What Is the Difference Between a MCSE and CCNA Certification?

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) credentials are two certification options available to computer professionals who would like to demonstrate their training and expertise to employers. Keep reading to learn how certification requirements and specialization options differ for each. Schools offering Computer Networking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Computer Certifications

In addition to formal education and experience, the primary avenue by which computer professionals distinguish themselves is to obtain certification. There are a large number of certification programs, both vendor-specific and vendor-neutral. Microsoft's mid-level credential for IT professionals working with its hardware and software is the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE). For IT professionals who work with Cisco systems, it's the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).

Both certifications are achieved by passing a series of exams, and you'll generally need between one and three years of experience working with vendor hardware and software to be ready for these computerized tests. Earning certification requires a great deal of study and preparation, not to mention the financial costs. The willingness to undergo this certification process, as much as the knowledge obtained, demonstrates professional dedication to employers.

MCSE Requirements

Certification candidates earn the MCSE credential after passing five exams. These tests establish your ability to use Microsoft SQL Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 to design, implement, configure and maintain computer network and desktop infrastructures. Specializations are available in messaging, communication, private cloud, SharePoint, server infrastructure, data platform, desktop infrastructure and business intelligence.

Microsoft certifications need to be kept current. Once you earn your MCSE credential, you'll need to pass a recertification exam every three years to maintain it.

CCNA Requirements

CCNA certification demonstrates your proficiency in using Cisco communications technologies to install and configure network infrastructures, maintain network performance and set up Video-over-IP solutions, among other tasks. To earn one of these certifications, candidates must typically pass two exams, though some can be earned with passing scores on only one test.

Entry-level concentrations for the CCNA credential include routing and switching, data center, service provider and video. Once you've passed a prerequisite certification exam you can also pursue specializations in security, service provider operations, voice and wireless.

These credentials must also be renewed every three years. Recertification options include passing a current associate-, professional- or specialist-level exam.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  • DeVry University

    DeVry University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at DeVry University:

    • Certificates

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Arizona: Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix
    • California: Alhambra, Anaheim, Colton, Fremont, Long Beach, Oakland, Oxnard, Palmdale, Pomona, San Diego, San Jose, Sherman Oaks
    • Colorado: Colorado Springs, Greenwood Village, Westminster
    • Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miramar, Orlando, Tampa
    • Georgia: Alpharetta, Atlanta, Decatur, Duluth, Stockbridge
    • Illinois: Addison, Chicago, Downers Grove, Elgin, Gurnee, Naperville, Tinley Park
    • Indiana: Indianapolis, Merrillville
    • Michigan: Southfield
    • Minnesota: Edina
    • Missouri: Kansas City, Saint Louis
    • North Carolina: Charlotte, Morrisville
    • New Jersey: North Brunswick, Paramus
    • Nevada: Henderson
    • New York: New York, Rego Park
    • Ohio: Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Seven Hills
    • Oklahoma: Oklahoma City
    • Oregon: Portland
    • Pennsylvania: Fort Washington, King of Prussia, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
    • Tennessee: Memphis, Nashville
    • Texas: Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, Irving, San Antonio
    • Utah: Sandy
    • Virginia: Arlington, Chesapeake, Manassas
    • Washington: Federal Way, Lynnwood
    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
  • Baker College Online

    Baker College Online responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Baker College Online:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Phoenix

    University of Phoenix responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of Phoenix:

    • Certificates
      • Network+ Technologies Certificate

    Online Programs Available

  • Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design

    Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

 More Schools