How Long Do IT Certifications Last?
2 May, 2024

Hey there, tech enthusiasts! Today, let’s untangle a question that might be buzzing through the minds of many as they ponder their career paths in the dynamic world of information technology: “How long do IT certifications last?” Whether you’re a seasoned pro looking to update your credentials or a newbie considering your first cert, understanding the lifespan of these certifications is crucial.

Why Worry About Certification Lifespan?

First off, why should you even care how long a certification lasts? In the fast-evolving IT sector, staying up-to-date is not just beneficial; it’s essential. Technology changes faster than the blink of an eye, and what’s relevant today might be obsolete tomorrow. Certifications are a great way to prove your skills and knowledge are current. But just as even the best batteries eventually run out of charge, so too do most IT certifications expire.

General Lifespan of IT Certifications

Typically, the lifespan of IT certifications varies depending on the certifying body and the technology covered. However, most certifications are designed to be valid for a set period after which they need to be renewed. The common validity period for many IT certifications ranges from one to three years. This timeframe is not arbitrary; it reflects the rapid pace at which technology — and requisite skills — develop.

Different Types, Different Times

Let’s clarify the duration of certifications by some of the most well-known certifying organizations and their programs:

Microsoft Certifications

Navigating the waters of Microsoft certification renewal can be a bit intricate, but once you get the hang of it, you’re all set to keep your skills certified and up to date. Let’s break it down to make it super easy to follow.

Initially, Microsoft role-based (associate and expert) and specialty certifications require some attentive upkeep every year. These certifications are valid for just one year from when you complete all the requirements. To keep these credentials active, you’ll need to renew them annually by passing an online assessment. This helps ensure that you’re always on top of your game.

On the flip side, specific Microsoft certifications, such as fundamental ones like Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) and Microsoft Applied Skills credentials, never expire, providing a perpetual badge of your foundational knowledge.

The renewal process itself is pretty user-friendly. Microsoft doesn’t charge anything for renewal assessments, which is a sweet deal. You have a six-month window before your certification expires to take this assessment through Microsoft Learn. These assessments are designed to be concise and focus on the latest technological and industry developments. They’re shorter than the original exams, unproctored, and you can retake them as many times as needed within your eligibility window to pass.

So, keep an eye on your certification expiry dates, and make the most of the free, flexible renewal process to keep your Microsoft certifications active and your professional profile sharp.

CompTIA Certifications

CompTIA certifications like Security+, Cloud+, PenTest+, Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+), and Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) are some of the most sought after in the IT industry. These credentials generally have a three-year validity period. This duration offers a balance, allowing professionals enough time to apply their skills in the real world while still encouraging them to stay current with new advancements. To maintain the certification, you must participate in the Continuing Education (CE) program, which involves earning a specific number of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or passing an updated version of the certification exam.

So, what counts as a CEU-worthy activity and how to rack up those Continuing Education Units? Each certification comes with its own tally of CEUs you need to hit within your three-year renewal cycle. Think of it as your tech fitness regime to keep your skills sharp and credentials polished. Here’s a rundown of how you can keep those CEUs coming:

– Earn additional IT Certifications: Anytime you pick up a new non-CompTIA IT industry certification, you’re not just expanding your knowledge but also banking CEUs.

– Engage in Learning: Whether it’s attending a snazzy live webinar, participating in a conference, or sitting through a college course, these are all prime opportunities to earn those units.

– Teach and Mentor: Got a knack for explaining complex tech stuff? Teach a course, mentor up-and-coming tech wizards, or create instructional materials. Sharing your knowledge can give you CEUs.

– Join CompTIA’s Creative Process: Participate as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in a CompTIA Exam Development Workshop. It’s a great way to contribute to the community and earn CEUs.

– Publish Your Thoughts: If you’re more of the scholarly type, publish an article, white paper, blog post, or even a book on relevant IT topics. This not only boosts your professional profile but also counts towards your CEU goal.

– Document Your Work Experience: Real-world experience matters. Documenting your related work experience can also help you collect CEUs.

Remember, each of these activities requires proper documentation to count towards your CEU tally. So, keep track of what you’ve done, submit the proof, and you’ll be all set to renew your certification with ease. Keep at it, and you’ll keep your CompTIA certifications as valid as ever!

Cisco Certifications

Cisco certifications are crucial for anyone looking to make their mark in networking. Here’s what you need to know to keep your credentials up to date.

Lifetime Validity for Entry-Level Certs: The Cisco Certified Support Technician (CCST) entry-level certifications have a lifetime validity, meaning they never expire and do not necessitate recertification.

