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

by StarAgile

March 03, 2020
Category Agile and Scrum

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 is PMP and PMI ACP one after the other. We will then make a comparative study of both the certifications, their cost, 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 PMI ACP?

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. 

Role of a PMI ACP 

  • An Agile certified practitioner is expected to implement Agile methodology in the developmental phase of every project.
  • ACP is expected to apply lean management principles to eliminate non-value adding steps and to utilize the optimum mix of agile tools and techniques.
  • An Agile practitioner increases adaptability in agile technologies which eventually leads to team productivity and customer satisfaction.

PMI ACP Exam pattern

PMI ACP examination is conducted in an MCQ format with 120 questions. Out of this, 20 are considered as pre-test questions, and the candidate is expected to answer 100 questions within a time span of one hour.

PMI ACP exam prerequisites

To apply for a PMP certification, the aspirant needs to hold at least a secondary degree(High school or equivalent education level). If the highest education level is a secondary degree, then the following requirements need to be satisfied:

  • 7500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education or CAPM certification

However, if the highest education level is a 4-year degree or above, then:

  • 4500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education or CAPM certification

PMI ACP exam cost

The cost of the certification varies for PMI members and non-members. Also, the exam can be computer-based or paper-based. Depending on these two criteria, the cost is tabulated below in USD.

Membership status
Amount in USD
Computer based testingMember

For paper based testing, the cost is as follows:

Membership status
Amount in USD
Paper based testingMember

What is PMP?

PMP is considered to be the gold standard for any certification course in project management. Recognized 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 method of project development and completion. The projects under this methodology focus on a clearly defined plan with a specified completion date, making it highly predictable. 

Role of a PMP

  • PMP certified managers are required to undertake projects on system reorganizations and ensure effective strategy implementation while balancing various project constraints.
  • A PMP manager monitors and works on system integration projects where various teams are associated and the primary role is to identify and solve system dependencies.
  • If you want to learn the integration of different forms of management and solve the dependency out of it, then PMP would be the choice.

PMP Exam pattern          

A PMP examination is a Multiple Choice Question exam where a candidate is expected to answer 175 out of 200 questions. The remaining 25 are pre-test questions. The duration is 4 hours. 

PMP exam prerequisites

To apply for a PMI ACP certification, the following requirements need to be satisfied:

  • 2000 hours of general project experience working on teams plus 1500 hours working on agile project teams or with agile methodologies.
  • 21 hours of training in agile practices

 PMP exam cost

The cost of the certification varies based on various factors like the country of residence, the institution, and whether the candidate opts for classroom training or self-paced. Also, the certification cost is dependent on whether or not the candidate holds a PMI membership. The cost has been given in the table below:

  • PMP certification with PMI membership$405
  • PMP certification without PMI membership$555

 Differences between PMI ACP and PMP certifications

2000 hours of general project experience plus 1,500 working hours on agile project teams 
  • 7500 hours leading and directing projects and for a secondary degree holder.
  • 4500 hours leading and directing projects for a professional degree holder
21 hours of training in agile practices
35 hours of project management education or CAPM certification
Exam Pattern
120 MCQ. 100 to be answered. 20 pre-test questions
200 MCQ. 175 to be answered. 25 pre-test questions.
Time duration
One hour
4 hours
Certification cost (USD)With membership

435 (computer based)

385 (paper based)

Certification cost (USD) Without membership

495 (computer based)

445 (paper based)

Average salary per annum 
Who will benefit?
Managers who wish to adapt the Agile methodology and its principles
Professionals who wish to practice the traditional waterfall approach to project execution

To Summarise

In the long run, both these certifications enhance professionals' knowledge. Some teams function efficiently when they follow the Waterfall project management process, while some 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 technology space. 

Therefore, it is recommended to opt for a certification that leverages your competence level in project management.

StarAgile's Training Courses

StarAgile offers training courses for both PMI ACP and PMP certifications through experts who possess 20+ years of experience in mentoring candidates on technical courses. Our training materials, mock tests and exam strategies not only help you to crack the exam but also shape you into becoming efficient professionals capable of handling complex projects and executing them successfully.

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

For more information about courses, please reach us at +91 – 80502 05233