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How Much Do IT Certifications Cost?

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Updated on September 1, 2023

IT certifications vary greatly in price. You can sit for an AWS certification for as little as $100. Whereas the most expensive exams, like the CCIE, are $2,300 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 Cisco Certifications Cost?

As of August 2023, 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 through 100-XXX Certified Technician exams

$125

200-XXX Associate Level exams 

$300

300 through 350-XXX Professional Level exams

$300 - $400 

350-XXX Expert Level Practical exam

$1,600 - $1,900 

350-XXX Expert Level Written exams

$400

Let’s break it down a little better.

Entry-level Cisco Certification Cost – $125

The following certifications are valuable on their own, but they're often considered the stepping stones for higher-level Cisco certifications like the CCNA. These certs cover the fundamental networking knowledge IT professionals need to be successful at Cisco associate-level certifications and in their careers.

Each entry-level Cisco certification exam costs $125.

Here's a list of Cisco’s associate-level certification exams:

Cisco Certification

Cost

CCT Data Center

$125

CCT Collaboration

$125

CCT Routing & Switching

$125

CCST Cybersecurity

$125

CCST Networking

$125

CCNA Certification Exam Cost – $300

Prior to February of 2020, Cisco offered 10 associate-level — or CCNA — exams. Each CCNA certification required passing at least two exams, which varied in cost. Now, however, there is only one CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) program. The CCNA exam costs $300, and does not have any prerequisites for taking the test. 

Along with the consolidation of the CCNA, two additional Cisco associate-level certifications were released in 2020: the DevNet Associate and the CyberOps Associate exams. Both cost $300.

The updated exam track streamlined things at the associate level. There are no longer any Cisco-certified networking specializations. Instead, the new CCNA now covers a wide range of topics in networking and security, with a stronger focus on validating associate level skills rather than deep-diving into specialized skills.

Now that Cisco’s associate-level certs have been consolidated into three exams (CCNA, DevNet Associate, and CyberOps Associate) the $300 price point and simplified certification path are much easier to follow.

Take a look at the previous exams and price points. At the time they were retired, the specialized CCNA exams (Cloud, Collaboration, Cyber Ops, Data Center, and Service Provider) each cost $600. Also now retired, the CCNA Security, Wireless, Industrial, and the CCDA each cost $465. Most of these now-retired CCNA certifications required at least one (and sometimes two!) specialized or advanced technology exams. 

Between the prerequisites and multiple speciality exams that were required, the cost of earning an associate-level Cisco certification was steep — not to mention confusing.

Now, however, those hoping to earn an associate-level Cisco cert can expect to take one exam, costing $300.

Here's a full list of Cisco’s associate-level certification exams:

Cisco Certification

Cost

CCNA (200-301)

$300

DevNet Associate 

$300

CyberOps Associate

$300

CCDA (Retired February 2020)

$465

CCNA Cloud (Retired February 2020)

$600

CCNA Collaboration (Retired February 2020)

$600

CCNA Cyber Ops (Retired February 2020)

$600

CCNA Data Center (Retired February 2020)

$600

CCNA Industrial (Retired February 2020)

$465

CCNA Routing and Switching (Retired February 2020)

$325 or $330

CCNA Security (Retired February 2020)

$465

CCNA Service Provider (Retired February 2020)

$600

CCNA Wireless (Retired February 2020)

$465

FREE TRAINING RESOURCE: 26-Week CCNA Study Plan Download

CCNP Certification Exam Cost – $700 Total

As of August 2023, Cisco offers seven professional-level exams. Earning your CCNP Enterprise, Collaboration, Data Center, Security, or Service Provider requires one core exam and one concentration exam. The other two Cisco professional-level exams — the DevNet Professional and the CyberOps Professional — also require one core and one concentration exam. The core exam for any Cisco professional cert costs $400, while the concentration exam costs $300. The total exam cost for any Cisco professional certification is $700. 

