CSM vs PSM: Main Differences Between CSM & PSM Certification

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21st Apr, 2023
CSM vs PSM: Main Differences Between CSM & PSM Certification

Scrum is an Agile framework that helps teams collaborate and succeed in a development environment where the requirements are rapidly evolving. Teams following Scrum methods are encouraged to work in a transparent manner, self-organize while working on a problem, and continually improve themselves through self-reflection. Leading IT-based organizations and companies are looking to hire candidates who are familiar with the Agile and Scrum framework, principles and processes. To know about PSM vs CSM and Scrum interview questions.

Scrum Framework

A recent article published by Forbes Magazine says that IT professionals with certifications are earning an average of $17,000 more per year than the median IT certification salary. From an employee perspective, certifications let you demonstrate additional qualifications on your resume in addition to getting hired faster. 

The Scrum Master tutorial will give you a better understanding of the roles, responsibilities, and skills involved.

The demand for certified Scrum professionals is on the rise, and the Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) and Professional Scrum Master (PSMTM) are the two industry-recognized certifications that can add value to your Scrum career.

Know more about CSM vs PSM.

Main Differences Between CSM & PSM Certification

Let’s understand what the differences between the two are, so that you can make an informed choice between the two.

Accrediting Bodies 

The Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) is a credential from Scrum Alliance®; a non-profit organization that provides guidance on agile practices, principles, and values. The Professional Scrum Master (PSM™) is offered by Scrum.org, an organization that was founded by Ken Schwaber, the co-creator of Scrum; and seeks to improve professionalism in Scrum training across the world. 

Duration of Training 

Both CSM and PSM training courses have a duration of 2 days (14 to 16 hours) each. The CSM course is led by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®), while the PSM course is led by a Professional Scrum TrainerTM (PST). 

Levels of Training 

The CSM credential has one level only, while the PSM is offered at two levels; PSM I and PSM II.  

Learning Outcomes 

As a CSM, you will be well equipped to help the Scrum team perform at their maximum capability, overcoming obstacles and guiding them on the Scrum framework. A CSM is considered a ‘servant leader’ who leads through example and essentially facilitates the team members to achieve project success. 

People who have successfully achieved the PSM I demonstrate a foundational level of Scrum mastery and are well-versed in the terminology and approach to Scrum. Passing the PSM II acknowledges a deeper understanding of Scrum principles and the ability to apply Scrum in complex situations. 

Certification Process


  • You will be required to attend a mandatory live online or in-person course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®), or get coached by a Certified Agile Coach (CAC). The duration will be 14 to 16 hours of training. 
  • On course completion, you will need to take the 50 questions CSM test. To achieve the passing score, you must answer 37 out of the 50 questions correctly within the 1 hour time limit. 
  • On passing the CSM test, you will be asked to accept the CSM License Agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile. You will get the membership for a duration of 2 years. 


  • Taking a course is not mandatory, and if you feel you already have the required level of Scrum knowledge, you can apply to write the PSM I Exam. However, undertaking the course will get you well-prepared to pass the exam on your first attempt. 
  • Study well, and check the resources available to help you prepare. 
  • The PSM I Assessment contains 80 questions to be answered within a time limit of 1 hour. If you pass the assessment, you will receive the PSM I certification and a logo. 

What is the passing grade?

To pass the CSM exam, you must secure at least 37 out of 50 possible marks. This is considered to be easier to achieve than a passing grade in the PSM exam. 

In PSM I, the passing criteria are quite tough, as you will have to complete 80 questions and achieve at least 85% (this is not accurately defined by Scrum.org) to get the Professional Scrum Master certificate. 

Exam Format

While CSM contains multiple-choice questions, the PSM certifications are a mix of multiple-choice questions, multiple-answer questions, and some true/false questions. The PSM I will test you on the facts of Scrum as well as some scenario-based questions. 

PSM vs CSM: Head-to-head Comparison

Accreditated ByThe Scrum AllianceScrum.org
PrerequisitesAttending a CSM®️ course taught by a Scrum Alliance's Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)®️None
TrainingMandatory training by Certified Scrum Trainers before the test.Training is not mandatory. But certification training by Professional Scrum Trainers is helpful in acing the test.
Exam Pattern and Question Formats

Questions - 50 MCQs

Time - 1 hour

Questions - 80 MCQs and true/false questions.

