Agile Certification Guide – PMI, Scrum & SAFe Certification

This Complete Guide on Top Agile Certifications provides all details like Exam Fee, Prerequisites, Pass Criteria, etc for PMI ACP, CSM, CSPO, PSM, SAFe & More:

In this era where the software industry is at its peak, 97% of the companies are adopting Agile methodology. Agile has not only overcome traditional methods but indeed, has revolutionized modern project development.

According to the 13th Annual State of Agile Report (most recent report), the companies using the agile principles are up to 82% in production and operation, 79% in marketing and communication, 78% in sales, 78% in HR, Finance, and Administration, and 83% in R & D.

Agile Certification Guide

According to the report, the team morale increased to 64% when compared to 61% of last year. Project predictability increased to 52% that was 49% last year and project risk reduced to 50% when compared to last year. Team productivity increased to 61%, software quality to 47%, and even the Project cost reduced to 28%.

The report also discovered that 75% of organizations are using agile due to accelerated software delivery, 64% organizations are using agile due to enhanced ability to manage changing priorities, and 55% prefer agile due to increased productivity.

agile benefits

Being said that agile experience and knowledge are in high demand, any individual working in a project management environment, having the agile certification will not only help to improve his chances to excel in his career but would also help to better manage any project.

What Is Agile Software Development?

Agile software development refers to the process in which a team can manage a project by breaking it up into several stages and involve the constant collaboration of stakeholders and continuous improvement and iteration at every stage.

What Is Scrum?

Scrum is the top-ranking framework of agile project management. Most of the top agile certifications are based on Scrum techniques. Scrum has more transparency, visibility, increased accountability, and cost-saving methodology than any other methodology of agile project management.

Recommended Read => Agile Scrum Methodology For Development And Testing

According to the 2019 Scrum Master Trends Report, 71% of executives use Scrum techniques in their project development due to the responsive and flexible behavior of Scrum. 85% response says that Scrum continuously improves the quality of the work and decreases project length to 11.6 weeks.

81% of organizations are using Scrum with other agile practices. Moreover, Scrum Master with formal training of Scrum and Agile certification has much higher salaries than those who do not have.

Agile Certification Guide

The demand for agile certification has increased not only in the IT industry but also in engineering disciplines due to the revolutionized face of project management and software development. It provides an extra edge to its holder in the industry.

According to the 2019 Scrum Master Trends Report, some of the most popular certifications are enlisted below.

Agile certification popularity

Advantages Of Agile Certification

Agile Certification would help to better project management, facilitate meetings, conflict resolution, better agile estimation & planning, coaching agile practices, enforcing rules, and servant leader.

Having Agile Certification provides many benefits as stated below.

  • Better credibility
  • Better pay off in terms of salary and rank.
  • Better visibility
  • Better team collaboration
  • Improve productivity
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Learn and improve better project management techniques.

Salary expectations as reported by the Scrum masters in the report is shown below.

scrum masters salaries

Salaries by Certification according to the report.

salaries by certifications

Top Agile Certifications

There are several agile certifications available in the market for getting the credentials in the domain of Agile Project Management. It is not only confusing while choosing an agile certification but also important to choose it intelligently as it involves efforts, money, and time.

Enlisted below is a list of the top Agile Certifications that we listed to help make better decisions. Agile certification should become the choice of every individual working in the agile project management world.

Here we will discuss the top 5 Agile Certifications that are best for agile professionals to boost their career.

  1. PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Professionals)
  2. Scrum Alliance (Certified Scrum Master/Certified Scrum Owner/ Certified Scrum Developer)
  3. Scrum Alliance (Certified Scrum Professional)
  4. (Professional Scrum Master/ Professional Scrum Product owner / Professional Scrum Developer-1)
  5. SAFe Scaled Agilists

#1) PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)

This certification is the best among the available project management certifications and is offered by the Project Management Institution. From the last three years, PMI-ACP credentials increased to 54.42%.

