Best Software Testing Certification: A Comparison

There are several software testing certifications available. Which is the best software testing certification for you and your company?

It’s probably easiest to understand which is the best software testing certification by comparing and contrasting them. We’ll review three software testing certifications. Below is their entry level testing certification, and the organization offering it:

  • Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) from ISTQB, the International Software Testing Qualifications Board
  • Certified Software Tester (CSTE) from Software Certifications (a division of the Quality Assurance Institute)
  • Certified Software Test Professional (CSTP) from International Institute for Software Testing (a division of Software Dimensions Consulting and Training, Inc.)

Below is the comparison as we seek to answer which is the best software testing certification for you.

How do the software testing certification compare? Which is the best software testing certification?

Not for Profit or For Profit?

ISTQB is a not-for-profit organization. The other two certifications are from private, for-profit companies.

Volunteer Board for U.S.

In the U.S., the not-for-profit volunteer board is ASTQB, the American Software Testing Qualifications Board. The other two certifications do not have volunteer boards.

Ranking Based on Number of Testing Certifications

It is estimated that ISTQB is by far the #1 software testing certification organization based on the number of certificates awarded. The other two organizations no longer publicly disclose the number of certificates issued, but it is estimated that CSTE has more usage than CSTP. ISTQB reports more than 500,000 software testing certifications globally, while it is estimated that CSTE has less than 20% of ISTQB’s industry usage, and CSTP has less than 5% of ISTQB’s industry usage.

Certification Course Sales and Required Fees

ISTQB does not sell training courses directly; instead, you may choose the education that works best for you, be it self study or the use of a third party training provider (ASTQB does accredit training courses offered by third parties in the U.S. to ensure quality if you do choose a training provider, but their use is not mandated). The other two certification companies sell training directly. All three organizations offer a free body of knowledge, but ISTQB’s is much more comprehensive in size. ISTQB also offers a free glossary of software testing terms, as well as free sample exam questions and answers. Finally, ISTQB also has much lower required fees (e.g. the exam fee) than the for-profit organizations.

Recertification Requirement

ISTQB does not have a recertification requirement for the entry-level (Foundation) or advanced certifications. Both of the for-profit organizations require recertification every three years that requires payment.


best software testing certification It should also be noted that ISTQB’s U.S. Board, ASTQB, offers additional, free benefits for those certified through ASTQB. These include free career information, job postings, resume postings, local software quality sponsorships, podcasts, webinars, white papers, videos, and more. See the ASTQB software testing certification home page for a full list of software testing resources.

You may also find it interesting to view the comparison of software testing certifications in a table format.

Note: The information used to create this comparison came from the public websites and press releases for CTFL, CSTE and CSTP. We cannot guarantee the completeness or accuracy of this information. Please contact ASTQB if you have any updated information.

Who is ISTQB Certified by ASTQB?

As the most widely recognized and fastest-growing software tester certification in the world, ISTQB has more than 500,000 Certified Software Testers in 100+ countries, including tens of thousands of ASTQB-certified individuals.

List of Certified Testers