Time - 1 hour.

Passing Score37 out of 5068 out of 80

Renews every two years.

Renewal Fee - $100 SEUs (Scrum Educational Units) - 20 

Valid for a lifetime;

Renewal not required

What is Next?

Certified Scrum Master (CSM) Advanced

CSM Certified Scrum Professional

Scrum Master Certified Team Coach or Certified Enterprise Coach or Certified Scrum Trainer

Professional Scrum Master I  

Professional Scrum Master II

Professional Scrum Master III

Professional Scrum Master Trainer (Train-the-trainer certification)

Top Cities where Knowledgehut Conduct CSM Certification Training Course Online

CSM Certification in BangaloreCSM Certification in SydneyCSM Certification in Chennai
CSM Certification in New YorkCSM Certification in LondonCSM Certification in Chicago
CSM Certification in SingaporeCSM Certification in Pune CSM Certification in Washington
CSM Certification in TorontoCSM Certification in DubaiCSM Certification in Los Angeles
CSM Certification in HyderabadCSM Certification in MelbourneCSM Certification in Atlanta

Difficulty Level of the Exams

It is generally understood that the Certified ScrumMaster test is relatively easier than the PSM 1 and PSM 2. To appear for the CSM, attending a 2 day training is mandatory and you will get adequately prepared to sit the exam and achieve a passing score. However, PSM does not have a mandatory requirement of attending training classes, and many students who have not attended a training workshop therefore find that their preparation is inadequate.

How much does it cost?

There is no standard fee for the CSM exam, as typically the exam attempt is clubbed with the course.  However, the fee range for the course is typically from 1000 USD to 1400 USD. 

The PSM costs $150 USD per exam attempt. If you join a training course, your first exam attempt is free. 

What is the Renewal Duration?

  • You have to renew your CSM credential every two years, by collecting 20 SEUs and paying the renewal fee of $100. 
  • On the other hand, there is no need to renew your PSM credentials. Once you get the PSM credential, it has lifetime validity. 

How consistent is the training content? 

The CSM program content varies from trainer to trainer, as Scrum Alliance only provides broad guidelines for the Curriculum, and trainers are free to interpret it in their own ways. PSM comes with a standard agenda that must be followed across all training institutes. 

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Knowledge of Scrum is one of the most sought-after skills in recent times, and both the CSM and PSM are highly respected credentials in the Scrum world. While the CSM is preferred by many as it is considered an easier exam to pass, it requires renewal of the credential every two years. The PSM, though it comes with a slightly more difficult assessment, is valid for a lifetime. 

We hope we’ve helped you to make an informed choice! If you still can’t make up your mind, connect with any of our counselors by filling out our contact form and getting the answers you seek. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Good luck on your Agile journey!

CSM vs PSM: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is CSM better than PSM? 

No, CSM and PSM are both certifications provided by globally recognized accreditation bodies. Both the certifications have their unique advantages. CSM is offered by Scrum Alliance while PSM is offered by Scrum.org. There are other organizations as well that offer similar certifications in Scrum. The major difference between the two certifications is that CSM certification is valid for two years, after which it will need to get renewed, while the PSM certification comes with a lifetime validity.  

Q. Are CSM and PSM the same? 

No, CSM and PSM are both certifications targeting Scrum masters, however these certifications are offered by different certification bodies. CSM certification requires the candidate to undergo training and pass a qualifying exam, whereas training is optional for PSM certification.

Q. Is CSM certification worth it? 

Yes, CSM is one of the most popular Scrum certifications around the world. It provides a solid understanding of how to perform the Scrum role in a team. It is recognized globally, and it adds value to your profile if you work or intend to work in Scrum teams. 

Q. Is it worth getting a PSM? 

Yes, PSM is an in-demand certification that will help you in understanding Scrum concepts and the role of a Scrum master. The certification also comes with a lifetime validity. 


Richard Paul

Blog Author

Richard Paul is seasoned professional of the project management domain. He during his tenure has to his credit many successful projects. In his leisure time, he writes and educates his audience on the latest in project management. He can be contacted for coursework assistance by following him on social media channels.

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