Cost of the CCNA Exam Feature Image

Cost of the CCNA Exam

The Cost of the CCNA Exam is $300, providing a gateway to enhance your career in the IT networking industry.

If the price of the exam is your concern, knowing that many candidates consider the investment well worth the potential for career advancement and increased salary can be reassuring.

This article will tell you exactly what to expect financially, from the exam fee to study material costs, and how to find discounts or vouchers.

Be ready to unlock the secrets to taking the CCNA without breaking the bank and take your first confident step towards certification.


You’re considering taking the CCNA exam—a vital step for your career in network engineering. But before you can showcase your skills in configuring, troubleshooting, and managing network systems, you need to understand not just the effort, but also the investment required for this certification. Understanding the costs associated with the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) exam is crucial for planning your path to becoming a networking professional.

What Is the CCNA Certification?

CCNA, which stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate, is an esteemed IT certification from Cisco, a leading provider of networking equipment and services. This certification is designed to validate your skills and knowledge in network fundamentals, IP connectivity, IP services, security basics, automation, and programmability. It is an associate-level credential that gives you a solid foundation in networking, making it a sought-after qualification in the IT industry.

For anyone aspiring to work in IT networking, the CCNA certification is often considered a stepping stone, acting as a differential on your resume. Holding a CCNA certification can open doors to positions like network administrator, systems administrator, and IT manager, and serves as a prerequisite or a benefit for higher-level certifications and specialized tracks within Cisco’s certification ecosystem.

Breaking Down the CCNA Exam Cost

When it comes to the question of “how much is the CCNA exam,” the direct answer might seem simple. The CCNA certification exam typically costs $300. However, consider that this fee only covers one attempt at the exam. If you don’t pass on your first try, you’ll need to pay the full fee again for each subsequent attempt. It’s essential to factor in the possibility of retakes as you budget for your certification journey.

Exam Retakes

Retaking the exam means not only an additional $300 each time but also potentially extended study time. Here’s a pro tip: thoroughly prepare for the first attempt to avoid extra costs from retakes.

Additional Fees

Beyond the standard exam fee, other charges may come into play—taxes, for instance, depending on your region. Fees for payment processing or currency conversion can also add to the cost if they apply to you.

Aside from the exam fee, your total expenditure can increase notably when you account for study materials and training. These costs can vary widely based on your choices.

Study Materials

Study guides, practice tests, and the official Cisco books can be indispensable in your preparation, but they also represent an added cost. Prices can range from tens to hundreds of dollars, depending on the comprehensiveness of the materials.

Training Courses

You might consider enrolling in formal training courses. These can be highly beneficial but may set you back anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Instructor-led training and video courses, while effective, require a significant investment.

Miscellaneous Costs

Don’t forget to consider ancillary costs, such as travel expenses if you have to visit a testing center far from your location or the potential need for specialized equipment to practice your skills in a home lab.

Comparing CCNA Costs with Other Cisco Certifications

Understanding how the cost of the CCNA exam stacks up against other certifications is vital to gauge your overall investment in Cisco’s certification track.

  • The CCNA certification is the de facto starting point and is relatively more accessible at $300 compared to higher-level Professional and Expert certifications, which can cost upwards of a thousand dollars.
  • The CCNA consolidates the essentials that were once spread across multiple certifications, which might have resulted in a higher combined cost in the past.

Consider that while CCNA is an investment, it’s a single exam covering a broad range of topics, unlike some of Cisco’s other certification paths that require multiple exams. This consolidation can present savings in terms of both money and time.

The CCNA certification is not only a reflection of your dedication to your career but also an investment in your future potential in the IT networking field. As you progress to higher certifications, the costs may increase, but so too does the depth and specialization of your expertise—a clear signpost for your career trajectory.

Discover the return on investment for CCNA certification holders.

Investment vs. Reward: Analyzing the Return on CCNA Certification

When you ask yourself, “How much is the CCNA exam?” consider not just the cost but also the potential return on investment (ROI). The CCNA certification often leads to higher-paying job roles in the IT industry. Statistics show that individuals with CCNA certification can expect to see a significant increase in their salary.

