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The Career Path of a Certified Scrum Master: Foundational & Advanced Certifications

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Last updated on
31st May, 2022
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17th Sep, 2019
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The Career Path of a Certified Scrum Master: Foundational & Advanced Certifications

“When business goals are constantly varying, stepping on the right career path can be a tricky and on-going target.”

So, you completed your 2-days of CSM certification training and serving as a Scrum Master in the organization! What is your next career move then? Is your part done once you receive CSM certification? Or you will think about adding more boosters to level-up your Scrum career? Go through this article to know more about numerous career options available for you today! 

Being a Scrum Master, you need to strengthen your Scrum knowledge on a regular basis. Typically, the very first move in the career of the Scrum Master includes serving one team, so that all the issues are faced by the team members can be resolved to deliver the end result very quickly.    

A great Scrum Master always look for additional challenging roles. Often, the next logical step of the Scrum Masters is to work with multiple teams and at the scaled level concurrently. A Scrum Master, who manages to work under complex conditions can make an easy transition from good to great and this gives rise to the reality that- Success is often rewarded on accepting more challenges.  

Level-up your Scrum Master skills to play various challenging roles in the organizations implementing a Scrum framework. 

Let’s take a look at the various certifications and requirements needed to earn those certifications after CSM certification. Given below is the list of various Scrum certifications that Certified ScrumMaster can take to upskill his/her career.

  1. Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM®)
  2. Certified Scrum Professional®-ScrumMaster (CSP-SM)
  3. Certified Team CoachSM (CTC)
  4. Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST)
  5. Certified Enterprise Coach℠ (CEC)
  6. Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®)
  7. Certified Scrum Developer® (CSD®)
  8. ICP-ACC Certification
Foundational LevelPrerequisiteNext Career Move
CSPO
NoneA-CSPO
CSDNoneCSP
Advanced LevelPrerequisiteNext Career Move
A-CSM
Active CSMCSP-SM
ElevatedPrerequisiteNext Career Move
CSP-SMActive A-CSMCTC, CEC, CST
Expert/ProfessionalPrerequisiteNext Career Move
CTCActive CSP-SM, CSP-PO, or CSPCoaches the team members on Scrum
CECActive CSP-SM, CSP-PO, or CSPHelp organizations to become an Agile organization
CSTActive CSP-SM, CSP-PO, or CSPTrains individuals on Scrum
ICP-ACCActive CSMMentors the team in Agile adoption

1. Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM®)

A-CSM certification is an immediate Scrum Master certification that can be earned just after the CSM certification. This certification will help an individual to facilitate smooth communication between the customers and the Stakeholders increasing engagement. Further, as an A-CSM certified individual, you can not only increase your Scrum implementation skills but showcase your value as a highly-skilled Agile professional to the potential employer.  

Prerequisites to grab A-CSM certification

You just need to hold an active CSM certification from Scrum Alliance and you have at least 12 months of experience working as a Scrum Master.

What next after Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM) certification?

Once you have upgraded your skills with the Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM) certification, you are ready to master in Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster® (CSP-SM®).  

2. Certified Scrum Professional®-ScrumMaster (CSP-SM):

Certified Scrum Professionals always aims to improve the ways of applying Agile and Scrum principles. They exhibit their experience, knowledge earned during the Scrum training. If you are looking to elevate your Scrum career to the next level, get ready to earn Certified Scrum Professional®-ScrumMaster (CSP®-SM) certification. After attaining  CSP certification, an individual will get the following benefits:

  • A candidate will be able to attend CSP events with other leaders
  • An individual will get chances to earn more and recruited by the top-giant companies

Prerequisites to grab CSP-SM certification

An individual should hold an active Advanced Certified ScrumMasterSM (A-CSMSM ) certification from any of the Scrum Alliance approved training center. Also, he/she should have at least 24 months of work experience as a Scrum Master. 

What next after CSP-SM certification?

CSP-SM certification is a gateway towards achieving the Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®), Certified Enterprise Coach℠ (CEC), or Certified Team Coach℠ (CTC) certifications.

3. Certified Team CoachSM (CTC):

The Certified Team Coach (CTC) is a guide level certification, usually works with the management, Scrum teams, and Stakeholders. As the name says, the CTC works at the team level. Organizations hire Certified Team Coach (CTC) to train, coach, mentor, remove obstacles, and lead the team to leverage value delivery, team collaboration, and continuous development across multiple teams. 

Prerequisites to grab CTC certification

  • An active Certified Scrum Professional certification 
  • 1,000 hours of Agile coaching experience in the last 2 years without considering your role as Scrum Master
  • Coaching experience in at least 2 organizations 
  • Must be actively participated in a minimum of 5 Agile events
  • Practical experience of Scrum implementation and coaching experience in Agile and Scrum framework.

What next after CTC certification?

Certified Team Coaches (CTCs) can initiate coaching, mentoring, and training the professionals on Agile and Scrum processes once they earn CTC certification. Also, they can recommend up to 50 individuals yearly for whom they have given 25-hours of in-person training or small group training to achieve Certified ScrumMaster® and Certified Scrum Product Owner® certifications. In this way, a CTC certified can contribute to creating a healthy environment of the organizations by coaching the team members on Scrum.      

4. Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST)

Scrum Alliance offer only one trainer-centric certification in the form of Certified Scrum Trainer®  (CST) certification. This is the most sought-after certification and those who wish to transform the working way of the teams can be a part of this training. 

Prerequisites to grab CST certification

To become a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), you need to have:

  • Detailed knowledge of the Scrum concepts, practices, and principles
  • An active Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster™ (CSP-SM™) certification from Scrum Alliance
  • Hands-on experience in implementing the Scrum framework as a ScrumMaster, Product Owner, or Development team member
  • Teaching experience in partnership with any Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) or independently-
    • Taught to at least 100 candidates
    • Hosted at least 10 or more days ScrumMaster training sessions 
  • Respective certifications in order to train professionals on the courses (e.g. if want to train on CSPO, an individual should hold an active CSPO certification.  

What next after CST certification?

As a CST, you can teach Scrum to the students who want to work in a Scrum environment. Scrum Alliance considers CST as an active member in the Scrum community who actively takes part in the events and user groups, blogging, and in online discussions.    

5. Certified Enterprise Coach℠ (CEC):

The Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) exhibits their years of experience in Scrum transformations at an enterprise level. They also show their in-depth understanding of implementing Scrum practices and principles. The CECs are skilled at Scrum (both theoretically and practically) and guide organizations during their Agile transformation journey.

Prerequisites to grab CEC certification

The individuals aspiring Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) credential must possess:

  • Knowledge of Scrum practices, proven leadership, and coaching skills 
  • An active CSP-SM™ or CSP-PO™ or CSP® certification 
  • Working experience in Scrum team roles
  • Coaching experience in at least three organizations
  • 2,000 hours over the past 3 years of work experience as a Coach.

What next after CEC certification?

Being a CEC certified, an individual can help organizations to become an Agile organization using the Scrum framework to transform the world of work. Also, they can recommend up to 50 individuals yearly for whom they have given 25-hours of in-person training or small group training to achieve Certified ScrumMaster® and Certified Scrum Product Owner® certifications. In this way, a CTC certified can contribute to creating a healthy environment of the organizations by coaching the team members on Scrum.   

6. Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®)

The Product Owner (PO) creates the product vision, prioritize the product backlog, and help the team in delivering what customers intuitively looking for. The CSPO®  is the certification for the Product Owners that will help an individual in handling the business side of the project. 

Prerequisites to grab CSPO® certification

There is no prerequisite to attend  CSPO® training. However, in order to earn this certification, an individual need to attend 2-days of CSPO® course taught by Certified Scrum Trainer®  (CST). 

What next after CSPO® certification?

After taking CSPO certification, you can go for advanced-level certification of CSPO which is an Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner® (A-CSPO®) course from Scrum Alliance. 

7. Certified Scrum Developer® (CSD®)

The  CSD® certification proves that an individual has skills of building the software using Scrum as a part of the Scrum team. With CSD® , you can strengthen your technical skills in Agile software development. 

Prerequisites to grab CSD® certification

Any programmer (having coding knowledge) can attend CSD® course. To achieve this, an individual needs to undergo at least 5-days of the formal CSD training course by a Scrum Alliance Registered Education Provider (REP) and a Scrum Alliance Authorized Instructor. 

In addition to this, the CSD® certification offers the privilege to the CSM certified candidates. They can skip the first 2 days and directly join from the 3rd day of the technical training.

What next after CSD® certification?

After CSD® certification, an individual can level-up his/her skills with Certified Scrum Professional® for Developers (CSP- D) certification. The CSP certification help teams to constantly improve the ways of implementing Agile and Scrum practices and principles.   

8. ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Coaching (ICP-ACC) Certification

ICP-ACC certification in Agile Coaching certification aims to achieve an Agile mindset. After this certification, an individual can easily be able to differentiate between the facilitation, mentoring, professional coaching and teaching and will get to learn the skills like team collaboration and conflict resolution to form a healthy organizational environment.

Prerequisites to grab ICP-ACC certification

An individual with CSM certification and 2-3 years of working experience as a Scrum Master, is eligible to achieve ICP-ACC certification training. 

What next after ICP ACC certification?

Being a certified Agile Coach, you can play the role of the mentor to the Agile team by facilitating Agile practices and empowering teams to reach their goals. More specifically, an Agile Coach can is a guide to the team members who help the team in Agile adoption. 

Career Roles of a Scrum Master

Career Roles of a Scrum Master

The Scrum Master is the heart of the Scrum process who plays a diverse set of roles in the team. Let's have a glimpse of the various roles that Scrum Master can play after the CSM certification:

  • Agile Coach
  • Product Owner
  • Manager 
  • SAFe Scrum Master

Concluding Thoughts

The Scrum Master role should not be an end itself. There is always a scope of consistent improvement. So, for all the Scrum Masters, ‘What’s your next career path?’ Being a Scrum Master, try not to keep yourself restricted to limited skills. Try to advance your Scrum skills always by taking more advanced Scrum certifications.    

So, are you ready to take the plunge with other advanced Scrum certifications after earning CSM certification?  

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