This certification is best for those professionals whose organization is using agile practices or trying to move towards agile practices. The PMI ACP gives a guarantee that this certification holder has faced the real-world experience of managing the agile projects and familiar with many frameworks of an agile approach like Scrum, Lean, and Kanban.

To achieve this certification, individuals must have to earn 30 professional units to maintain their status every year.

To ornament PMI ACP certification holder, professional must have exposure of 1500 hours in Agile enterprise and 2000 hours work occurrence of extensive process-based planning. The user must have to take the classroom or online training before giving exams.

For registration and more details, please visit this link. For exam preparation, please visit here.

What Role Does This Certificate Suit Most?

This certification is suitable for the following roles:

  • PMP Scrum Master
  • Agile Trainer
  • Project Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Digital Channel Planner

 PMI ACP Cost: The PMI ACP offers a paper-based and computer-based test. The cost is $385 for the paper-based test and $495 for the computer-based tests.

Exam Details: The duration of exams is 3 hours and contains 120 multiple-choice questions. The percentage must be 70% or above to pass this exam.

#2) Scrum Alliance: Certified Scrum Master/ Certified Scrum Product Owner/ Certified Scrum Developer

Scrum alliance is best for those organizations who are using the Scrum techniques for their projects.

The popular Scrum alliance certifications are:

  • Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
  • Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)
  • Certified Scrum Developer (CSD)

The willing candidates just need to attend training to achieve this certification. Training of 2 days is necessary for the Certified Scrum Master and Certified Scrum Owner while the training of 5 days is required for the Certified Scrum Developer.

For registration and more details visit this link. For exam preparation, please visit here.

What Role Does This Certificate Suit Most?

This certification is suitable for the following roles:

  • Scrum Master
  • Product Owner
  • Managers
  • Coach

Scrum Master Certification Cost: The Scrum Master certification fee is $1547 and $250 is the annual renewal fee.

Exam details: The exam duration is 1 hour. The test contains 50 multiple-choice questions. The candidate must score 74% or above to qualify for this certificate.

#3) Scrum Alliance: Certified Scrum Professional

This is a professional-level certification and is offered by the Scrum Alliance. It is not only a top agile certification but also a top Management certification. This elaborates the ability of participants in advance techniques, artifacts, roles, and procedures of the Scrum domain. There is no training required for wining this certification.

For registration and more details visit this link.

What Role Does This Certificate Suit Most?

This certification is suitable for the following roles:

  • Scrum Master
  • Mentor
  • Coach
  • Manager
  • Product Owner

Cost: The cost of this certification is $1295 and $250 is the renewal cost every year.

Exam Details: The exam duration is 1 hour. The text contains 50 multiple-choice questions. The candidate must score 74% or above to qualify for this certificate.

#4) Professional Scrum Master/Professional Scrum Product Owner/ Professional Scrum Developer-I

This professional-level certification is offered by the Scrum organization. This certification recognizes and validates the knowledge of candidate and scrum practices in a real-world environment.

All the professionals like Scrum product owners, Scrum Masters, Scrum Developers can get this certification without joining any training. The candidate must have to pass the exam.

For registration and more details, you can visit this link.

What Role Does This Certificate Suit Most?

This certification is suitable for the following roles:

  • Product Manager
  • General Product Manager
  • Senior Product Manager
  • Program Manager

Cost: The certification cost for the Professional Scrum Master is $150. For Professional Scrum Product Owner and Professional Scrum Developers, the certification cost is $200.

Exams Details: The exam contains a total of 80 questions and the candidate has to pass the exam with 85% or above.

#5) SAFe Scaled Agilist

This is also known as SAFe Agilist and Scaled Agilist. SAFe Agilist candidates must take 2 days of training provided by the training providers.

