Categories

Get Started Now

How Much Do IT Certifications Cost?

IT certifications vary greatly in price. You can sit for an AWS certification for $100. Whereas the most expensive exams, like the CCIE, are $1,500 in exam fees alone. Despite the wide range of exam costs, there are some consistencies. Entry-level certifications are typically less expensive than expert-level ones. It’s also true that IT certification costs aren’t entirely wrapped in the exam registration fees. Training material, like books, online courses, and boot camps, adds up quickly. We didn’t take into account study material for this list — only the exams.  

Here’s how much it’ll cost to earn your next certification.

How Much Do Microsoft Certification Exams Cost?

Microsoft has three tiers of certifications — MTA, MCSA, and MCSE. Microsoft certifications are laid out as a pyramid, with each level of certification leading learners to more specialized — and expensive — certifications.

MCSA Certification Costs

Most MCSA exams cost $165 for test takers in the United States. MCSA exams will cost international test takers from $55 to $165 per exam in their local currency. Because MCSA certifications require either two or three exams, the cost to earn MCSA ranges from $330 to $495 in the United States.

 

MCSA Certification Cost
MCSA: BI Reporting $330
MCSA: Data Engineering and Azure (retires June 30, 2019) $330
MCSA: Machine Learning (retiring June 30, 2019) $330
MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 (retiring April 30, 2019) $330
MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations $330
MCSA: Office 365 (retiring March 31, 2019) $330
MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development $330
MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration $330
MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development $330
MCSA: Universal Windows Platform $330
MCSA: Windows 10 (retiring March 31, 2019) $330
MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 $495
MCSA: Web Applications $495
MCSA: Windows Server 2012 $495
MCSA: Windows Server 2016 $495

MCSE Certification Costs

Microsoft offers five expert-level exams. Each MCSE certification requires passing one additional exam beyond a prerequisite MCSA. Because MCSAs comprise either two or three exams, MCSEs require passing a total of three or four exams. All MCSE exams cost $165 per attempt.  

For instance, seven potential MCSAs can serve as the prerequisite for MCSE: Data Management and Analytics. All but the MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 require passing two exams at $165 each. SQL Server has three. So, the MCSE will cost either $465 or $650, depending on the preceding MCSA certification.

Here’s the full price list of the Microsoft Certified Software Expert (MCSE) exams:

 

MCSE Certification + MCSA prerequisite MCSE Prereq Total Cost
MCSE: Business Applications $330 $465
MCSE: Core Infrastructure $330 $465
MCSE: Data Management and Analytics $330 $465
MCSE: Mobility $330 $465
MCSE: Productivity $330 $465

How Much Do Cisco Certifications Cost?

Cisco has five tiers of certifications —- Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Architect. With few exceptions, Cisco has standardized its certification exam pricing structure. However, there are some irregularities.

Cisco’s handy pricing guide lists exams costs by code:

 

Exam Series Cost
010-XXX Certified Technician exams $125
100-XXX & 200-105 ICND exams $165
200-XXX Associate Level exams (excludes 200-105/125) $300
200-125 CCNA Routing and Switching $325
210-XXX Associate Level – Advanced Technology exams $300
300-XXX Professional Level exams $300
352-011 CCDE Practical exam $1,600
400-XXX CCIE and 352-001 CCDE Expert Level Written exams $450

It’s easy enough to follow. But, maybe we can break it down a little better.

Entry-level Cisco Certification Costs – $165

Cisco has two entry-level certifications — Cisco Certified Technician (CCT) and the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT). Both the CCT and CCENT are $165.

These two certifications are valuable on their own, but they’re often considered the stepping stone certifications for the higher-level CCNA certifications. The CCENT (100-105 ICND1) is the first in the two-exam CCNA. The CCENT can also serve as the prerequisite exam for CCNA Security, Wireless, Industrial, and the CCDA.

 

Cisco Certification Cost
Cisco Certified Technician (CCT) $125
Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) $165

CCNA Certification Exam Costs – $325 to $600

Cisco offers 10 associate-level — or CCNA — exams. Each CCNA certification requires passing at least two exams, which vary in cost.

CCNA Cloud, Collaboration, Cyber Ops, Data Center, and Service Provider each cost $600. These exams have two advanced technologies exams and no prerequisites. Each exam costs $300 per attempt.

