LPIC vs RHCSA: What Is The Difference And Which Should You Earn First?

LPIC vs RHCSA: What Is The Difference And Which Should You Earn First?

LPIC and RHCSA are two of the most talked-about certifications in the information technology space. LPIC, which stands for Linux Professional Institute Certification, is available in three different levels; LPIC-1, LPIC-2, and LPIC-3, for professionals. As for RHCSA, an abbreviation for Red Hat Certified System Administrator, it’s specifically designed to validate candidate’s competencies at system administration.

No doubt, both LPIC & RHCSA are great certifications for people looking to get an administrator job. But here’s a quick question, which of the two credentials should you earn first?

When it comes to choosing between RHCSA and LPIC, the first certification to earn, I’ll say it depends on your interest. For instance, if you have about a year of experience as a Windows server admin and looking to get employed as a Linux Sysadmin, you might want to start with RHCSA.

Read on to learn more about the difference between RHCSA and LPIC and find out which of the two certifications is better for you to pursue a career as a Linux sysadmin.

What Is LPIC?

As earlier mentioned, the LPIC program has three different certifications. Interestingly, all of them build on each other.

The first LPIC certification, LPIC-1, is specifically designed for people interested in starting a career as a Linux Administrator. The entry-level exam validates that an individual can install and configure a system running Linux. That’s not all; it’ll also certify that the candidate has all it takes to configure a basic network and maintain the system from the command line.

The second LPIC certification, LPIC-2, is designed primarily for professionals interested in becoming Linux Engineers. Unlike LPIC-1, the LPIC-2 is a mid-level certification. The exam will validate that you have to present small- or medium-sized mixed networks.

LPIC-3, Linux Enterprise Professional, is the third certification on this list. It’s more advanced than LPIC-1 and LPIC-2, as it’s a Senior-level certification. It helps to validate that a Linux professional is skillful at planning, conceptualizing, building, executing, and diagnosing Linux installations in enterprise environments.

Since we’re comparing LPIC and RHCSA, we’ll limit this topic to the LPIC-1 – Linux Administrator.

LPIC-1 – Linux Administrator: Here’s What You Need to Know About

The LPIC-1 exam is divided into two parts, 101-400 and 102-400, and you need to pass them to earn the certification.

The first exam, LPIC-1 101-400 will test your knowledge in several different areas. They include the following:

  • System architecture
  • Linux installation
  • Basic package management
  • GNU & Unix commands
  • Devices and file systems

The second part of the LPIC-1 exam, 102-400, will also test your knowledge in the following topics:

  • Customization of the shell environment
  • How to write and run scripts
  • How to successfully manage databases and run SQL commands.
  • How to create network connections and secure Linux systems.

Furthermore, you also need to get familiar with how to configure settings for user interfaces as well as the desktop. That’s not all; the exam will also test your understanding of how to perform administrative functions and manage system services.

What Is RHCSA And Is the Certification Worthwhile?

Like LPIC-1, the Red Hat Certified System Administration (RHCSA) is designed to test your knowledge and skills in the field of Linux Administration.

The RHCSA exam is the first certification that you need to earn before moving to the next stage of the Red Hat certification, called Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE). In case you don’t know, the RHCE is one of the most high-rated certifications in the Information Technology space.

Is the RHCSA Certification Worth It?

So, here’s a quick question; why do you need to earn the RHCSA certification? You can find out the strengths of the credentials below:

  • Earning the RHCSA will boost your resume and give you an edge over others when searching for entry-level IT jobs, especially Linux sysadmin.
  • By investing your time and effort and studying for the exam, you’ll have good knowledge of RHEL systems – of course, that’s from the basic level to the advanced level.
  • When compared to the likes of Linux LPIC-1, the RHCSA certification is much more recognized by potential employers in the IT space.

What Should You Expect When Preparing For the RHCSA Exam?

Like the LPIC-1 exams, the RHCSA exam will test your knowledge in various topics relating to Linux sysadmin. The exam, with code EX200, will last for about 2 hours 30 minutes. Furthermore, it’s a hands-on exam, meaning you’ll have to perform practicals all through the examination.

In all, there are 20 questions with a total score of 300. The passing score for earning an RHCSA exam is 210 out of 300. To pass the exam, here are some of what you need to get yourself familiar with:

  • Study and understand how to use important tools for handling files, directories, command-line environments, and documentation
  • You need to get familiar with how to successfully create simple shell scripts
  • The exam will test your knowledge of how to operate running systems. That’s not all; you also need to familiarize yourself with the various methods of booting a system into different run levels.
  • Learn how to configure local storage using both partitions and logical volumes
  • You should also expect the exam to practically test your ability to create and configure file systems
  • Study and understand the different ways to deploy, configure, and maintain systems.
  • Manage users and groups
  • The exam will test your skills on how to manage the basic firewall and configure SELinux.


Both RHCSA and LPIC-1 certifications are great for people looking to get entry-level jobs as Linus sysadmin. However, before you go ahead and decide on which of them is better for you, you need to look at a few factors, such as the cost, difficulty level of each exam, and experience level.

In the US, the RHCSA exam costs $400 including all tax fees. However, the LPIC exams cost $200 each.

Furthermore, in terms of difficulty levels, you need to understand that both exams can be slightly challenging to attempt the first time. However, people who love multiple-choice questions will find LPIC much easier than RHCSA – which is practical-based.

If you already have at least 1 to 3 years of experience working as a Windows server admin, your chance of switching to Linux sysadmin quickly is high with the RHCSA certification.

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