To achieve this certification the candidate must have 5 years of experience in Software development, Project management, Testing, or Scrum. The candidate gets a detailed knowledge about Lean-Agile leadership principles. A SAFe Agilist must have to know about the maintenance of the software for continuous development.

For registration and more details visit this link.

What Role Does This Certificate Suit Most?

This certification is suitable for the following roles:

  • Agile Coach
  • SAFe Release Train Engineer
  • SAFe Program Consultant

Cost: The training institutes defines the cost according to their requirements.

Exam Details: The exam contains 53 questions. To pass this exam, the candidates have to secure 65% or above percentage.

Comparison of All Agile Certifications

FeeMember: $435
Training institutes define it$250PSM: $150
Training institutes define it
Exam Prerequisites2000 hour’s general project experience and 1500 hour’s work on Agile project managementCSM/CSPO: 2 days training from CST
CSD: At least 5 days training by Scrum Alliance
70 Scrum Educational unit from the past three yearsOnly Scrum knowledge is required5years’ experience in software development and project management
Certificate Renewal30 PDUs, every three years $60$100After every two years $250Not requiredOutreach hours $100
Content CoverageWide spectrum, Scrum, Kanban, Lean, XP.In depth ScrumIn depth ScrumIn depth ScrumScaling Agile/ Scrum methodologies
Exam Time3 hours1 hour1 hour2 hours1 hour
Pass Criteria120 questions and must have to secure 70% or above50 questions, 37 must be correct50 questions, 37 must be correct80 questions, Secure 85% or above53 questions, Secure 65% or above

How to Pick the Best Agile Certification

Picking the right certification could get tricky. To lessen the confusion, we have listed some important points to consider while making the decision.

Get clear about your priorities.

Based on your priorities, decide which certification is best for you.

Candidate priorities often include:

  • International certification
  • Practical skills
  • Progression of current knowledge.
  • Gaining a flexible approach to project management.

Look at your Project Environment:

This could refer to the environment you are currently working in. Are you working in small, self-led teams or at the leadership level? These questions will help you to prompt the kind of training and certification you aim for.

  • For those who are brand new in an agile society and have never undergone agile certification, then a certified Scrum Master is the best footstep.
  • If you want to expand flexibility in agile automation, pick the PMI-ACP certification.
  • Small, self-led team candidates are ideal for the Scrum Project Management framework.
  • If you are working at the leadership level, choose Scrum Master Certification.
  • If your enterprise is operating on the SAFe Agilist framework, then pick SAFe Agilist certification.
  • For those who have significant expertise in Agile accession and have a fancy to flatter, a professional agile mentor, Certified Agile Coach(ICP-ACC) is appropriate.

Altogether these applications will assist you to collect the required 70 SEUs for implementing the Certified Scrum Professional and manifest your expertise at an advanced degree and expose yourself as a competent Scrum Practitioner.


In today’s competitive age, you are encouraged to admire the supremacy of learning to transmute your profession and take it to a new extent. The more skills you will possess, the better you will be able to perform and deliver exceptional work for your organization.

It has been found out that both national and international companies are willing to pay high salaries for their personnel who can administer a project efficiently on their own and give the best results with the fast turnaround time.

At the moment, there is a lack of qualified professionals who can comprehend the true worth of agile methods and can implement the procedures in the existing Project Management scenarios. The agile certification can offer visibility, and a predominant platform to demonstrate true credentials.

All of the above certifications are remarkable. You just need to evaluate which one will suit your requirements in feasible ways.

If the target is to get benefits in the career or changing a job then PMI-ACP & CSM has more market value and popularity. If the target is to gain pure knowledge, PSM-I is best to start and go to higher in its levels. Hence, choose an agile certification according to your career and path.

After all these discussions, we can conclude that various agile certifications can assist you to improve delivery, predictability, and accelerate software delivery. Also, it helps in cutting down the overall cost of the project. All these certifications also pave the way for you to get global recognition and stand out from the crowd.

Have you picked a certification of your choice from the above list?