In many cases, the increased earning potential quickly offsets the initial outlay for the exam and preparation costs. Think of your CCNA certification as an investment in your future. According to industry comparisons, jobs requiring CCNA certification tend to offer, on average, 30% higher annual pay compared to those demanding entry-level certs like CompTIA’s Network+. For an in-depth comparison and perspectives on ROI, explore the different job opportunities and pay scales.

Moreover, your CCNA credential can lead to career advancement opportunities, such as promotions or the ability to command a higher fee as a consultant. With networking at the forefront of technology, the demand for skilled network professionals is on the rise, likely bolstering the security of your future in the field.

Ways to Reduce or Offset CCNA Exam Costs

Thankfully, there are strategies to manage the financial aspect of obtaining your CCNA certification. Exploring avenues like discounts, vouchers, and employer sponsorship can be beneficial:

Exam Discounts: Cisco’s Networking Academy (NetAcad) offers exam discounts for eligible students and instructors. This can significantly reduce the fee, making the CCNA exam more affordable. To see if you qualify, check the criteria provided by NetAcad’s certification exam discounts.

Vouchers: Sometimes, you can purchase discounted vouchers from third-party providers or receive them as part of training courses. Ensure you understand their terms before purchase.

Employer Sponsorship: Your employer may be willing to sponsor your CCNA certification as part of professional development. It’s worth discussing with your manager or HR department the benefits that your increased knowledge and skill set can bring to the company.

Navigating Voucher Prices and Availability

Vouchers can play a pivotal role in reducing your overall CCNA expenditure. They are essentially pre-paid credits that cover the cost of the exam and are often available at a lower price than the standard rate.

Remember that vouchers are typically non-refundable and for single use only. Plan your exam schedule carefully to ensure that you use your voucher before its expiration date. To navigate voucher prices and understand how they might aid in your exam budget planning, investigate the terms and availability of Cisco exam vouchers.

Practical Tips for Preparing for the CCNA Exam on a Budget

Studying for the CCNA exam doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. Here are some cost-effective methods to prepare:

  • Official Study Materials: Invest in the latest editions of Cisco’s official books. These are tailor-made for the CCNA exam and offer a depth of knowledge that can be your cornerstone of study.
  • Set Goals: Breakdown your study plan into manageable goals that keep you on track without overwhelming you.
  • Practical Experience: Combine your learning with hands-on experience. Use simulators or affordable network equipment to create a home lab setup.
  • Online Forums: Leverage free online resources and communities where fellow CCNA candidates and certified professionals discuss concepts and share advice.

For a more detailed guide on how to prepare for the CCNA on a budget, check out these top study tips.

FAQ: Common Questions About the Cost of the CCNA Exam

Is there a separate fee for scheduling the exam at a testing center? No, the $300 fee typically includes booking your slot at a Pearson VUE testing center. Just be sure to consider any additional travel costs you might incur.

Can I retake the CCNA exam? If so, how much will it cost? Yes, if you don’t pass on the first try, you can retake the exam. Each attempt costs $300, so meticulous preparation is key to avoiding repeat fees.

Does Cisco offer any financial assistance or scholarships for the CCNA exam? While outright financial assistance is rare, Cisco’s NetAcad sometimes provides discounts to students who complete certain courses.

Conclusion: Is the CCNA Exam Worth the Investment?

Now that you understand “how much is the CCNA exam” and the various costs associated with pursuing this industry-recognized certification, it’s time to weigh these against the substantial benefits. From increased earning potential to greater job opportunities and the empowerment that comes with expert knowledge, the ROI of the CCNA certification is clear.

Yes, it requires a financial commitment, but with strategic planning—making the most of available resources, seeking discounts, and possibly securing employer support—the investment in your career can be manageable and, more importantly, transformative.

So, is the CCNA exam worth it? If you’re committed to advancing your career in networking, the answer is a resounding yes. With every step you take on this path, remember that you’re not just spending money; you’re investing in your most valuable asset—yourself.