The Best Scrum Master Certifications

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Jul 12, 2022
Updated on
Jul 23, 2022
Table of Content

With the ever-growing popularity of Agile and Scrum, more and more organizations are seeking out Scrum Masters to help implement these frameworks. As a result, there has been a growing demand for Scrum Master certifications.

Many different Scrum Master certifications are available, so it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. This article will discuss the best Scrum Master certifications to help you make an informed decision.

What is a Scrum Master? 

A Scrum Master is both a coach and a facilitator for an Agile team. The role of a Scrum Master is to help the team members self-organize, collaborate, and be productive. A Scrum Master is not a project manager; rather, they ensure that the process is followed so that the Agile team can focus on their goal.

What is a Scrum Master certification?

A Scrum Master certification is a professional credential demonstrating an individual's ability to facilitate Scrum, an Agile software development methodology.

The Scrum Master is responsible for guiding and coaching their Scrum teams through properly executing the Scrum framework and ensuring that the team adheres to Agile principles. Achieving an Agile Scrum Master certification requires passing an exam administered by an accredited organization like the Scrum Alliance.

Why is it important for a Scrum Master to be certified?

As the Scrum Master, you must ensure that the team adheres to Scrum values, practices, and rules. To do this effectively, it's imperative to be well-versed in all things Scrum. Becoming certified is one way to show your commitment to continuous learning and understanding the framework. 

There are several reasons for why it’s important to be certified:

1. It demonstrates a level of knowledge and understanding

To get a Scrum Master Certification, you must first pass a written exam. The Scrum Master Certification Exam tests your knowledge of the Scrum framework and how it should be applied in real-world situations. 

Certified individuals are guaranteed to have a strong understanding of the concepts and can effectively apply them. You'll also be taking many courses designed to give you a more in-depth understanding of your role.

2. It can help with career advancement

In today's job market, having a certification can give you an edge over other candidates who don't have one. Many employers look for candidates who have demonstrated a commitment to continuous learning and professional development. A Scrum Master Certification shows that you are such a candidate.

3. It can lead to higher earnings

Generally speaking, certified professionals earn more than those who are not certified. This is because employers are willing to spend more for someone with demonstrated knowledge and expertise in their field. As a Scrum Master, becoming certified can lead to higher earnings, as you will be able to command a higher salary.

4. It can help you to be taken more seriously by your team members and stakeholders 

As Scrum Master, you are responsible for facilitating the team's progress and ensuring that they adhere to Scrum values. This can be a difficult task if you are not taken seriously by your team members or stakeholders. 

Becoming certified can help with this, as it shows that you are an expert in the field and committed to continuous learning.

5. It can give you confidence in your abilities as a Scrum Master 

Undergoing certification can give you the confidence boost you need to carry out your role as Scrum Master effectively. It can feel impossible to be confident about your skills when starting out, but certification can undoubtedly help with this. 

Once you have been certified, you will know that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to be an effective Scrum Master.

6. It allows you to network with other Scrum professionals 

As a Scrum Master, it is crucial to have a strong network of other professionals you can rely on for support and advice. 

Certification can help with this as it gives you access to exclusive events and forums for certified Scrum Masters. Here, you can meet like-minded individuals and learn from those with more experience than you.

Once you are certified, you will automatically become a part of the Scrum Alliance community. It's an excellent chance to meet other certified Scrum Masters and learn from them. The community is also a great resource for finding job opportunities and networking.

7. It can give you a sense of accomplishment 

Becoming certified can be a great way to give yourself a sense of accomplishment. It is a challenging exam to pass and requires a lot of dedication and hard work. After you have been certified, you can reflect on all that you have accomplished and feel proud of your achievement.

8. It can help you to stay up-to-date with the latest Scrum advancements 

The world of Scrum is constantly evolving, and it is important to keep up to date with the latest advancements. Certification can help with this as it requires you to stay current with the latest Scrum news and developments. This way, you are always kept up to date and use the most effective practices.

9. It can be a great way to give back to the Scrum community 

When you have been certified, you will have the opportunity to give back to the Scrum community by sharing your knowledge and experiences with others. This is a great way to help those who are just starting out on their Scrum journey.

How to obtain a Scrum Master certification

There are four steps to obtaining a Scrum Master certification:

1. Familiarize yourself with the Agile Manifesto and the principles behind it 

The Agile Manifesto outlines the 12 main principles behind the Agile approach to software development. These principles help Scrum Masters guide their teams more effectively and create higher-quality software products.

2. Find a Scrum Master certification provider

There are many certification providers out there, so it is important to do your research and choose one with a good reputation.

3. Attend a Scrum Master training course from a certified provider. 

These training courses will cover the basics of Scrum, including the roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master and how to implement Scrum in your organization effectively.

4. Take and pass an examination administered by the Scrum Alliance 

This exam is designed to test your knowledge of Scrum and see if you are ready to become a certified Scrum Master.

Best Agile Scrum certification courses

As the Agile movement grows in popularity, more and more professionals are looking for ways to certify their Scrum Master skills. While there are many different certification programs out there, not all of them are created equal. To help you choose the best Agile Scrum Master certification for your needs, we’ve compiled a list of the top courses from around the web.

