Welcome to PremierAgile! Avail a Flat 15% Discount Across all our certification courses Avail Zero Interest EMI Mega Offer! Save up to INR 22000 when you buy our Advanced course Combo packages


With an objective to enable continuous learning and progression for our learners, PremierAgile curated several learning articles. Out of a wide range of topics, you can choose to learn from the real-world experiences by practitioners in the areas of Agile, Scrum, Product Ownership, Scaling, Agile Leadership, Tools & Frameworks, latest market trends, new innovations etc.

CSM Vs. PMI-ACP Certification

As an Agilist, how can you make a difference between PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner) and CSM (Certified Scrum Master)? Even if you are unknown to the fact, there is nothing to worry about as this article will help you to know about the actual difference between CSM and PMI-ACP Certification.

The CSM is referred to as the first logical step to enhance your Agile education. In this course, you will cover terminology, principles, and practices. You can experience all of these aspects while using Agile methodology. Moreover, this course enables you to do the 2-day CSM class, and it does not need any certain kind of hands-on experience. Once you are done with the 2-day class, the test would be conducted.

When it is about PMI-ACP, it needs a specific amount of hands-on practical experience when you use the Agile methodology. Tools, principles, practices, and techniques across different Agile methodologies (Lean, Scrum, TDD, SDSM, XP, Kanban, etc.) are covered in this course. If you really want to get PMI-ACP certification, the eligibility is to have 1,500 hours dealing with Agile methodologies and 2,000 hours of general project experience. For more information, you can go on reading further.

How is PMI-ACP Different from CSM Certification?

As mentioned above, PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner), it is a project management certification issued by the PMI Institute and covers the breadth of Agile frameworks without going into any depth. PMI has been contributing to several professionals in the space of project management. 

On the other hand, the certification of CSM (Certified Scrum Master) is aimed to give more depth of the Scrum framework in Agile practices and principles. The CSM qualification takes place from Scrum Alliance, which is a non-profit organization. While analyzing PMI-ACP and CSM certification, you should notice one thing. When you choose CSM, you will get a deeper understanding of the Scrum Framework.

Why Should You Go with CSM?
  • If you are the one working in a company that uses Scrum Framework and wants to make a career by focusing on Scrum practices, values, and demonstrations, you can definitely go with CSM certification. The CSM is the basic Scrum certification that you can begin with. 
  • However, as compared to PMI-ACP, CSM (Certified Scrum Master) certification would be more recommendable as it exhibits your Scrum knowledge and would bring benefits to achieve Scrum Master Roles too. 
  • It is a foundation-level certification to understand Scrum in a lot of depth. Understand Scrum values, roles, events, artifacts, and the associated practices in detail.

Essential Details You Should Know About CSM and PMI-ACP

If you check out the in-depth details of CSM and PMI-ACP given below, you can make your findings much easier to refer to. Let us check out one by one.

Exam Procedure:

The CSM exam consists of 50 questions out of which one has to answer a minimum of 37 questions correctly within 60 minutes time-frame to clear the exam. And there are two additional free attempts also available to take within 90 days after receiving the email from Scrum Alliance in case you fail the first exam. 

The PMI-ACP consists of 120 questions and the candidate has 3 hours to complete the text. As the exam is based on the sound psychometric analysis the passing score is always different for each individual set and the estimated passing score would be 70% based on the trainer's suggestions. Like CSM, the PMI-ACP has a second free attempt if a candidate fails in the first attempt.


The fee for the CSM course includes both the training fee and exam fee, one will get the certificate after clearing the CSM exam.

The Course fee for PMI-ACP does not include the exam fee. And the exam will vary based on the membership with PMI. For PMI members the exam fee is US$435.00 whereas for Non-PMI members the exam fee is US$495.00.

However, the price of the courses is not fixed as it varies based on the training institute, trainer availability, location, etc.

Certifications Validity:

You must renew the CSM course after two years by earning 20 SEUs and paying $100.  PMI-ACP is a cycle of three years in which credential holders should earn 30 PDUs in Agile project management per three-year cycle. The renewal fee varies on the membership with PMI. For PMI Members the renewal fee is USD 60 whereas for the Non-PMI Members the renewal fee is USD 150.

Delivered By:

Certified Scrum Trainers who are certified by the Scrum Alliance are the ones who teach CSM courses. Besides, the PMI-ACP course can be guided by PMI-ACP certified, but one should need 21 hours of training. However, the PMI institute suggests getting PDUs from Registered Education Providers. 

Which Certification is the Best for You?

If you are aiming to begin a certification journey within the context of Agile, CSM can be a good start for you. From an investment point of view, CSM is the best in terms of time and effort. In addition, it has great industry-wide recognition. Besides, it offers a 2-day CSM course, which is also suitable for doing PMI-ACP certification by paying a separate fee. It is highly recommended to go for CSM as the very first certification; however, the exception is that in case your company is concentrated on broader Agile concepts rather than Scrum. Everything depends on your primary focus. If your primary focus is on a combination of different approaches and agility of project management, you would better choose PMI-ACP certification but after gaining a deeper understanding of Scrum in CSM. 


The majority of the people get confused to choose the right project management certification that is better from their career point of view. However, this article would benefit you a lot as it helps to know about the actual facts and details of CSM and PMI-ACP certification. Thus, you can make the right choice regarding the course that suits you. Above all, both the designations are valuable and beneficial in their own stand, and you can spot them out right here in this article.

  1. https://www.pmi.org/certifications/agile-acp
  2. https://www.scrumalliance.org/get-certified/scrum-master-track/certified-scrummaster


Useful Links:

Scrum Product Owner Online Course ClevelandAdvanced CSPO Certification Training BristolA-CSPO Course Saint LouisCSPO Course Training Colorado SpringsScrum Master Course OaklandProduct Owner Online Course New HavenAdvanced Product Owner Certification IndianapolisProduct Owner Training Colorado SpringsScrum Master Certification Training Cape TownCSPO Online Course Mumbai



Is a passionate learner and blogger on Agile, Scrum and Scaling areas. She has been following and practicing these areas for several years and now converting those experiences into useful articles for your continuous learning.