So you’re certified. That’s great! But once you have that certification, you need to maintain it. Luckily, you have options to keep it current, level up, or branch out into other technical areas. I like to look at certification as a journey. While you might stop and take in the scenes along the way, inevitably you must keep your vehicle in working order. And we all know that requires regular maintenance—gas, oil, tune-ups, and so forth. The same is true with certification.

I had a great opportunity to think more about certification while I was at Cisco Live, nerding out with our users, customers, and partners, especially in the Cisco U. Theater at the Learning & Certifications booth.

Within these packed sessions, I heard some excellent questions. I was thrilled to hear most of them were about the desire to get certified and really encouraged when I noticed our testing center nearly hit its capacity. People were testing and passing! But what happens after that? How do you keep your certified self tuned up?

#1: Attend Cisco Live technical sessions

Cisco Live offers one great way to stay in tune—technical sessions. Every technical session (such as labs, techtorials, and DevNet workshops) is eligible for Continuing Education (CE) credits. Those credits add up toward recertification.

While you may not get all the credits you need from attending Cisco Live alone, you have flexible options regarding Cisco’s recertification policy.

#2: Mix CE credits and testing to recertify

Some people like to recertify using tests, just as they’ve always done. That is still a valid option. In fact, some of the people that tested at Cisco Live were already certified. When one of the engineers working in the Network Operations Center for the conference passed his SECCOR, his CCNP Enterprise recertified.

You don’t have to choose between testing or earning CE credits. Recertification flexibility means you have the option to do both if you’d like. That is, perhaps you earned some CE credits from attending several Cisco Lives but not enough to get to the 80 credits you need to recertify a Professional-level certification. You can supplement the credits with an exam. For example, if you earned 40 credits from Cisco Lives, you can take a concentration exam, such as ENARSI or DEVOPS, and recertify all your Professional-level certifications.

#3: Stay on course through learning

Cisco Live isn’t the only learning opportunity that may come your way in the three years you have to recertify. You might have the opportunity to take courses either with an in-person instructor or online (maybe through Cisco U.). Many of those courses are also eligible for CE credit.

Rev Up to Recert: Automation

Cisco U. is now available! Right now, we’re running a special program called “Rev Up to Recert,” where you can complete select learning offerings for free and earn CE credits towards recertification. Right now, if you complete the Learning Path, Understanding Cisco Network Automation Essentials (DEVNAE), in Cisco U., you can submit a CE claim for 16 CE credits! Better yet, the DEVNAE Learning Path,  comes to you at no cost. So, if you are looking to pick up some extra CE credits, sign up for Cisco U. Free and earn CE credits as you strengthen your knowledge of automation.

Learn more about Rev Up to Recert: Automation and sign up for Cisco U. today.

#4: Try your hand at writing exam items

While learning new skills to stay sharp is important—the reason we created the Continuing Education program, some people want to give back in other ways. The exam team is always looking for those certified individuals who can write excellent exam questions. Some of the people taking those exams at Cisco Live commented that they could have written a better question. Well do it! Apply to be an item writer, and help us make our exams even better while earning CE credit towards your own recertification.

#5: Use the CE portal, and stay tuned for updates

In addition to the recertification flexibility, we want to make sure the recertification process is as easy to take advantage of as possible. Today, all Continuing Education activities (like attending Cisco Live, writing items, and taking training) require you to submit for credit in the CE portal. We’re working to streamline this process so that in the future, we’ll be able to automatically award credits when you complete certain activities, without you needing to submit anything. Stay tuned for more on that as we continue to evolve and enhance the program.

#6: Keep your certification active

Finally, and most importantly, do not let your certification lapse! One thing you cannot recertify is an inactive cert. If you let a certification lapse, the only way to reactivate is to take and pass that certification exam all over again. So make sure you keep your certification active!

Bonus tip: Stop by for regular certification maintenance

Finding the support you need to navigate your recertification journey is only a click away. Stop by the Cisco Learning Network and bookmark the topic forum for all things Cisco Recertification. It’s the place where you’ll find community discussions filled with the latest news, updates, offers, and best of all, candid interactions and responses directly from Cisco experts, certification holders, and lifelong learners.

We’re here to help you stay accountable and on-target with your goals, so you keep learning and stay certified. So, don’t miss out: Become a member of the Cisco Learning Network to participate in all community discussions, ask questions, share your experiences, and access free learning and certification resources.

Join the Cisco Learning Network today for free.

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Joe Clarke

Distinguished Engineer, Customer Experience

Customer Experience