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PMI-ACP vs. SAFe Agilist

PMI-ACP vs. SAFe Agilist: What's the Difference?

Dec 25, 20225 mins readAmit Masih
PMI-ACP vs. SAFe Agilist: What's the Difference?

As the digital landscape rapidly changes, job seekers, corporate employees, and consultants must constantly update their skills and knowledge in order to remain relevant in the current job market. Many project management professionals now utilize Agile methods, tools, and principles to deliver projects more efficiently than ever before, making agile project management the standard in the IT and service sectors. In today's competitive job market, staying current with these advances is essential.

Agile certifications can give you an edge if you consider a career change to Agile. With so many Agile certifications available, choosing which one to pursue can be difficult. Among the most sought-after certifications in IT today, SAFe Agilist and PMI-ACP are two of the most sought-after ones. In addition to enhancing your career prospects, these certifications can significantly improve your earnings.

SAFe Agilist

More prominent companies often encounter difficulties when it comes to implementing Agile, mainly established enterprises that are trying to adopt Agile and change their traditional ways of working. SAFe is a framework that offers best practices for introducing Agile on an organizational level, and SAFe certification encompasses all aspects of Agile, including architecture, governance, funding, integration, and roles. Holding a SAFe certification demonstrates your proficiency, hands-on experience, and knowledge in real-world implementations, and it is proof of your expertise in Agile.

SAFe Agilist certification is an excellent option for individuals who wish to be involved in various teams implementing SAFe and are eager to be part of enterprise Agile. Scaled Agile is distinct from general Agile knowledge. It is essential for those who aim to be Agile change agents, managers, and executives to lead large-scale enterprise Agile transformation. This certification is also ideal for executives who have already implemented Agile practices in smaller organizations and are looking to advance to the next level.

Benefits of SAFe certification

Obtaining a SAFe certification equips individuals with the necessary skills to implement the SAFe framework across multiple Agile teams and anticipate the challenges of enterprise adoption. SAFe-certified professionals are highly sought after in Agile working environments, as they can identify and overcome project obstacles, leading to enterprise success.

With many top IT companies rapidly hiring SAFe practitioners and consultants, organizations have seen a 25-30% increase in productivity through the Scaled Agile Framework, highlighting the high demand and potential for high-earning jobs for SAFe-certified professionals. A SAFe certification allows individuals to understand fundamental Agile principles thoroughly, emphasizing a growth mindset and the coordination of program releases. It also provides the opportunity to join a global network of SAFe experts and accelerate the growth of your organization with the SAFe framework.


The PMI-ACP certification is a sought-after certification for professionals who have been practicing Agile values and principles in their daily work and are seeking to advance to a leadership position. To qualify for the PMI-ACP certification, applicants must have 2,000 hours of experience working on project teams and 1,500 hours of experience with Agile methodologies or project teams. They must complete 21 hours of Agile training and pass the examination. The PMI-ACP is comparable to the mid-level CSP offered by the Scrum Alliance. Companies shifting to an Agile environment and implementing various Agile techniques often prefer to hire individuals with PMI-ACP certification.

The PMI-ACP certification is ideal for organizations adopting an Agile framework to achieve high-end project goals. It covers the Scrum framework and includes XP, Kanban, Lean, and other frameworks. The PMI-ACP certification exam is considered more rigorous when compared to basic Scrum Master certifications, and it is recommended that individuals undertake online or classroom training before taking the examination.

Benefits of PMI ACP Certification

The PMI ACP certification, offered by the Project Management Institute, is well-suited for professionals with experience working in an Agile environment and looking to enhance their skills. However, with many organizations shifting to the Scaled Agile Framework, individuals with knowledge of the SAFe framework may be given preference. Additionally, the PMI ACP certification has certain prerequisites, including education level, work experience, and the number of hours of experience.

A key advantage of obtaining a PMI ACP certification is that it strengthens your fundamental Agile knowledge and enhances your approach to Agile projects, making it more adaptable.

SAFe or PMI-ACP: which certification is better?

When considering a certification, it's essential to evaluate potential career opportunities. Factors such as job security, level of responsibility, stress level, income, and other benefits should be considered when selecting a profession. Choosing between SAFe Agilist and PMI-ACP certifications can be challenging. If you work with large teams in a big organization, SAFe Agilist certification may be a better fit.

However, PMI-ACP certification may be a better option if you're seeking general training in various Agile methodologies that can be applied in any organization. Additionally, factors such as your years of experience, previous work experience, company size, and finances may also play a crucial role in your decision. Ultimately, the best choice will depend on your work experience and personal preferences.

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