Scrum Master Certification

Scrum Master Certification – Top 4 Scrum Certification Programs

23 min. read

Are you looking to get a Scrum Master Certification? If yes, this is the right article for you. In this article, we will give an overview of globally renowned certification options for the Scrum Masters and aspirants. This information will help you to get a better understanding of Scrum Master certification options. We will also provide information pertinent to their relevant courses. So you can make up your mind and choose the right Scrum Master certification option.


Hint: Do not skip this post. There are free course links throughout the post – no credit card required.


Agile project management methodologies are getting popular and mandatory for the market to adopt the changing dynamics across the globe. When we talk about Agile methodologies, Scrum framework is the first thing that comes in mind that enables the teams to practically implement the Agile methodology. Scrum framework brings various roles within the agile team. These roles include the Scrum Master, the Product Owner, and the Development Team.


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Scrum Master is a demanding role for the Agile teams. There are many jobs in the market related to the Scrum Master role.  This role is very important for organizations that adopt Agile methodologies. In many organizations, the Scrum Master role is considered a primary central role which communicates with Product Owners, development team, and other stakeholders with the main focus on the value delivery by removing the impediments and enabling the teams to deliver in an effective and efficient manner.

Top 4 Agile Scrum Master Certification Programs

In this article, we have explored the top four Agile scrum master certification programs. Considering the fact that there are many aspirants who want to excel in their careers in the project management field there are several agile scrum master certification programs offered by several organizations. However, it is important to attend a reputable scrum master certification program. You can read our Scrum Master Certification Online post for more information.

We have listed below; the top four scrum certification programs

#1 Scrum Master Certification: Certified Scrum Master Certification (CSM) – Scrum Alliance

Scrum Alliance a very famous name comes to mind when we talk about Agile Certification. Scrum Alliance is a nonprofit organization. Their main focus is to help create sustainable and prosperous workplaces by guiding and inspiring individuals and organizations that are prosperous and sustainable. The guidance encompasses agile practices, principles, and values.

Scrum Alliance offers certifications for paths that include Scrum team members, Agile leaders, and Scrum Coach or Trainer. In Scrum team members’ path, they offer different tracks. These tracks include:

Watch our Agile for Beginners Training Video

For the Scrum Master Track, you have the option to choose the Certified Scrum Master certification. Based on this foundation accreditation, you have the option to step forward with Advanced Certified Scrum Master. After achieving the milestone of Advanced Certified Scrum Master certification, you can further advance your skills and accreditation level and you can choose the Certified Scrum Professional Scrum Master Certification.

The Certified Scrum Master Certification courses are fully equipped to meet the Scrum Alliance value and standards. With this course, you get at least 14 hours of interactive training by a Certified Scrum Trainer. And the most important point is that you get the opportunity to earn valuable certification. Scrum Alliance community now offers live online courses. These courses are offered by renowned Certified Scrum Trainers. These courses bring you the opportunity to earn a Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Master certification online.

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Certified Scrum Master (CSM) Certification

The Certified Scrum Master certification training programs offer you the training that enables you to help your Scrum Team perform at their highest level. In this Certified Scrum Master certification training, you will lean the scrum framework where you will gain an understanding of the team roles, events, and artifacts.

As a Certified Scrum Master, you will have a validation of your knowledge and skills that are required to perform the Scrum Master functions. You will have proven knowledge of these functions that include Coach, Protector, Servant leader, and Agile Advocate.

Certified Scrum Master Certification Training Learning Objectives

The learning objectives of the Certified Scrum Master certification are categorized as:

  • Lean, Agile, and Scrum
  • Scrum Master Core Competencies
  • Service to the Development Team
  • Provision of Service to the Product Owner
  • Service to the Organization
Lean, Agile and Scrum
Scrum Roles:

According to this learning objective category, scrum master must have an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team. This also includes the authority of the Product Owner and the characteristics of the development team.

Scrum Events and Artifact Transparency:

This learning objective concerns the understanding of how Scrum teams will inspect, adapt, and increase transparency at the Scrum events. Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Retrospective.

Sprint and Increment:

This learning objective emphasis on the Sprint Goals consistency during the sprint. Furthermore, the focus is on the outcome definition of every sprint. And also the increment must be brought to the current definition of “Done”.

Sprint Planning:

This learning objective emphasis on the activities of the Product Owner and Development Team during the “What” and “How” of Sprint planning and the importance of writing Sprint Goal.

Daily Scrum:

It is important to understand the difference of a Daily Scrum from Status meeting. They focus on identifying constraints to support the development team.

Sprint Reviews:

This learning objective focuses on the activities that occur during the sprint review including demonstration of the increment as well as the outcome of these activities.

Sprint Retrospective:

This learning objective emphasizes on the approaches to conducting Sprint retrospective.

Product Backlog:

The scrum master should be able to identify the essential characteristics and attributes of the Product Backlog,

Sprint Backlog

The scrum master should be able to demonstrate how the sprint backlog can be changed without endangering the sprint goad.

Definition of “Done””

The scrum master should be able to explain the importance of a strong definition of “Done” and describe risks associated with a weaker definition of “Done”. In addition to this, they should be able to create a definition of “Done”. And most important is to ensure the consistency of the definition of “Done” for multiple teams working on the same Product Backlog.

Scrum Master Core Competencies
Facilitation

Certified Scrum Master should be able to describe situations in which the Scrum Master could serve the needs of the Scrum Team or organization through facilitation. Furthermore, the Certified Scrum Master should be able to demonstrate techniques for facilitating group decision making.

Coaching

Certified Scrum Master should be able to restate how facilitating, teaching, mentoring, and coaching are different. Furthermore, the Certified Scrum Master should be able to apply techniques that could help resolve a challenge faced by a Scrum Team.

Service to the Development Team
Scrum Master as Servant-Leader

Certified Scrum Master must a good understanding of servant-leadership. And they should describe scenarios where the Scrum Master acts as the servant-leader for the Development Team. Furthermore, CSM should be able to identify possible violations of Scrum by a Product Owner or stakeholder who is applying excessive time pressure and illustrate how to address them.

In addition to this, Certified Scrum Master is supposed to understand the terms like technical debts and the impact of accumulating technical debt. Moreover, Certified Scrum Master should be able to list development practices that help the Scrum Team deliver high-quality Product Increment and reduce technical debt in each Sprint.

Scrum Master Service to the Product Owner

Certified Scrum Master should be able to explain ways to support the Product Owner and must know the benefits that arise when the Product Owner participates in the Sprint Retrospective.

Service to the Organization
Impediment Removal

CSM should be able to discuss ways that the Scrum Master assists the Scrum Team with impediments. Additionally, the CSM should be able to describe organizational impediments that can affect Scrum Teams.

Coaching the Organization

Certified Scrum Master should be able to describe an example of an organizational design change caused by adopting Scrum. Furthermore, describe why Scrum does not have a project manager and what happens to traditional project management activities.

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Certified Scrum Master Certification Requirements

There are certain Certified Scrum Master certification requirements, that you need to fulfill in order to qualify for the Certified Scrum Master certification:

  • First of all, you need to attend a live online or in-person Certified Scrum Master course. This course must be taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). Or you can receive private coaching from a Certified Agile Coach (CAC)
  • Secondly, you need to have at least 14 hours of interaction with your CST or CAC
  • Once you have completed the course, you will need to accept the License Agreement.
  • Then you can take the test and pass to earn the CSM accreditation from Scrum Alliance.

