How Long Does It Take To Get An IT Certification?
Are you wondering how long it takes to get IT certification? Whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned expert, the answer depends on you. Nonetheless, organizations change the rules often, so it’s hard to have a definite answer.
An IT certification may take anywhere from three months to a year. An entry-level IT certification can take three months, and an intermediate IT certification can take four to six months. But an expert IT certification can take up to a year. All in all, it depends on how fast the student can learn.
Looking at the most popular and not-so-popular certifications, you can have a reliable time frame as to when you can bag your certification. This article will help you plan, so keep reading to discover the details.
Entry Level IT Certifications
Even an entry-level IT certification takes time to complete. It’s because you have to prepare, study, and strategize.
These things, by their nature, take time. It’s not about a real-life experience. Studying and exams take time whether you have the experience or don’t.
The lowest common denominator IT certification with one foundational exam can take up to 12 weeks to complete. Organizations design these certifications for a student with no or little experience.
Typically, one of those certifications will take three months of study. When you’re tight on time, you can compress everything into nine weeks.
By industry standard, these certifications provide elemental exams to prove foundational competency. As you’ll see later, some require passing several exams.
Some certifications may take up to four months. These style of entry-level certifications come with one advanced exam or multiple easy exams.
For example, some CompTIA certifications take that duration to complete. Some students attain the A+ certification exams in less than two months. Some spend more than two months. In general, the majority of students completed it in less than 12 weeks.
So, when you’re a complete beginner, you should give yourself more than 12 weeks to complete an entry-level IT certification.
Furthermore, other CompTIA certifications such as Network+ and Security+ may take up to six months to master. Even seasoned professionals can take that long to finish those certifications.
In that case, it depends on your study plan. A seriously committed student may complete an advanced IT certification in four months.
Intermediate Level IT Certifications
Intermediate-level IT certifications take anywhere between four to five months to complete. These certifications have one big fat exam that requires more study than entry-level certifications.
This style of certifications touches upon a myriad of topics, which make them exhaustive. The (ISC)2 certifications are a potent example of this approach.
Someone with a few years of working experience will find these certifications most fulfilling.
Another example of these certifications is the ones that Microsoft provides. Usually, you may have to pass more than one exam to obtain the certificate. They’re also in the four months range with serious commitment.
Another style of IT certifications comes with three exams. Assuming you may need to study three months for each exam, you’ll need around nine months to get it.
Cisco certifications are a suitable example for these intermediate-level certifications. However, most Cisco certifications build on each other.
To attain an intermediate-level certification from Cisco, you’ll most likely need to pass an entry-level exam first. That’s why it may take more than six months to bring an intermediate-level Cisco certification to fruition.
Considering that Microsoft certifications have three exams, you may need to study for two months for each of them, which adds up to six months.
Something to take into consideration: Microsoft exams are not beginner-friendly. Microsoft would advise the student to have a year of working experience before applying for certification. It may take two months of study and more when you don’t have working experience.
Expert Level IT Certifications
With expert-level IT certifications, your experience level is a substantial factor in duration.
Typically, it may take you nine months to complete a triple-exam certification at the speed of three months of study for each exam.
Assuming you have at least five years of experience, it’ll take around nine months to complete an expert-level IT certification. With seven or more years of experience, it’ll take you less time to complete it.
Some expert IT certifications take more than a year to complete as well. It may sound like a lot of time, but it’s not an entry-level certificate.
These styles of IT certifications have four exams that cover security, networking, and cybersecurity in detail.
For example, Cisco CCIE certifications have a written exam and lab exam. The lab part without the written exam takes a year of preparation.
So, with a written exam, it may take even more than a year.
Preparing To Earn Your IT Certifications
From entry to expert level, certification exams test your theoretical and practical knowledge.
As you progress from beginner, intermediate, to expert, you’ll notice some aspects get easier while some facets get more challenging. It’s a process that’s unique to each student.
However, going through these exams will teach you about time management, study techniques, and exam preparation.
Take inventory of your career objectives. Know why you need a given certification before you apply. You’ll find that your interest may drive you to a specific specialization within IT.
Starting on solid ground will get you far in less time, right? When you’re a complete newbie, you may take more time to complete an entry-level IT certification. It’s natural.
The more experience you have, the less time it takes to complete an IT certification. Nothing unusual here.
Yet, don’t overestimate or underestimate yourself. Some exams are challenging whether you have ten years of experience or not.
Someone who passes the Network+ exam in a few weeks won’t necessarily find an OSCP or MCSA as easy.
The key is the schedule. When you allocate the exact amount of time to a given certification, it’ll feel that you finished it faster. Even when it takes a long time, it’ll simply feel quick.
You may need to dedicate three months per exam. For the exceptions, you may need to forge your path yourself.