PMI ACP VS CSM; Which One Is Better?

What is PMI ACP Certification?

The term ACP stands for Agile Certified Practitioner and PMI stands for Project Management Institution. It is a certification, which is most suitable for professional project managers with enough work experience. This certification is in high demand in almost every industry you can think of as the position of project managers is a very crucial role itself at CSM. This certification will add competency proof to your resume and will concrete your professional skills.

What is the CSM Certification?

CSM Certification or Certified ScrumMaster is an entry-level qualification that is developed to portray the vast world of management and its various aspects to the aspirants, who aim to become a Scrum Practitioner. This certification teaches the candidates scrum values, team management, clutter reduction, accountability, individual productivity, achieving goals etc. This does not require much more than a good training session to get yourself ready for the exam.

Differences between PMI ACP and CSM

  • Topics covered –

PMI-ACP will cover topics like Scrum, Kanban, Lean, XP, SDSM, TDD

CSM goes through Scrum technology, principles and practices.

  • Experience required –

PMI ACPgenerally looks for experienced individuals with 2000 hrs of working in projects with 1500 hrs of Agile Experience and 21 hrs of training.

CSM just wants you to have a proper training session done before appearing in the exam, which is generally a 2 days or 16 hours course.

  • Exam pattern –

PMIACPexam consists of 120 MCQ questions, among which 20 are pre-tests, which means these 20 will not affect your overall score. There is an amount fixed by the authority to appear in this exam.

CSM exam consists of 35 MCQ questions, and it also has a pass-fail category. Twenty-four questions have to be answered correctly to pass the exam. The first attempt is free, but after that, each attempt will cost you very little.

  • Purpose of the certification –

PMI-ACP wants to teach you the complete Agile Management and its importance, application, and usefulness across the organization.

CSM only focuses on scrum roles, scrum events, scrum clarification, scrum activities etc.

  • Validity –

PMI-ACP is valid for three years, but you have to earn 30 PDUs per three years to renew it.

CSM expires in two years, and you can definitely renew it after that time period by going through some set processes. 

  • Taught by-

PMI-ACP can be taught by anyone, but as per the PMIrecommendation, it must be taught by registered authority only.

Trained scrum masters from scrum alliance should only provide CSM training.

  • Exam fees-

PMI ACPfees for members are around $435 for computer-based, $385 for paper-based, and $60 for renewal and for non-members, these numbers are $495, $445, $150 respectively.

CSM exam will cost you no money, though the training classes may cost you anywhere from $1000 to $2000. Although some places will give you the chance to pay what you can.

  • Salary expectation-

PMI-ACP certified individuals can expect almost $123000 on an average per annum.

CSM certified scrum masters will get around $94000 of average salary per year.

Which one should you go for?

There is no clearly defined answer to this question, as every certification has its benefits to the candidates. This may sound like a competitive edge to you, which may not look that attractive to others. So it cannot be said that this PMIACPis better than CSM or vice versa. Depending upon your career choices and preferences, you are the ultimate decision-maker. You should know what you want and how you want your career to look like in the future. Both the certifications have their places and their benefits. So without any proper research, do not jump into conclusion and choose any one of them out of impatience. Do your research, know where you are and where you want to be and choose the best-suited certification for you.


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