By Michael Aldridge. This is the third blog post in my “What to Expect?” series. This blog post will discuss what happens after you have passed a certification exam.
You passed the exam! Congratulations! Now what? Let your “study inertia,” which is the best thing for you, continue. Non-scientists will know that inertia refers to the tendency for an object in motion or at rest to stay in motion. The same applies to studying. Once you have established good study habits, it is easy to continue learning. It is difficult to start again after you have stopped studying. Keep the momentum going by focusing on your next certification exam!
What if you don’t pass the exam? Don’t let this discourage you. Get up and get back to work. The subject areas that require improvement will be indicated in your score report. So, restudy those sections. Boson’s Guarantee of No Pass, No Pay guarantees is one example of a money-back guarantee offered by some practice exam companies. Make sure you are familiar with the terms and conditions of the company and that you follow them.
Unless you are eligible for a special promotion such as Microsoft’s Second Shot, you will need to pay again for the exam to be able to retake a failed exam. Each certification vendor has its own retake policy which outlines when you can retake a failed test. CompTIA and Microsoft don’t require waiting periods between the first and second attempts. However, they require a 14-day wait for the third and subsequent attempts. After failing the fifth attempt, you must wait one year before you can retake a Microsoft exam. Cisco requires you to wait five calendar days before you retake a failed exam. This begins the day after the failed attempt.
Passed exams can also be retaken under certain conditions. CompTIA and Microsoft will not allow you to retake a pass exam unless you have given your consent. Candidates must wait 180 days before they can retake a passed exam from Cisco. These restrictions are only applicable to exams with the same exam numbers. If you have taken the 2009 A+ exams, you are eligible to take the 2012 version without restriction.
After passing all certification tracks exams, you will be sent information by mail or e-mail about your membership. The membership information kit will include details about the benefits you get by becoming certified as well as instructions on how to download and utilize the certification logo. You may also receive a paper or digital certificate.
However, the greatest benefit of becoming certified is being able show future and current employers that you are certified. You don’t need a paper certificate to prove your certification status. All major certification programs offer electronic verification. In some cases, you can also access the transcript of your exams. Fear not if you fail an exam or barely passed your exams. Most electronic transcripts don’t include exam scores.
Many certification vendors require you to keep your certifications current or update them every few years in order for you to be certified. You can’t claim that you are certified if you don’t keep your certification current. Most vendors will not allow you to use the certification acronym if your certification isn’t maintained. If you don’t have your CCNA certification, you cannot list “CCNA – 2006-2009” in your resume.
Recertifying is done by either taking the certification exam again, or in some cases by taking a higher-level exam. Many certification vendors offer continuing education. This allows you to maintain your certification by attending seminars or presenting them, or by teaching courses or publishing articles or books.
You might not mean it well, but don’t post any information about the exam on social media.