No academic certificate or associate degree programs are entirely dedicated to Cisco certification. However, educational programs that teach students the necessary skills to become eligible to take certification exams usually culminate in a certificate from the educational institution or organization. Before getting into one of these programs, students must meet their prerequisites and be accepted into that program.
An educational certificate is different from a Cisco certification, which is obtained by taking one of the company's exams. Five levels of Cisco certification exist, and holding such certification can demonstrate proficiency to both clients and future employers.
Certificate programs typically cover topics tested in Cisco's certification exams, which can cover routing, switching, network security, network design or storage networking. There are also certifications for voice and wireless products. While Cisco certifications are available at five levels, certificate programs typically prepare students for the lowest-level exams, although some advanced certificate programs are available. Certificate program classes are often incorporated into the curricula of undergraduate computer science or information technology programs. Dedicated Cisco training classes, however, are plentiful and offered by private training companies.
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Cisco College and School Programs
Coursework in Cisco certificate programs can vary widely based on the area of study. One example might be the Cisco networking certificate program, which teaches students how to build local and wide area networks. Classes that might appear in this type of program are:
- Routers and Switches
- WAN design
Career and Salary Information
Students completing Cisco certificate programs take the corresponding exams, qualifying them to work as computer systems and network administrators. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the employment rate in this field would grow 8% between 2014 and 2024, which is about as fast as the national average (www.bls.gov).
Network administrators made a median salary of $77,810 annually in 2015, according to the BLS. The lowest-paid network administrators made less than $47,460, while the top-paid brought home more than $124,090.
For computer technicians wanting to advance their career, they may want to considers earning one or more of five levels of Cisco networking certification. Private training programs are offered to prepare individuals for the Cisco's certification exams, as well as some courses that are part of larger certificate programs.