So you want to get certified with a Cisco training program — one of the best online sources for certification. Now what? Obtaining the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) can help you learn basic skills such as customer service, communication, and troubleshooting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, network administrators earned a median income of $77,810 in 2015.
Seek an Entry-Level Certification
While the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) has no known prerequisites, the Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) certification is best for those just who are interested in earning their CCNA certification.
You obtain your CCENT certification by passing the Cisco Networking Devices (ICND1) exam. The ICND1 program and exam are also required to satisfy the CCNA credential. Even though they’re not required for the certification, the positions you earn after receiving CCNA certification usually require years of experience.
Prepare and Take the CCNA Exam
Now it’s time to prepare and take the CCNA exam. Cisco training courses give you plenty of options when it comes to obtaining your certification. This can be achieved by attending onsite classes, online classes, concentrated boot camps, or through self-study textbooks and practice tests. You can even take hybrid classes, depending on your schedule. If you earned your CCENT certification, you will need to take the ICND2 exam. Those without certification will have to take both the ICND1 and ICND2 exams.
Many community colleges and technical colleges offer programs to help you prepare for the CCNA examination. These programs will cover networking fundamentals, routing conceptions and LAN switching, such as terminology and hands-on experience to perform these skills and obtain CCNA certification. You may even decide you want to get your bachelor’s in information technology or computer engineering.
As you can see, Cisco training programs can be completed anywhere and anytime you want. However, Cisco certification exams can only be taken at authorized testing centers. You can register online up to six weeks in advance, and most of these proctored exams are completed in two hours. But the labs may take up to eight hours to complete. Since certifications are valid up to three years, you will have to retake the CCNA certification exam to achieve re-certification.
Consider Other Specialist Certifications
In addition to obtaining your CCNA certification, there are four specialty certifications in security, service provider operations, voice, and wireless networks. You may want to pass one of these CCNA specialty certifications instead of retaking the CCNA certification exam. Depending on your specialization, some of these certification programs may require you have your CCNA certification.
Become a Network Administrator or Software Developer
The next thing you can do is become a network administrator or software developer. As a network administrator, you can help coordinate a company’s computer system, and maintain their servers, software, and hardware. Software developers create domains and make sure their operations run smoothly.
Earning your CCNA certification can open you up to a world of possibilities. Cisco training courses work with your finances and schedule, so you can boost your career. You can gain the education and experience you need to become a computer support specialist or network administrator. You can also decide to retake the CCNA certification in three years or complete a more advanced certification program.