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What is The PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) Course?

Are you constantly overhearing your colleagues discussing the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) Exam? Perhaps you’ve noticed the abbreviation PMI-ACP popping up more often, leaving you curious about what it entails and whether it’s relevant to you.

Let’s delve into the meaning of PMI-ACP and present you with comprehensive information about the exam prerequisites, its content, and the necessary steps to uphold your PMI-ACP certification after successfully clearing the exam.

What Does PMI-ACP Stand For?

The PMI-ACP certification, offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), acknowledges an individual’s proficiency in applying agile practices within projects and showcases their enhanced professional adaptability through agile tools and techniques (Project Management Institute).

In essence, achieving the PMI-ACP designation bestows the title of a PMI Agile Certified Practitioner upon the candidate. This certification serves as a clear signal to employers and stakeholders, both within and beyond the Agile Community, that you possess tangible experience in working on Agile projects and a deep understanding of Agile principles, practices, tools, and techniques.

Is The PMI-ACP For You?

To determine if taking the PMI-ACP Exam aligns with your goals, there are crucial factors to consider. Firstly, it’s essential to possess the genuine aspiration to become a PMI-ACP. Next, you must ensure that you meet the PMI-ACP certification requirements in four key areas: educational background, general project experience, Agile project experience, and training in Agile practices.

Regarding educational background, a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or equivalent on a global scale) is necessary. For general project experience, a minimum of 2,000 hours (12 months) within the past five years is required. In the domain of Agile project experience, you should have accumulated at least 1,500 hours (8 months) working on project teams that specifically utilised Agile methodologies within the past three years. It’s crucial to note that the same hours or projects cannot be counted towards both general project and Agile project experience.

Additionally, you must have undergone at least 21 Contact Hours of formal education in Agile practices. Each Contact Hour refers to one hour of structured learning in Agile practices. Once you’ve documented all your general project and Agile project hours, along with obtaining the required 21 Contact Hours, you’ll be prepared to initiate the application process for the PMI-ACP Exam.

The application can be completed online at www.pmi.org, where you will have 90 days to finalise the submission. Alternatively, you can download a PDF version of the application, fill it out, and send it by mail. If you already hold the Project Management Professional (PMP) or Program Management Professional (PgMP) credential, PMI has already verified your fulfilment of the 2,000 hours of general project experience requirement for the PMI-ACP Exam, and this requirement will be waived.

What’s Involved in The PMI-ACP?

With a clear understanding of the PMI-ACP certification and its prerequisites, let’s explore what to anticipate during the exam. The PMI-ACP Exam comprises 120 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within a three-hour timeframe. The questions are divided into two main categories. Half of the exam focuses on Agile tools and techniques, while the remaining half assesses your knowledge and skills related to Agile practices.

For a more detailed breakdown of the topics covered in the PMI-ACP Exam, you can refer to the latest version of the PMI-ACP Examination Content Outline, which provides comprehensive information on the specific areas addressed in the exam. Being familiar with the outline will help you prepare effectively and gain confidence in tackling the various aspects of the examination.

How Do You Earn PDUs?

You can earn PDUs by either learning or giving back to the profession

After successfully passing the PMI-ACP Exam, your focus will shift to maintaining your certification. To do this, you must acquire a minimum of 30 professional development units (PDUs) during each certification cycle, which spans three years and commences from the day you pass the PMI-ACP Exam. PDUs are earned based on the hours spent engaging in activities falling under two main categories: education or giving back to the profession.

You have the flexibility to earn all 30 PDUs through educational activities, but there is a cap of 20 PDUs per cycle for the giving back to the profession category. However, it’s important to note that all activities, regardless of the category, must be directly related to Agile project practices for them to be counted towards the maintenance of your PMI-ACP certification.

If you hold a prior PMP or PgMP certification, you can claim Agile project activity PDUs to fulfil the maintenance requirements of your PMP or PgMP credential. This means that you’ll only need to accumulate a total of 60 PDUs within the three-year period, rather than 90. Just remember, all the PDU hours you earn to maintain your PMI-ACP certification must pertain to the realm of Agile project activities.


Both the PMP and PMI-ACP certifications offer valuable advantages for those seeking career advancement in project management, but their specific areas of focus differ significantly. Deciding whether to pursue the PMP or PMI-ACP certification depends on your future aspirations and existing experience.

The PMI-ACP certification emphasises Agile Project Management, equipping you with the expertise and know-how to lead projects with an Agile approach. On the other hand, the PMP Certification places more emphasis on core project management topics rather than specific approaches. While it does cover project management within Agile, Waterfall, and Hybrid frameworks, it remains primarily centred around fundamental project management principles.

