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Roadmap to Success: CCNP Routing and Switching

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Roadmap to Success is a series of posts designed to help learners better understand certification pathways, career opportunities associated with those certifications, and next steps beyond certification.

UPDATED: We updated this post on October 11, 2016 to reflect relevant changes to the CCNP Routing and Switching certification curriculum.

The Cisco Certified Network Professional – Routing and Switching (CCNP R&S) is an intermediate-level certification that validates learners’ expertise and experience in networking with Cisco products. The CCNP R&S is extraordinarily popular among CBT Nuggets learners and highly sought after by the IT industry. This certification provides a lasting foundation for both physical and virtual networks in enterprise environments.

Cisco Certified Network Professional – Routing and Switching (CCNP R&S)
The CCNP R&S is an intermediate-level certification and is intended to validate a learner’s ability to plan, implement, verify, and troubleshoot local and wide-area enterprise networks, as well as to work collaboratively with specialists on advanced security, voice, wireless, and video solutions.

The CCNP R&S is made up of three exams, all of which are covered by CBT Nuggets training:

In addition to the courses that map directly to the exam topics for the CCNP R&S, CBT Nuggets also offers supplemental “Hands-on Labs Exam Prep” courses to help ensure learners are well prepared for the simulation portions of the exams.

Typically, learners pursuing this certification path should have 1-3 years of experience and familiarity with Cisco products. In addition, the CCNA R&S is a prerequisite to the CCNP R&S, which is considered an entry-level certification. Get started today by reviewing the CBT Nuggets playlist for the CCNP R&S.

Downloadable Study Plans
CBT Nuggets offers three study plans that map to the Cisco CCNP Routing and Switching 300-101 ROUTE, 300-115 SWITCH, and 300-135 TSHOOT courses. These downloadable Cisco CCNP Routing and Switching study plans break down the courses and supplemental learning resources to equip learners with a strategic and manageable approach to conquer training goals. Download the Cisco CCNP Routing and Switching 300-101 ROUTE, 300-115 SWITCH, and 300-135 TSHOOT study plans.

Exam Details
While it is most common for learners to complete the CCNP chronologically (ROUTE, SWITCH, then TSHOOT), the order of completion is not regulated by Cisco. Learners may occasionally choose to take the exams out of order, depending on their experience and expertise. Even when learners take the exams out of chronological order, it is wise to take TSHOOT last as it is considered a culmination of the ROUTE and SWITCH exams.

Time allotted for exam: 2 hours (120 minutes) per exam
Number of questions: 45-65 for ROUTE; 30-40 for SWITCH; and 15-25 for TSHOOT
Passing score: Cisco does not publish the passing score for its exams
Question types: Multiple choice (ROUTE, SWITCH, and TSHOOT exams); Drag and drop (ROUTE and SWITCH exams only); Simulation (ROUTE, SWITCH, and TSHOOT exams)
Exam registration: Pearson Vue
Exam cost: $250 (USD)* per exam
*Learn more about exam fees from Pearson VUE
Exam topics: Exam topics are available for each exam:

Pearson Vue offers exam profiles that can be quite helpful for learners pursuing the CCNP R&S.

Recertification
Cisco’s Professional-level certifications, including CCNP R&S, are valid for three years from the date of certification. Learners can re-certify by passing any Cisco 642-XXX or 300-XXX exam, any CCIE written exam, CCDE written or practical exam, or the CCAr interview and the CCAr board review.

The Next Step

The CCNP R&S is an intermediate-level certification that creates opportunities for further advancement professionally. Many learners who earn the CCNP R&S continue on to pursue the CCIE (made up of a written exam and a lab exam, both of which are addressed by our CCIE certification playlist), Cisco’s expert-level certification in Routing and Switching. Others choose to diversify their certification resume by pursuing other Cisco specializations, most commonly the CCNA Security (made up of two exams: ICND1 and IINS) and CCNP Security (made up of five exams: 300-208 SISAS, 300-206 SENSS, 300-209 SIMOS, and 300-207/300-210 SITCS).

For some learners, it is appropriate to pursue certifications outside the Cisco universe. Quite often, learners choose to pursue other networking certifications, including opportunities from Juniper and Palo Alto Networks. For those learners interested in expanding their skill sets outside networking, options often include system administration with Microsoft certifications (commonly the MCSA Windows Server 2012, made up of three exams: 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412) or security topics including Certified Ethical Hacker (made up of just one exam: CEH v9.0) and the CISSP (made up of just one exam: CISSP 2015).

Career Considerations
Payscale.com provides a helpful salary guide to help learners determine appropriate pay scales for job opportunities associated with the CCNP R&S. Depending on professional experience, an employee who holds any CCNP certification can earn between $46,564 and $153,571 annually. Roles that are common for those holding a CCNP R&S include network engineer, senior network engineer, network administrator, network architect, and IT manager.

Cisco Certifications
Cisco certifications are layered, with each layer building upon the knowledge and skills developed at previous layers — structurally designed as a pyramid. The layers are Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Architect. Associate-level certifications include Cloud, Collaboration, Data Center, Industrial, Routing and SwitchingSecurityService Provider, and Wireless.

Once a learner has earned an Associate-level certification, they are eligible to pursue Cisco Certified Network Professional-level certifications. Cisco offers a variety of Professional-level certifications, including Design Professional (CCDP), Cloud, Collaboration, Data Center, Routing and Switching, Security, Service Provider, and Wireless.

Finally, learners can choose to pursue Expert-level certifications, which include Design Expert (CCDE)CollaborationData Center, Routing and Switching, Security, Service Provider, and Wireless.

Cisco provides an excellent certification overview that succinctly outlines each certification, its prerequisites, and related careers.

Begin exploring other Cisco certification options for which CBT Nuggets provides training to open up more professional development opportunities.

Concluding Thoughts
The CCNP R&S is a highly desirable certification that sets IT professionals apart as they enter into more advanced stages of their careers. The CCNP R&S opens doors and creates opportunities for learners to continue to advance their careers and take on exciting new professional challenges.

Watch. Learn. Conquer the CCNP R&S!

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