In a Cisco Certified Network Professional certificate program, primary focus is placed on preparing students for the CCNP certifying examinations. This series of exams tests students' knowledge and understanding of Cisco's IP routing and IP switched networks technologies. It also measures students' ability to troubleshoot and maintain these technologies. Students also gain expertise in a range of network protocols and features, including AppleTalk, Route Redistribution, Ethernet, and Access Lists.
There are several requirements to join this program. Firstly, students must have a high school diploma or GED. They must also have at least a year's worth of professional networking experience. Lastly, they must have completed a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) program or a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) program.
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Cisco Certification for Network Professionals
The CCNP designation is conferred by Cisco Systems, Inc., a multinational information technology (IT) company. It is intended for individuals seeking specialized training in planning, implementing, and maintaining Cisco's broad array of advanced network solution products. The CCNP program curriculum consists of several courses that cover the fundamentals of IT networking, including:
- Cisco advanced routing
- Cisco remote access
- Cisco multilayer switching
- Scalable Internet works
- Converged network optimization
Popular Career Options
Individuals who complete the CCNP program may go on to work in a variety of professions in the IT sector. Occupations may include:
- Network technician
- Network engineer
- Systems engineer
- Support engineer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects average growth at 8% for network and computer systems administrators and faster-than-average growth of 9% for computer network architects (grouped with web developers and information security analysts) from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Computer support specialists, including those assisting with networking, will have above-average growth of 12% during the same period.
January 2016 data from PayScale.com reported that network administrators with the CCNP certification earned $47,259-$91,516 annually. Network architects with the certification earned $84,926-$154,544. The BLS reported in May 2015 that most computer network support specialists earned a mean annual salary of $67,260.
In addition to the initial certifying examination, professionals are required to take a re-certifying exam every three years. Some individuals may consider enrolling in a continuing education course to update their understanding of the changing technology or to refresh their knowledge of certain skills and concepts.
A CCNP certificate program teaches students the skills needed to work with LAN and WAN systems. Graduates have a variety of career options to choose from, as well as continuing education courses to stay up to date with the latest technology and prepare for re-certification.