7 In-Demand Scrum Master Certifications 2021

Written by Coursera • Updated on Aug 24, 2021

A Scrum certification can put you on the path to becoming a Scrum master and up your project management skills. Here are seven of them.

Project manager looks up Scrum certifications on his computer

What is a Scrum master certification—and do I need one?

A Scrum master certification, or Scrum certification, is a credential that recognizes your competency in Scrum project management principles. It can qualify candidates to become Scrum masters—a type of project manager that uses Scrum to complete projects.

Though Scrum certifications aren’t always necessary to become a project manager, they’re often requested—and sometimes required—in positions that heavily emphasize Scrum. So which Scrum certifications are worth getting?

We researched over 20 Scrum certifications to see how many times each was mentioned in job postings across LinkedIn, Indeed, and Simply Hired. The results show the seven most-mentioned certifications in job listings.

CertificationLinkedInIndeedSimply HiredTotal
CSM3011166712075885
CSPO*12588255472630
PSM519183141843
CSP420204158782
SSM277201111589
PSPO*32610490520
CSD706031161

*The full name of each certification was used in searches to avoid confusion with overlapping acronyms, unless marked with an asterisk.

If you're just getting started in project management, some introductory courses might help. Check out the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate—it'll introduce you to the basics of project management, including Agile and Scrum concepts. Plus, the first week is free.

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Scrum master certifications

Here are the top seven most-mentioned Scrum certifications from various job search sites as of August 2021.

1. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

The Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certification is administered by the Scrum Alliance, the first organization to offer a Scrum certification. It’s recommended for current and aspiring Scrum team leaders across industries—or anybody who expects to work on cross functional teams and solve complex problems.

More advanced certifications from the Scrum Alliance on the Scrum Master track include the Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (ACSM) and Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster (CSP-SM) certifications.

  • Cost: Depends on course. Offerings ranged from around $450 to $1000 as of August 2021. Courses include exam costs.

  • Requirements: Becoming a CSM entails taking a course of at least fourteen hours of training and passing an exam at the end.

Read more: 6 Popular Agile Certifications in 2021

2. Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)

The Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) certification, also offered by the Scrum Alliance, validates your training and knowledge in being a product owner. It’s an in-demand field; product owners are listed among the nine emerging jobs in product development in 2020 in a report by the World Economic Forum [1]. You’ll learn the basics of Scrum in the CSPO, plus receive product-specific training, like how to balance multiple stakeholders’ requests and create a product vision. The CSPO is recommended for product owners and project managers, as well as business analysts and data analysts.

On the product owner track, you can go on to become an Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (ACSPO) or Certified Scrum Professional Product Owner (CSP-PO).

  • Cost: Depends on course. Offerings ranged from around  $450 to $1000 as of August 2021. 

  • Requirements: You’ll have to take a Scrum Alliance-approved CSPO course to become certified.

3. Professional Scrum Master (PSM I)

The Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) is Scrum certification offered by Scrum.org, an organization founded by one of the co-creators of Scrum Alliance, Ken Schwaber. The PSM I validates your understanding of the Scrum framework, as well as how to apply it. 

The PSM I is the first level of Scrum certification offered by Scrum.org. You can go on to take the PSM II or PSM III, which will test you on more complex Scrum processes.

  • Cost: $150

  • Requirements: You’ll need to pass the PSM I assessment to get certified. Courses are available but aren’t required.

Read more: CAPM Certification Guide: Getting Started in Project Management

4. Certified Scrum Professional (CSP)

The Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) is the highest-level certification on the product development track offered by the Scrum Alliance. Distinct from the CSP-PO and CSP-SM, the CSP is unique to developers and is designed to help you become a professional that improves the way Scrum and Agile principles are put into action on your team.

You can start on the path to becoming a CSP by becoming a Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) first.

  • Cost: $100 application fee, plus $150 certification fee

  • Requirements: In order to be CSP certified, you’ll have to have an active CSD certification, a minimum of thirty-six months of Agile or Scrum work experience in the last five years, and seventy Scrum Education Units from the last three. You’ll then complete an application, which will then have to be approved.

5. SAFe Scrum Master (SSM)

If you’re considering being a Scrum master in an organization where Agile, Lean, or DevOps concepts are practiced at a large scale, getting SAFe Scrum Master (SSM) certified might be what you’re looking for. The certification is administered by Scaled Agile, the organization that oversees Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). In addition to getting acquainted with Scrum, you’ll learn the tools you need to work with teams that are fully remote.

  • Cost: Depends on course. A sampling of courses in August 2021 ranged from $600 to $800. Course fees generally include exam fees.

  • Requirements: You’ll have to take a required two-day course approved by Scaled Agile, in addition to passing an exam.

6. Professional Scrum Product Owner I (PSPO I)

The Professional Scrum Product Owner I (PSPO) certification from Scrum.org will certify your ability to maximize the value of a product created by a development team. The certification tests your understanding of the Product Owner Learning Path ascribed by Scrum.org, as well as your capacity to apply and interpret the Scrum Guide.

If you want to advance your credentials, you can go on to get the PSPO II and PSPO III from Scrum.org.

  • Cost: $200 (exam only)

  • Requirements: Passing the PSPO I exam is required to earn the credential. A course is not required but highly recommended.

7. Certified Scrum Developer (CSD)

The Scrum Alliance’s Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) is designed for product developers working in Scrum environments. Through the training required to become a CSD, you’ll familiarize yourself with the core concepts of Scrum and Agile in the context of product development. 

The CSD is a prerequisite for both the Advanced Certified Scrum Developer (ACSD) and the Certified Scrum Professional (CSP). The Professional Scrum Developer (PSD) is a similar offering from Scrum.org.

  • Cost: Depends on course. Offerings as of August 2021 were around $1000.

  • Requirements: Becoming a CSD requires you to take a Scrum Alliance-approved CSD course of at least two days. 

Getting started in Scrum

Learning Scrum concepts can be beneficial to project managers, product owners, business analysts, and any number of other professionals who work on Scrum teams. If you want a basic introduction to Scrum, consider enrolling in the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate. It has an entire course dedicated to Agile project management, where you’ll go over Scrum concepts as well.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Which Scrum certification should I get?

Which Scrum certification you get will depend on what’s necessary for your goals. If you’re having a hard time deciding, look through a few job descriptions you’re interested in applying to, and see what certifications they mention. You can also talk to your employer to see if there are any specialized skills they want Scrum masters to have.

How much do Scrum certifications cost?

Scrum certifications can cost anywhere from $150 to more than $1000 to get, depending on the certification. More expensive certifications generally require coursework, which can lead to high costs.

Article sources

1. World Economic Forum. "Jobs of Tomorrow Mapping Opportunity in the New Economy, https://www.weforum.org/reports/jobs-of-tomorrow-mapping-opportunity-in-the-new-economy." Accessed August 5, 2021.

Written by Coursera • Updated on Aug 24, 2021

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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