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Differences Between PSM and CSM Certification

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Differences Between PSM and CSM Certification

Agile Methodology has many frameworks that are being used by many companies in today’s world. Scrum is one of the most implemented frameworks used by most organizations as it gives an increased advantage to the company to expand its business value. Scrum is an iterative framework where a functional Scrum team consists of a Product Owner, ScrumMaster, and Developers. The Product Owner interacts with the customers to understand the product’s vision and makes a product backlog that includes all the features that have to be developed to create and improve the product. The ScrumMaster is a servant leader who controls the Scrum Development Team and helps them achieve their goal by solving any impediments that the Development Team faces. The Development Team is the core team that develops the product and adds its features through Sprints. 

When a product has to be developed for a customer, the Scrum team continuously delivers improvements to keep the product updated and relevant to the market. After this, the Development Team adds new features to the product in Sprints, which may last from one to four weeks. This continues until all the features of the product are fully integrated. However, in today’s world, the market seems to fluctuate rapidly, and new features have to be added for the product to compete in the market. Hence, the Scrum Team needs to deliver continuous improvement to enhance the business value, and the customer is satisfied. The ScrumMaster has a crucial role to play for the Development Team to function efficiently. A Scrum Team’s success is mainly dependent on the performance of all its members. The ScrumMaster has to ensure that all the members work effectively; hence, for a company to be successful should have an eligible and proficient ScrumMaster who has complete knowledge of Scrum and its principles. The Certified ScrumMaster and the Professional Scrum Master are two such certifications that could make any professional an expert in the Scrum framework. But which certificate is the best, and what is the difference between PSM and CSM? Read on to find the differences between these courses.


Differences Between CSM and PSM


Certified Scrum Master 

Professional Scrum Master

Accreditation/ Governing Body

The candidate has to attend training sessions and pass a test by the Scrum Alliance to get the certified ScrumMaster certification. 

The candidate has to pass a test by to get certified as a Professional Scrum Master.


The individual has to attend training sessions that are handled by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). 

The individual does not require to attend any training to give the test. However, a training session is optional and could be taken by candidates to enhance their skills.


There are no eligibility criteria to attend the Certified ScrumMaster certification. Anyone who is interested can take part.

There are no eligibility criteria to attend the Professional ScrumMaster certification. Anyone who is interested can take part.

Costs of training/certification

The Cost of certification varies as it depends on the institute, location, and other factors. However, the course registration fee also includes the exam fee and no separate exam fee is collected.

The Cost of certification varies as it depends on the institute, location, and other factors. However, the course registration fee also includes the exam fee and no separate exam fee is collected.

Salary according to PayScale

According to PayScale, the average salary of a Certified ScrumMaster is $90k 

According to PayScale, the average salary of a Professional ScrumMaster is $90k

Exam Pattern 

The exam is in the form of Multiple Choice Questions where the candidate gets 50 MCQs in total. The time given to complete the test is 1 hour.

The PSM exams are relatively tougher and consist of 80 questions which are a mix of multiple-choice, multiple questions and answers and true/ false questions.  The time given to complete the certification exam is 1 hour.

Passing criteria

The candidate has to answer a minimum of 37 questions correct out of 50 to pass the exam.

The candidate has to score a minimum of 85% in the exam which is they have to get 68 questions correct out of 80 questions to qualify the exam.

Advanced Certifications

The Certification courses are completed in the following order:

  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
  • Advanced- CSM
  • Certified Scrum Professional- ScrumMaster
  • Certified Team Coach or Certified Enterprise Coach or Certified Scrum Trainer.

The certification courses are completed in the following manner:

  • Professional Scrum Master I
  • Professional Scrum Master II
  • Professional Scrum Master III
  • Professional Scrum Master Trainer (Train-the-trainer certification)

Re-certification/ Renewal 

The CSM certification is valid only for 2 years. 

The PSM certification is valid for a lifetime.

Renewal Requirements

The requirement to renew the CSM certification is that the candidate should pay a renewal fee of $100 and also submit 20 SEUs (Scrum Educational Units). 


Certified ScrumMaster Certification

The Certified Scrum Master Certification is a gateway for individuals to start their journey as a Scrum Professional. The certification holds many benefits for the candidates as it is one of the most recognized credentials in the industry. Here are some reasons to choose the CSM course and ways a person can gain the certification.

