Certifications / Cloud

How to Work Around VMware Classroom Requirements

by David Zomaya
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Updated on February 12, 2024

Many VMware certifications have a classroom requirement that can cost thousands of dollars. That may be daunting or cost-prohibitive for some, but don't dismiss those certs out of hand. There are other ways you can fulfill these requirements without the class.

In this post, we'll explore the benefits of VMware's classes, review what else satisfies VMware classroom requirements, and explain how Cisco certs can be a way to skip the classes entirely.

Understanding the VMware Classroom Requirements

Let's say you're starting an entry-level IT position. After a few months, you decide to expand your knowledge and further your career. You're interested in virtualization and decide VMware is the way to go. After reviewing the Complete VMware Certification Guide, you decide if the VMware Certified Technical Associate Data Center Virtualization certification is right for you. 

So, you begin working toward the VCTA-DCV 2024 certification. After weeks of using online training and home labs, you pass the exam. Now you are VCTA-certified!

You then spend a few months gaining hands-on experience and decide you're ready to take the next step — VMware Certified Professional (VCP) certification. You set your sights on the VCP-NV certification. However, the classroom requirement sticks out to you. Drilling down a bit further, you see these courses carry large price tags.

It seems like there might be alternatives, but information on these can be hard to sort through. Before you fork over the cash, weigh your options and make the decision that works for you. In the next few sections, we'll help you do just that.

The key takeaways here are:

  • VMware VCTA certifications do NOT have a classroom requirement. (They do have 'recommended' courses that are not required.) 

  • VMware VCP certifications do have a classroom requirement.

  • VMware classes can cost thousands of dollars.

  • There are alternatives to taking the VMware Education courses.

Note: VMware recently updated its certification offerings. There are now four levels of certifications. Here they are, in order from beginner to expert: 

  1. VCTA (for operators)

  2. VCP (for administrators and engineers)

  3. VCAP (for administrators, architects, and engineers)

  4. VCDX (the highest level of certification for architects) 

Each level of certification has several tracks, including network virtualization, security, and cloud management and automation. 

Why Take the VMware Classroom Training?

Given the alternatives, why would you go the classroom route? In short: convenience and quality. Classroom training is the fastest and most direct option available.

Some people value time differently. If you have a little time, you might be looking for the quickest option. Not only will this provide you with valuable information and experience, it will do so in only a 5-day course. If you're working towards your VCT-DCV certification, you can enroll in courses to effectively build an understanding on the ESXi and vSphere.

While these courses can cost several thousands of dollars, they have some real value. They provide a reliable and effective structure to help not only pass these exams, but also properly support, configure, and manage vSphere.

You can also rest assured of the quality and relevance, as the training is coming directly from VMware-certified instructors. It's worth considering the convenience when it comes to the cost of the training, and it could be worth it in the long run.

Even if you can afford classroom training, there are a few things to consider before diving in. First, you'll likely have to travel in order to attend one of these classes. Second, VMware training will often lead to time away from work and family. For many, the latter is a deal-breaker.

For those who can spare the time and expense, VMware classroom training is a great option. For those that can't, there are other options available. In addition to "Live Classroom" training, VMware offers "Live Online," "vFlex ILT," and "Private Training" of many of the required courses.

"Live Online" is just what the name implies, an online course conducted in real-time. "vFlex ILT" courses are conducted both in-person and via HD video conferencing. "Private training" is tailored to fit the student's time and delivery needs. 

However, the "live" component of "Live Online" and "vFlex ILT" can still make it hard to attend the classes. Fortunately, VMware offers an alternative. VMware's self-paced, on-demand training options allow you to review the material at your own pace. This allows you to purchase a course and go over the material in 30 days. On-demand training gives you the flexibility to study after work and without completely pulling you away from home. 

You can learn more about VMware's different training delivery options here. While the different delivery options add flexibility, VMware's costs aren't cheap, and some may be priced out as a result. Fortunately, some cost-effective alternatives may provide a viable alternative to taking the VMware classes.