Ultimately, choosing between the two certifications requires careful consideration of your career goals and the specific project management domains you wish to excel in. Each certification caters to different skill sets and areas of specialisation, allowing you to tailor your professional development journey according to your individual ambitions and aspirations.


PMI has distinct and well-defined prerequisites for its certifications, with varying requirements for PMP and PMI-ACP certifications.

For PMP certification, candidates must hold either a high school diploma, an associate’s degree, an equivalent qualification, or a four-year degree. Additionally, they should have accumulated either 3 years (36 months) of work experience in leading projects (if they possess a high school diploma, associate’s degree, or equivalent) or 2 years (24 months) of such experience with a four-year degree. Furthermore, 35 hours of project management training are mandatory, though this is not required if the candidate holds an active CAPM Certification.

On the other hand, PMI-ACP certification does not have any specific academic requirements. To be eligible, candidates need either 2,000 hours of general project management experience or 1,500 hours of experience working with Agile methodologies and Agile teams. Additionally, 21 hours of Training in Agile practices are required from an Authorized Training Partner, though this is waived if the candidate holds an active PMP or PgMP certification.

These clear guidelines ensure that candidates can readily understand the criteria they need to meet for each certification and appropriately plan their certification journey based on their qualifications and experience.

Study Time

Both the PMP and PMI-ACP certifications require candidates to pass an exam to obtain certification. While there is no fixed schedule or timeframe for exam preparation, it typically takes several weeks to a few months to adequately prepare. Among the two, PMP certification tends to demand more preparation time due to its extensive syllabus and longer exam duration.

To support candidates in their preparation journey, online PMP bootcamps offer a valuable option. These bootcamps provide a flexible and interactive learning environment, enabling individuals to engage in comprehensive and structured preparation for the PMP certification exam. Such platforms can greatly assist candidates in mastering the required knowledge and skills, ensuring they are well-equipped to excel in the challenging exam.


PMI Exams are crafted to assess and authenticate your expertise and competencies in the relevant fields. The PMP exam consists of 180 multiple-choice questions, multiple response questions, fill-in-the-blank questions, matching questions, and hot spot questions, all to be completed within a 230-minute timeframe. Candidates have the flexibility to take the exam either online or in person, based on their preference.

On the other hand, the PMI-ACP exam lasts for 180 minutes and comprises 120 multiple-choice questions. It is exclusively available for online administration, offering candidates the convenience of taking the exam remotely, making it more accessible and accommodating to their needs.

Exam Cost

Both the PMP and PMI-ACP qualifying exams necessitate an exam fee for registration. However, the PMI-ACP Exam fee is generally lower compared to that of the PMP Exam. An additional benefit is that PMI members receive a substantial discount on the exam fees, making it more cost-effective for them. The exact exam fee varies based on your location, and you can find the specific fees for your location on the PMI website. This transparency allows candidates to plan and budget accordingly for their certification journey.

Job Roles

Your current role and desired career path should be pivotal factors influencing your decision when choosing between certifications. While both courses involve project management and knowledge of Agile practices, their primary focuses differ significantly. Consider your professional goals and the direction you wish to steer your career, as this will guide you towards the certification that best aligns with your aspirations.

How To Chose Between PMI-ACP and PMP

Career goals should be one of the main deciding factors about which PMI certification you choose

Once you determine which certification aligns better with your career trajectory and experience, the choice between the two becomes clearer. If your current or desired role involves taking charge of complex projects with multiple teams and stakeholders, the PMP certification would be more suitable. On the other hand, if you see yourself leading a team in Agile projects and guiding them to enhance performance through Agile practices, the PMI-ACP certification is the better fit.

It’s worth noting that there is some overlap between the certifications. Even if your role doesn’t primarily involve leading Agile practices, obtaining the PMI-ACP certification can still be beneficial. It equips you with valuable insights to improve processes and suggest partial implementation of Agile practices in certain teams. Similarly, if your role mainly revolves around leading a small team, acquiring the PMP certification equips you with project management skills that can enhance coordination with other teams and improve overall team performance.

The PMP syllabus encompasses various approaches, including Waterfall, Agile, and Hybrid models, allowing you to gain a comprehensive understanding of project management principles across different contexts. Ultimately, choosing the appropriate certification depends on your specific career goals and the areas in which you seek to excel within the realm of project management.


PMP vs PMI ACP – Which is better?

