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PMI ACP vs SAFe – How You Can Choose The Right Certification

With Agile methodologies taking the world by storm, IT companies are moving towards a Scaled Agile framework for better output. They are on the lookout for Agile professionals who have the required competencies to perform as SAFe practitioners and consultants and contribute to an organization’s growth and success in the long run. 

According to a survey by Scaled Agile, the average increase in salary for IT professionals who obtained a certification in SAFe is $1300. With 78% of SAFe-certified professionals stating greater demand for their skills, the SAFe certificate can help candidates become scaled, agile experts.

Not only are Agile professionals in high demand in the IT field, but this also presents a perfect opportunity to pursue the proper Agile certification to set a benchmark for your organization. 

This article will look into the features of a PMI ACP vs SAFe Certification to help you choose the proper agile certification to boost your career. First, let us understand the two certificates and their benefits:

Benefits of SAFe Certification

A SAFe certification helps you with the skills to transform multiple Agile teams into a SAFe framework and foresee the challenges of enterprise adoption. SAFe certified professional is highly valued in an Agile working environment, as they can understand the various value streams in an Agile project. 

This enables them to master the blockages in a project, leading the way to enterprise success. With top IT companies employing SAFe practitioners and consultants rapidly, there has been a 25-30% increase in productivity from applying the Scaled Agile Framework. This shows the high demand for SAFe practitioners and their prospects of landing jobs with high packages. 

A SAFe certification helps you to understand the fundamental Agile principles, focusing on the growth mindset and executing coordinated releases across programs. You can join the network of SAFe experts globally and accelerate your company’s growth with SAFe certification. 

Benefits of PMI ACP Certification

The PMI ACP certification by the Project Management Institute is perfect for agile experts who have experience working in an Agile environment and wishes to upskill. However, with most organizations transforming to the Scaled Agile framework, candidates skilled in the SAFe framework are likely to be prioritized. Moreover, the PMI ACP Certification is influenced by several factors that serve as prerequisites, such as degree, working experience, number of hours of experience, etc. 

One of the significant benefits of pursuing a PMI ACP Certification is that it strengthens your foundational Agile knowledge and makes your approach to agile projects dynamic. 

PMI ACP vs SAFe Comparison

Let’s perform a comparison between the two Agile certifications, PMI ACP vs SAFe, to help you choose the best Agile certification:

  • If we look into the investments for each course, a SAFe certification costs much less than a PMI ACP Certification. While a PMI ACP Certification would cost around $495, a SAFe Certification costs around 38000 plus Taxes.
  • The experience required for both certifications is different. Although anyone can take up a SAFe certificate, candidates with an understanding of at least five years in software development, testing, or business analysis are preferred. 

For PMI ACP Certification, the candidate must have 2000 hours of general project management experience. In addition, the candidate must have procured 1500 hours of experience in an Agile project

This implies that a PMI ACP Certification can be a good prospect for a candidate on an individual level; however, if a participant is looking forward to growing in any organization and scaling the career ladder, a SAFe certification can take him to new heights as the companies are in a transition phase and started to implement SAFe

To conclude, the market demand for SAFe practitioners has increased considerably in the past few years, with SAFe practitioners witnessing serious salary hikes and career advancements. 

Going for a PMI ACP vs SAFe depends entirely on one’s position in the organization. However, a SAFe-certified individual always has the added advantage of being marketable and can always consider going for a PMI ACP certification later to broaden his career prospects once he is eligible. 


  1. Who can apply for a SAFe Certification?

    Anyone willing to grow in their career as a SAFe practitioner can apply for SAFe Certification. However, individuals with 5 years of product development experience and experience in scrum are recommended.

  2. What are the pre-requisite skills for PMI-ACP Certification?

    The prerequisites for PMI-ACP Certification are:
    ◉ Candidates must have 2000 hours of general project experience working with teams.
    ◉ Candidate must have 1500 hours of experience working in an Agile project
    ◉ Candidate must have 21 contact hours of training within an agile project
    ◉ The candidate must have a secondary degree

  3. What is a better certification- SAFE or PMI-ACP?

    If an individual wants to scale heights in an Agile organization, the SAFe certifications are always a better option than PMI-ACP.

  4. Who can apply for PMI-ACP Certification?

    Candidates already working with an agile approach and meeting the eligibility criteria can apply for PMI ACP certification to obtain an overall dynamic knowledge of Agile methodologies.

  5. What is the main difference between PMI ACP Certification and SAFe?

    The main difference between PMI ACP Certification and SAFe is that while the PMI ACP certification revolves around all the Agile methodologies, the SAFe certification is more centered on understanding SAFe as a framework.