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Maintaining Your CCNA Certification

CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) builds the foundation that enables you to take your career in networking in any direction. CCNA covers a broad range of networking fundamentals. You can take the 200-301 CCNA exam to achieve the CCNA certification.

CCNA Certification Renewal Requirements

You must renew your CCNA before the certification expiration date by completing recertification requirements. There are two options to renew your CCNA certification. The first option is traditional, wherein you pass an exam to recertify. The second option is something new that involves earning Continuing Education credits.

If you go for the exam option to recertify, you need to pass one of the following exams to recertify:

You can pass any one associate exam. The most obvious choice is to pass the 200-301 CCNA again. However, Cisco also offers two other exams at the associate level: 200-901 DEVASC for Cisco Certified Devnet Associate and 200-201 CBROPS for Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate certification. You can also pass one of those two exams to recertify your CCNA while also earning an additional certification.

You can pass any one technology core exam. Cisco offers a technology core exam for each of the five CCNP tracks including Enterprise, Data Center, Security, Service Provider and Collaboration. In addition to that, the Cisco Certified DevNet Professional and Cisco Certified CyberOps Professional certification each has a core exam that can be passed to renew your CCNA while gaining additional knowledge and an additional certification. Passing the core exam gets you a specialist certification. For example, passing the core exam for CCNP Enterprise gets you the Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Core certification. You need to pass both the core exam and a concentration exam to earn your professional certification. 

You can pass a professional concentration exam associated with any of the five CCNP certifications, Cisco Certified CyberOps Professional or Cisco Certified DevNet Professional.

You can pass any one CCIE lab exam. You need to pass a technology core exam to qualify for the CCIE lab exam. The technology core exam would have recertified your CCNA anyway. This option is rarely used for CCNA recertification, but if you do end up taking a CCIE lab, it would recertify all your previous certifications — including CCNA.

If you choose the CE option for CCNA recertification, you need to earn 40 CE credits. You can earn CE credits by taking Cisco courses, attending Cisco Live technical sessions or writing exam items for Cisco.

We recommend the exam-only option for CCNA recertification.

How long is the CCNA certification valid?

The CCNA certification is valid for three years from your certification date. You must renew before your certification expiration date by completing recertification requirements. 

Are there maintenance requirements associated with the CCNA certification?

Your CCNA certification is valid for three years from the day you pass your exam. You do not need to do anything to maintain the CCNA certification in active status. Cisco is known to make continual changes to its certification program; if there are changes that affect CCNA, your certification will still remain valid till your individual certification expiration date.

Can I regain membership if my CCNA certification has been terminated?

We recommend you to recertify before your certification expiration date. If your certification expires, you must take the CCNA exam again to become CCNA-certified. If you are planning to recertify by advancing to the next level of certifications or using CE credits, it is mandatory to recertify before your CCNA certification expires.

Keep in mind that Cisco does not provide extensions to certification deadlines. It is your responsibility to recertify on time. Also beware of Cisco’s five-day exam retake policy before scheduling your recertification exam. For example, if you scheduled your recertification exam, say, three days before your certification expiration date and you end up failing the exam, you won’t be able to retake the exam for another five days and that would let your certification expire.

What is the best CCNA recertification strategy?

You can recertify by passing the 200-301 CCNA exam again before your certification expiration date and keep an active CCNA status. You can pass the 200-301 CCNA exam even after your CCNA has expired and become certified again. 

It is best to recertify by passing a technology core exam and earning an additional specialist certification as well. If you go for this option and take your certification exam after your CCNA expiration date, you would have lost your CCNA certification and the technology core exam will only earn you the specialist certification. Similarly, if you plan to recertify by passing a different associate exam or a professional concentration exam, you must do it before your certification expiration date to keep your CCNA while earning an additional certification.

How much does it cost to take the CCNA exam for recertification?

The 200-301 CCNA exam costs $300. The actual amount you pay may vary a bit based on your location and applicable taxes, but $300 is the ballpark figure. The CCNA exam is not cheap! Be well-prepared in order to avoid an unnecessary second attempt that would cost you an additional $300.

CCNA demands a significant investment of your effort, time and money. Once you earn it, you have it for three years without doing anything else. While you can recertify by passing the 200-301 CCNA exam again, a better option is to recertify by passing an advanced professional-level exam that would also earn you additional skills and, in many cases, an additional certification. The CCNA exam comes with a price tag of $300 and it would help to be well-prepared.

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