Reasons to choose the Certified ScrumMaster certification

  • Higher Salary Package: Many companies offer higher salary packages for CSM certified professionals as they look for candidates who have high Scrum knowledge that would drive their company to success. 
  • Reputed Scrum Expert in the organization: Being a CSM in an organization would extract respect and reputation for the individual. The individual would be involved in problem-solving and conflict management and responsible for maintaining and encouraging the Scrum Development Team its processes.
  • Career Growth and Increased Job Opportunities: A CSM certification becomes the first step for a professional in their career ladder. It becomes a gateway for newer opportunities. Many recruiters also prioritize candidates with CSM certification during recruitments, as many companies prefer a certified candidate for the job position.
  • Membership and Networking: The CSM certification gives the participants a Scrum Alliance membership where the professionals can network with each other and learn more about Scrum and its practices. Scrum Alliance is a global acclaimed governing body that connects all its members across the world. Hence, candidates get the opportunity to network with professionals across the globe.

Steps to Become a Certified ScrumMaster

Step 1: Register for the CSM certification course with a REP of Scrum Alliance.

Step 2: Attend the 2-day Certified ScrumMaster training by the Certified Scrum trainer (CSTs)

Step 3: Scrum Alliance will send an email to create login credentials after successful course completion.

Step 4: Create your credentials from the link received by the Scrum Alliance.

Step 5: Take the 60 minutes exam, which consists of 50 MCQs, by logging in through the credentials.

Step 6: Pass the exam with a minimum of 74% (37 of 50 MCQs should be correct).

Step 7: Once you clear the test, you will have to accept the license agreement.

Step 8: After you accept it, you will have CSM designation and a two-year Scrum Alliance membership.

Step 9: You have to renew the certification once every two years.


Professional ScrumMaster Certification

The Professional ScrumMaster Certification is a course offered by It is recognized worldwide by all the organizations, and getting a certification accredited by this institute gives many benefits to the candidates applying for the course.

Reasons to take up the PSM certification are:

  • In-Depth understanding of Scrum Framework: The PSM certification certifies that the candidate has an in-depth knowledge of the Scrum Framework. The training teaches professionals all the essential skills and knowledge required to become an expert Scrum professional.
  • Being a Recognized Professional: The PSM certification makes the candidate a recognized professional in their industry. It certifies that the individual is an expert in the Scrum framework and can solve all the problems relating to it and enhance the business value.
  • Higher Salary Package: PSM certification increases the individual’s value, where the candidate gains a higher salary package and incentives. A candidate with the PSM certification gets a higher salary than their non-certified peers.
  • Better Job Opportunities: Candidates with the PSM certification have more chances of getting recruited to a job than their non-certified peers. Companies always look for candidates who have an in-depth knowledge of Scrum and can efficiently lead the team.

Steps to get the PSM certification:

A candidate can gain PSM certification in two ways:

With training:

Step 1: Enroll for the PSM course and attend 16 hours of intensive training delivered by PSTs.

Step 2: After completing the training, will email the candidates’ exam access password.

Step 3: Practice Sample tests of the exam and start preparing for the exam.

Step 4: Attempt the online exam, consisting of 80 questions that include multiple-choice questions, Multiple Answers and Questions, and true/false questions. This is an open-book exam, and the candidate is given 1 hour to complete it.

Step 5: Pass the exam by scoring at least 85% and get the certification given by Once a candidate has received the certificate, it is valid for lifelong, and renewal of the certification is not required.


Without Training:

Step 1: Visit the website to the PSM assessment page.

Step 2: Register your details for the PSM assessment exam.

Step 3: Make an upfront payment of $150 to take the PSM assessment exam.

Step 4: Refer the Scrum Guide to prepare for the exam and opt for the Open assessment.

Step 5: The exam consists of 80 MCQs, MAQs, and True/False, where the candidate has to get at least 85% of the answers correct.

Step 6: Once the candidate clears the exam, they get the PSM certification valid for lifelong and does not require any renewal.



The CSM and PSM are both promising certifications for the candidate to become a great Scrum Master. But a candidate has to analyze their current roles and responsibilities and benefits that each certificate offers. Both the certificates do not have eligibility criteria, so candidates have the freedom to choose a career that would suit their roles in the organization. If a candidate needs to learn more about the Scrum and their roles thoroughly and become a member of the Scrum Alliance, the CSM certification may be suitable. If the candidate wants to become a member of and also want to have the option of giving the certificate without any training, they could opt for the PSM certification. Both of the courses have a reputation in the market. Hence, the candidates need to pick the right one according to the company’s requirements they desire to work for and want to build a career.


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