Five Things to Look for in a Scrum Certifying Organization

You’re on a quest to get certified in Scrum. Perhaps you’re doing it on your own or maybe your company has prompted you to take action. But you’re on the quest. And while you have a lot of options when choosing a certifying organization, you want to select the organization that provides the most value to you. After all, this is your career we’re talking about. To help you compare your options and decide on the best one for you, here are five important things to look for in a Scrum certifying organization.
1.  Variety of courses
Scrum is a journey, and one certifying course won’t carry you through that entire journey. You may want to add more advanced certifications, learn about other Agile practices that work well with Scrum, or do a deep dive into one topic. It’s a lot easier to do that when those types of courses are offered – and they’re offered close to you. Make sure the organization you choose offers a progressive path of education across certifications, teaching, coaching and other Scrum-related topics.
2.  Established in the practice
Make sure the organization isn’t an online certification mill that holds no weight in the market – or that may not be there tomorrow. Research its history and reputation, its track record of certifying Scrum practitioners, and its criteria for that certification. Perhaps you’re drawn to an organization that’s driven by one person, on the contrary, you might prefer an organization that is more community-driven. Whichever it is, verify that it’s recognized in the industry as a reputable and long-standing organization.
3.  Quality of education
How do you ensure your quality of education doesn’t vary by educator…short of cloning the best trainer? Standard learning objectives and high accreditation of trainers are two ways a certifying organization can deliver the consistent quality students expect. Don’t forget to look at the resources provided beyond certification. Do they offer valuable tips and relevant information or do they simply self-promote their products? Can you learn something new about Scrum every day? No organization is perfect, but one that raises the bar for themselves and others on a continual basis is worth your consideration.
4.  Active and engaged community
Certification is typically the first step in a long-term commitment to Scrum. An active and engaged community of peers can help you take the next step, and the next, and the next. Scrum user groups and events, both in person and online and on a local, regional, and global basis, give you the chance to learn, teach, and share along your entire Scrum journey. Who better to work with and learn from than those that are actually using and implementing Scrum on a daily basis?
5.  The why?
There are lots of certifying organizations out there that are in it for the profit. After all, in an area where certification helps separate the professionals from the amateurs, demand is great and money follows. So take a look at the organization’s why – their reason for being. Do they put members before profit – or is it the opposite?  Do they offer a risk-free membership or are they more interested in processing membership payments? The organization’s “why” will give you a good indication of where its heart is.
Side-by-Side Comparison
You may find the following chart helpful as you evaluate your options. List the Scrum certifying organizations you’re considering along the top and answer the questions for each. At the end, you’ll have a side-by-side comparison and you’ll have the information to select the best Scrum certifying organization for your needs and priorities.

  SCRUM ALLIANCE® Org 2 Org 3 Org 4
How long has the organization existed? Since 2001      
How many individuals has the organization certified? 725,000+      
Are the certifications provided recognized by employers? Yes      
Are the courses and trainers near you? Certified Scrum Trainers offer approximately 230 courses each month around the world. Find Courses.      
Is there a progressive path of education, both certification-related and otherwise? Scrum Alliance currently offers eight different certifications.      
Is it an organization that puts practitioners over profits? Scrum Alliance is a 501 (c) (6) nonprofit.      
Are there opportunities to connect with others interested in Scrum? Scrum Alliance has approximately 275 User Groups around the globe.      
What resources are there after you’re certified? Events, User Groups, Articles, Expert Blog, e-newsletter.      
Does the organization give back to the Scrum community by sponsoring events and user groups? Scrum Alliance sponsors over 100 events each year.