Certification – Major News for Expert Level Recertification
Everyone holding an expert level Cisco certification knows the pain of recertifying. Recertification today is achieved by taking any expert level written exam which means you can take the written in the track you are already certified in (the “safe bet”) or in another track if you want to learn something new. The quality of these written exams have varied over the years. Some revisions have been very difficult to pass even for people that are masters of their trade due to the pool of questions not being as high quality as can be expected from an expert level exam. This has been debated for years.
Every two years the pain of recertifying kicks in. Taking the written exam costs around 400$ per attempt depending on local rates, VAT etc. Many people have had to go through multiple attempts to recertify and some have chosen other written exams than their own track because the written of that track was not up to par quality-wise.
Over the years we have been many that have suggested that there must be a better path to getting recertified. Many of us go to Cisco Live, write blogs, author training material, teach courses etc. which has not given us any credit towards recertification. Some other certifications have given credit to people for attending conferences, authoring material etc. but this has not been an option with Cisco certifications so far. This is all about to change though…
Starting today, on Sweden’s national day (I’m Swedish), there is another path to recertify expert level certifications, meaning all of the CCIE tracks and the CCDE. Cisco has started the Cisco Continuing Education Program available from this CLN link. This program is based on three founding principles: Flexibility, Diversity and Integrity. Flexibility is achieved by offering alternative paths to recertify, beyond the already existing written exams. Diversity is achieved by offering a wide range of items, including online courses, instructor-led training, authoring of content and Cisco Live training offerings. Integrity is achieved by having only Cisco authorized content providers deliver the training and validating the credits submitted by the individual.
This program is only for people holding expert level certifications and not currently for professional or associate level certifications. The certification must be in Active or Suspend status to be eligible to recertify. Emeritus is also eligible except for the following:
- Candidates in Emeritus status who are required to pass both a written exam and a lab to become active again
- Candidates who achieved Emeritus status by earning Business Transformation certifications as described on the CCIE website
To recertify, three steps must be achieved before the certification expires:
- Agree to the Terms and Conditions associated with the Continuing Education Program as part of the enrollment process
- Earn 100 credits required by completing any of the preapproved Continuing Education offerings
- Pay the Continuing Education administrative fee
It’s possible to enroll in the program at any time and earn credits before the certification becomes inactive. For Cisco Digital Learning self-paced trainings, a “certificate of completion” needs to be attained to have the credits registered for that training.
As documented above, 100 credits is needed to recertify your expert level certification. Once recertifying, normal rules apply, all expert level certications and lower level certifications will be recertified once attaining the credits necessary.
To enroll and get more information on the program, visit this link and login with your standard CCO account.
Once logged in there will be a dashboard showing your certification status and how many days remaining until you need to recertify.
One of the great things with this update is the ability to earn credits by taking training at Cisco Live. This should give employers some extra motivation to send their employees to Cisco Live. A maximum of 70 credits of the 100 may be earned by attending training at Cisco Live for a recertification cycle. The following table explains the number of credits for different kind of sessions.
|Session Type||Level||Credits per Session|
|Technical Breakout||1000 Level||1|
|Technical Breakout||2000 Level||2|
|Technical Breakout||3000 Level||3|
|4-Hour Technical Seminar||1000 Level||3|
|4-Hour Technical Seminar||2000 Level||4|
|4-Hour Technical Seminar||3000 Level||5|
|8-Hour Technical Seminar||1000 Level||6|
|8-Hour Technical Seminar||2000 Level||8|
|8-Hour Technical Seminar||3000 Level||10|
|4-Hour Instructor-Led Lab||1000 Level||3|
|4-Hour Instructor-Led Lab||2000 Level||4|
|4-Hour Instructor-Led Lab||3000 Level||5|
|8-Hour Instructor-Led Lab||1000 Level||6|
|8-Hour Instructor-Led Lab||2000 Level||8|
|8-Hour Instructor-Led Lab||3000 Level||10|
As always, there’s a fee associated, currently 300$ to recertify through the Continuing Education program.
There are some rules you should be aware of for this program:
- Credits are valid for three years from the date they were earned unless:
- Credits expire if a new recertification cycle starts, either by passing an exam or recertifying some other credential
- Credits expire if your certification becomes inactive
- Credits earned for a given course can only be counted once and retaking the same course does not earn any new points
- Credits once used can’t be reused for another certification track or level
- Credits must be used before they expire, or during the certification cycle they were earned, whichever occurs earlier
Here is a list with training, delivery format and how many credits can be earned for attending them.
There is also a FAQ listing more information about the program.
It’s likely that this recertification path will cost more than simply taking a written exam. However keep in mind that many of us already go to Cisco Live and this makes it even more motivating to do so. Some organizations also use Cisco Learning Credits to attend Cisco Live and get training so even if there is a cost associated with this path, it may not matter on the bottom line.
My personal opinion is that this is great work by Cisco. Instead of taking written exams I can now focus on learning new technologies like automation, get credit and recertify. I can also author content if I want to and earn credits that way. Going to Cisco Live which I try to do will also help me build credit. I hope the available trainings eligible for credits expand so that there are a lot of options for people looking to recertify. Happy studing!