The choice between PMP and PMI-ACP does not have a definitive answer. One could argue that PMP holds an edge over PMI-ACP due to its wider recognition and higher level of difficulty in attaining the certification. However, the decision ultimately hinges on your specific objectives for getting certified and the impact each certification would have on your career.

Consider your career aspirations and the direction you wish to take in project management. Assess how each certification aligns with your goals and how it can enhance your professional growth. Evaluating the relevance of the content and the practical application of the skills acquired through each certification will aid you in making the right decision. What matters most is selecting the certification that will best contribute to your career advancement and personal development in the field of project management.

Is PMI ACP Easier than PMP?

Indeed, if you have already taken the PMP exam, you may find the PMI-ACP exam relatively easier. With approximately 1.5 minutes allotted per question in the PMI-ACP exam, you have more time to respond compared to the PMP exam. While adequate preparation over a few weeks is still necessary for the PMI-ACP exam, the effort required is generally less than that for the PMP exam. It is advisable to familiarise yourself with the differences in the exam patterns and take practice exams to become accustomed to the test format and increase your chances of success.

Is PMP Required for PMI ACP?

No, obtaining a PMP certification is not mandatory before pursuing the PMI-ACP certification. However, having a PMP certification can significantly enhance your ability to apply the concepts learned in the PMI-ACP course effectively. Moreover, the PMP certification automatically fulfils the requirement of having 2,000 hours of project management experience, which is necessary to be eligible for the PMI-ACP exam. If you hold an active PMP certification, there is no need to provide additional proof of this experience when applying for the PMI-ACP exam.

Is the PMI ACP Worth it?

Indeed, the relevance of PMI-ACP is increasing in today’s business landscape, primarily because an increasing number of organisations are embracing Agile practices. As these companies undergo transformations, there is a growing demand for skilled professionals who can effectively lead and navigate this Agile change. Thus, obtaining the PMI-ACP certification is becoming increasingly essential for individuals seeking to meet the needs of the evolving market and contribute as competent Agile practitioners in various industries.

Is PMP Still Worth it in 2023?

Absolutely, in 2022, the PMP certification maintains its position as the top certification in the field of project management. Its value has seen a significant rise, attributed to the growing recognition of project management’s crucial role across the global landscape. As organisations increasingly emphasise effective project execution and management, the demand for PMP-certified professionals continues to soar. Hence, the PMP certification remains highly regarded and sought after by individuals aiming to excel in project management and contribute to the success of diverse projects on a global scale.

Is PMI ACP Changing?

That’s correct. The most recent adjustments to the PMI-ACP exam occurred in March 2018, and these changes were minor in nature. They primarily involved updating terminology and making lexicon changes to align with current industry practices. The core content and structure of the PMI-ACP exam remained unaffected by these revisions, ensuring the continued relevance and consistency of the certification assessment.

Is PMI-ACP a Proctored Exam?

Absolutely, the PMI-ACP exam is conducted through online proctoring. To participate in the exam, you will require a laptop or desktop computer equipped with a reliable internet connexion. Additionally, a webcam and a functioning microphone are essential to ensure proper monitoring and communication during the exam. These technical requirements enable a seamless and secure examination experience, allowing candidates to take the PMI-ACP exam from the comfort of their own location while maintaining exam integrity.


The PMI-ACP certification serves as a powerful testament to a project manager’s ability to excel in Agile environments. Its comprehensive coverage of Agile principles, methodologies, and tools equips professionals with the necessary skills to deliver exceptional results in today’s dynamic business landscape. By earning the PMI-ACP designation, project managers demonstrate their commitment to continuous learning and professional growth, positioning themselves as invaluable assets to their organisations.

The versatility of Agile practices ensures that PMI-ACP certified professionals can adapt to a wide range of project scenarios, from software development to marketing and beyond. With industry recognition, increased career advancement opportunities, and enhanced project performance on the horizon, obtaining the PMI-ACP certification has become a strategic move for ambitious project managers seeking to elevate their careers and make a significant impact in the world of Agile project management.

Embracing the Agile mindset, welcoming change, and seizing the opportunities that the PMI-ACP certification brings can unlock your potential as a dynamic Agile practitioner. By being at the forefront of innovation and success in the ever-evolving project management landscape, investing in your future and capitalising on the advantages of Agile, you can embark on the journey to becoming a distinguished PMI-ACP certified professional.

Now that you understand the purpose of the PMI-ACP qualification, have a look at our complete guide to Agile, or take a look at our article on the PRINCE2 qualification.

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