Top 5 differences between PMI-ACP and CSM

Top 5 differences between PMI-ACP and CSM

If you are a newbie to Agile methodologies, then you might be wondering what the differences are between all the available courses. The top two certifications you are thinking about are probably the Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) and the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). You needn’t worry too much as although they sound similar, they are quite different in many ways.

If you are looking to further your education in Agile practices and methodologies, then a course like the CSM training in Delhi is the perfect way to go. This one doesn’t really need any hands-on experience from your end, and the exam can be taken a right after the 2-day class. However, if you are going for a PMI-ACP course, then the training demands some kind of hands-on experience applying Agile methodologies. Also, the ACP class covers everything from Scrum, Kanban, Lean, SDSM, TDD, and XP. 

So without much further ado, let’s look at the top 5 differences between these two courses –

1. The various concepts the courses cover 

From the narrative above, it should be clear by now that the PMI-ACP is a course that delves a lot deeper into Agile methodologies, and include more than just CSM. Methodologies like Kanban are used extensively across Japanese organizations where even body movements are mapped to deliver maximum efficiency and output. CSM training course will teach you about the terminologies, practices, and principles associated with Scrum. The exam itself is much more complicated than the CSM paper, and historically there is a 70% success rate as compared to a 100% success rate in CSM. 

2. The experience required for the two varies

To be very honest, a CSM certification course isn’t challenging. It’s actually the first step that you take towards your journey in the Agile space. It’s literally designed for freshers who are looking to improve their employability, so organizations’ hiring managers consider them for projects where the client specifically asked for CSM certified professionals. Apart from the 2-day class, you don’t need anything else. However, for a PMI-ACP course, you need not only 2,000 hours of working on a project, but also another 1,500 hours of experience in operating in an Agile environment. It doesn’t end there. These hours cannot overlap, so you will need about 3,500 hours of experience before you even qualify to take the classes. Additionally, you will also need an extra 21 hours of training before qualifying thoroughly for a PMI-ACP course.

3. Procedure for the exams also differ on many fronts

The CSM certification course is the easier one with a 100% success rate. In other words, nobody ever fails this exam. If you do, then a career in Agile is probably not for you, and the time is perfect for you to go back to the drawing board. To delve a bit deeper into the exams, the CSM one will have 50 questions, and you must get about 37 questions correct to pass. For the PMI-ACP exam, there are a total of 120 questions, out of which 20 are considered to be pre-test questions & do not affect the overall score.

4. Different fee structures to sit the exam

While the CSM certification exam fee is included with the course fee in almost every institute, the PMI-ACP one isn’t. For example, courses like the Certified ScrumMaster course in Ahmedabad include the exam fees into the course fee, but from the second attempt onwards, you have to pay an additional USD 25. The PMI-ACP exam, however, is a lot different. The fee is based on what kind of PMI membership you have. The first attempt, which is computer-based testing, costs USD 435 (for a member) and USD 495 (non-member). As the success rate is around 70%, re-examinations are more popular with this course. A re-test if you are a member will be approximately USD 335 (for a member), and about USD 395 (for a non-member).

5. The validity of the certificates for both courses differ

Yes, these certifications need to be renewed from time to time. This is mainly because new terminologies and methodologies are coming up every day. One can’t rely on knowledge that’s more than ten years old as everything would have become outdated. While the CSM certification needs to be renewed after two years from the date of receiving the certificate, the PMI-ACP affords you a bit more time with three years. Also, if you are renewing your PMI-ACP certification, you will need about 30 PDUs in Agile project management every time you complete a three-year cycle.

There you have it! The top 5 differences between the two courses. Of course, there are many other small differences which you will notice after you actually take them, but these are an excellent place to start your research. On top of that, your career choices and the market scenario, along with hiring sprees, will have a lot to do in influencing your final decision of whether to go for CSM or PMI-ACP.