Microsoft certifications are highly sought-after credentials that often lead to better career opportunities. (Contact MyComputerCareer if you wish to learn more.) Hundreds of thousands of IT professionals across the globe have earned Microsoft certifications and continue to reap their benefits.
Do these Microsoft certifications expire once you’ve obtained them?
As it so happens, Microsoft introduced some new policies regarding the renewal of their certifications. Here is what you can expect as of June 2021.
Limited vs. Lifetime Certifications
Certain Microsoft certifications never expire. Once you’ve obtained one (or more) of these, you never have to renew them again. These lifetime certifications include:
- Microsoft Fundamentals Certifications
In contrast, all Microsoft role-based certifications (at the associate and expert levels), as well as specialty certifications, are now only valid for a year from the date you obtain them.
What does this mean? It means that if you want to keep your skills and knowledge current with Microsoft certifications, you will need to renew them every single year.
This allows individuals interested in the latest Microsoft technologies always to be up-to-speed with the newest and most significant changes. It also helps employers stay competitive by having employees who are current on the latest and greatest.
June 2021 Changes
As of June 30th, 2021, all newly acquired Microsoft certifications are valid for only a year from their earned date. If you obtained a cert before this date, it is good for a whole of two years.
Microsoft made this change because cloud technology is developing and evolving at an increasingly faster pace. So, to keep up with the latest tech and changes in data and software management skills required for IT professionals, Microsoft made this policy update to have their certifications expire faster.
How to Renew Your Microsoft Certification
Compared to CompTIA certs, Microsoft has a slightly different renewal process.
If your certification is about to expire, you will receive an email notification instructing you to pass an online renewal assessment. This happens approximately six months before expiration. In order to successfully renew your cert, you must pass this assessment before your certification expires.
If you allow your cert to expire without passing the renewal assessment, you will have to take all of the required certification exams again as you did the first time you obtained the certification.
It is vital to mention that you cannot renew a Microsoft certification by passing another exam, even if it is an updated version of an exam you initially passed. Passing the renewal assessment is the only way to renew your Microsoft certification.
Similarly, if you renew an expert-level certification and you also have the corresponding associate-level certificate, you do not at the same time renew the associate cert as well. Each Microsoft certification is separate in terms of renewal, and you will have to pass assessments for both if you want to retain them both.
One of the best aspects of Microsoft online renewal assessments is that they are entirely free. This is a nice perk for those who are looking to keep their skills sharp.
If you are eligible for the online renewal assessment, you may take it however many times you want, keeping in mind that you must pass it before your cert expires. If you do not pass the first time, you can retake the assessment immediately after.
However, if you need to take it a third or a fourth time, you must wait at least 24 hours between attempts.
If you are not eligible for the online renewal assessment (if there are more than six months until the certification expiration date), it is impossible to renew a cert.
Benefits of Renewing Your Certification
One of the main reasons you should renew your MS certifications is quite simple – if you don’t, they expire, and you lose them. All your hard work, time, and money invested into obtaining them will be for nothing.
Furthermore, suppose you do not renew your MS certifications by their expiration date. In that case, they will disappear from the list of active certificates on the Microsoft Certification Center website, and it becomes impossible to take an online renewal assessment.
There are other benefits to renewing your certifications, too, including:
- Keeping in touch with the latest technologies
- Enhancing your employment opportunities
- Increasing earning potentials
Employers love to see employees and candidates who are committed to keeping their skills up-to-date. It shows that you care about your career and professional future, which employers find hard to measure with a resume alone. A recent study revealed that 91% of employers believe that IT certifications are a reliable predictor of a successful employee.
Renewing your Microsoft certifications before they expire may also help if you’re looking for work in the IT industry as it enables open communication of credentials and qualifications on LinkedIn profiles.
How to Prepare for Renewal Assessment
Before you attempt the MS renewal assessment, you should do a few things to make it easier.
Do not wait until the last minute, or you might find yourself overwhelmed and rushing through the assessment, which could lead to mistakes. Give yourself plenty of time in advance to complete the test.
Make sure that you know what new skills and knowledge are required to meet the requirements for each renewal. Do some research on what changes have been made since you last obtained your certificate, which may include new updates or features that were released.
Finally, if you fail, don’t be discouraged. Remember that you can try as many times as you need to until you get it right.
Some Microsoft certifications don’t expire and never have to be renewed. These include the MCSA, MCSD, MCE, MTA, MCSE, MOS, and Microsoft Fundamentals certifications.
On the other hand, Microsoft certifications such as role-based ones at the associate and expert levels and specialty certifications require an annual renewal.
To renew your Microsoft certification, all you need to do is pass a renewal examination. This test becomes available six months before your certificate is due to expire. Pass it before the expiration date, and your certification will be renewed for another year.
If you have some questions about this process, don’t hesitate to get in touch with MyComputerCareer. We can provide more information on IT certifications and how to maintain them to ensure you get the most out of them.