PACE vs CAP: Which Certification Is Right for You?

June 13, 2022


Earning an administrative professional certification is an important step in your career path. Enrolling in PACE or CAP classes can put you in a great place for professional opportunities and set you on a trajectory for leadership roles.

Certifications like PACE and CAP keep you relevant in a rapidly evolving workforce. They show to employers that you take your job as an administrative professional seriously. A certification also proves that you have honed the skills required to be exceptional in your role. 

The process of certification for administrative professionals is more complex than just taking a few classes, followed by a test. It requires studying and deep focus so you can absorb strategies, concepts, and tools that you can then immediately apply to your work.

Like most technical and medical licenses, it also requires regular recertification. This commitment to maintaining a current certification guarantees that you are always learning new skills and staying on top of the latest updates and best practices in the administrative field.  

PACE vs CAP: The Basics

There are two primary certifications that administrative professionals can obtain to boost their careers and advancement opportunities: the Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE) and the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP).

PACE is offered by the American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP) and CAP is provided by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). Both are highly regarded professional associations serving the administrative profession.

PACE vs CAP: Key Similarities

Both of these comprehensive programs take a holistic approach to preparing you for success in your administrative career. They make way for you to demonstrate your depth of knowledge, expertise, and commitment to the field. They also give you credibility and a valuable edge in a competitive job market. Both can set you up for better pay and opportunities for promotions.

With only a few differences between the two programs, it can be easy to find the right fit and set goals that can be achieved in a relatively short period of time. 

PACE vs CAP: Key Differences

PACE and CAP both cover pertinent topics and prepare you for more responsibility. However, the programs are designed differently, with different resources, instruction methods, and testing requirements.


If you choose PACE, you will access your coursework and take the exam through an easy-to-use online learning platform. All the materials you need can be accessed at any time in the E-Learning Center, allowing you the flexibility and peace of mind to set your own schedule.

PACE is a self-guided program. Upon enrolling, you have one year to go through the four modules, study the materials provided in the Study Guide, and pass the exam. You also get three opportunities to take the exam if you do not pass on the first try. 

The PACE program is well known for covering topics of the highest relevance to administrative professionals today, with multiple skill-building tips, tools, and strategies offered under each module. 

Completing the PACE coursework and exam will equip you with prestigious expertise across four modules:

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Task and Project Management
  • Computer and Internet Technology
  • Management Skills


If you choose CAP, you prepare for the exam using a “blueprint” called the Body of Knowledge. This resource covers six topic areas (domains) and breaks the information down into detailed, measurable Performance Outcomes (PO).

The preparation for the CAP exam is self-guided and it is recommended that enrollees take advantage of study groups to learn and process the information. The exam is computer-based, taken in person, and administered at approved, proctored testing centers around the world. The main takeaways, or domains, from the Body of Knowledge resource include:

  • Organizational Communications 
  • Business Writing and Document Production 
  • Technology and Information Distribution 
  • Office and Records Management 
  • Event and Project Management 
  • Operational Functions 

The Benefits of Certification

Obtaining a credential such as CAP or PACE tells employers you are serious about your career. It bolsters your resume and helps you stand out from the competition. Making the choice to continue your education demonstrates your commitment to lifelong learning and professional advancement.

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