8 Differences Between PMP And PMI

The major difference between PMP and PMI will be the covered content. While PMP covers project management as a whole, PMI-ACP focuses purely on agile methodology. The time required to gain each qualification is drastically different too, with PMP taking a minimum of 4,500 to 7,000 hours and PMI taking at least 2,000 hours. 

Of course, this is just a short overview of the differences between PMP and PMI. As we go through this page, we will expand upon eight differences between them. This should help you to find the qualification that is right for you.

Remember that while there are differences between PMP and PMI, they are both highly sought-after qualifications. Feel free to go down the route of one if the other seems much more appealing to you.

A Disclaimer

8 Differences Between PMP And PMI

Before discussing the differences between PMP and PMI qualifications, we want to clarify a few things. This way, you are clear when you go through this page.

PMI is the institute that offers both PMP and PMI qualifications. No matter which qualification you opt for, you will be going through PMI to gain it. We understand this may be confusing if you want to see the difference between PMP and PMI. This is because, technically, they can be the same. It is dependent on how you look at it.

Secondly, PMI is a name given to a multitude of qualifications. We will discuss this later on. However, we will be focusing purely on PMI-ACP to begin with. This is because it is the most popular of the PMI-labeled qualifications. It is likely the one that you are considering.

So now that the disclaimer is out the way, let’ investigate what are the main 8 differences between PMP and PMI.

1. Content Covered

8 Differences Between PMP And PMI

Content covered

PMP is a much broader qualification. It covers many different project management methodologies. Those that follow the PMP course will learn much more about delegation and leading from the top. You will learn how to be the main project lead and work with staff one-on-one but generally remain hands-off on the project once it starts.

Related: PMP Vs. PMI: What’s the difference?

The delegation will happen, but more than a full project lead. PMI is different. PMI will focus only on the agile methodologies. Agile methodology is all about adapting projects on the fly. Those with a PMI-ACP qualification will be much more hands-on with a project. They will constantly be adapting things and liaising with their staff members.

2. Prerequisites For Qualifications

8 Differences Between PMP And PMI

Pre-requisites for Qualifications

Before you can even think about gaining either the PMI-ACP or PMP, you must meet some very strict requirements.

Once again, there will be differences between the PMI-ACP and other qualifications that are also listed as PMI. So, if you want a PMI qualification that is different from the PMI-ACP, you will need to look into the individual requirements for that.

The PMI-ACP Prerequisites

You will need at least 12 months of experience on a project over the last five years. This does not necessarily need to be in project management. You need to have worked on some sort of project in a professional environment. This requirement is waived if you have completed the PMP.

Alternatively, you can have eight months of experience in the last three years on a project that has been completed using agile methodologies.

You must also have either a High School diploma or a bachelor’s degree. It doesn’t matter what your degree is.

The PMP Requirements

The PMP requirements are different. This is because you must have experience leading projects, but how many months will depend on the type of qualification you started with.

If You Have a High School diploma or an Associate’s Degree

  • You need to have 60 months of experience leading projects. 

You Have a Four-Year Degree

  • The requirements drop to 36 months of leading projects.

You Have Completed a GAC Program

  • You will need 24 months of experience in project management.

There are no requirements for the project management style that was used. It could be any project management methodology. 

When we consistently consider our 8 differences between PMP and PMI, prerequisites and requirements are important considerations as although one may be held in higher regard, it may not suit your situation so think about it carefully. 

3. The Roles Filled By Holders Of Each Qualification

8 Differences Between PMP And PMI

The Roles Filled By Holders Of Each Qualification

In theory, those who complete the PMP should be able to do the same things as those who complete the PMI-ACP. This means that the role may be broadly the same depending on the organization being worked for. Still, we want to give you an overview of some differences you may see.

You should remember that both of these are internationally recognized qualifications. So, you don’t need to grab one qualification because it has more recognition. Any company that is serious about its project management will know that either of these qualifications requires much effort.

Project Management Methodologies

If you complete the PMI-ACP, you can only lead projects in agile environments. Although, this should be fine since many organizations are moving to agile methods.

PMP will allow work with any leadership style.

Team Interactions

A PMI-ACP qualifier is going to be much more hands-on with the project. They will work closely with their assigned team to complete the assigned project.

A PMP will oversee several teams that are working on a project. Along the way, they will update the stakeholders on whether the project goals are being accomplished. This means that a PMP needs to be more hands-on with the actual completion of the project. They take on a much more managerial role. It is up to the teams under them (many of which will be headed by a PMI-ACP holder) to complete the project.

