Difference Between PMI ACP and PMP ( PMI ACP Vs PMP)

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Apr 15, 2024

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The PMI Agile Certified Practitioner(PMI ACP) and Project Management Professional(PMP) are two globally recognized professional certificates for professionals aiming to take their careers to the next level. 

In this article, we will explore what are PMP and PMI ACP one after the other. We will then make a comparative study of both the certifications, their cost, PMP exam pattern, exam prerequisites and their benefits. By the end of the article, you will be able to make a clear-cut decision on which is best suited for your career.

What is PMP?

The Project Management Professional or PMP Certification is considered the gold standard for any certification course in project management. Recognised globally, it certifies the experience, education, skill and competency required to lead and direct projects. 

The PMP certification is based on the Waterfall methodology, which is a traditional project development and completion method. The projects under this methodology focus on a clearly defined plan with a specified completion date, making it highly predictable. 

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What is PMI ACP?

The Project Management Institute- Agile Certified Practitioner or the PMI-ACP certification offered by the Project Management Institute, USA, is the fastest-growing Agile certificate and includes various agile approaches such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and many more. It requires a high level of professional integrity as it combines agile training, fundamentals and tools.

The unconventional and modern methodology, known as Agile Methodology, forms the basis of PMI ACP certification. It is a highly flexible methodology, best suited for industries which require high-quality products in a short duration of time. 

Under PMI ACP certification, the certified holder is required to lead and work as a project manager of a small development team. Agile also includes four values and 12 principles to deliver value to customers in uncertain environments. 

Methodologies or Approaches taken in PMP vs in PMI ACP

The approaches in both PMP and PMI ACP are different but both aim for organisational growth and deliver the best possible output. 

Methodologies used by Project Management Professionals 

The project managers use the traditional waterfall methodology, the waterfall model divides project activities into linear sequential phases that are passed down to each other, with each phase depending on the outputs of the previous one and corresponding to task specialization. This method is common in certain areas of engineering design. In software development, it is one of the least iterative and flexible methodologies because progress is primarily one-way ("downwards" like a waterfall) through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, deployment, and maintenance.

The approach used by PMI Agile Certified Practitioners

The PMI Agile Certified Practitioners often use the Agile framework, Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development that enables teams to deliver value to clients more quickly and with better quality. An agile team delivers work in small, yet consumable, increments rather than putting all on a "big bang" launch. Continuous evaluation of requirements, plans, and results provides teams with a natural mechanism for adapting quickly to changes required. 

PMP vs PMI ACP: Key Differences

The PMP and PMI ACP differ in various parameters, all the parameters are covered below.

Eligibility Criteria

PMP and PMI-ACP certification eligibilities are: 

QualificationDiploma/associate degree/Bachelor’s/Master's degree depending on the relevant experience.A secondary degree or higher
Experience60/36/24 months of mandatory project leading experience in the order of the above-mentioned education qualification.8 months of agile experience in the last 3 years or 12 months of project experience in the last 5 years or a PMP certification.
Training35 hours of mandatory formal training is required. 21  contact hours of training


Exam Pattern

Duration230 Minutes180 Minutes
No. of QuestionsPMP exam Questions 180 PMI-ACP exam Questions is 120
Type of QuestionsMCQ/Fill in the blanks/Multiple response/matching questions/hotspot questionsMCQ 
Mode of ExamPaper-based, computer-based and onlineOnline and proctored


Also read Overview of PMP Exam Format

Job Roles

Leading the project is the main focusImplementation of agile methodology
Managing different teams working on a project. Working in a team, mentor and coach them to enhance productivity.
Meet project goals and deadlinesLead agile processes
Allocating resources and budgets for the project.Make sure that the team follows agile practices.