Like the CCNA, the CCNP certification track saw many shifts in 2020, and will continue to shift along with updates in the industry. We've noted the core and concentration exams that were retired in the table below. Like the adjustments to the CCNA, these changes streamlined the certification roadmap for CCNP and other professional-level certification hopefuls:

  • You are no longer required to earn the CCNA and subsequent specialization (though whether you want to skip the CCNA before the CCNP may be another story)

  • The cost of the professional-level exams have been standardized:

    • $400 for core exams

    • $300 for concentration exams 

Here's a full list of the Cisco professional certification tracks, including the CCNP:

Cisco Certification

Cost

CCNP Collaboration

$700

CCNP Enterprise

$700

CCNP Data Center 

$700

CCNP Security 

$700

CCNP Service Provider 

$700

DevNet Professional

$700

CyberOps Professional

$700

CCDP (Retired February 2020)

$900

CCNP Cloud (Retired February 2020)

$1,200

CCNP Routing and Switching (Retired February 2020)

$900

CCNP Wireless (Retired February 2020)

$1,200

CCIE Certification Exam Costs – $2,300

As of August 2023, Cisco offers eight expert-level certifications. This includes the six CCIE exams (CCIE Collaboration, Data Center, Enterprise Infrastructure, Enterprise Wireless, Security, and Service Provider), as well as the DevNet Expert and CCDE. Unlike other Cisco exams, the expert-level certs require both a written and practical (lab) exam. Following the 2020 updates to the entire Cisco roadmap, the new CCIE program shares the same core (written) exam as the CCNP.

Each CCIE core exam costs $400 for every attempt. But you’ll also have to sit the 8-hour practical exam in the form of a CCIE lab (and fly to one of only eight test centers to take the lab). The cost of the CCIE lab portion will set you back $1,600 or $1,900 depending on which option you choose: the Cisco-provided Cisco kit mobile lab exam ($1,900) or the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) lab. Opting for the BYOD lab allows you to take the lab using your own devices (laptop, monitor, keyboard, mouse). The BYOD lab cost saves you $300 in exam fees versus using the Cisco kit: 

  • Cisco CCIE total cost with Cisco-provided lab kit = $2,300

  • Cisco CCIE total cost with BYOD lab kit = $2,000

There are no formal prerequisites for taking a CCIE exam, but as this is Cisco’s expert-level track, you’ll want to be familiar with the concepts on the written portion and very comfortable in a hands-on environment for the lab. It’s one of the toughest certs to earn in the world, so adequate training and preparation is necessary.

Here's a complete list of Cisco’s expert-level certification exam costs, assuming you opt for the Cisco-provided lab kit:

Cisco Certification

Cost

CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure

$2,300

CCIE Collaboration

$2,300

CCIE Data Center

$2,300 

CCIE Security

$2,300

CCIE Service Provider

$2,300

CCIE Enterprise Wireless

$2,300

CCDE

$2,350

DevNet Expert

$2,300

CCIE Routing and Switching (Retired)

$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 some require travel. The CCIE 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, which can significantly drive up the total cost of the CCIE. The most realistic scenarios put the cost of earning a CCIE somewhere between $12,000 to $19,000.

CCAr Certification Exam Cost – $15,000

The Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) certification is the most difficult and expensive exam available. As of 2023, 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 Microsoft Certification Exams Cost?

Since 2019, Microsoft has offered role-based certifications that are designed to bridge the gap between the knowledge required to pass certification exams and the knowledge needed for on-the-job success. Microsoft’s role-based certifications align with specific job roles, many of which are cloud-based roles.

As a result, in January 2021, Microsoft retired its MTA, MCSA, and MCSE certification programs, which had been laid out as a pyramid, with each level of certification leading learners to more specialized certifications. The available Microsoft certifications are listed below.

Microsoft Role-Based Certification Exam Costs

As of August 2023, nearly all of Microsoft's associate and expert-level certification exams cost $165 for test-takers in the United States. These exams will cost international test-takers from $55 to $165 per exam in their local currency. Because some role-based certification exams have prerequisites, the cost to earn them varies from $165 to $495 — depending on how many prerequisite exams are required. 

Microsoft's fundamental exams cost $99. These are entry-level certs designed to validate foundational skills. Some are considered prerequisites for associate or expert-level certifications later in your career.

As of January 6, 2022, Microsoft offers 48 role-based certifications ranging from Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert to Microsoft Certified: Power Apps + Dynamics 365 Developer Associate. 

Check out the complete list of Microsoft role-based certifications and their exam costs below.

Microsoft Associate Level Certification Exam Costs:

Microsoft Expert Level Certification Exam Costs:

Microsoft Fundamentals Certification Cost

Microsoft currently offers nine fundamental-level certifications that are aimed at learners who are new to technology or are thinking about a career change. Each certification requires passing only one exam, some of which count as prerequisites toward Microsoft role-based certifications (see above). 

