity of industry standards into practical application and is highly transferable to the job.

      We also recommend that you become a member of IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis), where you will gain valuable information, resources, and opportunities in the industry.

      For more information, please feel free to contact us at info@watermarklearning.com to talk with one of our training consultants.

      Thanks for contacting us!

  12. Hi, My total IT experience is 12 years, it includes Pure Technical, Project Management ,Analysis & Design & off course Business Analysis.
    Now i am planning to focus on the BA role, which certification is recommended for me
    CCBA or CBAP.


    • It depends on what you plan to do with it and what role you are looking to fill. If you are consulting or teaching, multiple certifications in a discipline are usually very helpful and often necessary. Considering that you already are familiar with both PMI and IIBA’s standards (as a PMP and CBAP), I would say you are probably pretty well equipped to handle whatever comes your way as a PM and/or BA on projects. The one thing I would say you want to be mindful of as you consider certification or any other professional development effort in business analysis is to be sure you are fluent in how business analysis is used in agile environments. If you earned your CBAP and PMP before agile was incorporated into the standards, you might consider the PBA. The PMI-PBA materials/exam are pretty even-handed in terms of their attention to traditional and agile approaches. The IIBA-AAC (which would be a really easy exam for you) would be another option. Either of those would involve refining your understanding of BA in adaptive environments if that is new to you. Hope this helps. Good luck!

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