The average annual PMP salary is around $ 120,000

The average annual salary of PMI-ACP is $112000


Price range

Training FeePMI-ACP Certification cost is $399-$599PMP Certification cost $799-1499
Examination Cost

For PMI member - CBT ($435) and PBT ($385)

For non-PMI member - CBT ($495) and PBT ($445)

For PMI members is $405 and $555 for non-PMI members
Renewal CostFor PMI members $60 and for non-PMI members, $150PMP Certification Renewal cost is $60 for members and $100 for non-members

Also Read: Advantages of PMI Membership

Course Content

Course Duration35 Contact Hours21 Contact Hours
Course ContentMainly teaches about administration, management, project leading and completing aspects.The course content focuses towards the implementation of agile practices in the workplace.
Books recommendedPMBOK The PMI-ACP does not have any particular specific book however, PMI recommends the candidates to read 12 different books with more than 4000 pages.


PMI ACP vs PMP Pros and Cons

Any professional who is working with agile practices or management principles will surely get benefited from it in future. As everything has two sides, both certifications have their own pros and cons, which we will go through in brief.


PMP CertificationPMI ACP Certification
Regarded as Gold Standard for project managers.Regarded as the fastest growing certification.
Every year millions of job openings are created for Certified PMP Professionals around the world.More and more organisations are adopting agile frameworks every day, leading to a rapid increase in demand. 
Improves Leadership Skills Improves team management and mentoring abilities.



PMP CertificationsPMI ACP Certification
The exam is put under the difficult category and requires sincere preparation.The PMI-ACP exam also requires preparation, PMI recommends a candidate to read 12 different books with more than 4000 pages.
Every year millions of candidates apply for the exam, hence increasing the competition.A little less number of candidates register every year, and not a popular choice for the candidates every year.
The exam fee is very high.Due to comparatively less popularity, only a limited number of good mentors and coaches are available. 


How to choose between PMP and PMI-ACP?


The choice between the two is always with the candidates, depending on an individual’s choice and where they see themselves in the future. If they want a leadership role where they will be handling complex real-world projects, dealing with stakeholders and working with several teams then Project managers is the perfect career for them. But if a candidate wants to work in an agile environment and work on introducing agile and scrum in a team and workplace, serving as a mentor and coach for a team, then PMI Agile Certified Practitioner is the perfect career for them.

Both certifications have many common overlaps among them. Even if you are in a project management role where you are not required to lead Agile practices, you can still benefit from the PMI-ACP certification to improve processes or suggest the implementation of Agile practices at least partially in some teams. It is also applicable in the opposite direction, where even if your role is more focused on leading a small team, a PMP certification will provide you with project management abilities that you can utilize within your team and help you better coordinate with other teams. The PMP curriculum incorporates techniques such as Waterfall, Agile, and Hybrid models.


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In the long run, both these certifications enhance professionals' knowledge. Some teams function efficiently when they follow the Waterfall project management process, while others excel when practising Agile principles. Every organization adopts one approach or the other. 

Therefore, one should choose the certification course that is best suited to their career goal and to the organization that employs them. Currently, both certifications are gaining credence among employers in the technology space. Therefore, it is recommended to opt for a certification that leverages your competence level in project management.

To know more about PMP certification, check out our PMP Certification Training Course

To know more about PMI-ACP Certification, check out our Agile Certified Practitioner Certification Training Course

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth doing PMI ACP?

Yes, It's important to note that the PMI-ACP certification is a very excellent way to demonstrate knowledge of Agile methodologies. This certification serves as proof of an individual's knowledge and experience with Agile methodologies and practices.

Also, read for more understanding of PMI-ACP certification importance

Is PMI ACP difficult?

The PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification exam is considered to be of moderate difficulty. It tests your knowledge and understanding of Agile methodologies, practices, and tools, as well as your ability to apply them in real-world scenarios.

Is PMP harder than PMI-ACP?

In terms of difficulty, both exams are considered to be challenging and require a significant amount of preparation. The PMP exam is more focused on the PMBOK guide and its processes, and it's considered more rigorous and difficult by many. 

Is PMI-ACP in demand?

Yes, the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification is in high demand, as more and more organizations are adopting Agile methodologies for managing and completing projects. 

How many people pass PMI-ACP?

As StarAgile has a tradition of a 100% success Ratio, every candidate trained by StarAgile till date has cleared the PMI ACP exam. For others, we can’t say much because PMI doesn’t publish any official data.  

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