Certifications / Open Source

How Much Do Linux Certifications Cost?

by Team Nuggets
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Published on November 25, 2020

Because Linux is such a versatile operating system, more organizations are relying on the platform to  handle their complex enterprise networks. The challenge, however, is there are many flavors of Linux to choose from for these environments.

To make sure IT pros have the necessary knowledge and a way to validate their Linux skills, several organizations offer Linux-related certifications. If you're interested in advancing your career or simply wanting to learn open source technology, earning Linux certification is worth exploring. It can also boost your career options — a lot. In recent years the demand for IT pros with Linux skills has soared.

When it comes to Linux certifications, there's a lot of options to choose from. This article will help you to make an informed decision about which certifications to pursue, how much they cost, and if they're worth pursuing.

How Much Does Linux+ Cost?

If you're unsure where to start, or what distribution of Linux you will be working with, we recommend starting with CompTIA's Linux+ (XK0-004) certification. This exam is designed for IT professionals who will use Linux to manage any variety of devices and applications — with a focus on enterprise Linux for cloud, mobile, cybersecurity, and web administration.

The price of the Linux+ exam is $329.

The sticker price, however, doesn't reflect the full reality. CompTIA recommends both A+ and Network+ as pre-requisites, alongside 12 months of Linux admin experience. When we factor in the costs of these other tests, we can add in $555 to the cost of taking the Linux+ exam.

Thankfully, all CompTIA exams are available through Pearson VUE, making them accessible across all 50 states and saving us on travel costs. Still, you'll need to pay for gas, a celebratory lunch afterward, and maybe a cup of coffee. Total this all up, and let's say you spend $50 on exam day. And of course, you'll need to study before taking the exam. So, you'll have to factor in the costs of an online training course and a textbook.

Using CBT Nuggets as an example, let's say you give yourself 12 weeks (a very conservative timeline) to study for the exam. A monthly subscription to CBTN is $59 a month. So, you are looking at $177 for training, and another $33 for a text book. This results in a total of $210 for training materials

Adding it all together, and assuming that you still need to take A+ and Network+, that brings the total cost of earning Linux+ certification to roughly $1,117.

How Much Do LPI Exams Cost?

The Linux Professionals Institute offers a series of exams, spanning Linux Essentials to DevOps Tools Engineer to a three-tier administrator certification (LPIC) program. These certifications are another strong option for professionals seeking a wide breadth of Linux credentials.

Linux Essentials costs $120. All other LPI exams cost $200.

Of course, you'll need to work your way from the bottom up. Becoming LPIC-3 certified will be much costlier because it means you'll have to pass LPIC-1 and 2. That said, you'll also command a higher salary.

Pearson VUE also proctors LPI exams, so we can use our previous $50 estimate for exam day costs. Then there's online training for LPI Linux Essentials, LPIC-1, etc. as well as their corresponding textbooks. We'll add on the same number as above.

This brings us to about $380 for Linux Essentials — and $460 for each exam after that. Compared to CompTIA's Linux+, LPI certification may be a more cost-effective way to go.

How Much Do Red Hat Certifications Cost?

Red Hat's Linux distribution is one of the most popular enterprise-grade kernels, so demonstrating knowledge in this specific domain can make a huge difference for your job prospects. Their certification offerings include, in ascending order, Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA), Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE), and Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA), all alongside a bevy of specialist certifications.

All Red Hat exams costs $400.

Professionals begin with RHCSA before moving onto RHCE. Becoming RHCA certified requires both previous certifications as well as five specialist exams. This makes the cost of an RHCA $2,000 after passing RHCE. These senior-level certifications are some of the most popular in the industry, making those who hold them stand out.

Red Hat has many testing centers around the world and across the country, so most professionals shouldn't have to spend too much money on travel costs.

Then we factor in the cost of three months of online training at $177 and a textbook for about $40.

Adding it all together, you should be able to start your Red Hat journey for around $667.

How Much Do Oracle Linux OCA, OCP Cost?

Our final pair of Linux-related certifications come from Oracle, distributor of the Oracle Linux's Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. These two cert exams combine general Linux know-how with Oracle-specific capabilities — to prepare professionals for using Oracle systems on enterprise networks.

The Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) and Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) exams both cost $245.

The formdf exam is an entry-level offering and the latter is an intermediate-level certification. Both of these exams focus on Oracle products, including Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine, Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, and Oracle Database Appliance.

Pearson VUE administers Oracle certifications, so we can continue to use our $50 exam day costs estimate. Online Oracle training from CBT Nuggets costs $177, while a textbook run for about $40.

Altogether, becoming Oracle-certified should cost approximately $512.

Wrapping Up

All these certifications are a great place to start if you want to work with Linux on enterprise networks. But they by no means make up an exhaustive list. Other options include The GIAC Certified Unix System Administrator (GCUX) for UNIX-focused professionals and Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE).

Certifications are an investment in your future. The value of becoming certified greatly outweigh the costs. They don't just prove that you know how to run Linux systems at scale; they demonstrate your commitment to improving yourself and working on your career.  At the end of the day, that's what hiring managers are really after.


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