CCNA Security, Wireless, Industrial, and the CCDA each cost $465. While most CCNA certifications have two specialized exams, these four certifications only require one advanced technology exam with CCENT ($165) as the prerequisite.

CCNA Routing and Switching is the flagship Cisco exam, and also a potential prerequisite for CCNA Security, Wireless, Industrial, and the CCDA. The CCNA R&S exam costs either $325 or $330. The CCNA R&S is comprised of two exams — the 100-105 ICND1 and 200-105 ICND2.

Because each CCNA R&S exam costs $165, the total cost is $330. There’s also the 200-125 CCNA, which combines the material into one composite exam and costs $325.

Here’s a full list of the CCNA certification exams:

 

Cisco Certification Cost
CCDA $465
CCNA Cloud $600
CCNA Collaboration $600
CCNA Cyber Ops $600
CCNA Data Center $600
CCNA Industrial $465
CCNA Routing and Switching $325 or $330
CCNA Security $465
CCNA Service Provider $600
CCNA Wireless $465

CCNP Certification Exam Costs – $900 to $1,200

Cisco offers eight professional-level exams. Each CCNP certification requires passing at least three exams, but most CCNPs require four exams. It’s also important to note that each CCNP exam has a prerequisite CCNA. For instance, you must first pass the CCNA R&S to be eligible to sit for the CCNP R&S. Any CCIE certification can also act as a prerequisite.

CCNP Routing and Switching and the CCDP cost $900 each. These two certifications are comprised of three exams, which each cost $300 per attempt.  

CCNP Cloud, Collaboration, Data Center, Security, Service Provider, and Wireless cost $1,200 each. These certifications each require four exams, which also cost $300 per attempt.

Here’s a full list of the CCNP certification (not including the prerequisite CCNA):

 

Cisco Certification Cost
CCDP $900
CCNP Cloud $1,200
CCNP Collaboration $1,200
CCNP Data Center $1,200
CCNP Routing and Switching $900
CCNP Security $1,200
CCNP Service Provider $1,200
CCNP Wireless $1,200

CCIE Certification Exam Costs – $2,050

Cisco offers seven expert-level certifications. Unlike other Cisco exams, the CCIE requires a written exam and a practical exam. The CCIE written exam costs $450 each attempt. The CCIE lab exam costs $1,600 per attempt. Each CCIE costs $2,050.

There are no prerequisites to take a CCIE exam.

Here’s a full list of CCIE certification exam costs:

 

Cisco Certification Cost
CCDE $2,050
CCIE Collaboration $2,050
CCIE Data Center $2,050
CCIE Routing and Switching $2,050
CCIE Security $2,050
CCIE Service Provider $2,050
CCIE Wireless $2,050

Travel and lodging for the CCIE

The CCIE has many other associated costs. All exams have study material that isn’t factored into the exam cost, but few require travel. The lab exam is only available at eight test centers worldwide, which means an added expense of travel, food, and lodging.

It’s also important to note that the CCIE is among the most difficult IT certification exams. Most people take the CCIE lab exam multiple times. We recently broke down the total cost of the CCIE in this recent blog post. The most realistic scenarios put the cost of earning a CCIE somewhere between $12,000 to $19,000.

CCAr Certification Exam Costs – $15,000

The Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) certification is the most difficult and expensive exam available. The initial CCAr board qualification review costs $3,750. The board review then costs an additional $11,250. The total cost of the CCAr is $15,000.

How Much Do AWS Certifications Cost?

Amazon offers four tiers of certifications — Practitioner, Associate, Professional, and Specialty. AWS certifications no longer have prerequisites to take their exams. However, Amazon advises test takers to progress through the certifications according to their familiarity with the platform.

AWS Practitioner Certification Exam Costs – $100

Amazon has one practitioner-level exam that’s designed for non-technical professionals who use AWS cloud. The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner costs $100.

AWS Associate Certification Exam Costs – $150

Amazon has three associate-level AWS certifications — Solutions Architect, Developer, and SysOps Administrator. These exams are designed for IT professionals with at least one year of experience with AWS cloud technologies. AWS Certified Associate certificates cost $150 per attempt.

