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Roadmap to Success: CCNA Service Provider

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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.

Workplaces are increasingly in need of skilled IT professionals who can serve in troubleshooting roles within carrier-class NGN core network infrastructures, making the Cisco Certified Network Associate Service Provider (CCNA SP) a highly desirable certification. The CCNA SP certification typically equips learners for roles such as service provider network engineer, technician, designer, and architect.

Cisco Certified Networking Associate Service Provider (CCNA SP)
The Cisco Certified Networking Associate Service Provider (CCNA SP) certification is designed to affirm learners’ skills, knowledge, and ability to configure, implement, and troubleshoot baseline Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation networks, as well as to deploy, maintain, and improve carrier-grade network infrastructures.

The CCNA SP certification is made up of two exams, both of which are covered by CBT Nuggets training:

The CCNA SP certification carries no formal prerequisites. Unlike most other CCNA certifications offered by Cisco, the CCNA does not require the CCENT/ICND1 as part of this certification path. Cisco considers the CCNA Cloud an entry-level certification, but learners with some experience and other certifications (including CompTIA Network+, CCENT, and/or CCNA Routing and Switching) may experience more success than those who are new to the industry.

Exam Details
The CCNA SP certification is made up of two exams, detailed below.

640-875 SPNGN1
Time allotted for exam: 90 minutes
Number of questions: 65-75 questions
Passing score: Cisco does not publish the passing score for its exams
Question types: Multiple choice/single answer; Multiple choice/multiple answer; Drag and drop; Fill-in-the-blank; Simulation; Testlet; Simlet
Exam registration: Pearson VUE
Exam cost: $250 (USD)* per exam
*Learn more about exam fees from Pearson VUE
Exam topics: Building Cisco Service Provider Next Generation Networks (SPNGN1), Part 1 (640-875) (free resource)

640-878 SPNGN2
Time allotted for exam: 90 minutes
Number of questions: 65-75 questions per exam
Passing score: Cisco does not publish the passing score for its exams
Question types: Multiple choice/single answer; Multiple choice/multiple answer; Drag and drop; Fill-in-the-blank; Simulation; Testlet; Simlet
Exam registration: Pearson VUE
Exam cost: $250 (USD)* per exam
*Learn more about exam fees from Pearson VUE
Exam topics: Building Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Networks (SPNGN2), Part 2 (640-878) (free resource)

Recertification
Cisco’s Associate-level certifications, including CCNA SP, are valid for three years from the date of certification. Learners can recertify by passing any current Associate-level exam, 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
Many learners who earn their CCNA SP certification choose to advance their careers in Service Provider specializations within the Cisco universe. Therefore, many will choose to pursue the CCNP Service Provider certification, made up of a total four exams.

  • 642-883 SPROUTE (Deploying Cisco Service Provider Network Routing)
  • 642-885 SPADVROUTE (Deploying Cisco Service Provider Advanced Routing)
  • 642-887 SPCORE (Implementing Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Core Network Services)
  • 642-889 SPEDGE (Implementing Cisco Service Provider Next-Generation Edge Network Services)

Career Considerations
Simplyhired.com provides a helpful salary guide to help learners determine appropriate pay scales for job opportunities associated with the CCNA SP certification. Depending on professional experience, an employee who holds a CCNA SP certification can earn, on average, $78,000. Payscale.com reports a range of salaries for employees holding any CCNA certification as between $40,512 and $121,821. Please note that Payscale.com did not have data specifically pertaining to the CCNA SP, but rather a salary range for all CCNA certification.

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 Switching, Security, Service 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), Collaboration, Data 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.

Concluding Thoughts
The CCNA SP is your first step in becoming a Service Provider expert in a highly specialized space within the IT industry. The need for highly competent IT professionals who can effectively manage Service Provider networks will continue to grow as businesses increasingly depend on service providers. Take your first step toward your CCNA SP today!

Watch. Learn. Conquer the CCNA Service Provider!

 

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