Overall Management

The PMP will always be looking for problems with their teams. This will likely come from team feedback. The PMP will then work to solve the issues.

A PMI-ACP will identify issues within its own team and manage the project as per agile methodology.


So when considering the 8 differences between PMP and PMI, this shows that each certification fills a specific void in the project management space. 

Both qualifications will lead to a project management position that pays broadly the same amount of money (PMP can sometimes be paid a touch more). However, both jobs require a tremendous amount of work and effort to ensure that the project comes together better.

The PMP will be those people that spend more time managing the project than working on the project. Those that have the PMI-ACP tend to be those that prefer working in small teams rather than overseeing an entire project (although they can do so if they wish). The PMP will be willing to take on the entirety of the management of the project and coordinating teams.

However, both will be roles in project management, and your responsibilities can differ between organizations.

4. Study Time For Qualifications

8 Differences Between PMP And PMI


Gaining both the PMP and the PMI will take considerable study time.

The PMI will be quicker. You will need 21 hours of training in the agile methodology at a PMI-accredited institution. You will also need a couple of hundred hours of study. There is a small amount to learn, though.

Related: PMP Exam Preparation

The PMP will require 35 hours of hands-on study at a PMI-accredited institution. However, self-study can easily stretch into the hundreds and hundreds of hours. There is a lot that needs to be covered with the PMP. Some people may find that studying for the PMP can be tough to fit around their day job due to the intensity of the study.

If you want a quick qualification to attain, then the PMI-ACP is likely the best route to go down. It is a versatile qualification as many companies now follow the agile methodology for project management. It is also the sort of thing that you can easily study for in your spare time without taking a massive risk that you will fail the exam.

5. The Exams

8 Differences Between PMP And PMI


Both the PMP and PMI exams are carried out in the same way. You will have to use a computer at a PMI-accredited institution. There is likely to be one in your local area. You will be recorded throughout the entirety of the exam to ensure that you are not cheating.

Both will not have a set passing percentage. This is because the passing percentage can change depending on the complexity of the questions. Although, of course, you should always aim to complete them to the best of your ability.

The PMP exam is 230 minutes long. You will be asked to answer 180 questions. Some of these questions will be multiple-choice.

The PMI exam is 3-hours long. You will have 120 questions. All of these questions will be multiple choice, making it easier to complete. 

6. The Ease of Completion

8 Differences Between PMP And PMI


Gaining a PMI qualification is going to be a lot easier.

For starters, it will require a lot less experience before you can apply to undertake the course. Many people will start looking into the PMI within three years of starting project management.

In addition to this, the PMI is going to require far less knowledge for the exam. You are focusing on a single project management methodology; agile. Sure, there are multiple agile methodologies, but they all broadly follow the same rules.

You can only start the route toward the PMP once you have at least 60 months working on projects (less with specific qualifications, but we covered that). The PMP covers a broad subject. This means that the study time is much, much more intense.

Many who have undertaken the exams for both qualifications have reported that gaining the PMI is much simpler than the PMP.

8. PMI Allows for Greater Specialization

8 Differences Between PMP And PMI


As we mentioned at the start, to make it easier for us to compare the differences between PMP and PMI, we had to focus on the more popular PMI qualification (PMI-ACP). However, there are other qualifications to hold the PMI label.

All of the qualifications that hold the PMI label are highly specialized. This includes:

  • PMI-PBA (Professional in Business Analysis)
  • PMI-CP (Construction Professional in Built Service Environments)
  • PMI-RP (Risk Management Professional)

There is also a PMI ‘Project Ready’ qualification, which requires no experience and is meant to ease a person into the world of project management. 

This means that some who may not necessarily be interested in PMI-ACP may find that one of the more specialist qualifications would suit their needs better.

Final Thoughts - The Differences Between PMP and PMI

The PMP and PMI are solid qualifications (regardless of which PMI option you choose). Both can lead to an increase in pay and will unlock a wealth of project management positions.

If you are new to project management, then PMI may be the best option to begin with. Many companies now use agile methodology, which is a very flexible qualification. Those who have much more experience in project management may find that the PMP better suits their needs, although it requires a lot more of a time commitment and is much harder to complete.

We hope that these 8 differences between PMP and PMI have helped you make a decision between both certifications. You should do the one that suits your needs and helps you the most in your PM career.

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