The key takeaways here are:

  • VMware classes are costly but thorough and effective.

  • VMware offers several "live" delivery formats: Live Classroom, Live Online, VFlex ILT, and private training. 

  • VMware offers on-demand classes that give you 30 days to study at your own pace.

What About Community College for VMware Certs?

Some community colleges offer classes that satisfy the VMware classroom requirement. This option comes at a much more affordable rate, but space is limited. Here's a short list of community colleges that offer these courses:

You can find more information/locations on the VMware IT Academy page.

Generally, community college is a much more affordable option. While the VMware classroom option can go for a few thousand, this will only run you a few hundred dollars. 

This cost difference makes this a very nice option. You'll still have the classroom experience without completely committing a full week of your life. Some locations will even offer online options (depending on your area), making things even easier to work around your schedule. However, since space is limited, there's usually a waitlist for these courses. In some cases, this can lead to wait times reaching 4-6 months or longer.

For those who just cannot afford the cost of the classroom course, this is a very reasonable option. Along with the time to complete the course, this is a very large time commitment. For those who have the time, this would likely be the better option.

The key takeaways here are:

  • Select community colleges offer an affordable alternative to meet the VMware classroom requirements.

  • These community college courses are in high demand and waitlists can be long.

Are You Cisco-Certified? Skip the VMware Class

If you currently hold an active Cisco CCNA, CCNP, or CCIE cert, you can completely bypass the class requirements for your VCP-NV cert. Once you have the VCP-NV, this will allow you to meet the course requirements for the other VCP certs without having to take the required courses.

It's pretty straightforward, on the VCP-NV page, you'll see a menu saying "Path if you Hold…", select Cisco Certification, and the requirement will be replaced with an option to submit proof of your Cisco cert. While not the most direct path, it is definitely a very good option for someone holding non-expired Cisco certifications.

The key takeaway here is:

  • An active CCNA, CCNP, or CCIE certification enables you to bypass the VMware classroom requirement for VCP-NV.

Considering Other Virtualization Certs

If you're interested in virtualization but not locked into VMware, there are other paths available to you. CompTIA's Server+, Red Hat Certified Specialist in Virtualization, and Nutanix Certified Professional (NCP) are alternative certification options for aspiring virtualization pros. None of these certifications carry a classroom requirement.

The takeaway here is that VMware isn't the only game in town. Hyper-V, in particular, can be a very attractive alternative. While it doesn't have the same level of Linux support as vSphere, it's getting better in this regard.

For example, 2018's release of HyperV Quick Create and Microsoft's Ubuntu partnership made spinning up Linux virtual machines in HyperV much easier. You'll also find Hyper-V on 64-bit versions of Windows 10, Enterprise, and Education. This makes it easier to access for those of you working in Windows environments today.

The key takeaways here are:

  • There are other certification paths for virtualization pros.

  • Microsoft Hyper-V is a popular alternative.

How Will You Satisfy the VMware Classroom Requirement? 

There's no wrong choice when it comes to obtaining your VCP cert. It really comes down to what best makes sense for you.

VMware classroom training is costly, but can also be timesaving. VMware on-demand training offers more flexibility if you can't afford to take days off for classroom training. The community college option is great if you're looking for a more affordable alternative to VMware classroom training.

An active Cisco certification lets you skip the course requirement for the VCP6-NV altogether. Whatever the case, understanding all of your options will help you make an informed decision.

Furthermore, the rest becomes much easier after you earn your first VCP certification. After this, the required training turns into recommended training. This will save you time and money for any other VCP certification you go for in the future. For example, if you currently hold a VCP-NV 2021 and you're looking into VCP-NV 2024, you won't need to take any additional training courses. 

All you need to do is pass one of the Professional Data Center Virtualization Exams. At that point, you can use more flexible learning options like online training courses for VMware and self-study.

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