The steps to complete your PMI-ACP application are:
That’s it! Broken down into those four steps, the application process for agile certification looks easy. While it might take you some time, it is straightforward, especially if you have all the appropriate information to hand before you get started.
Becoming agile is a strategic priority for 91% of organizations nowadays, so you can see why there is the demand for agile practitioners.
Let’s dive into each of those steps in detail to walk you through the whole process.
First, check if you are eligible to take the agile certified practitioner exam. To be eligible, you must meet all of the following criteria:
Alternatively, if you hold a higher degree, you can prove your eligibility if you meet all of these requirements:
It’s also worth noting that if you already hold the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification or the Program Management Professional® certification, then your experience for that counts towards your PMI agile application. In other words, PMI has already got your records that demonstrate you have adequate experience, so you don’t need to add additional general project management experience: you already meet those requirements.
“After 2 months of intensive effort (3 Hours average during 5 days in a week), I cleared my PMI-ACP certification in my first attempt,” says Liju Thomas, PMP, PMI-ACP. “I already have my PMP, so the application process for PMI-ACP was easier as they considered my general project management experience requirements from my PMP application.”
If you do hold the PMP or PgMP certificates, you only have to include your agile experience on your application.
The application process can take some time, so it is helpful to have all your documents and information ready before you start completing the online form. It can also help to talk to your colleagues. If you know they have applied for the exam, ask if you could see what they included as a PMI-ACP application sample to base yours on (obviously don’t copy).
For each agile project, collect the following information:
It’s also helpful to draft a paragraph for each agile project experience that you’ll use later when you come to transfer this information into your application form. Describe the project’s objectives and outcomes, and specify what your role was and what you were responsible for.
PMI-ACP application experience example:
Goal: To deliver an upgrade to our incident management software. As the project manager, I led the team, working closely with the supplier and internal IT colleagues to scope, schedule and deliver the work.
Aim for this to be 100-500 words and make it as detailed and relevant as possible. For example, if your job title was Scrum Master, you can reference how you followed the Scrum principles.
For each general experience project, collect the following information:
In addition, write a paragraph that describes the project’s objectives, the outcome and deliverables, your role in the work and what you were responsible for. This should be between 100-500 words.
Use the PMI-ACP exam outline to review the topics that are tested with the exam. These are the topics you should try to highlight in your application, so if you can mention a few relevant principles, deliverables, project management techniques and so on, that will help demonstrate your readiness.
Did you realize that you can claim agile projects in this section, as general experience? This is perfect if all your experience has been in agile projects to date.
While you are collecting documentation, think ahead to the application process. PMI selects a percentage of applications to be audited. If you are audited, you will need to provide evidence of your education and projects.
Gather together anything you might need to submit should you be selected for audit, including copies of certificates or registration information from training vendors. Talk to your senior stakeholders and your manager to make sure they are prepared to support your application should you need them to.
There are three sections on the form: education, experience and exam details. Here is how to fill in the PMI-ACP application.
Fill out the education section of the form. Enter your institution, the field of study, the country of study and the years you attended. If your course and education meets the criteria, you’ll see a green tick appear in the Education summary section.
Next, add your professional education. This has to be a formal experience, not time spent reading the Agile Practice Guide or self-directed learning, although those are both good activities to help you prepare for the exam!
Enter the provider name, course name, the months the course ran for and the qualifying hours you earned from the course. If your professional education meets the criteria, you’ll see the professional education summary section show a green tick.
Next, click through to add your agile project experience. Complete the boxes on the screen, including around 200-500 words that describe the experience. Remember, you’re trying to demonstrate that you have experience of working with Agile principles and are eligible to take the exam, so focus on talking about the agile aspects of your role and how the project was run. Click to save your first experience.
Under the experience box you’ll then see another link that lets you add additional experience, so you can keep going until the experience summary box shows that you have added at least 8 months of experience.
If a project is still in progress, you can tick the box to say that, which means you don’t have to add an end date.
The screenshot below shows what the domain experience section of the PMI-ACP application looks like, to give you an idea of what you will be expected to complete.
Then move on to complete your general experience. PMI expects you to add 12 months of experience here, and again you can add that as several projects as long as they do not overlap.
Use the prep you have done and type the details into the form.
The third and final step of the application form is the exam details page. Choose the country where you intend to take the exam and add your personal details, such as your address, email address, phone number and how you wish your name to appear on the certificate.
At this point, you can specify if you need any exam accommodations. You also have to agree to the terms and conditions and confirm that the information you have provided is accurate.
If you can’t finish the form in one sitting, don’t worry. PMI will save your form in its partially-completed state for 90 days and you can come back and edit it at any time.
When you’re happy with the data you have entered, the final step is to click the purple ‘Submit application’ button and send the form off through the internet to PMI!
You’re done. Now you have to wait for your application to be reviewed and processed, so try to focus on something else until you hear back, as it could be a little while before you get a response. Why not get a head start on your reading by choosing some PMI-ACP books to study with?
By this point, you might be wondering if it’s worth it? It absolutely is! Around 44% of Scrum Masters holding a certificate earn more than $100,000. In comparison, if you compare salaries for non-certificate holders, only 18% of that group earn more than $100,000. It’s definitely worth working towards a credential to see your earning power improve.
Application processing normally takes around 10 days. Once your application has been processed and a check has been made to ensure it is complete, PMI will contact you to either request payment or tell you that you have been selected for audit (the section below has more help for candidates who have been selected for audit).
PMI will send the instructions to you, but essentially you can log back into the application system and pay for the exam online.
Once it is paid for, you have a year to schedule and sit your exam. You’ll find out whether you have passed on the day of the exam and if you have passed, your PMI-ACP certificate will be posted to you.
PMI has an audit process that selects applications at random for audit. This process helps ensure the quality of the certification. There is a chance that your application will get selected for audit. The process is totally random, so if you are selected, it is not a reflection on the quality of your application. You will be contacted by email before you pay the exam fee if you have been selected for audit (so if you receive the request to pay, breathe a sigh of relief! You have not been selected.)
The audit process seeks to verify that the information on your application is correct, and as it is (isn’t it?), there should be no problem providing the evidence to support your eligibility.
If you are selected, familiarize yourself with the relevant policies related to audit procedures outlined by PMI in the PMI-ACP handbook so you can answer questions proactively or address potential issues before they arise during the process.
PMI will ask you for relevant documentation and you can submit it to them for review. The kinds of things they will ask for include:
Prepare a well-organized audit package detailing your professional achievements and qualifications, including certifications, awards, training courses taken, projects completed, and providing all the information requested by PMI.
Here are a few more tips for getting through the audit in a low-stress way:
Once you submit your audit package, the audit process itself for PMI agile applications should take 5-7 business days, so you won’t have long to wait.
Now you know the whole process for completing your PMI Agile Certified Practitioner application. You know the exact steps to follow. With the process out the way, it’s time to start preparing for your exam.
Our proven PMI-ACP exam simulator will help you build your confidence and drill down into the topics where you need to spend more time studying. It’s the perfect tool to help you get test ready. Why not check it out today?
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