Find the right IT certification

Microsoft offers a wide range of online certification programs designed to take your IT skills—and your career—to the next level. To see your MCP certification options, click a category.

Frequently asked questions about IT certifications

For more specific questions addressing the certification exam policies, please visit the Exam policies and FAQ page.

What is the recertification requirement?

In order to ensure that our certifications are meaningful and valuable indicators of candidates’ skills, Microsoft has implemented a recertification requirement for the MCSE and MCSD certifications. MCSE candidates will be required to recertify every three years, while MCSD candidates will recertify every two years. Recertification currently requires passing one exam.

Between August 2014 and March 2015, recertification exams will be released for all MCSE and MCSD specialties. Recertification exams will cover material from the exams taken to originally earn the credential, with particular emphasis on the most recent product and process changes. Recertification deadlines for all MCSE and MCSD credential holders will be examined and adjusted, if needed, to ensure that these individuals have at least 12 months to take and pass the recertification exam.

MCSA certifications do not require recertification.

How long is a Microsoft Certification valid?

Microsoft Certifications are valuable in the market and will remain valuable as long as companies are using the technologies covered in the certification. Over time, certifications will retire and eventually will transition to a “legacy” status. Legacy Microsoft Certifications will appear on your transcript designated as such. Refer to the retired certifications page for the most current information regarding status.

Are there upgrade paths available for Microsoft Certifications?

Depending on the certification you have achieved, most certifications have an upgrade path available. Please check the appropriate certification page and view the section on how to upgrade for more information.

How do I find out about new certification releases?

Please refer to the newly released certification exams on the Certifications exams page.

Which certification should I start with?

For those new to technology, Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) is the recommended starting point for our certifications. Although not required, MTA certifications provide a solid foundation for those preparing for the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) and MCSD certifications. Those who have been working with the technology should start with the MCSA or MCSD certification. These are prerequisites for any further certifications. The MCSA certification validates that job seekers have a minimum set of skills to hit the ground running.

What do I gain from passing a Microsoft Certification exam?

When you pass your first Microsoft Certification exam, you become a member of the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) community with access to all of the benefits provided through the Microsoft Certification Program and the MCP member site. You can share your transcript with others to prove that you passed that exam and show your progress towards a specific certification. In some cases, such as when you pass an MTA or Specialist exam, that single exam will also earn you the associated certification.

Why don’t all of the certification titles include version numbers?

Certifications that require recertification are not “versioned” because they may cover multiple technologies.

Will getting certified help with my matriculation?

Students can now get college credit by earning a Microsoft Certification. The American Council on Education (ACE) has recommended college credit for several Microsoft Certifications.