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How Much an ACP Certification Increase Salary?

ACP certification holder

What is ACP certification?

After years of investigation, PMI has found that many project requirements are constantly changing. The sources of the change are diversified. Some of them are due to the customer, some of them are due to the changing environment, some are due to the uncertainty of the technology, and so forth. In a word, “Changing” is the only constant factor of project management.

Among all projects with changing scope, teams with less than 10 members can’t push the project at all by applying the traditional thinking of “plan before work”. Therefore, PMI advocates adopting the agile method to manage changing projects, and officially launched PMI agile certified practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification in 2011, which is the ability of project managers to respond to the changes quickly.

PMI-ACP certification is an agile management professional certification, which aims to help project management practitioners cope with changes in team needs and have the ability to respond quickly, help project teams deliver business value smoothly, and meet customer expectations and needs.

ACP certification holder

In nowadays, the era of the internet, every project is all about delivering products fast and rapidly. Rapid response and efficient innovation have become the “standard” demand of either enterprise development or project-level software development. Globalization, big data, and mobile Internet have become the new normal for all Internet plus enterprises. How to cope with complex and changeable needs, how to evolve iteratively, how to win quickly and how to optimize continuously become the fundamental problems that enterprises must think about. These are the connotations of “agile”.

If you’re experienced using agile approaches, have good collaboration skills, eagerly embrace complexity and thrive on rapid response times, then your talents are in demand.

From the people who brought you the PMP®, the PMI-ACP formally recognizes your knowledge of agile principles and your skill with agile techniques. Show your peers, employers, and stakeholders that your agile knowledge runs deep.

Created by agility for agilists, the PMI-ACP is one of the PMI’s fastest-growing certifications, and it’s no wonder. Organizations that are highly agile and responsive to market dynamics complete more of their projects successfully than their slower-moving counterparts—75 percent versus 56 percent—as shown in PMI’s 2015 Pulse of the Profession® report.

The PMI-ACP spans many approaches to agile such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, extreme programming (XP), and test-driven development (TDD.) So it will increase your versatility, wherever your projects may take you.

How much does an ACP certification increase the salary

From the previous contents, we can see that PMI-ACP certification is very valuable for practicing project management of rapidly changing requirements. Then, how much an ACP certification would increase the salary of everyday project management?

There is more room for the Internet industry to appreciate and raise wages, whether you are in China or in some other country. The Internet industry is a rapidly developing industry, the introduction and demand of excellent talents are increasing, the birth and application of agile ideas are constantly throughout the Internet market; For example, some enterprises of mainland China have a subsidy of 600 CHY per month for ACP certificate holders. In the USA, this kind of subsidy could be up to 500 US dollars in some organizations.

On the other hand, it is also a pass for human resources to introduce talents. For now, there is much evidence that the market demand for Scrum Master (a major category of the agile practitioner) is strong:

  1. Every year, LinkedIn publishes a list of “most promising jobs.”. Scrum master ranked 10th on the list in 2017. LinkedIn reported that the median basic salary was $100,000, growing up 104% year-on-year. Software developers: 11th on the list, with a median base salary of $94000 and an annual growth rate of 13%. Forbes listed Scrum master as one of the top 25 jobs in the United States, ahead of a data scientist.
  2. “The demand for Agile coaches far exceeds the supply,” said Hunter Gibson, a recruiter in San Francisco.
  3. In the first few months of 2018, two of the three major management consulting firms delivered some message about the market demand of Agile coaches. One of them recruited 20 Agile coaches, and the other recruited a lot more agile coaches than recruiters had seen before.

Next, let’s turn our attention to understanding the compensation of Agile coaches and Scrum masters. We don’t care about the difference between “Scrum master” and “Agile coach,” but simply quote the terms used by the organization.

Our results are shown in the table below, regarding the full-time position.

Organization Title Compensation Location
Public company Scrum Master $160K/yr plus 10% bonus SF/SV*
Private health tech Scrum Master $125K (unknown bonus) SV
NA Agile coach $150K/yr (unknown bonus) SF/SV
Public company Scrum Master $180K/yr (unknown bonus) SF/SV
Bank Agile coach $190K/yr plus 20% bonus and $15K signing bonus SF/SV
Public company Agile coach $160K/year (unknown bonus) SF
Public technology Agile coach $200K/yr plus 20% bonus and $10K signing bonus SV

*(SF/SV: San Francisco, Silicon Valley)

How to apply and maintain the certification?

What are the prerequisites of the PMI-ACP certification exam?

  1. Secondary degree
  2. 21 contact hours of training in agile practices
  3. 12 months of general project experience within the last 5 years. A current PMP® or PgMP® will satisfy this requirement but is not required to apply for the PMI-ACP.
  4. 8 months of agile project experience within the last 3 years

How to gain and maintain your PMI-ACP?

  1. The certification exam has 120 multiple-choice questions and you have three hours to complete it.
  2. To maintain your PMI-ACP, you must earn 30 professional development units (PDUs) in agile topics every three years.


In summary, this article presents what is PMI-ACP certification and why do we need it? And discuss how much salary would possibly increase after gaining the ACP certification. And finally, at the end of the article, we introduce the detailed method of applying and maintaining the ACP certification. You can check out 591Lab for PMI-ACP study materials.

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