1. Scrum.Org: Professional Scrum Master Certification

Scrum.org is one of the most well-known and respected names in the Agile community, so it’s no surprise that their Certified Scrum Master course is one of the best around. The course is designed to teach you everything you need to know about Scrum, from the basics of the Framework to advanced topics like product ownership and stakeholder management.

The Scrum Master course has three levels:

PSM I: 

The first level is for those who want to learn the basics of Scrum. You’ll learn the framework, terminology, and roles within a Scrum team. The course costs $150, and you must accomplish an 80-question assessment within 60 minutes with a passing score of 85% to earn your certification. 

The test format consists of multiple choice, multiple select and true/false, and the difficulty level is said to be intermediate. The course is offered only in English. 

PSM II: 

The next level is for those who want to deepen their understanding of Scrum. You’ll learn advanced topics like product backlog refinement and release planning. 

The course costs $250, and you must accomplish a 30-question assessment within 90 minutes with a passing score of 85% to earn your certification. The test format is the same as PSM I, but the difficulty is advanced. The course is also offered only in English.

PSM III: 

The highest level is for those who want to become true Scrum experts. You’ll learn about topics like scaling Scrum and product governance. 

The course costs $500, and you must complete a written exam consisting 30 multiple choice and essay questions. You will have 150 minutes to accomplish the exam and must earn a passing score of 85% to receive your certification. The course is offered only in English. Difficulty level is expert.

Each level is delivered through a combination of online learning materials and in-person workshops. Moreover, all PSM students are given an assessment password to access the course and take the exam. This will be valid for one attempt only.

2. Scaled Agile

The course covers tactical skills for SAFe implementation, product management, release planning, and more. You will go through the entire process of SAFe, from initial concept to successful product delivery. 

The training course is interactive, and you will have the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned in an online visual workplace. The duration of the web-based assessment is 90 minutes, and the passing score is 73%. 

The cost of the first attempt is already included in the registration fee if you take it within 30 days after completing the course. If not, each attempt or retake past the aforementioned period costs $50. 

You can either choose a multiple-choice (one answer) or multiple select (2-3 answers) format for the exam. Moreover, the assessment has five sections and respective percentages: 

  • Introducing Scrum in SAFe (13%)
  • Characterizing the role of the Scrum Master (38%)
  • Experiencing PI Planning (18%)
  • Facilitating iteration execution (22%)
  • Finishing the PI (9%).

3. Project Management Institute

The Project Management Institute, or PMI, offers the Scrum Master Accredited Certification Program or SMACP. 

The course provides individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to apply Scrum in organizations effectively. It covers product backlog, Sprint planning, daily Scrum, stakeholder management, and more. 

The format of the 50-question examination is all multiple-choice, and the duration is 60 minutes, with a passing score of 60%. The cost of the exam in total is $69 with no hidden charges or fees. You may retake the exam up to 10 times, and if you still fail your last attempt, the institute guarantees a 100% money-back refund.

4. Scrum Inc.

Scrum Inc. is a company that provides training and Agile Scrum Master certification. The method was developed by Dr. Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum. They offer the Registered Scrum Master or RSM course, which is designed to help you understand the basics of Scrum and apply it in your work. 

The course is interactive, with the participants organized into Scrum teams. You will work on real-world problems and create deliverables you can apply to your organization. 

Overall, the course is two days long and costs $1,995, including taxes, the exam price, and CSM resources.

5. Scrum Alliance

The Scrum Alliance is another well-known name in the Agile world, and their Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) course is one of the most popular Scrum Master certifications. The CSM course is designed to teach you the basics of Scrum, focusing on practical application. 

This Scrum Master course offers different tracks depending on your preference. All of them provide at least 14 hours of interactive instruction from a verified trainer. 

To pass the CSM test and earn your certification, you’ll need to attend one of the training courses offered and then pass an online test with a score of at least 37 out of the 50 questions within the 60-minute time limit. 

The cost of the CSM course varies depending on the track you choose, and generally range from $449 to $995. It is best to research the different courses and find the one that best suits your needs and budget.

6. Coursera CSM (Certified Scrum Master)

Coursera offers an Agile Project Management Specialization, which culminates in a CSM exam. The specialization covers the basics of Agile project management, product backlogs, Scrum Sprints, and more. 

The course is designed for anyone who wants to learn how to manage projects using Scrum.  The cost of the specialization varies on the course chosen, but it starts at around $450, with the CSM exam fee included.

7. Coursera SSM (SAFe Scrum Master)

Coursera also offers a SAFe for Teams Specialization, which culminates in an SSM exam.

The specialization covers Agile, Lean, or DevOps concepts. The course is designed for anyone who wants to learn how to manage projects using Scrum within the SAFe framework. You will also learn the tools needed to manage a fully remote team. 

The cost of the specialization also varies on the course chosen. However, to get an idea, courses during May 2022 cost around $600 to $1099. The course fee includes the exam fee, and it should be noted that you must take a two-day course approved by Scaled Agile while also passing the exam. 

Conclusion

Scrum Master certification is not easy to come by. There are many different providers, and each offers its unique take on what it means to be a Scrum Master. It's important to do your research to find the best certification for you, depending on your individual needs and goals.

With the right course, provider, and perseverance, you'll be well on your way to becoming a certified Scrum Master.

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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