Recertification for Associate to Expert Levels: Starting from the Associate level (such as CCNA, CyberOps Associate, DevNet Associate) to the Professional (CCNP, CyberOps Professional, DevNet Professional) and Expert levels (CCIE, CCDE, DevNet Expert), each certification begins a three-year validity period. During this time, maintaining your credential’s active status requires meeting specific recertification requirements, which, upon successful completion, renew your certification for another three years. It’s crucial to monitor your certification’s expiration date and fulfill all recertification requirements promptly to avoid the necessity of retaking the full exam.

Flexible Recertification Options: Renewal is possible at any point within the certification’s active duration and may involve advancing to a higher certification level, earning necessary Continuing Education (CE) credits through professional development activities, or it can involve a blend of both options.

So, staying organized and proactive is key to ensuring your Cisco certification remains valid and showcases your skills effectively.

ISACA Certifications

Think of your ISACA certifications, like CISA, CISM, CGEIT, and CRISC, as passports to a world of IT governance awesomeness. But just like any passport, they need a renewal stamp every three years to stay valid.

Here’s the deal: ISACA wants to make sure you’re constantly learning and growing in your field. To keep your certifications active, you need to collect 120 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits over those three years. Essentially, you’re proving that you’re keeping your skills sharp.

The good news? Earning CPE credits can be fun! Attend conferences and webinars, dive into training workshops, even write articles – anything that keeps your brain buzzing and expands your IT knowledge toolbox counts.

Just remember, keep track of your learning adventures! Every year, ISACA needs a report on your CPE activities. Think receipts, certificates, attendance records – anything that proves you were out there getting smarter.

Also, don’t forget the annual maintenance fee. This fee is essential for managing certifications and helps ISACA keep improving their programs and uphold high standards in the rapidly evolving tech world.

So, the takeaway? Stay curious, document your learning journey, and pay the annual fee. This keeps your ISACA certification active, proves you’re a pro who keeps learning, and connects you to a global network of like-minded IT rockstars!

AWS Certifications

Keeping your AWS certification current is key to staying ahead in the cloud industry. You need to renew every three years, ensuring you’re up-to-date with the latest in AWS tech, whether you’re a Solutions Architect, DevOps Engineer, or any other specialist.

Here’s a quick rundown on your recertification options:

– For the Foundational AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, you can either complete the AWS Cloud Quest game-based training for free during the beta period, pass the current Cloud Practitioner exam, or opt for any Associate or Professional-level exam.

– At the Associate level, simply pass the latest version of your specific exam. Developers and SysOps Administrators can also try for the DevOps Engineer – Professional exam.

– At the Professional level, recertification simply requires passing the latest version of your Professional-level exam.

– Finally, for Specialty level certifications, you must pass the latest version of the specific Specialty exam to recertify.

Moreover, AWS makes it easier on the wallet with a 50% discount on these exams. Just log into your AWS Certification Account to register for your exam, track your status, and keep an eye on renewal deadlines. This streamlined process keeps your skills sharp and your credentials valid, so you can keep mastering the clouds without a hitch!

VMware Certifications

VMware has updated its certification approach to be more flexible. Gone is the rigid two-year recertification rule, leaving it up to you to decide when it’s time to renew. Recognizing that not everyone needs the latest certification immediately, VMware allows you to choose the right time to upgrade — especially if you’re still working with older versions. This new flexibility means you can recertify on your own terms, aligning better with both your personal and organizational timelines.

Additionally, VMware has streamlined its certification program. Instead of version-based titles, the certifications now reflect the year, such as VCTA-DCV 2024, VCP-DCV 2024, and VCDX-DCV 2024. This change simplifies the system, making it easier to identify the most current credentials.

Stay current, stay certified!

Think of renewals as the cool updates your brain needs to stay savvy! Especially in cybersecurity, where new threats loom around every corner, staying updated isn’t just nice — it’s necessary. So, sharpen those skills, stay ahead of the game, and keep rocking your renewals!

Keeping your certification fresh does take some planning and elbow grease. Here’s how to keep it smooth:

– Stay sharp by keeping up with the latest standards and changes from your certification authority. What’s hot today might be obsolete tomorrow, so it’s crucial to stay informed.

– Plan ahead by spreading your continuing education throughout the certification period. This way, you avoid last-minute stress and learn more effectively.

– Diversify your skills by exploring new or advanced certifications. Often, earning a new certification can automatically renew your existing ones, helping you expand your expertise while maintaining your certified status.

Remember, certifications are just one part of your toolkit. Real-world experience, adaptability, and essential soft skills round out your arsenal. So, keep learning and evolving, let your certifications propel you to new heights in your IT career. Keep tackling those renewals and aim for the stars!