A while ago, probably less than 2 years ago, Cisco announced a new way to recertify any of their certifications via “Continuing Education” credits, or CE for short, very similar to the PDU point system implemented by the Project Management Institute, most notably for the renowed PMP certification. You can get Cisco CEs via official training, either classroom (not an option these days due to COVID) or E-Learning (some Cisco live sessions will also award you with CEs, at least for the upcoming Cisco Live Virtual 2021).
First of all, how do i know how many credits are needed to renew my certifications? for that you need to log into the Cisco Certification Tracking system, go to Certifications>Active Certifications, expand and click on any of your certs. This will open a new page showing up the different options and combinations available to recertify, which range from passing core exams, specialist exams, just CEs, or a combination of all the those. This is what my CCNP Enterprise looked like last week:
So far i already had 64 CEs, which i will explain later how i got them, and the options are either complete 80 CEs, or use 40 and pass a Specialist level exam (300-XXX). Since i’m not really into any of these new specialist exams yet, i will aim for the 80 CEs and see what happens. So where did those 64 CEs come from? last year i got the Cisco ENCORE E-Learning from the Cisco Learning Store, not knowing about CEs at all. After finishing the course you get a completion certificate in the “wrap up” section.
After getting your PDF certificate go to Cisco Continuing Education Program website, login with your CCO account and you should see a list of all your active certifications just like in the Certification Tracking website. In the main menu go to Submit Items, select the details of the training you want to get credits for (E-Learning in my case), upload you certificate and submit.
And voila! for this type of E-Learning certificates, the accreditation is almost instantaneous, but for some other activities such as classroom training or Cisco Live sessions you may have to wait a couple days. The “earned” CEs will show up on the main dashboard at the CE website like so.
So now the remaining question is, where do i get the missing 16 CEs i need to get my professional level certifications renewed? Earning CEs is not cheap, E-Learning courses and/or Cisco Live are a sizeable investment (Black Friday or Cyber Monday discounts at the Cisco Learning Store may be the exception) but it saves you the time to study for another exam. However if you already are halfway in, you can get additional free training at the Cisco Learning Library which are also CE elegible. You can browse the free course catalog directly from the CE website, in the “Item Catalog” section, or logging in directly to the Cisco Learning Library.
In this case my best choise was to take the initial modules of the “SD-WAN Mastery Collection for Customers” which is free and awards me the missing CEs to get CCNP Enterprise recertified. Sadly enough, retired certifications such as my CCDP, CCDA among others are no longer being extended.
After finishing each course the process is the same. Download the certificates of completion, in the CE website go to Add Item and that’s it. Wait a couple days for the synchronization between the systems and you will see the additional 3 year extension granted.
This works for any certification level, including CCIEs, so if you come up with a good strategy it may not be necessary to sit again for testing in a while 🙂