CCNP Certification Requirements & Prerequisites

Certification: Cisco CCNP Routing and Switching - Cisco Certified Network Professional Routing and Switching


CCNP stands for Cisco Certified Network Professional. It is a well known certification for networking technology. Before moving to the requirements and prerequisites for the CCNP it is necessary to understand the content of the certification because the content tells the requirements. CCNP enables you to work with networking technologies and supports you to optimize the infrastructure of the networking systems. CCNP focuses on the planning, implementation and troubleshooting of LANs and WANs and enables you to deal with advanced level of networking security, voice and video as well as wireless. Cisco offered the CCNP with four exams but with the passage of time it has changed its curriculum and reduced the exams to three namely ROUTE, SWITCH and TSHOOT. It is important to mention here that Cisco not only offers CCNP routing and switching but also has added new useful certifications like CCNP Data Center, CCNP Security, CCNP Service Provider, CCNP Service provider Operations, SSNP Voice and CCNP Wireless. CCNP appears to be a very interesting and professional course as the certification holder becomes eligible for the jobs like network technician, support engineer, network engineer and systems engineer. In order to have this certification there are few requirements and prerequisites. The requirements can be grouped into two categories. Both of these requirements are necessary for the certification.

  1. CCNP Exams
  2. A valid CCNA Routing and Switching certification (not exam) or any of the CCIE certifications.

Let us discuss each of them briefly.

1.  CCNP Exams

As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, CCNP is combination of the courses i.e.

  • ROUTE
  • SWITCH
  • TSHOOT

In order to achieve the CCNP certification one will have to pass all of these exams. This is different from MCSE certification where if a candidate passes the first three exams, he can get the Associate certification but as far as Cisco Certifications are concerned, the five levels i.e. Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, Architect are made in separate certifications. So in order to have a certification you will have to pass each of the exams mentioned the curriculum of certification. As CCNP contains three exams so you have to pass all of the exams. To give a short and brief idea about each of the exam let us examine some details about each exam.

  • ROUTE

ROUTE is a 5 day authorized course with about 7.5 hours e-learning content. ROUTE focuses on the knowledge of IP Addressing, routing in scalable and secure routing solutions, securing the routers connected to LANs and WANs. ROUTE has introduced more depth on IPv6 including internet access and VPN tunnels. Before ROUTE there was an exam of BSCI which did not focus on IPv6.

  • SWITCH

SWITCH on the other hand is a 5 day e-learning material. Switch supervisor redundancy and wireless is one of its main topics which make it more suitable. SWITCH mainly focuses on the configuration and verification of the complex enterprise switch solutions and also the security of the integration of VLANs and WLANs networks.

  • TSHOOT

TSHOOT comprises of various useful material. A 5 day course with about 9.5 hours of e-learning material, that’s all of the TSHOOT. It includes topics from SWITCH and ROUTE and few topics from CCNA like DHCP, NAT, SSH etc. TSHOOT certifies that the candidate has necessary knowledge in planning and performance of complex routed and switched networks. In addition to this he also has systematic ITIL-complaint approach to perform networking TSHOOT.

Important thing that should be kept in mind that each of the exams consists of 120 minutes and all of the exams should be passed within three years as the validity of the certification is three years.

2.  A valid CCNA Routing and Switching certification (not exam) or any of the CCIE certifications

The second major requirement is you should have any one of the following certifications

  1. Valid CCNA Routing and Switching certification
  2. Any of the CCIE certifications.

Let us explain each of them separately.

a.  Valid CCNA Routing and Switching certification

In order to achieve CCNP certification you must hold a valid CCNA certification. The term valid means that the CCNA certification must be current and must not have passed three years after the certification. It is important to note that you have to pass every exam of CCNA in three years and the three years start as soon as you pass your first exam. In addition to this it is also important that you must have the CCNA certification and just passing the exams of CCNA will not make you eligible for CCNP. Another important issue that needs to be addressed is if CCNA expires then what would be the situation. In this case one can take ICIND2 exam to renew his CCNA certification.  

b.   Any of the CCIE certifications

CCIE stands for Cisco certified Internetwork Expert. It is the next level of CCNP. In order to have CCIE there are no requirements and prerequisites but in order to have CCNP you should have CCIE or CCNA. CCIE comes with number of certifications that include following

  • CCDE Design
  • CCIE Routing & Switching
  • CCIE Collaboration
  • CCIE Data Center
  • CCIE Security
  • CCIE Service Provider
  • CCIE Service Provider Operations
  • CCIE Voice
  • CCIE Wireless
  • Cisco CCIE Program

Once you have obtained any of the above mentioned certifications you would be eligible to achieve CCNP. Here again it is important to remind that only exam passing will not enable you to achieve the certification rather you require a CCIE certification for achieving CCNP.

To conclude the topic let us enlist all of the requirements. You must have any of the following:

  1.  You must have a valid CCNA or if CCNA is expired then renew it with ICIND2 exam for more three years.
  2. You must have any of the CCIE certifications.

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