Here’s a full list of AWS Associate certification exam costs:

 

AWS Associate Certification Cost
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate $150
AWS Certified Developer – Associate $150
AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate $150

AWS Professional Certification Exam Costs – $300

Amazon has two professional-level AWS certifications — Solutions Architect and DevOps Engineer. These exams are designed for IT professionals with at least two years of experience with AWS cloud technologies. AWS Certified Professional certificates cost $300 per attempt.

Here’s a full list of AWS Professional certification exam costs:

 

AWS Professional Certification Cost
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional $300
AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional $300

AWS Specialty Certification Exam Costs – $300

Amazon has three specialty AWS certifications — Security, Big Data, and Advanced Networking. These exams are designed for IT professionals with deep technical knowledge and experience in a narrow skill set. AWS Certified Specialty certificates cost $300 per attempt.

 

AWS Specialty Certification Cost
AWS Certified Security – Specialty $300
AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty $300
AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty $300

How Much Do VMware Certification Cost?

VMware has five tiers of certifications —- Associate, Professional, Advanced Professional, Design Expert, and Specialist exams. VMware has largely standardized its cost structure for Associate, Professional, and Advanced certification exams.

VMware Foundation Certification Exam Costs – $125

VMware has two Foundations exams that serve as a prerequisite for most professional-level certifications.

 

VMware Foundations Cost
vSphere 6 Foundations $125
vSphere 6.5 Foundations $125

VMware Certified Professional (VCP) Certification Costs – $250

VMware has 15 professional-level certifications in five tracks — Data Center Virtualization, Network Virtualization, Cloud Management and Automation, Desktop and Mobility, and Digital Workspace. Each VMware Certified Professional (VCP) certification exam costs $250 per attempt.

In most cases, one of the two Foundation courses serves as the only prerequisite certification for the professional-level exams. However, there are exceptions. The VCP-DTM 2019 certification requires both a Foundation and the Horizon 7.5 exams. VMware Digital Workspace exams have no prerequisites.

 

VMware Certified Professional (VCP) Certification Cost
VCP 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP6-DCV) $250
VCP 6.5 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP6.5-DCV) $250
VCP – Data Center Virtualization 2019 (VCP-DCV 2019) $250
VCP 6 – Network Virtualization (VCP6-NV) $250
VCP – Network Virtualization 2019 (VCP-NV 2019) $250
VCP 6 – Cloud Management and Automation (VCP6–CMA) $250
VCP 7 – Cloud Management and Automation (VCP7-CMA) $250
VCP – Cloud Management and Automation 2019 (VCP-CMA 2019) $250
VCP Horizon 7.5 $250
VCP 6 – Desktop and Mobility (VCP6-DTM) $250
VCP – Desktop and Mobility 2018 (VCP-DTM 2018) $250
VCP 7 – Desktop and Mobility (VCP7-DTM) $250
VCP – Desktop and Mobility 2019 (VCP-DTM 2019) $250
VCP – Digital Workspace 2018 (VCP-DW 2018) $250
VCP – Digital Workspace 2019 (VCP-DW 2019) $250

VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) Certification – $450

VMware has nine advanced certifications in four tracks — data center virtualization, network virtualization, cloud management and automation, and desktop and mobility. Each VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) certification exam costs $450 per attempt.

VMware VCP exams serve as the prerequisite for VCAP certifications by track. For instance, VCP6.5-DCV is required to take the VCAP6.5-DCVD.

VMware is fairly stringent with their prerequisites, but the most recent certifications are backward compatible for earlier exams. For example, the VCP6.5-DCV can serve as the prerequisite for all three VCAP exams in the data center track, but not the earlier VCP6-DCV exam. The same holds true for network virtualization, cloud management, and desktop and mobility exams.

When taking into consideration the prerequisites, VCAP exams cost at least $700.

 

VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) Certification Cost
VCAP 6.5 – Data Center Virtualization Design $450
VCAP 6 – Data Center Virtualization Deployment $450
VCAP – Data Center Virtualization Deploy 2018 $450
VCAP 6 Network Virtualization Deployment $450
VCAP 7 Cloud Management and Automation Design (VCAP7-CMA Design) $450
VCAP 6 Cloud Management and Automation Deployment $450
VCAP Cloud Management and Automation Deploy 2018 $450
VCAP 7 – Desktop and Mobility Design (VCAP7-DTM Design) $450
VCAP 6 Desktop and Mobility Deployment $450

VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) Certification – $3,995

VMware has five expert-level certifications in four tracks — data center virtualization, network virtualization, cloud management and automation, and desktop and mobility. Each VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) certification exam costs $3,995 per attempt.

