How Should I Choose Between a CSM® And PSM™ Certification? 


What’s the difference between CSM® and PSM™? Out there you will find many one-sided or biased “comparisons”. Scrum Alliance and trainers jointly published the following honest comparison of the two recognized Scrum Master certifications on the web.  

There is nothing called the ‘best’ certification because one cannot specifically say that CSM® is better than the PSM™ course or vice versa. It totally depends on what you are searching for in that particular course. The course suits your preferred goals and aims in life that will help you grow.

The History

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As opposed to, where the separation of training and certification is the point of differentiation, the Scrum Alliance offers a unity of communication and certification as its key selling point. Due to these different philosophies, the Scrum Alliance and broke away.

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A Professional Scrum Master™ of must have passed the test – he does not have to attend an official training program. A Certified Scrum Master® of the Scrum Alliance must have attended an official training program.

Certified Scrum Master® (CSM®) is a credential offered by the Scrum Alliance, the first certification to be associated with Scrum. Certified Scrum Trainers (CST) at Scrum Alliance and Professional Scrum Trainers (PST) at are licensed trainers that have passed extremely difficult exams. Trainers must have several years of experience, co-training, and be examined before a committee. To stay certified, trainers must demonstrate continuous improvement through personal development. 

About the Training

If training is not conducted by a licensed trainer (such as a Certified Scrum Trainer or Professional Scrum Trainer) there is no quality control. The trainers often might not have hands-on experience in reality or practical life. In the end, the content of the training is often incorrect, and the didactic quality is often questionable. 

Scrum Alliance and provide largely the same content when it comes to official trainer training. The requirements to gain a certificate and become a successful licensed trainer are also almost similar. It is nevertheless, a requirement that a CSM® workshop is conducted by a licensed member of the Scrum Alliance. Unlike an official PSM™ course, an apparent PSM™ training might not be an official one. Since the exam can be taken with or without training, there might be unlicensed trainers who will simply pay you after you pass the examination.

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It costs between USD400 and USD2500 to achieve CSM® certification, depending on the institution and tuition fee. However, if you do not pass your CSM® exam on your first try, you may retake it within 60 days without paying any additional fees. Professional Scrum Master™ certification exams cost USD150, USD250, and USD500, respectively, depending on the level of certification.

PSM™ and CSM® certification procedures are also different from one another. A CSM® certification can be obtained by attending two days of training at a recognized training institute of one’s choice. In order to obtain the PSM™ certification, you need to pass assessments and exams for all levels. To become a Professional Scrum Master™, you need to pass the assessments and exams.