Top 10 Network Support Specialist Certifications
This article provides an overview of the top network support specialist certifications available and their benefits.
Published 17 min read
Certifications are an important requirement for network support specialists because they demonstrate a certain level of knowledge, expertise and proficiency in the field. Certified professionals are more desirable to employers due to their increased credibility and ability to work with the latest technologies. Certification can also increase job opportunities by providing evidence that the individual is qualified for positions that require specialized knowledge. This can be a great way for someone new to the field to gain recognition and demonstrate their skillset, as well as for those already working in IT to further advance their career.
This article reviews the top certifications for Network Support Specialists and explains how they can help to advance a network support specialist's career.
What are Network Support Specialist Certifications?
Network Support Specialist certification is a professional designation for individuals who have demonstrated proficiency in the field of network support. This certification is designed to help individuals understand and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to troubleshoot, configure, and manage networks. It also covers topics such as routing protocols, network security, remote access solutions, and more.
By obtaining this certification, individuals can demonstrate their expertise in the field of network support. By doing so, they will be able to better market themselves to employers and increase their chances of obtaining job opportunities. Additionally, having this certification can ensure that employers are hiring qualified personnel who have the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively manage networks. This certification also shows potential employers that an individual has taken the initiative to learn about networking technologies and has kept up-to-date with them.
In addition to providing career benefits, Network Support Specialist Certification can also provide individuals with a greater understanding of how networks work and how they interact with other systems. This increased knowledge can help individuals become more efficient at troubleshooting problems or configuring new hardware or software for networks. Furthermore, it allows those with this certification to stay ahead of emerging trends in networking technology so that they are prepared for any changes that may occur in the future.
Pro Tip: Network support specialist certification is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in the field. It can help you stand out from other applicants and increase your chances of landing a job. Additionally, some employers may even provide financial assistance for obtaining certification, so be sure to inquire about this when applying for positions.
Top 10 Network Support Specialist Certifications
Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Network Support Specialists today.
1. CompTIA Network+
CompTIA Network+ is an industry-recognized certification for IT professionals that validates the knowledge and skills necessary to troubleshoot, configure, and manage wired and wireless networks. It is designed to provide a foundation in networking concepts and equip learners with the skills needed to work with various network technologies.
The CompTIA Network+ certification exam consists of 90 multiple choice questions and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. To be eligible for the exam, applicants must have at least nine months of networking experience or hold a CompTIA A+ certification.
To get CompTIA Network+, you must first purchase the exam voucher from CompTIA or an authorized reseller. The cost of the voucher varies depending on where you purchase it, but typically ranges from $219-$299 USD. After purchasing the voucher, you can register for your exam at any Pearson VUE testing center or online with OnVUE.
Once you have completed the exam, you will receive your score report within 48 hours via email. If you pass the exam, your official CompTIA Network+ certification will be sent to you within 3-4 weeks by mail.
2. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Server Infrastructure
Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Server Infrastructure is a certification that validates an individual’s expertise in designing, implementing, and managing an enterprise-level server infrastructure. It covers topics such as Windows Server, Active Directory, Networking, Hyper-V, Storage, System Center and more.
To get the MCSE: Server Infrastructure certification you must first pass two exams: Exam 70-410 Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 and Exam 70-411 Administering Windows Server 2012. Once these two exams are completed you can then take any one of the following elective exams: Exam 70-412 Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services; Exam 70-413 Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure; or Exam 70-414 Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure.
It typically takes about 6 months to complete all of the necessary exams for the MCSE: Server Infrastructure certification. However, this timeline can vary depending on your experience level and how quickly you are able to study and prepare for each exam.
The cost of each exam varies but typically ranges between $150-$200 USD per exam. Therefore, it could cost anywhere from $450-$800 USD to obtain the MCSE: Server Infrastructure certification depending on which elective exam you choose to take.
3. Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) is a professional-level certification offered by Cisco Systems. It is designed to demonstrate an individual’s ability to design, implement, configure, and troubleshoot complex enterprise networks. The CCNP certification is a prerequisite for the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification.
The CCNP curriculum consists of three exams: Route (300-101), Switch (300-115), and Troubleshooting and Maintenance (300-135). Each exam must be passed in order to obtain the CCNP certification. The exams are administered through Pearson VUE testing centers.
It typically takes about 6 months of studying and practice to prepare for the CCNP exams. Candidates should have at least one year of networking experience before attempting the exams.
The cost of the three exams varies depending on location, but generally ranges from $150-$400 per exam. Additionally, some training courses may be required prior to taking the exams, which can add additional costs.
