• United States

Cisco changes CCNA program

Jul 01, 20032 mins
Cisco SystemsData Center

* Details of the three main changes in the CCNA program

Cisco last week announced three main changes to its Cisco Certified Network Associate program. The vendor is introducing a two-step exam path, revising the existing CCNA exam, and giving CCNA holders the option to apply to one of the new exams for recertification.

As the entry-level certification in Cisco’s program, CCNA validates a strong foundation and understanding of IP networking and troubleshooting. The vendor is making the program revisions based on customer feedback, the need for an accessible entry path into the certifications, and to address emerging network technologies, according to Don Field, senior manager of Cisco’s Internet Learning Solutions Group.

Here are details about the changes:

*Two-step exam process

In addition to the option of taking a single CCNA exam, candidates gain the option of earning a CCNA by passing a series of two new exams. This allows those who are new to the field to validate their skills along the way before tackling more advanced material.

This path requires Introduction to Cisco Networking Technologies (INTRO 640-821), which is currently in beta, and Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND 640-811), which is available as of June 30. Both of these exams cost $100 and are valid for three years from the date of passing. Unlike other beta exams, 640-821 lets candidates learn immediately whether or not they’ve passed upon completion rather than waiting a few weeks for the results.

To help candidates prepare for these exams, Cisco is introducing an INTRO course by the end of July. Some of the more basic curriculum will shift from the ICND course to INTRO, leaving more time for hands-on work in the advanced-level course.

*New CCNA exam

Cisco will replace the existing CCNA 640-607 exam with CCNA 640-801. The new exam is designed to better assess the skills of entry-level candidates. The exam covers LANs, VPNs, SANs, IP addressing, Cisco Command Line Interface, routing and switching technologies and protocols.

The new exam debuts on June 30; the old one retires on Sept. 30, 2003.


To recertify as CCNAs, candidates can now take the new ICND 640-811. Other options include taking the current CCNA exam, or any exam at the Professional or Cisco Qualified Specialist level bearing the prefix 642.

For more information, go to