The VCDX exam has two parts. The application fee costs $995. Though, to call it just an application fee is an understatement. In reality, aspiring VCDXs submit a design that must be accepted to defend. The in-person defense costs $3,000. A failed defense is eligible to retake for an additional $900.

 

VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) Certification Cost
VCDX 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCDX6-DCV) $3,995
VCDX 6 – Network Virtualization (VCDX6-NV) $3,995
VCDX 7 — Cloud Management and Automation (VCDX7-CMA) $3,995

How Much Do CompTIA Exams Cost?

CompTIA has 13 certifications in four series — Core, Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, and Professional.  There are no prerequisite certifications for any CompTIA exam.

CompTIA Core Series Certifications – $119 to $319

The certifications in the Core Series are the best-known CompTIA certifications. The A+, Network+, and Security+ are common foundational certifications for entry-level IT professionals. These certifications are included in the DoD Directive 8140 and 8570 framework, which establishes basic IT qualifications for federal employees and contractors.

 

CompTIA Core Series Certifications Cost
CompTIA IT Fundamentals $119
CompTIA A+ $219
CompTIA Network+ $319
CompTIA Security+ $339

CompTIA Infrastructure Series Certifications – $219 to $319

The certifications in the Infrastructure Series are vendor-neutral alternatives to Microsoft, Linux, VMware, and Cisco certifications.

 

CompTIA Infrastructure Series Certifications Cost
CompTIA Cloud+ $319
CompTIA Linux+ $219
CompTIA Server+ $319

CompTIA Cybersecurity Series Certifications – $349 to $439

The certifications in the Cybersecurity Series prepare IT professionals to serve in security roles. The CySA+ and Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certifications are both approved under DoD Directive 8140 and 8570.

 

CompTIA Cybersecurity Series Certifications Cost
CompTIA CySA+ $349
CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner $439
CompTIA PenTest+ $349

CompTIA Professional Series Certifications – $119 to $319

The certifications in the Professional Series validate general business skills for technical and non-technical professionals.

 

CompTIA Professional Series Certifications Cost
CompTIA Project+ $319
CompTIA CTT+ $319
CompTIA Cloud Essentials $119

How Much Do (ISC)2 Certifications Cost?

(ISC)2 has seven security certifications that validate skills and knowledge in leadership, security administration, cloud security, authorization, software security, and healthcare security. While there are no prerequisite certifications for these certifications, the (ISC)2 has an involved qualification and endorsement process for certified security professionals.

 

(ISC)2 Certification Cost
CISSP $699
CISSP – ISSAP/ISSEP/ISSMP $599
CSSLP $599
CAP $599
HCISPP $599
SSCP $249
CCSP $599

The Value of Certifications Outweigh the Costs

If there’s anything this post has confirmed, it’s that certifications aren’t cheap. That becomes even more apparent when factoring study material, prerequisite exams, multiple attempts, and even the time and effort put into studying for them. The CCIE, for instance, can easily cost $20,000.

However, the value of certifying on a technology outweighs the costs in both time and money. Opinion as to whether certifications are even worth it are varied. Some people view certs as a bullet point on a resume. Others collect certifications like Pokémon. Here’s the reality: Certifications are valuable even if they’re only a bullet on a resume.

Given two otherwise equal resumes, hiring managers and HR pros alike will almost always pick the person with the certification. That’s because certifications don’t just validate knowledge. They also show that you’re willing to put the time and effort into your career.

In many other cases, like working for the federal government, certifications are required for many IT positions. That’s the stronger case for spending the time and money to earn certifications. If you already know your stuff, it’s best to validate that fact in an industry-approved way. Otherwise, you’re potentially disqualifying yourself from a number of opportunities before you even have a chance to show your stuff.

As long as IT certifications are accepted as the standard by employers, they’ll remain necessary, relevant — and worth the cost.

 

Not a CBT Nuggets subscriber? Start your free week now.

CBT Nuggets has everything you need to learn new IT skills and advance your career — unlimited video training and Practice Exams, Virtual Labs, validated learning with in-video Quizzes, Accountability Coaching, and access to our exclusive community of IT professionals.

Learn more about the CBT Nuggets Learning Experience.

 

Comments are closed.