Overall, obtaining a CCNP certification requires dedication and hard work but can open up many opportunities in the field of network engineering and architecture.
4. Juniper Networks Certified Internet Specialist (JNCIS)
Juniper Networks Certified Internet Specialist (JNCIS) is an intermediate-level certification that validates a candidate’s understanding of Juniper Networks technology and products. The JNCIS certification is designed to demonstrate an individual's expertise in routing and switching, security, and other advanced technologies.
In order to obtain the JNCIS certification, candidates must pass two exams: JN0-103 and JN0-347. Both exams are 90 minutes long and contain 60 multiple choice questions each. Candidates must score at least 70% on each exam in order to pass.
The cost of the two exams varies depending on the country or region where you take them. In the United States, each exam costs $200 USD. However, if you purchase both exams together, you can save 10%.
It usually takes about three months to prepare for the JNCIS certification exams. During this time, candidates should focus on studying course materials such as books, online courses, practice tests and labs. Candidates should also attend training sessions offered by Juniper Networks or authorized training partners if available.
Once candidates have passed both exams, they will receive their official JNCIS certification from Juniper Networks. This certification is valid for three years after which it needs to be renewed by taking additional exams or completing continuing education courses.
5. VMware Certified Professional – Network Virtualization (VCP-NV)
The VMware Certified Professional – Network Virtualization (VCP-NV) is a certification designed for professionals who have the skills and knowledge to design, deploy, manage, configure and troubleshoot VMware NSX networks. This certification validates that an individual has the expertise to work with VMware NSX technologies in a production environment.
It takes approximately 10-12 weeks of study and preparation to become VCP-NV certified. To get the certification, you must first attend a VMware authorized training course such as the VMware NSX: Install, Configure, Manage [V6.2] course or equivalent. After completing the training course, you must pass two exams: the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Network Virtualization (VCP6-NV) exam and the VMware NSX 6.2 Troubleshooting exam.
The cost of becoming VCP-NV certified varies depending on where you take your training courses and which exams you choose to take. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 USD for all required materials and exams.
6. Citrix Certified Professional – Networking (CCP-N)
Citrix Certified Professional – Networking (CCP-N) is a certification program offered by Citrix that validates an individual’s knowledge and skills in the area of networking. It is designed to help IT professionals demonstrate their expertise in deploying, managing, and troubleshooting Citrix networking solutions.
To become a CCP-N certified professional, you must first pass the Citrix Certified Professional – Networking exam. This exam is composed of multiple-choice questions and covers topics such as network architecture, routing protocols, traffic management, security, and performance optimization. The exam takes approximately two hours to complete and costs $200 USD.
In order to prepare for the exam, it is recommended that you have at least one year of experience working with Citrix networking products or services. Additionally, there are several online training courses available from Citrix that can help you gain the necessary knowledge to pass the exam.
Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your official CCP-N certification from Citrix. This certification will be valid for three years before needing to be renewed. To maintain your certification status, you must participate in continuing education activities such as attending conferences or taking additional training courses.
7. Check Point Certified Security Administrator (CCSA)
Check Point Certified Security Administrator (CCSA) is a certification program from Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. It is designed to validate the skills and knowledge of IT professionals in configuring, managing and troubleshooting Check Point security systems.
The CCSA certification requires candidates to pass a single exam that covers topics related to managing Check Point Security Gateway and Management Software Blades. The exam consists of 65 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.
In order to get the CCSA certification, you must first register for the exam with Pearson VUE, which is an authorized testing provider for Check Point certifications. After registering, you will need to pay an exam fee of $250 USD. Once you have paid the fee, you can schedule your exam at any Pearson VUE testing center worldwide.
Once you have passed the exam, you will receive an email confirming your achievement and a digital certificate that can be used as proof of your accomplishment. You will also be listed in the official Check Point Certified Security Administrator directory on their website.
The CCSA certification does not expire; however, it is recommended that certified individuals keep up with changes in technology by taking continuing education courses or attending seminars offered by Check Point or other providers.
8. F5 Networks Certified Technology Specialist (F5-CTS)
F5 Networks Certified Technology Specialist (F5-CTS) is a certification program that validates an individual’s understanding and technical proficiency in F5 technologies. It is designed for professionals who are responsible for the design, implementation, administration, and troubleshooting of F5 solutions. The certification requires a deep understanding of F5 technology and covers topics such as BIG-IP system architecture, traffic management, security, application acceleration, high availability and scalability.
