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Roadmap to Success: Microsoft Dynamics CRM

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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 article June 20, 2017, to reflect relevant changes to the Microsoft Windows 10 certification curriculum.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 is in high demand as businesses are seeking ways to more effectively manage customer relationships, improve marketing and sales efforts, and more. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Specialist path includes a variety of exams, each of which results in a single specialist certification. Generally, a Dynamics CRM Specialist certification qualifies learners for roles including system administrator, implementation consultant, system integrator, and support professional.

Microsoft Specialist: Dynamics CRM 2015

CRITICAL UPDATE: Microsoft restructured its certifications. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Specialist certification was formally retired March 31, 2017. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Specialist certification was replaced by the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). For more information on Microsoft’s certification restructure, please read our What to Expect from the New Microsoft Certification Paths post.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Specialist certifications are designed to affirm a learner’s knowledge of particular skill sets related specifically to Dynamics CRM product functionality. As such, there are several exams, each of which results in a specialist certification.

Generally, learners interested in pursuing Dynamics CRM Specialist certifications should have experience in Windows Server, Active Directory, Active Directory Federation Services, IIS, and Microsoft Outlook. For those pursuing CRM Online Deployment (exam MB2-706), experience should also include Office 365 Admin Center and Microsoft Online products.

Exam Details
The following exam details are applicable for each exam that makes up the Microsoft Dynamics CRM pathway.

Time allotted for exam: 1.5 hours (90 minutes) per exam
Number of questions: 40-60 per exam
Passing score: 700*
*Because the number of questions varies, it is not necessarily true that learners must earn 70% to pass the exam.
Question types: Active screen; Best answer; Build list; Case studies; Drag and drop; Hot area; Multiple choice; Short answer*
Learn more about question types and exam formats from Microsoft.
Exam registration: Microsoft Learning or Pearson Vue*
Please note that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Specialist certification exams may be available for online proctored delivery.
Exam cost: $165 (USD) per exam
Skills Measured: Each exam registration page on the Microsoft website provides a list of Skills Measured (a free resource) to guide your study and preparation.

Microsoft exams have a reputation for being challenging. Many learners find they have to take an exam more than once to achieve a successful outcome. Fortunately, Microsoft is aware of the level of challenge associated with their exams, and often provides an Exam Replay, allowing learners to retake exams at a fraction of the cost. Please note that the Exam Replay may not always be available. Learners should research Exam Replay availability to avoid missing out on the opportunity.

The Next Step

Many learners completing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Specialist certifications will choose to supplement their product-specific expertise with further Microsoft certifications. Often, learners opt for:

Recertification
Microsoft Specialist certifications do not expire. No recertification or continuing education is necessary to keep specialist certifications valid. Dynamics CRM Specialist certifications are, effectively, lifetime certifications.

Career Considerations
Payscale.com provides information that can help learners determine appropriate pay scales for job opportunities associated with Microsoft Specialist certifications. Depending on experience, an employee who holds a Dynamics CRM Specialist certification typically earns a median salary of $46,395. Common roles or titles for those who hold Dynamics CRM Specialist certification include product specialist, CRM customer relationship management specialist, systems administrator, and implementation consultant.

Microsoft Certifications
Microsoft certifications are laid out as a pyramid, with each level of certification leading learners to higher, more specialized, complex certifications. At the base of the Microsoft pyramid, IT professionals develop the foundation of knowledge with the MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate). The next level is the MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) and MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer), which includes many of the most popular certifications among IT professionals that are offered by Microsoft, including Server 2012, Office 365, and Azure. Finally, the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solution Expert) represents the highest level of certification offered by Microsoft and provides learners the opportunity to develop specializations related to MCSA-level content.

As Microsoft describes it, the new MCSE and MCSD certifications (MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSE: Mobility, MCSE: Data Management and Analytics, MCSE: Productivity, and MCSD: AppBuilder) are aligned to Centers of Excellence, used by the Microsoft Partner Network to identify technical competencies that are widely recognizable by both Microsoft partners and customers. These credentials do not have a recertification requirement. Instead, the achievement date signifies how you keep up with changes to the technology.

Each year, you have the opportunity to renew the certification by passing an exam from the list of electives, demonstrating your investment in broadening or deepening your skills in a given Center of Excellence. Each time you earn the certification, a new certification entry is added to your transcript. This process replaces the existing recertification requirement of taking a specific recertification exam every two years (MCSD) or every three years (MCSE) to prevent your certification from going inactive. Learn more about the new Microsoft certification structure.

Begin exploring other Microsoft training and certification options to open up even more professional development opportunities.

Concluding Thoughts
Microsoft Dynamics CRM, as a product, represents the evolving need for businesses to maintain deeper, more effective, and efficient relationships with their customers. IT professionals who can effectively manage the systems designed to improve relations with customers are in high-demand, resulting in an area of rapid growth in the industry. Earning Microsoft Dynamics CRM Specialist certifications opens up professional opportunities and creates career pathways leading to real success.

Watch. Learn. Conquer Microsoft Dynamics CRM!

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