Here's the full price list of the Microsoft Fundamentals certification exams:

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 Cost – $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 Cost – $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 complete 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 (Retired July 2021) 

$150

AWS Professional Certification Exam Cost – $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 complete 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 Cost – $300

Amazon has three specialty AWS certifications — Security, Data Analytics, 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 Data Analytics – Specialty

$300

AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty

$300

How Much Do VMware Certifications Cost?

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

VMware Foundation Certification Exam Cost – $125

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

VMware Foundations

Cost

vSphere 6 Foundations

$125

vSphere 6.5 Foundations

$125

VMware Certified Professional (VCP) Certification Exam Cost – $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 2023 certification requires both a Foundation and the Horizon 8 exams. VMware Digital Workspace exams have no prerequisites.

VMware Certified Professional (VCP) Certification

Cost

VCP - Data Center Virtualization 2023

(VCP-DCV 2023)

$250

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 2023 (VCP- NV 2023)

$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 – Cloud Management and Automation 2023 (VCP-CMA 2023)

$250

VCP Horizon 7.5

$250

VCP - Desktop Management 2023 (VCP-DTM 2023)

$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) (Retired)

$250

VCP – Desktop and Mobility 2020 (VCP-DTM 2020)

$250

VCP – Digital Workspace 2018 (VCP-DW 2018)

$250

VCP – Digital Workspace 2019 (VCP-DW 2019)

$250

VCP – Digital Workspace 2023 (VCP-DW 2023)

$250

VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) Certification Exam Cost - $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 its 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 – Data Center Virtualization Design 2023 (VCAP – Dev Design 2023) 

$450

VCAP 6 – Data Center Virtualization Deployment

$450

VCAP – Data Center Virtualization Deploy 2018

$450

Data Center Virtualization Deploy 2023 (VCAP – Dev Deploy 2023)

$450

VCAP 6 – Network Virtualization Deployment

$450

Network Virtualization Deploy 2023 (VCAP – NV Deploy 2023)

$450

VCAP 7 – Cloud Management and Automation Design (VCAP7-CMA Design)

$450

Cloud Management and Automation Design 2023 (VCAP-CMA Design 2023)

$450 

VCAP 6 – Cloud Management and Automation Deployment

$450

VCAP – Cloud Management and Automation Deploy 2018

$450

Cloud Management and Automation Deployment 2023 (VCAP-CMA Deploy  2023)

$450 

VCAP 7 – Desktop and Mobility Design (VCAP7-DTM Design)

$450

Desktop Management Design 2023 (VCAP-DTM 2023) 

$450

VCAP 6 – Desktop and Mobility Deployment

$450

Desktop Management Deploy 2023 (VCAP-DTM Deploy 2023)

$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

Data Center Virtualization 2023 (VCDX–DCV 2023)

$3,995

VCDX 6 – Network Virtualization (VCDX6-NV)

$3,995

Network Virtualization 2023 (VCDX–NV 2023)

$3,995

VCDX 7 — Cloud Management and Automation (VCDX7-CMA)

$3,995

Cloud Management and Automation 2023 (VCDX-CM 2023)

$3,995

How Much Do CompTIA Exams Cost?

As of August, 2023, CompTIA has 15 certifications in five series — Core, Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, Data and Analytics and Professional.  There are no prerequisite certifications for any CompTIA exam.

CompTIA Core Series Certifications – $134 to $392

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+

$134

CompTIA A+

$246

CompTIA Network+

$358

CompTIA Security+

$392

CompTIA Infrastructure Series Certifications – $358

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

CompTIA Infrastructure Series Certifications

Cost

CompTIA Cloud+

$358

CompTIA Linux+

$358

CompTIA Server+

$358

CompTIA Cybersecurity Series Certifications – $392 to $494

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+

$392

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner

$494

CompTIA PenTest+

$392

CompTIA Data and Analytics Series Certifications

Cost

CompTIA Data +

$246

CompTIA DataSys+

$358

CompTIA Professional Series Certifications – $134 to $358

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

CompTIA Professional Series Certifications

Cost

CompTIA Project+

$358

CompTIA CTT+

$358

CompTIA Cloud Essentials+

$119

How Much Do (ISC)2 Certifications Cost?

As of August, 2023, (ISC)2 has nine 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

CC - Certified in Cybersecurity

Free

CCSP – Certified Cloud Security Professional

$599

CISSP

$749

CISSP Concentrations (ISSAP/ISSEP/ISSMP)

$599

CSSLP

$599

CGRC (Formerly known as CAP) 

$599

SSCP

$249

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 in 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. Opinions 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.

RELATED: Here’s How Long It Takes to Study for the Most Popular Certs

In several 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.


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