The F5-CTS certification consists of two exams: the F5 101 exam and the F5 201 exam. The 101 exam focuses on basic concepts and terminology associated with F5 products while the 201 exam tests more advanced topics such as product configuration. Both exams must be passed in order to achieve the certification.
In order to get certified as an F5-CTS, you must first register for the exams by creating an account on the Pearson VUE website. Once registered, you can purchase vouchers for each exam from Pearson VUE or from an authorized reseller. Each voucher costs $150 USD per exam plus applicable taxes.
It typically takes about 3 months to complete both exams depending on your study schedule and level of experience with F5 technologies. In addition to studying material provided by F5 Networks such as their online courses or instructor-led training classes, it is also recommended that you gain hands-on experience with actual hardware or virtual appliances in order to better prepare yourself for the exams.
9. Riverbed Certified Solutions Associate (RCSA)
Riverbed Certified Solutions Associate (RCSA) is a certification program offered by Riverbed Technology, Inc. that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully implement Riverbed solutions. The certification is designed to validate a candidate's technical expertise in deploying, configuring, and troubleshooting Riverbed products.
The RCSA exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. To become certified, candidates must pass the exam with a score of 70% or higher.
To get certified as an RCSA, you must first register for the exam on the Riverbed website. You will then need to purchase a voucher for the exam from an approved vendor. The cost of the voucher varies depending on where it is purchased from but typically ranges from $150-$200 USD.
Once you have purchased your voucher and registered for the exam, you will receive an email with instructions on how to schedule your test date and time at a Pearson VUE testing center near you. Once your test is scheduled, you can take it at any time within one year of purchase.
Upon successful completion of the RCSA exam, candidates will receive their official certificate via email within two weeks of passing the test.
10. HP ASE – FlexNetwork Architect V2
HP ASE – FlexNetwork Architect V2 is a certification program designed to help IT professionals develop and validate their skills in designing, deploying, and managing HP FlexNetwork solutions. This certification covers topics such as HP networking products, data center design principles, virtualization technologies, and network security.
It takes approximately two months to complete the training for this certification. The training consists of self-paced eLearning modules and instructor-led classroom sessions. To get certified, you must pass both the written and practical exams.
The cost of the HP ASE – FlexNetwork Architect V2 certification depends on the country where you are located. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,000USD for the exam fee plus any additional fees associated with attending instructor-led courses or purchasing study materials.
Do You Really Need a Network Support Specialist Certificate?
The short answer is no, you do not need a network support specialist certificate to become a network support specialist. However, having such a certification can be beneficial for those looking to advance in this field.
Network support specialists provide technical assistance to clients who have issues with their networks. They are responsible for troubleshooting and resolving any problems that arise with the hardware and software components of the network. This requires knowledge of networking protocols, operating systems, hardware components, and other related technologies. A certification in this field can demonstrate an individual’s expertise in these areas and make them more attractive to potential employers.
Having a network support specialist certificate may also give an individual an edge over other applicants when it comes to job interviews and promotions. Employers often look favorably upon certifications because they show that the candidate has taken initiative and invested time into learning about the field. Additionally, some employers may require certifications as part of their hiring process or as part of their requirements for advancement within the company.
In conclusion, while having a network support specialist certificate isn’t necessary in order to become a network support specialist, it can be beneficial both in terms of demonstrating one’s knowledge of the field and increasing chances of getting hired or promoted by an employer.
FAQs About Network Support Specialist Certifications
1. What certifications are available for network support specialists?
Answer: Network+ certification from CompTIA, Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT), CCNA Routing and Switching, Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate (JNCIA-Junos) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE).
2. How much does it cost to get certified as a network support specialist?
Answer: Costs vary depending on the certification provider, but typically range from $100 to $500 for the exam fee. Some certifications may include additional costs such as course materials or instructor fees.
3. How long does it take to become a certified network support specialist?
Answer: The time required to become certified depends on the specific certification you choose and your level of experience in networking technologies. Typically, most certifications require between 40 and 80 hours of study or training before taking the certification exam.
4. What skills do I need to become a certified network support specialist?
Answer: Generally, you should have a strong understanding of basic networking concepts like IP addressing, subnetting, routing protocols and switching technologies. You should also be familiar with common operating systems such as Windows Server and Linux/Unix distributions, as well as advanced topics like system security and wireless networking.
5. Are there any prerequisites for becoming a certified network support specialist?
Answer: It depends on the specific certification you’re pursuing; some may require prior experience in IT or related fields while others may only require passing an exam without any other prerequisites. Be sure to check the requirements of each individual certification before starting your studies so that you can ensure you meet all necessary criteria for success!