PMI-ACP contact hours

Understanding PMI-ACP Contact Hours for Agile Practitioners

Learn project management experience and contact hour requirements before you apply for the PMI-ACP exam and certification. Training in Agile practices is only one part of preparing for the exam.

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Demand for Agile knowledge has never been higher. The Project Management Institute (PMI®)’s Pulse of the Profession® report states that 86% of PMI-ACPs qualified for new opportunities, and 84% of PMI-ACPs gained recognition for career advancement. Preparing for and maintaining the certification can contribute to your success as an Agile project manager professional.

What is PMI-ACP

The professional certification known as “PMI-ACP®” stands for “Project Management Institute-Agile Certified Practitioner.” It is earned through meeting all requirements and passing the exam and is maintained through continuing education efforts. It is a PMI project management certification, such as Project Management Professional (PMP®). The PMI states that those with PMI-ACP® designation have proven their skills and knowledge:

  • Understanding and applying multiple agile approaches, including Scrum, Lean, Kanban, and Test-Driven Development.
  • Engaging stakeholders effectively to gather requirements, incorporate feedback, and ensure project success.
  • Delivering value to customers through iterative development cycles and employing agile metrics for informed decision-making.

Having a Scrum Master job title, working in Agile Project Management using an Agile methodology, or knowing Agile principles does not equate to certification. You must meet education requirements to qualify to take the exam that will verify your status as a PMI Agile Certified Practitioner.

What are the crequirements to apply for the PMI-ACP

To apply for the PMI-ACP® certification, you must meet these requirements (as of March 2024):

  • Secondary degree
  • 21 contact hours of agile practice training
  • 12 months of general project experience within the last five years (a current PMP® or PgMP® satisfies this requirement but is not mandatory)
  • 8 months of agile project experience within the previous 3 years

Following your acceptance of your PMI-ACP® application, the Project Management Institute (PMI®) will provide the information needed to schedule your. With an approved application and passing score on the 120 multiple-choice question exams, you will be a PMI agile certified practitioner with your PMI-ACP certification.

What are PMI-ACP contact hours

Before you take the PMI-ACP exam, you must have approved documentation for the required 21 contact hours included in the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner application. For this certification in agile project management and agile methodologies, “PMI-ACP® contact hours” are:

  • Formal Education: training sessions, workshops, seminars, or university/college courses specifically focused on agile methodologies with a competency assessment.
  • Agile Focus: topics related to agile practices, principles, and methodologies such as but not limited to Scrum, Kanban, Lean, XP (Extreme Programming), and other agile frameworks.

How do contact hours relate to PDUs

Documented and verifiable 21 contact hours are needed to apply for PMI-ACP; 30 PDUs within three-year renewal cycles are part of the certification maintenance.

PMI defines Professional Development Units (PDUs) as “one-hour blocks of time that you spend learning, teaching others, or volunteering.” For the PMI-ACP®, you must earn 30 PDUs within a 3-year renewal cycle to maintain your certification (18 minimum Education and 12 maximum Giving Back PDUs).

How can you earn PMI-ACP contact hours

With the competency assessment and topic requirements met, contact hours can be earned in several ways, including:

  • participating in Agile training programs and workshops
  • utilizing online courses and resources
  • engaging in Agile-related projects and activities

For any submitted contact hour claim, there must be:

  • Certificate of Completion:  certificate of completion or attendance from the training provider.
  • Documentation: records of the training attended, including the training provider, course content, duration, and completion date.

While PMI has the Authorized Training Partners (ATPs) program, candidates are not required to take courses from ATPs to fulfill the 21-hour contact hour requirement. However, ATPs like Project Management Academy may offer tailored PMI-ACP certification courses that allow candidates to earn 21 hours through one formal education experience.

PMI-ACP application audit process for contact hours

PMI reserves the right to audit candidates’ contact hours documentation. Candidates must provide evidence to verify completing the required contact hours during an audit.

All application documentation should be accurate, detailed, and verifiable. The PMI also reserves the right to audit submitted PDU claims; thus, documentation for PMI certifications should always be correct and available.


With strong stakeholder communication skills, a drive to deliver value through collaboration, and demonstratable knowledge of proven Agile methodology and Agile principles, you are a strong candidate for the PMI-ACP certification exam. By fulfilling the certification requirements, including contact hours, candidates can pursue the certification and advance their project management careers.

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Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO
Director of Product Development at
Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO