16 Types Of Scrum Master Certifications And Their Benefits

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 12 November 2022

Published 24 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Scrum is a framework for project development that can allow organisations to increase productivity in less time with small teams of professionals. If you work in a company with a Scrum framework, you might benefit from earning a Scrum certification. These certifications can show that you are knowledgeable about Scrum and Agile principles and have a commitment to professional development in Scrum-related roles. In this article, we define Scrum master certifications, explain their importance and list 16 certifications that can help you with job outcomes and career development.

Related: Learn How To Become A Scrum Master (With Tips And Skills)

What Are Scrum Master Certifications?

Scrum master certifications are credentials that show you have the skills and training to guide teams using the Scrum method. This framework is part of the Agile style of project management, which is an approach that emphasises using short periods of time, known as sprints, to complete a project incrementally. The Scrum framework, initially used in software development but now expanded to other industries such as marketing and finance, empowers cross-functional teams to collaborate together to make decisions.

A Scrum master is the person who leads these teams, making sure everyone adheres to Agile practices to keep a project progressing quickly. These professionals act in a leadership role to guide teams using various methods to help them be successful. Earning a certification in this area can show employers that you have experience and training to lead teams effectively. In addition to a Scrum master, some other jobs that can benefit from these certifications include:

  • Agile coach: An agile coach works with both teams and managers to improve Agile methods across an organisation.

  • Project manager: A project manager oversees the day-to-day management of a project, including planning and execution, to ensure it remains within scope.

  • Transformation manager: A transformation manager identifies opportunities within an organisation to implement changes to streamline processes and increase productivity.

Related: 19 Essential Project Management Skills To Master

Benefits Of Certifications To Become A Scrum Master

If you want to work as a Scrum master or leader on Agile teams, getting a professional certification can have many benefits, including:

  • Proving your credibility as a leader: These certifications show that you have progressive leadership skills with the ability to apply Scrum principles so that everyone on a team understands the framework.

  • Advancing your career: A Scrum master certification can help you meet qualifications for more positions and can often increase your earning potential in those roles.

  • Showing your advanced professional knowledge: These certifications show that you have advanced professional knowledge of the Scrum framework and a commitment to continuing your professional development in this area.

  • Providing networking opportunities: Some certifying organisations have local groups or online networks that you can join after earning a certification, allowing you to build relationships with other Scrum master professionals.

Related: Top Qualities of an Outstanding Leader

Types Of Certifications For Scrum Masters

There are several types of Scrum master certifications available from different organisations. Many of these certifications offer varying levels of advancement. Here are some types of certifications:

Certified ScrumMaster

The Scrum Alliance developed the Certified ScrumMaster course in 2002, making it one of the most established certifications for Scrum masters. Because of its reputation in the industry, this certification is a good choice for professionals who want to work as Scrum masters or advance in these roles. There are three levels of this certification:

  • Certified ScrumMaster: This certification is for beginners who want to move into a Scrum master role. It certifies that the person understands the Scrum framework and the methods to apply those practices within teams and organisations.

  • Advanced Certified ScrumMaster: This second-level certification is available to those with a Certified ScrumMaster certification and at least one year of work experience. It helps to enhance a professional's knowledge of Scrum practices with more in-depth implementation tools.

  • Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster: The level of certification is for those with an Advanced Certified ScrumMaster certification and two years of work experience. This certification shows that the professional has extensive knowledge of implementing Scrum practices in the workplace.

You can earn these certifications through online or in-person training sessions with certified Scrum trainers, which typically take two days to complete. Once you finish the training portion, you take an exam to test your knowledge of the concepts. You are required to renew these certifications every two years. Other certifications through the Scrum Alliance include:

  • Certified Scrum Product Owner: The Certified Scrum Product Owner certification is for product owners on the business side of projects who want to learn the tools to implement Scrum practices effectively. There are three levels of this certification.

  • Certified Scrum Developer: The Certified Scrum Developer certification provides training for product developers working in a Scrum environment on how to build products within this framework. Like the ScrumMaster and Product Owner certifications, there are three levels of certifications available for developers.

  • Certified Agile Leadership: The Certified Agile Leadership certification offers three foundational course options: Learning Objectives, Teams and Organisations. A combination of these certifications can be helpful for Agile coaches, managers and executives who want to transition their organisations to Agile methods.

Related: 14 Popular Scrum Tools For Agile Project Management

Professional Scrum Master

The Professional Scrum Master certification, issued by Scrum.org, certifies that you are knowledgeable about Scrum and can apply your knowledge practically. It is similar to the Certified ScrumMaster certification, though it only requires professionals to take an exam to earn the certification. Optional training courses are available through the organisation for those who want instruction before the exam. There are three levels to this certification:

  • Level I: This certification is for beginners with a grasp of Scrum fundamentals. It validates that the holder understands and can apply the framework in Scrum teams.

  • Level II: Second-level certification is for experienced Scrum professionals who have a fundamental understanding of Scrum principles and the ability to apply them in real-world situations. Level I certification is optional but recommended.

  • Level III: The highest level of certification validates the holder has advanced Scrum mastery and the ability to apply Scrum principles in various team and organisational scenarios. Level I and II certification are prerequisites.

Related: A Complete Guide On Daily Scrum: Meaning, Steps And Tips

Other certifications from Scrum.org include:

  • Professional Scrum Product Owner: The Professional Scrum Product Owner certification certifies knowledge and ability in the role of the product owner. Like the Professional Scrum Master certification, there are three levels of this certification.

  • Professional Scrum Developer: The Professional Scrum Developer certification applies to software developers, certifying mastery of Scrum practices and techniques.

  • Scaled Professional Scrum: The Scaled Professional Scrum certification is for professionals who manage larger development projects requiring multiple Scrum teams. A Scaled Professional Scrum certification also validates mastery of Nexus, a related framework for scaling projects.

  • Professional Agile Leadership: The Professional Agile Leadership certification is for leaders who want to adopt Agile methods in their organisation. The exam for this certification focuses on practical questions that ask how the professional would apply Agile practices to real-life scenarios.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definition and Examples

Agile Certified Professional

The Project Management Institute offers the Agile Certified Professional certificate, which provides a comprehensive understanding of several Agile methods, including Scrum, Kanban and Lean practices. Because this certification focuses on multiple Agile frameworks, it is helpful for those who work in a more traditional project management structure. You complete 21 hours of instruction, either virtually or in-person, and take an exam to earn this certification. To be eligible, you are required to have one year of general project experience within the last five years and eight months of Agile project experience within the last three years.

Related: Agile Vs. Scrum: What Is The Difference? (With FAQs)

SAFe ScrumMaster

The Scaled Agile organisation provides certification options in its Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), which implements Agile, Lean and Scrum practices for enterprises. This certification is a good choice for those who want to work in enterprise-level organisations, which may have hundreds or thousands of employees. Those working toward these certifications attend a two-day course and complete an exam. There are two levels of this certification:

  • SAFe Scrum Master: This certification teaches the fundamentals of Scrum and how to apply it throughout all levels of an organisation. There are no prerequisites for the SAFe 4 Scrum Master course, though it helps if the professional has a familiarity with Agile concepts and the Scrum, Kanban and eXtreme Programming (XP) methods.

  • SAFe Advanced Scrum Master: This certification expands on the Scrum framework by introducing new concepts to build high-performing teams within enterprises. To gain this certification, the organisation highly recommends that professionals have a SAFe Scrum Master, Certified ScrumMaster or Professional Scrum Master certification.

Related: How To Write A Scrum Master Resume (With Example And Tips)

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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