Which is better PMI ACP or CSM

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A common question or FAQ is which certification is better PMI ACP or Certified Scrum Master ? Which one should the candidate take ? Which one has a better credibility in Market and industry value ?

In my opinion Both these certifications are reputed., they have their own differences, which I have tried to highlight below




Certified Scrum Master® (CSM)

Certified Scrum Professional (CSP)


PMI ACP intends to standardize what “agile” means across organizations and certify professionals

CSM intent is to promote Scrum

 To offer a recognized, respected and  primary credential for Scrum Professionals. Something which has market value amongst employers.


PMI ACP will cover agile methods like Scrum, kanban, XP, lean, DSDM, TDD, ATDD etc. Principles, practices and tools and techniques

Scrum  Practices, Terminologies  and Principles

In depth coverage of Scrum and practical practices.


Candidate must have overview of Agile and lean methods

Candidate must have in-depth understanding of Scrum

Candidate must have in-depth understanding and experience of Scrum

Developed and Validated

Like PMI certification, developed by global group of agile experts.

Scrum alliance and Global Scrum community

Scrum alliance and Global Scrum community


Valid across all industries

Software industry

Software industry

Experience and Training

2000 hrs Project Exp

1500 hrs Agile Exp (non-overlapping)

21 hrs Agile Training

No Experience Required 2 day Scrum Master class

2000 Hours Current holder of CSM, CSPO or CSD

Current Scrum Alliance Membership

Exam administered


Castle Worldwide

Castle Worldwide

Number of questions




Training required

21 hours of agile training by PMI REP or equivalent

CSM Class: May ONLY be taught by Certified Scrum Trainers. Certified by the Scrum Alliance

None. Requires that you be an existing CSM, CSPO or CSD Which do have training requirements


PMI-ACP ® credential holder will need to earn 30 PDUs in agile project management per three-year cycle

Currently CSM does not expire

 2 year cycles.  Recertification will require maintaining some level of PDUs. The Scrum Alliance traning program will be in place no later than January 2013


Cost of training + Exam Fees

Member Computer based: $335

Non-Member computer based: $435

Member paper based:  $270

Non-Member paper based:  $370

Cost of training (around $1000 to $2000). No additional cost for the exam.You can not take the exam without taking the class.

$300 Registration fee

Requires membership in Scrum Alliance: $100

 However considering ACP is newer certification

  • Some companies may ask for CSM along with PMP or PMI ACP.
  • The CSM training course is important for the Scrum Master, the Product Owner and a newly formed scrum development team who may have never experienced Agile , but understand that CSM is only a training and it may not have any "certification" value like PMI ACP.
  • Check  if agile certification is even necessary for you. If you think employers are asking for ACP or CSP then go for it. Do understand that real life experience is always more valuable.


Small correction: PMI-ACP is a registered trademark now i.e. to be used as PMI-ACP® and not as it appears here.

~ Diba

 I could not well defined the PMI ACP or CSM. I just want to ask, which one would be best for my future perspective career. If there is some one professional then please answer