If you're planning to take any Microsoft certification exams, now is the time to act because Microsoft will raise the price for each exam by $25 beginning July 1.
Prices vary by country, but Microsoft's price lookup tool reveals a current exam price in the United States of $125, and a price after July 1 of $150. There are lower prices for current students at high schools and colleges: $60 now and $83 after July 1.
The new price affects exams for nine types of certifications: Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist; Certified IT Professional: Certified Professional Developer; Certified Desktop Support Technician; Certified Systems Administrator; Certified Systems Engineer; Certified Application Developer; Certified Solution Developer; and Certified Database Administrator.
If you're planning to get certified in multiple Microsoft technologies, the price could add up quickly. For example, there are dozens of certifications that fall under the category of Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists (MCTS), and in some cases multiple certifications for the same piece of software. There are three MCTS certs for Windows Server 2008, and another for Windows Server virtualization.
But not all certification exams will get more expensive. Microsoft said it "does not anticipate" raising the price for the Microsoft Certified Master, Certified Architect, Technology Associate, or Office Specialist exams.
Microsoft said pricing changes are made "when warranted by program offerings and market conditions."
"The price increase for select Microsoft Certification exams reflects the significant value that our certifications provide to our customers and our continual investment in new and enhanced Microsoft Certifications and other program improvements," Microsoft said. "The new fee structure enables Microsoft to improve the Microsoft Certification program. Examples of proposed improvements include new Microsoft Certifications, new question types, frequent updates to certification exams, improved exam security, and driving adoption of Microsoft Certification by accrediting bodies across the world."
Although Microsoft certifications can help IT pros boost their paychecks, the value of Microsoft skills are dropping and providing a smaller pay bump than skills related to Cisco, Oracle, EMC, VMware, IBM, SAP and Red Hat, according to analysis by Foote Partners.
On average, IT workers with a Microsoft certification earn 5.9% more than they otherwise might if they were not skilled in using Microsoft technologies, but the Microsoft pay premium is smaller than the industry average, which is 7.3% across 225 IT certifications.