pmi-acp certification eligibility requirements

PMI-ACP® Certification Eligibility Requirements: Everything You Should Know about the Exam

Becoming a PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® credential holder takes some work, but the investment of your time and effort will have long-term positive results in your career. In order to earn the PMI-ACP Certification®, you must first know all of the eligibility requirements needed to earn this certification, so you can plan according to your personal and professional schedule.

In this article, we’ll look at the eligibility requirements for the PMI-ACP certification, and you can find out what steps to take to prepare for the exam. Before we learn more about the exam requirements, let’s first learn more about the PMI-ACP exam itself.

Ultimate Guide to PMI-ACP Certification

Download the Ultimate Guide to learning about the PMI-ACP Certification.

The PMI-ACP Exam

The PMI-ACP exam focuses specifically on Agile practices and how to be a successful Agile project manager. The exam itself is 120 multiple choice questions and you have three hours to complete the exam. The cost for Project Management Institute (PMI) members is $435, while the cost for non-members is $495.

Once you have met the following requirements and passed the exam, you must continue your education, earning 30 professional development units every year to maintain your certification. Professional development units are training courses focused on Agile project management.

Now that you know a little more about the exam, let’s look at the PMI-ACP certification eligibility requirements you must meet before you can sit for the exam.

PMI-ACP Certification Eligibility Requirements: General Project Experience

One of the biggest requirement hurdles you’ll have to overcome to earn your PMI-ACP credential is earning 2,000 hours of general project experience. While this may seem like an unbelievable amount of hours, in reality, it equates to working full-time on a project (8 hours a day) for 250 days, which is less than a year. So, if you have worked in project management or on project teams for about a year or more, there is a good chance you have already met this requirement. The caveat is that you must have earned these hours in the last five years. This ensures that you have consistently worked on projects in the most recent stage of your career.

You’re in luck if you already have the Project Management Professional (PMP)® or Program Management Professional (PgMP)® certification, as both of these will satisfy the General Project Experience requirements. However, your PMP® or PgMP® certification must be active for them to count toward your PMI-ACP certification eligibility requirements.

PMI-ACP Certification Eligibility Requirements: Agile Project Experience

Agile Methodologies play a crucial role in the PMI-ACP certification, and as this is a certification specific to Agile, you need a significant amount of Agile Project Experience to earn your certification. To meet the PMI-ACP certification eligibility requirements, you need to earn 1,500 hours of experience working on Agile teams or using Agile Methodologies. It’s important to note that these hours are required in addition to the General Project Experience requirements. Also, they must have been earned within the last three years, proving that you have experience with the most up-to-date Agile practices.

PMI-ACP Certification Eligibility Requirements: 21 Contact Hours of Agile Practices

To pass the PMI-ACP exam, you need adequate training in Agile practices. You’re required to earn 21 contact hours in Agile practices, showing that you are prepared and have a strong understanding of the Agile approach to project management.

How Can I Earn These Hours?

Agile contact hours have a focus on education, meaning you must take training courses that focus on Agile principles. These courses will not only prepare you to pass your exam, they will also prepare you to be a successful PMI Agile Certified Practitioner® credential holder. In your contact hour courses, you’ll cover everything you need to know to pass the PMI-ACP exam, including the following topics:

  • Agile Foundation

  • Agile Fundamentals

  • Agile Methodologies

  • Agile Communications

  • Agile Estimating

  • Agile Metrics

  • Agile Leadership

  • Agile Contracts and Accounting Principles

There are some different course options you can choose from, depending on your schedule and learning style. Consider the following PMI-ACP certification training course options for earning your 21 contact hours.

  • Live Instructor-Led Classroom – This is the most traditional classroom setting. With this option, you will attend a training course for a specified amount of time with an in-person instructor. One of the greatest benefits of in-person instruction is the ability to ask for direction or clarification in real time. The instructor is right there to help. With Project Management Academy, for example, you attend a two-day training course. After you complete the course, you have access to online exam preparation materials if you want additional study time.

  • Video-On-Demand – The video-on-demand option allows you to learn from the comfort of your own home. You can access digital lessons and materials any time, allowing you to fit your exam preparation into your own schedule. Plus, you can always reach out to instructors with any questions you may have. If you need more flexibility than a traditional classroom setting offers, learning at your own pace is easy with video-on-demand training courses.

  • Live Virtual Classroom – The Live Virtual Classroom training is a perfect hybrid of the Classroom and Video-On-Demand options. This two-day seminar provides the flexibility of working from your own environment, like your home or office, while having an instructor leading the session in real time. You can ask all the questions you want, receiving immediate answers. Like the other two options, you also have access to digital materials to help you continue your exam preparation even after the course has concluded. This is beneficial for those who aren’t taking the exam immediately or who want additional study time before the exam.

  • In-House – It in the best interest of many employers to have PMI Agile Certified Practitioner credential holders on their teams. Some of these employers will bring instructors to their facilities to conduct training courses right there, making this a convenient option for their future PMI-ACP certification holders. This is also typically a two-day course and is perfect if your company has 15 or more employees pursuing their certification.

Before you choose a PMI-ACP training course option, think carefully about your schedule and how you learn best. If you’re most comfortable in a classroom, consider the in-person course options. If you’re a working parent or have a highly demanding job and don’t have two full days to spare for an in-person course, learning at your own pace with the Video-On-Demand option is probably the best choice.

Keep in mind that once you pass the exam, you must continue your education if you want to maintain your PMI-ACP credential. Earning 30 PDUs every three years helps you keep your PMI-ACP credential active, while also staying up to date on the latest Agile techniques you should be using. With some time and effort, you can meet these requirements to take the PMI-ACP exam, and with the right certification training course, you’re sure to pass the exam and take your career to the next level.

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