Certified Scrum Master Certification Benefits

  • Expand your opportunities. Once you acquire the CSM certification, your knowledge is validated through international recognition. This is what the recruiting agencies and hiring organizations love to find out. This makes their job easier to get a person on board who has the flag of recognition and evidence of the knowledge and skills. You also get opportunities across all the industry sectors that inspire you to adopt agile practices.
  • The CSM certification is a perfect way to demonstrate your knowledge and of Agile and Scrum. This knowledge gets a validation once you acquire the CSM credentials. Let the success speaks for you. CSM certification ensures that the holder has a great grip on the foundation of Scrum and the scope of the role.
  • The beauty of the CSM certification is the holder’s assurance of the commitment to continuous improvement. As they not only have the opportunities to engage with the agile practitioners but also the renewal requirement of the certification. This is a motivation for the professionals to stay abreast of the latest happenings in the Agile domain.
  • This certification is the foundation to advance your skills through the advancement of your certifications that will help you to move up the ladder in your career. Once you have achieved CSM certification, you can choose for the next level certifications offered by Scrum Alliance. These include  Certified Scrum Professional and Scrum Master (CSP-SM)

Certified Scrum Master Certification Renewal

To remain active with Scrum Alliance and renew your certification, there are two ways.

1- Earn and additional certification: When you earn a new certification from Scrum Alliance, your current certifications will automatically renew.

2- Renewal after every two years: You need to keep learning within a span of two years. One hour of effort will earn you one continuing education credit. Also termed as Scrum Education Unit (SEU). The SEUs and fee required to renew the certifications are depicted in the below table:

Certification (Two-Year Term)SEUs RequiredFee Per Term
Foundational: CSM20$100
Advanced: A-CSM
30$175
Professional: SM, CSP
40$250

#2 Scrum Master Certification: Professional Scrum Master Certification (PSM) – Scrum.org

Scrum.org is another well-known organization that provides comprehensive training, resources, assessments, and certifications. They have the mission to help the profession rise to the demands of an increasingly complex world that relies on increasingly complex technologies and products. They have a large community of more than 325 professionals Scrum Trainers around the world.

Ken Schwaber, the co-creator of Scrum, founded Scrum.org in 2009 as a global organization to accomplish his goal of improving Scrum knowledge, training, and implementations and improve professionalism. He took initiatives to solve the problems due to the gaps in understanding and non-ability to deliver. Firstly, he took the initiative to create the Scrum Developer program. Secondly, he formalized the scrum body of knowledge (Scrum Guide), and thirdly, he focused on improving the quality and consistency of the training.

Scrum.org is focused on improving professionalism in complex product delivery. Professional Scrum Trainers bring their own style and experience with consistent delivery of Scrum.org training. These trainers are teaching the same courses and materials around the globe with the highest level of Scrum knowledge. All trainers spend time on Scrum Teams so that they bring experience to their teaching and understand how to deal with real-world situations in the real-world.

Each Scrum.org training class includes a free attempt at a Scrum.org assessment. You need to pass the assessment test with a score of 85% to qualify for the associated professional Scrum master certification. The important thing is the professional scrum certification is forever. Once you acquire this Scrum master certification, you will remain listed on their website as being a Professional forever. So you do not need to retest as well as do you not need to pay any additional cost to renew the certification.

Scrum.org offers a variety of Scrum certifications. These include:

Professional Scrum Master Level I (PSM I)

PSM I assessment is available to everyone as there are no pre-requisites associated with this assessment. So if you wish to validate your knowledge of Scrum framework and its application you can opt for this assessment. On passing the assessment you will receive your industry-recognized PSM I certification. With this Scrum Master certification, you can demonstrate your fundamental level of Scrum mastery.

This assessment does not require the candidates to take any course. Hence you can opt directly for the PSM I assessment. Just be sure that you possess the understanding of Scrum guide and possess a high level of scrum knowledge to apply scrum within Scrum teams.

However, there are 2-day courses available to help you prepare for the assessment. You can opt for any of the following training courses.

  1. Professional Scrum Foundations
  2. Professional Scrum Master
Scrum Master Certification and Preparation

To prepare for the assessment, you need to cover topics from multiple Focus Areas as defined by Professional Scrum Competencies. You will also need to understand the Scrum Guide and how you would apply scrum within a Scrum Team.

