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Finding the Best Cisco Certification Path

Cisco Certification Path RoadmapWhether you are new to Cisco, or ready to advance your existing skills, there is a Cisco certification path for you. Since February 24, 2020 there have been updated Cisco certification options designed to empower you with the flexibility to invent and reinvent yourself to make a real difference in the roles you play in your organization. Read on to find the Cisco certification roadmap, best path for your career, and training options available to prepare you for certification success.

Download the Full Cisco Certification FAQ Guide >>

Benefits of Cisco Certifications for Your Career

The best reason to get certified in Cisco networking technologies is for career advancement. Here are the best Cisco certification paths to accelerate your career:

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
  • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP Enterprise)

Cisco certification demonstrates your Cisco expertise and certified professionals are highly recognized and sought after. Jobs you can get with your CCNA include Network Engineer, Systems Administrator, and Information Technology (IT) Director among others.

The average CCNA salary is $76,000 according to PayScale. Certified employees are able to command a higher salary and hold the knowledge to succeed on the job. Once you have certification, use these tips for landing a career as a Cisco Networking Specialist

Benefits of Cisco Certifications for Organizations

Cisco technologies are the worldwide authority in computer networking and have become the widespread choice to streamline and protect these networks. Because of this, Cisco professionals are highly valuable to organizations. Cisco certifications help the organization provide the right skills to ease into deployment and grants abilities to use your Cisco products to their highest potential. This allows you to get the most out of your IT investment and lowers downtime as skilled technicians handle issues when they arise. Because of this, customer satisfaction in increased as problems are solved quickly.

Cisco Learning Credits

Sold separately, or attached with your software purchase, Cisco Learning Credits are prepaid dollars that can be redeemed for training. Each Cisco Learning Credit is worth $100 toward Cisco training at New Horizons. If you have Cisco Learning Credits, let your local New Horizons Account Executive know about them prior to registering for your class.

Cisco Certification Paths FAQ Guide

Passing the CCNA or CCNP exams are not difficult with the right amount of experience and training. In many cases there are no pre-requisites, but experience levels may vary. Look up Cisco certification pre-requisites and recommended Cisco training to achieve the certifications below. Download the full Cisco Certification FAQ Guide.Current Cisco Certification Paths

Download the Full Cisco Certification FAQ Guide >>

2020 Updates and Changes

The above paths are Cisco’s biggest change to certifications in 25 years. Here is the summary of changes for Cisco's new certification paths:

  • New DevNet track of certification across all levels
  • CCENT entry level cert is being retired
  • CCNA will be consolidated to one certification, requiring one exam
  • CCNP will have only five concentration areas, requiring TWO exams
  • Specialist Level is earned after the first exam in a CCNP track
  • CCIE will require 2 exams, the first being a CCNP exam, the other a CCIE lab exam
  • New courses will roll out over the next 6 months, aligned with the new certifications
  • Recertification requirement will now be every 3 years

Benefits to the New Cisco Certification Structure

Here are the top benefits to Cisco's new certification structure. 

  • The ability to start where you want depending on your current level of expertise - no prerequisites to start earning your associate, specialist, professional or expert level certification.
  • Continuing education credits for recertification and ongoing development are available for CCNA, Cisco Certified Specialist, CCNP and CCIE.
  • Easier path to CCIE status.
  • New Emeritus lifetime tenure for CCIE certifications maintained continuously for 20 years.
  • Badging for completing training courses.
  • No more continuing education administrative fee, as of February 24, 2020.
  • The re-certification period for all certifications will be 3 years.

Is CCNA Going Away?

The Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) will be retired. At the Associate level will be the new CCNA, which is not going away. The new CCNA will validate a broad range of foundational knowledge and skills. It will have just one exam covering networking and security fundamentals, as well as automation and programmability. Previously, CCNA candidates typically had to take multiple exams to earn one of 10 different CCNA certifications. The new CCNA exam (#200-301) will replace these certifications:

  • CCNA Cloud
  • CCNA Collaboration
  • CCNA Cyber Ops
  • CCNA Data Center
  • CCDA Design
  • CCNA Industrial
  • CCNA Routing and Switching
  • CCNA Security
  • CCNA Service Provider
  • CCNA Wireless

The training course for CCNA will cover the foundations covered in both ICND1 and ICND2, while the more advanced info in both of those courses will be moving to the new CCNP level courses.


No. Passing any one of the CCNP exams will earn you the Cisco Certified Specialist title in that concentration. Then, passing the second exam will earn you the CCNP in that focus area. You will be required to pass 2 exams: a core exam and one concentration exam. Here’s the complete list of the new CCNPs:

  • CCNP Enterprise
  • CCNP Security
  • CCNP Service Provider
  • CCNP Colaboration
  • CCNP Data Center
  • Cisco Certified DevNet Professional

The CCNP Enterprise replaces the CCNP Routing and Switching, CCNP Wireless, and CCDP certifications.

What is Cisco DevNet Certification?

The DevNet certification program validates the skills of software developers, DevOps engineers, automation specialists, and other software professionals. The DevNet track will combine programming (primarily with Python) and infrastructure. The program certifies key emerging technical skills for a new kind of IT professional, empowering organizations to embrace the potential of applications, automation, and infrastructure for the network, IoT, DevOps, and Cloud. The DevNet Associate, DevNet Specialist, DevNet Professional, and CCIE DevNet tracks validate skill sets in:

  • software development
  • programmability
  • building and deploying applications
  • understanding and using APIs
  • network automation

Is CCIE Still Worth It?

Yes, the CCIE will no longer have dedicated CCIE written exams. Instead, candidates must pass the CCNP core exam and then take the 8-hour CCIE lab in the concentration of choice. For instance, to earn the CCIE Security you’d have to pass the CCNP Security core exam (SCOR 300-701) and then sit for the 8-hour lab, CCIE Security v6.0. That’s consistent across all the new CCIEs with the exception of CCIE Enterprise.

In the case of the Enterprise track, you have two options: CCIE Enterprise Wireless and CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure. Both of these tracks adopt the CCNP Enterprise exam (ENCOR 300-401) as their written exam, and then diverge at the lab requirement. They each have a dedicated lab requirement specific to the track: CCIE Enterprise Wireless v1.0 and CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure v1.0.

Here’s the complete list of the new CCIEs:

  • CCIE Enterprise Wireless
  • CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure
  • CCIE Security
  • CCIE Service Provider
  • CCIE Collaboration
  • CCIE Data Center

How Much Does Cisco Training Cost?

Live Cisco training course Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions (CCNA) costs $3,795 for a 5 day course. For pricing of other Cisco training courses visit our Cisco training page and select the course you wish to take. As a Cisco-Authorized training partner, New Horizons is a trusted training provider of Cisco technologies. Get help from a New Horizons Cisco training expert to collaborate on paths for your career or organization.

Get Help with Cisco Certifications

Categories: Cisco

Sean Golriz

Sean Golriz

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