People often ask us what the most valuable certifications for agile practitioners are. It’s true, Agile has changed how software development works. But to maximize your time and financial investments, you need to assess your abilities carefully. We are sharing a list of our six favorite Agile certifications that will benchmark your skills and launch your career forward.

1. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

· Issued by ScrumAlliance.org
· Average Cost: $900-$1200
· Renewal is $100 every two years

This certification is attained through the not-for-profit organization Scrum Alliance. It is the most well-known and recognized certification for Scrum in the United States. Suppose you want to demonstrate your abilities in understanding Agile & Scrum. In that case, this may be where you want to begin your Agile journey. The CSM is the most accessible of the Scrum and Agile Certifications as there are no prerequisites to obtaining it. Attend a 16-hour in-depth course and achieve a passing score on a 50-question multiple-choice exam. There are close to one million people who hold the CSM certification.

2. Project Management Professional (PMP)

· Issued by PMI.org
· Average Cost: $1200 – $3200
· Renewal is $150 every two years

The not-for-profit organization Project Management Institute (PMI) issues the PMP certification. This certification has been around for many decades. It is the most well-known and rigorous project management certification available today. It is not easy to achieve. It takes several thousands of hours of documented project management experience and other preparatory work before one is eligible to take the certification exam. The exam has a time limit of 4 hours and is very rigorous. Because it is more difficult to attain, many managers with a PMP certification earn annual salaries of $100,000 or more.

3. Certified Scrum Professional (CSP-SM, CSP-PO)

· Issued by ScrumAlliance.org
· Average Cost: $1295 – $1395
· Renewal is $250 every two years

There are two variants of this certification – the CSP-SM, which is for Scrum Masters, and the CSP-PO, which is for Product Owners. Both certifications are for people wanting to demonstrate a more advanced knowledge of Scrum and Agile. The prerequisite for either certification is at least two years of experience as a Scrum Master or Product Owner in the last five years and an advanced certification with the Scrum Alliance, such as an Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM) or Advanced Certified Product Owner (A-CSPO). The CSP-SM and/or CSP-PO is a prerequisite for achieving the advanced coaching & training certifications through the Scrum Alliance (#4 on this list). Many people with these credentials receive annual salaries in the $130,000-$160,000 range.

4. Certified Enterprise/Team Coach (CEC, CTC)

· Issued by ScrumAlliance.org
· Average Cost: $750 license fee plus complete requirements
· Renewal is every two years

This certification is for those people wanting to demonstrate their coaching capabilities. There are two distinct flavors of this certification. The Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) certification focuses on the skills necessary in working with directors and executives. The Certified Team Coach (CTC) emphasizes the skills needed by advanced Scrum Masters to coach their teams more effectively. Someone holding a CEC/CTC certification can often earn in the low $200,000’s, especially for persons who are willing to travel and perform organizational consulting in various locations.

5. SAFe Program Consultant (SPC)

· Issued by ScaledAgile.com
· Average Cost: $2995
· Renewal is every year

Scaled Agile Inc., the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) certifying body, offers this certification. It is for those people who are looking to gain insight into mastering business agility. This certification helps people to thrive in the competitive marketplace. It enables people to embed their Agile work practices into a framework that can scale to the enterprise level.

SAFe allows Agile deployment across multiple teams. It enhances inter-team coordination and increases team effectiveness. Any level of scaling is typically very challenging. Still, this program will give you a firm grasp of the concepts and procedures to become successful. It also gives you the credentials that help make the phone ring by recruiters. The average pay for a SAFe Program Consultant (SPC) in the United States is $150,000-$160,000 per year.

6. Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM) or Disciplined Agile Senior Scrum Master (DASSM)

· Issued by PMI.org
· Average Cost: $800 – $1100
· Renewal is every year

Continue your agile journey by learning multiple agile approaches with these new and upcoming certifications from the Project Management Institute. These two certifications will prepare you to lead an agile team (or multiple teams) successfully and ready to handle agile transformation with your organization. Disciplined Agile is a toolkit that focuses on decision considerations and is not a framework. It combines the strategies from Scrum, Agile Modeling, Kanban, SAFe, and many more. The Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM) training has no requirements and is a 2-day training. The Disciplined Agile Senior Scrum Master (DASSM) requires you to have two years of experience working in a leadership role with an Agile team, like a Scrum Master, Product Owner, and take the 2-day training.

The Agile job market will continue to grow in the next few years. Having one or more of these certifications is simply another way to help you stand out from the competition. Think of these certifications as an investment in your professional toolkit, allowing you to expand your ability to deliver top results, even when faced with challenging projects.