The fee for the assessment is $150 USD per attempt. The duration for the assessment is 60 minutes, In this time period, you will attempt 80 questions. These questions are multiple-choice, multiple answers. The difficulty level is considered as an intermediate level. The language of the assessment is English. Once you pay the fee, the passwords do not expire until you attempt the assessment. You can attend a PSM training to get ready for the exam.

Professional Scrum Master Level II (PSM II)

PSM II assessment validates your ability to apply the Scrum framework to solving advanced, complex problems in the real world. On passing the assessment you will obtain the PSM II certification. This will be a global recognition of your advanced knowledge and abilities related to Scrum and the role of Scrum Master.

Professional Scrum Master level II certification requires the candidates to have advanced Scrum Knowledge and experience. However, it does not requires you to attending a course. To prepare for the assessment, you need to cover topics from PSM II subject areas as well as the application of your experience.

You will also need to understand the Scrum Guide and how you would apply scrum within a Scrum Team. As this is advanced Scrum Master certification, therefore content related to the Product Owner, Agile Leader, and Development Team Member will also help in preparation. Though the course is not must, however, the courses recommended for the preparation of this assessment is Professional Scrum Master

The cost of Professional Scrum Master Level II is $250 USD. Your password for the assessment is valid for one attempt, it does not expire and remains valid until you use it. The language of the assessment is English.

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Professional Scrum Master Level III (PSM III) Certification

In order to achieve Professional Scrum Master Level III certification, you must have PSM I and PSM II certifications. Professional Scrum Master Level III validates that you have a deep understanding of the application of Scrum, Scrum practices, the Scrum Values. It also demonstrates that you have the ability to apply Scrum in a variety of complex team and organizational situations. So you get recognized for your ability to mentor and coach people or teams who want to adopt Scrum.

Attending a course is not mandatory to appear in the Professional Scrum Master Level III assessment. However, the assessment is difficult and consists of multiple-choice questions, case study questions, and essays. Topics from multiple Focus Areas defined by the Professional Scrum Competencies are covered in the assessment. You also need to understand Scrum Guide and know how to apply Scrum within a Scrum Team. The 2-day courses are highly recommended for the preparation of PSM III certifications:

  1. Professional Scrum Master
  2. Professional Scrum Master II

The cost of PSM III is $500 USD. Again the passwords do not expire and they remain valid until used. You need to apply content from PSM subject areas as well as your experience.

#3 Scrum Master Certification:: Agile Scrum Master Certification – SAFe Certified Agilist – Scaled Agile

Scaled Agile, Inc. is the certifying body of the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe). Scaled Agile Inc. started in 2011 with the mission to improve the lives of those building the words most important systems, and to improve business outcomes of the enterprises which build and depend on these systems.

They brought the concepts behind the Big Picture from the Knowledge pools of Lean, Kanban, Scrum, and Extreme Programming (XP), as well as Don Reinerstsen’s The Principles of Product Development Flow. These concepts were distilled into a Single framework know as Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe.

SAFe is very famous these days, it has been adopted by 70 percent of the Fortune 100. They have trained and certified more than 600,000 practitioners. They offer 10 different SAFe Certifications.

SAFe Scrum Exam

It is expected that you should have experience working in a lean-agile environment. The first step to sit in the exam is to attend the Leading SAFe training.

This web-based exam is a multiple-choice, multiple select format exam. The language of the exam is English. The duration of the exam is 90 minutes. In this duration, you have to attempt 45 questions. The passing score of the exam is 73% (i.e. 33 out of 45) for SSM4 and 75% (i.e. 34 out of 45) for SSM5.

The first exam attempt is included as part of the course registration fee provided the exam is taken within 30 days of course completion. If someone has to retake the exam, it will cost $50 for each re-attempt.

SAFe Scrum Master Certification training course

A Certified SAFe Scrum Master (SSM) is a SAFe Scrum Master professional responsible for integrating Scrum practices into an organization. The key areas of competency for being a certified Scrum Master are:

  • Using Scrum and Kanban to facilitate team events
  • Supporting program execution
  • Coaching Agile teams

In this two-day course, you gain an understanding of the role of a Scrum Master in a SAFe enterprise. With this Scrum Master certification course, you explore the role of the Scrum Master in the context of the entire enterprise. Furthermore, you get prepared to successfully plan and execute the Program Increment (PI), the primary enabler of alignment throughout all levels of a SAFe organization. You cover the key learning components and prepare on how to execute Iteration Planning.

The Learning Goals of the training are

  • Describe Scrum in a SAFe enterprise
  • Facilitate Scrum events
  • Facilitate effective Iteration execution
  • Support effective Program Increment execution
  • Support relentless improvement
  • Coach Agile teams for maximum business results
  • Support DevOps implementation

Exam study materials

The exam is designed to assess your knowledge and skill related to the Scrum Master role. So you must prepare for the exam in order to qualify and get certified. For this sake, you can refer to a variety of resources to prepare for this exam. You get course material with the course which is an essential artifact that can be downloaded from the SAFe Community Platform.

Likewise, you get a comprehensive study guide that details the job role and all resources related to the exam. The access of this guide is available through the learning plan in the SAFe Community Platform that you get on course completion. You also get a web-enabled, flashcard version of sample questions in the study guide.

In addition to this, you can practice for your exam through practice test which is designed with the same number of questions, level of difficulty, and time duration as of the actual exam. This will help you to get the feeler of the actual exam environment and your performance. So, you can identify the gaps and practice them to ensure your preparation level meets what it takes to qualify in the exam.

What you get with SAFe Scrum Master certification

When you qualify the SAFe Scrum Master certification exam, you get the following:

  • Certified SAFe Scrum Master PDF certificate
  • Certified SAFe® Scrum Master digital badge to promote the accomplishment online
  • One-year membership to the SAFe Community Platform
  • Access to meetup groups and events that provide connections to other certified SAFe professionals
  • A variety of learning resources to support certified professionals during their SAFe journey

#4 Scrum Master Certification: PMI-ACP – Agile Certified Practitioner Certification

Project Management Institute is another globally renowned institute and accrediting body. They offer different certifications that are well-reputed across the globe. They offer PMI-ACP Agile Certified Practitioner certification.

PMI-ACP Certification Exam

To obtain the PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification, you must meet the requirements of experience and education, and pass the PMI-ACP exam, a multiple-choice, 120-question exam.

Whatever your experience and education, you should still be vigorously preparing for the examination. Successful applicants typically use multiple study aids including courses, self-study, and study groups. And remember: You can take this Scrum Master certification exam online, when and where it’s convenient for you.

You can prepare for and take the PMI-ACP exam in English, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. You can download the Exam Content Outline and Informational Presentation in the language of your choice.


Attend our 100% Online & Self-Paced 30-min Free PMI-ACP Training.

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PM-ACP Certification Exam

The PMI-ACP exam has 120 multiple-choice questions. Out of these 120 questions, 20 questions are considered pretest questions. This means that your answers in these 20 questions do not affect your score. These are for future validation purposes. All the questions are randomly placed throughout the exam.

The computer-based test is of three hours of duration. So you have to attempt 120 multiple choice questions within 3 hours of time. In this time period, there are no scheduled time breaks. You can have it if required but the time clock does not stop.

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PMI-ACP Requirements

In order to sit in the Exam, you need to fulfill the requirements that are set out by PMI. These requirements include Experience, Education, and Training.

If you have a Secondary Degree

  • Experience: You need a minimum of 12 months of unique, non-overlapping experience accrued within the last five years. You also need a minimum of 8 months of unique, non-overlapping experience accrued within the last three years.
  • Training: You also need to have 21 PDUs through a training provider. There is no constraint of the time window of when these PDUs were acquired. However, you need to ensure that the course work is completed before you can apply to sit in the exam.

