How Do I Earn a Cisco Certification?

Expertise in the application of Cisco hardware and software is established by licensed certification. Since such certifications have become industry-standard, you may be wondering how you can earn Cisco certification. This article should provide the answers. Schools offering Computer Networking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Certification Overview

There are a variety of certification levels available for Cisco certification. Some certifications have prerequisites, others do not. Jobs within the IT industry include certification for the following levels: entry, associate, professional, expert, and architect. Keep reading to learn more about each of these options and the process for certification.

Important Facts About This Certification

Certificate Levels Entry, associate, professional, expert, and architect
Perquisites Varies
Specializations Cisco Cybersecurity Specialist, Cisco Video Network Specialist, Cisco Enterprise IT Business Specialist, Cisco Network Programmability Developer Specialist
Online Availability Blended

General Certification Process

Cisco certification is achieved by a combination of coursework, hands-on lab work and examination. Once earned, a certificate is valid for three years. It may be renewed by retaking the exam for that certificate or taking a higher level exam. Cisco examinations are administered by Pearson VUE (

Sample Certification Process

The most basic Cisco certification is that of Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician. The curriculum for CCENT does not cover advanced voice, wireless, and security issues. It does cover all the skills for switching, routing, and addressing that are needed to establish a small office network.

Achievement of the CCENT certificate requires five days of virtual pre-training, 40 hours of lab work and five days of class. The exam is titled Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part One (ICND1).

The ICND1 course and exam may be followed by ICND2. This leads to certification at the next level, the more well-known Cisco Certified Network Associate designation (CCNA). Some licensed providers offer a popular boot camp approach, which provides combined training and a composite exam, leading immediately to the CCNA certification.

Available Certifications

A Cisco certification simply is proof that you have mastered skills in Cisco Systems equipment ( The prevalence of Cisco Systems equipment within the industry has made this certification increasingly important. These certifications have four levels:

  • Entry
  • Associate
  • Professional
  • Expert
  • Architect

There's also a number of specializations. Examples are:

  • Cisco Cybersecurity Specialist
  • Cisco Video Network Specialist
  • Cisco Enterprise IT Business Specialist
  • Cisco Network Programmability Developer Specialist

Benefits of Certification

One of the top benefits of a Cisco certification for you is the potential earnings. According to, in the 10th-90th percentiles, network engineers with a CCNA certification earn $44,858-$98,042 as of September 2015. In addition, according to people who have earned a Cisco certification, you may find it easier to get better jobs within the IT industry or advance in your current position.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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