PMI-ACP® vs. PMP® Certification Comparing Salary and Job Outlook

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner® vs PMP® Certification: Comparing Salary and Job Outlook

As a project manager, you want potential employers to know you have what it takes to lead teams and elevate the company’s reputation. Your work experience speaks for itself but earning one or more project management certifications from Project Management Institute (PMI) or another reputable organization validates your expertise and shows you’re invested in your career.

When choosing a certification like PMP® or PMI-ACP®, one crucial consideration is how much money you can earn and the job opportunities it offers. With that in mind, please take a closer look at how these certifications compare and their potential effects on your career opportunities.

On this page:

Ultimate Guide to PMP® Certification

Navigate the process of becoming a PMP® certified professional.

PMP® Certification

There’s no doubt that the PMP® Certification is the gold standard for project managers. Offered by the Project Management Institute, this globally recognized credential demonstrates that you understand what it takes to be an effective project leader. At the very least, it can create new career opportunities or lead to pay increases. You’ll also see this certification as a requirement on job postings for many project management and related positions.

Certification Description

To earn a PMP® Certification, you must meet the criteria established by the Project Management Institute. You’ll need either a 4-year degree and 36 months of hands-on project management experience or a high school diploma or associate degree, along with 60 months of project management experience.

In addition to formal education and job experience, you have to take at least 35 hours of formal project management training. Then you can apply to take the PMP exam. Finally, pay the fee, pass the test, and add the certification to your resume. These sound like simple steps but passing the exam is no small task. Completing them will be an advantageous experience in so many ways.

Average Salary

Salaries for project managers with a PMP® certification vary by experience. In the United States, the median salary ranges from $108,000 per year for individuals with one to five years of experience to $140,000 per year for those with 10 to 20 years of experience, according to data released by the Project Management Institute. With the certification, you can expect to earn as much as 32% more than project managers who don’t have this credential.

Job Outlook

Project management is a rapidly growing field, and demand for professionals should increase by 33% by 2027. Analysts expect to see 2.3 million job openings each year, with a total of 25 million additional project professionals needed by 2030. This means you should have plenty of job opportunities within the field.


Studying for the PMP Exam?


PMI-ACP® Certification

The PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® certification may not be as well known as the PMP® credential, but it’s still worth considering. Companies worldwide are embracing agile practices, including Scrum and Kanban, and one study reported that the use of Agile in non-tech firms has doubled. Agile teams tend to be more productive, have higher morale, and create better solutions than teams that use a non-Agile approach.

Certification Description

To earn the PMI-ACP® certification, you need a secondary degree at a minimum, along with 21 hours of agile training, one year of general project experience within the last five years, and eight months of agile project experience within the previous two years. If you have earned the PMP or PgMP credentials, you can use that in place of the general project experience requirement.

Average Salary

According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for someone with the PMI-ACP® certification is $130,000 per year. This is more than three times the median salary for workers in the United States and greater than the median salary for business and finance occupations.

Job Outlook

As with PMP® credential holders, the job outlook for someone with a PMI-ACP® certification is very positive. Demand for people with training and certification in agile practices is growing faster than average across the country, and this trend should continue.

Agile vs PMP® Salary: Which Has a Higher Salary Potential?

Determining whether the PMP® or PMI-ACP® certification has greater salary potential is not a simple task because the answer is not entirely clear. This is because of the factors influencing salaries.

Where you work also dramatically affects how much you can expect to earn. For example, project managers in the finance and insurance industries typically earn more than those in construction. You’ll also find that salaries vary between states, as New Mexico, Washington, and New York workers earn more than those in Florida, Montana, and Tennessee.

Adding to the challenge of evaluating salaries is the fact that more people have earned the PMP® certification than the PMI-ACP® credential. The disparity makes it difficult to compare the available salary data. However, as more companies encourage workers to learn and adopt agile practices, the PMI-ACP® certification may gain more popularity.

The winner of the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner vs PMP® salary debate may not be clear, but one thing is. Earning one of these certifications can boost your career—and salary—options. Explore the benefits. Weigh your options. Choose the credential that best suits your professional and personal goals.

Upcoming PMP Certification Training – Live & Online Classes

NameDatePlace
PMP Certification TrainingDec 5,6,7,8
8:30am-6:00pm
Burlington, MAView Details
PMP Certification TrainingJan 30,31,Feb 1,2
8:30am-6:00pm
Burlington, MAView Details
PMP Certification TrainingDec 12-15 & 19-22
12:00pm-4:30pm
Online - Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)View Details
PMP Certification Training
Dec 5,6,7,8 8:30am-6:00pm
Burlington, MA
PMP Certification Training
Jan 30,31,Feb 1,2 8:30am-6:00pm
Burlington, MA
PMP Certification Training
Dec 12-15 & 19-22 12:00pm-4:30pm
Online - Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)


Author profile
PMA Logo
Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO
Director of Product Development at
Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO