The 5 Best Scrum Master Certifications of 2023
Agile project management is one of the most popular project management frameworks used by software development teams and other businesses to manage projects and facilitate collaboration between teams, stakeholders, and customers.
This methodology influences other project management frameworks such as Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban, Lean, and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).
Scrum is a popular agile variant that helps businesses manage large projects, reduce costs, and increase accountability through agile sprints and daily meetings. You need a Scrum master to effectively utilize the Scrum methodology.
The Scrum master is a trained professional that guides the project team, ensuring that every team member follows the best agile practices.
To become a Scrum master, you need to acquire a Scrum master certification to demonstrate that you have the skills and knowledge needed for such a role.
In this article, you will learn about 5 of the best Scrum master certifications including how much Scrum masters earn.
Let’s get started.
Best Scrum Master Certifications
Best Scrum Master Certification that Offers Dedicated Courses for Different Levels of Scrum Mastery
Scrum Alliance presents you with a scrum master certification that serves as your best choice, offering high-quality training courses taught by respected agile trainers in addition to an interactive learning experience.
- Certified ScrumMaster
- Advanced Certified ScrumMaster
- Certified Scrum Professional – Scrum Master
- Certified Agile Coach
Each training course is personalized for you, getting you through your scrum journey through custom teaching methods and instructions. This Scrum master certification was founded by the creators of the Scrum framework, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber.
Offering additional practical training options, Scrum Alliance’s set of courses provides an understanding of team accountabilities, events, and artifacts.
Individuals like software engineers, business analysts, project managers, and regular scrum team members working within cross-functional teams and in need of knowledge to solve complex problems find this set of courses particularly helpful.
Tiered Training and Certification
Scrum Alliance provides you with a tiered certification framework, with four courses and certifications available to you. Your learning journey flows from the basic Certified Scrum Master course for beginners just starting their journey, to the Advanced Certified Scrum Master course, to the Certified Scrum Professional – Scrum Master course, and finally to the Certified Agile Coach course to qualify as a professional agile trainer yourself.
You are trained through live online or in-person sessions, with all courses offering at least 14 hours of interactive Scrum training.
After activating your Scrum Alliance certification account and gaining at least 20 Scrum Education Units (SEUs), you take an examination of 60 questions. You are required to answer at least 37 questions correctly within a 60-minute timeframe.
Certifications are required to be renewed every two years for a fee of $100.
- Personalized learning experience
- Multiple training styles (online and in-person)
- Scrum Alliance community for added support from individuals who are taking or have already completed the courses
- Continued-education program structure
Prices for the online courses start at $795, while in-person sessions are priced at $1,300. All prices include the cost of courses to be taken as well as the cost of the examination.
Scrum Master Certification with Flexible Learning And Examination Requirements
Scrum.org serves as another high-quality Scrum master training program offering different levels of training and certifications that match different levels of Scrum mastery. It was founded by Ken Schwaber in 2009 after exiting Scrum Alliance.
This Scrum master certification places a major focus on the assessment itself. A certification from Scrum.org shows that you possess a deep understanding of Scrum terms, their application into the Scrum framework, and methods in developing teams, managing products, and professionally developing and delivering products. You also receive training in evolving your agile organization.
Tiered Training And Certification
Scrum.org provides you with a tiered Scrum training and certification program. Your certification comes in three levels: Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I), Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II), and Professional Scrum Master III (PSM III). The PSM I is its entry-level certification, representing fundamental knowledge and training in Scrum leadership practices. The PSM II certification represents competence in applying Scrum to complex real-world problems and is advisory for anyone with advanced Scrum knowledge, in-depth Scrum experience, or that has taken and passed the PSM I certification exam. The PSM III certificate shows a deep understanding of Scrum methods and practices as they are applied to complex team and enterprise-organizational environments.
A host of resources and suggested reading lists dedicated to each certification are made available to you.
To take the PSM certification examinations, you do not need to have any requisite educational units or compulsorily take any courses, although this is advised by Scrum.org given the rigor and difficulty of the examinations. The PSM I examination requires you to answer 80 multiple-choice questions within 60 minutes and have a pass mark of 85%. The PSM II examination requires you to answer 30 questions within 90 minutes and a pass mark of 95%, while the PSM III certificate requires 30 multiple choice and essay questions to be answered within 150 minutes and a pass mark of 85%.
- No prerequisite courses to be taken
- Google plugin for translation into other languages
- Free Credly digital credential
- No deadline after purchasing examination pass
- Flexible learning style
- Quick course completion
Scrum Alliance provides you with a password that never expires until used by you. The PSM I certificate costs $150 per individual use, PSM II costs $250 per individual use, and PSM III costs $500 per individual use.
3. Scrum Inc.
Top-Rated Scrum Master Certification with Majorly Practical Learning Style
Through its Registered Scrum Master certification, Scrum Inc. offers training developed by Dr. Jeff Sutherland, one of the co-founders of Scrum.
The highly interactive and practical course trains participants in leadership, respect for Scrum values (focus, courage, commitment, openness, and respect), and networking with agile professionals.
Centralized Courses And Certification
Unlike the Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org tiered certification programs, Scrum Inc. offers a certification course suitable for all levels of Scrum expertise. Every participant in the course is granted the Registered Scrum Master certification and deemed to have the requisite knowledge to organize Scrum teams.
Classes come as both online and in-person sessions, and span four days. Each day involves three hours of training and the Scrum course includes practical training on the use of Scrum boards. Participants are organized into teams and learn how to create backlogs, prioritize tasks within them, and manage a burndown chart. All these are presented through a variety of games and exercises. For online classes, participants are required to have a computer, a stable internet connection, access to Mural, and an available Zoom platform for audio and video calls.
There are no prerequisite qualifications for taking the certification examination as the course is available for all levels of Scrum team members. However, you must not miss more than 2 hours of the course.
- Group discount through a group training program
- Breakfast, all-day drinks, and snacks provided for in-person participants, including considerations for individuals with special diets
- Class reschedule
- Registration transfer
- Two-week cancel grace and refund guarantee
Pricing for the course starts at $1,995, with this also covering the cost of taking the examination.
Most Comprehensive Agile Certification with Very Detailed Tiered Program
The Project Management Institute (PMI) is an institution founded way back in 1969 and one that has grown to offer one of the best and most comprehensive Scrum certification programs out there.
Through a series of courses and certifications in its “Disciplined Agile” program, the institute takes you through levels of Scrum training. You also get additional training in the Kanban and SAFe methodologies, among other important project management frameworks.
Tiered Training And Certification
For your Scrum training, you have access to five courses and certifications, with each representing in-depth knowledge and expertise in different levels of Scrum mastery. The Discipline Agile Scrum Master certification serves as the entry-level certificate, representing a fundamental understanding of the Scrum, Kanban, and SAFe frameworks. The next level comes through the Disciplined Agile Senior Scrum Master (DASSM) certificate, offering training for more complex Scrum workflows. You then proceed to the Disciplined Agile Coach certification, a representation of sufficient expertise to train others in the use of Scrum, Kanban, and SAFe methodologies. Then you proceed to the Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant certification, the last in the Disciplined Agile series that represents skills in applying agile frameworks and leading agile teams across very large organizations. There is also an intermediary PMI-ACP certification program, this one being more common with a lot of certified Scrum masters.
Training is offered through online and in-person sessions.
To take the examination, you are required to have 21 hours of agile training, 12 months of project experience within the previous five years, and 8 months of agile project experience within the previous three years. The examination is a set of 120 multi-choice questions to be completed within 3 hours.
- Available in up to 7 languages
- Multiple courses for different levels of Scrum team members
- Better pricing for PMI members
- Offers training in other agile methodologies
Focusing on the more common PMI-ACP course, PMI members pay $435 while non-PMI members pay $495, with this fee also covering the cost of taking the examination.
5. Scaled Agile
Fundamental Scrum Master Course that Implements a Continuous Training Program
Scaled Agile’s Scrum certification is dedicated to individuals willing to work within teams in SAFe and remote environments. The SAFe Scrum Master course provides training in agile and Scrum while instilling principles of servant leadership in participating individuals. This course focuses on the fundamentals of maintaining high-performing cross-collaborative Scrum teams.
This Scrum master certification focuses on fundamental training in Scrum leadership practices, including training in the administration of meetings for iteration planning, standups, and retrospectives.
Training comes through both physical and virtual SAFe classrooms, a visual online workspace, and training materials and resources.
There is no prerequisite for taking the course or acquiring the certificate, with participants only advised to have a sufficient understanding of Scrum terms and principles, as well as Kanban and Extreme Programming (XP).
A renewal is required every year and participants are required to complete 10 hours of continuous training.
- One-year membership to SAFe community platform
- Interactive learning
A fee of $799 is charged, with this covering the cost of the examination. You have the option of retaking the examination for a fee of $50 per attempt. Certification renewal costs $100.
Scrum Master Certification FAQ
A Scrum master certification is a professional and recognized representation that an individual possesses the requisite skills and practical prowess in leading Scrum teams to project success.
Typically offered through programs with accompanying courses, classes, and a need to take examinations, a Scrum master certification gives an individual an edge in an agile environment.
Top Scrum master programs provide participants with multiple levels of Scrum master certifications. They also gain an increasingly deeper understanding of both Scrum and general agile principles for complex project problem-solving.
While some of these certifications have prerequisite conditions before you are allowed to take them, some are offered through programs suitable for entry-level individuals.
Scrum master certifications cost between $400 to $2,000, depending on the level of expertise taught through courses and the prestige of the institution offering the certificate.
For instance, intermediary certifications like the PMI-ACP cost $495 while advanced-level certifications like the Registered Scrum Master certification from Scrum Inc. cost as high as $1,995.
Costs of Scrum master certifications usually cover the cost of tuition, learning materials, and taking examinations.
There is one exception to this average range though. Scrum.org charges as low as $150 for entry-level and a maximum of $500 for its advanced level certification. However, this could be owed to the fact that there are no rigorous training procedures and participants pay just to take the examinations.
In the US, Scrum masters earn an average of $98,000 yearly, with the range of salaries falling between $71,000 and $133,000.
Compared to the average $88,000 salary of regular project managers, you see that getting a certification places you in a better position to earn more.
Apart from the higher-earning capacity that you get from being a certified Scrum master, possessing a certification proves to be very lucrative considering recent shifts.
An increasing number of companies have realized the importance of adopting agile methodologies within their project management frameworks. Due to this, individuals who could be trusted to handle teams and guide them to project success within these agile frameworks have become high in demand.
Considering this, you have a market to exploit using professional Scrum master certifications and are assured of high returns for taking up courses and certification programs.