If you have Bachelor’s or post-graduate degree 

  • Experience: You need a minimum of 8 months of unique, non-overlapping experience.
  • Training: You also need to have 35 contact hours of formal education. You need to ensure that the course work is completed before you can apply to sit in the exam.

If you have PMP and/or PgMP certification, your general project experience requirements are already considered by PMI as complete. But you have to apply for the 8 months of agile experience. You can read more at PMI ACP Eligibility Requirements post.

Audit Process

Once you fulfill these requirements, you can fill in the application for the PMI-ACP Exam. PMI randomly selects the applications for audit purposes. If your application is selected for the audit, you need to submit your audit response. Responding to the audit is not a complex part. You must have your information organized so you can respond as quickly as you can.

As part of your response package, you should have copies of your training certificate and degree. Furthermore, you need to get your experience verified by your concerned supervisors you worked with during your practice tenure. Once you get your experience verification form your concerned supervisors, your audit response package is ready. That you can send it to PMI address for verification and move forward with the application approval.

Fees of the PMI-ACP Exam are subject to your PMI membership.

Exam Administration
Type
PMI –Membership
 Status
USD
Computer-Based Testing (CBT)
Online-Proctored Testing (OPT)
Member$435
Non- Member$495
Re-examination CBT/OPTMember$335
Non- Member$395
CCR certification renewalMember$60
Non- Member$150

Please note that the PMI membership rate will apply only if you are a member of PMI in good standing at the time you submit payment for the certification. When you apply for membership right before applying for the credential, be sure to obtain your membership email before paying for the credential.

PMI-ACP Certification Training Course

There are various Scrum Master Certification training providers that provide PMI-ACP certification training. You can choose the one that suits you as per your feasibility. There are different formats in which the Scrum Master Certification training providers offer training. These include instructor-led classroom training, virtual online training, and e-learning formats. Each of these formats brings its own benefits. You can choose among these as per the flexibility in terms of schedule, location, and also the cost-effectiveness.

For PMI-ACP training you must ensure that you get 21 contact hours (PDUs) that can satisfy the PMI-ACP Exam requirements as per PMI. In addition to this, you can look for the effectiveness of the training, the experience of the trainers, course material, practice tests, etc. to choose the right fit training provider and training format. A most important factor to ensure while choosing is that the training covers all the aspects of the Standard.

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Scrum Master Certification: Summary

In this article, we have explored the top four Agile Scrum Master certification programs.

These Scrum Master certification options not only give you the opportunity to validate your knowledge and skill by acquiring the certification. You also get in-depth practical understanding and foundation to perform the role of Scrum Master and become a value-adding key contributor for your organization. Obviously, the Scrum Master Certifications also enhance career opportunities and expansions in your Scrum Master career. Any Scrum Master Certification provides you tracks to start your role and advance on the Scrum Master role.


Our Free Agile Scrum Training describes the Agile and Scrum foundations and different Agile and Scrum Certification options in detail. Enroll in our Free Agile Training now.
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Options for Scrum Master Certification

The first option we discussed in this article is the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certification program offered by Scrum Alliance. We shared the requirements and learning objectives of Certified Scrum Master certification and training options.

The second option we discussed is Professional Scrum Master Certification (PSM) offered by Scrum.org, We’ve discussed the various levels of professional Scrum Master Certifications and different training options available to prepare for these certification levels.

The third option we discussed is the Agile Scrum Master Certification – SAFe Certified Agility by Scaled Agile. In this option, we’ve discussed the SAFe Scrum Exam along with the training options and learning objectives.

And the fourth option we discussed is PMI-ACP, an Agile Certified Practitioner Certification offered by PMI. In this option, we’ve given you the idea of the requirements to sit in the PMI-ACP exam as well as an overview of what needs to be done in case your application is randomly selected by PMI for the audit.

We hope all these options will help you to get an understanding of the different Scrum Master Certification options you can choose to pursue your career in the capacity of Scrum Master.

Wish you the best of luck!