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Advance your IT career and earning potential as a Cisco Certified Network Associate

Learn more about what it takes to become a Cisco Certified Network Associate and how getting your certification can help you earn more money and open doors to advance your career in technology.

Anyone who’s building a career in technology knows that the industry moves quickly, and it can be incredibly challenging to stay top of the latest trends, which often change in the blink of an eye. Earning certifications is a great way to keep your skills current nd show potential employers that you’ve mastered the knowledge you need to succeed in a technology job – and when it comes to technology certifications, none is more wide-recognized or highly-regarded than the Cisco Certified Network Associate.


The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is an exam that tests your knowledge of the fundamentals in areas like networking, IP services and connectivity, security, automation, and programming. Recently updated by Cisco with an upgraded syllabus, the exam is essentially a tool IT networking professionals can use to demonstrate that they have the training necessary to pursue complex networking administration and implementation jobs in the fast-changing and highly-advanced IT industry.

The actual CCNA exam can be taken in person or online with a proctor. The timed exam lasts 120 minutes and is made up of 100 to 120 questions, including multiple choice, simlet, simulation, testlet, fill-in-the-blank, and drag and drop. You can see your results immediately after the exam is over, and if you pass, you can get an electronic certification in three to five days or a printed certification in six to eight weeks.

After passing the exam, your CCNA certification is valid for three years. You can renew it by taking the exam again, or you can pursue a higher-level certification like the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP).


The CCNA has become the world’s most in demand certification, and for good reason. Becoming a Cisco Certified Network Associate delivers a whole range of benefits, starting with improved earning potential. In fact, according to CISCO, certified professionals earn as much as 13% more than their uncertified counterparts.

In addition to increasing your potential salary as a technology professional, getting your CCNA is a way to prove to potential employers that you have proven mastery of networking and security skills, making you a more desirable candidate. CISCO is considered the gold standard in networking knowledge, and a CCNA also shows that you’re dedicated to staying up-to-date on the latest industry trends and skills, opening the door to a wide range of network engineering jobs and other technology careers. Plus, CCNA certification can be a valuable qualification for helping candidates get H1 sponsorship.


You don’t officially need any previous training – or even a degree – to become a Cisco Certified Network Associate; you simply need to pass the exam. However, Cisco recommends at least on year of experience with the implementation and administration of Cisco solutions, along with knowledge of IP addressing fundamentals and networking basics.

While there aren’t any prerequisites to take the CCNA, the exam covers a robust amount of in-depth knowledge that will likely require you to prepare extensively before you’ll be able to pass. There are a wide range of CCNA prep courses available, including programs specifically focused on passing the CCNA and getting your certification.

CCNA certification prep also may be provided as part of an advanced technology-related master’s degree program, like the Master of Science in Information System degree with a concentration in Network Administration and Cybersecurity offered by Touro College Graduate School of Technology. Whether you choose a CCNA prep course or a master’s degree program that includes preparation for the CCNA certification exam, you won’t earn your CCNA until you pass the Cisco examination.


While you could enroll in a boot camp style CCNA prep course, you can get more value for your money and position yourself as a more desirable and qualified candidate by completing your CCNA prep as part of the Master’s in Information Systems degree with a concentration in Network Administration and Cybersecurity offered by Touro College Graduate School of Technology. You’ll also benefit from corporate partnership opportunities between Touro College and Cisco, like Cisco’s annual career fair designed to help certified students find jobs with a variety of large corporations.

As an Authorized Cisco Networking Academy, Touro relies on the three-part curriculum for CCNA preparation developed by Cisco itself: Intro to Networking (Part 1); Switching, Routing, and Wireless Essentials (Part 2); and Enterprise Networking, Security, and Automation (Part 3). These three areas of study are covered in detail over the course of two classes – MSIN647 and MSIN679 – ensuring you’ll have the knowledge you need to pass the CCNA exam while also earning credit toward a master’s degree.

Students with no prior knowledge of networking fundamentals also have the opportunity to take an undergraduate prep course before enrolling in the master’s program to pursue a CCNA, making Touro’s program ideal for anyone who’s looking to change careers or pursue a next-gen technology job.

With night classes and online options available, Touro College Graduate School of Technology makes it easy to take the next step toward a rewarding career in networking, cybersecurity or automatic. Plus, small student-to-teacher ratios ensure you’ll get plenty of one-on-one attention and have more opportunity to interact with network simulators that help you get the hands-on experience to thrive in the real world.

After completing the Information Systems master’s program, you’ll not only be ready to take the CCNA exam, but you’ll have earned a master’s degree – which will immediately boost your salary potential and give you an advantage with potential employers. In fact, earning your master’s degree can result in an immediate 18% increase in median salary, and with the field of cybersecurity expected to grow by 33% in the next 10 years, you’ll position yourself as a highly-desirable candidate for nearly any information systems or networking job you’d like to pursue.


After becoming a Cisco Certified Network Associate, you’ll be fully prepared to pursue a wide range of jobs related to computer networking, from network administrator to network architect to network engineer. With proven knowledge certified by Cisco, CCNAs are in high-demand, and these are just some of the technology jobs you could pursue after passing the CCNA exam:

Network Administrator
In this role, you’ll be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the networks and computer systems for the organization where you work. That work could involve anything from making sure that systems are performing the way they should to making upgrades and repairs to systems like local area networks (LANs), intranets, servers, and other data or communication tools. On average, you can expect to earn around $85,000 annually.

Network Architect
As a network architect, you’ll develop plans and blueprint for an organization’s networking and computer systems, factoring in everything from the necessary hardware to how to mitigate security risks. Then, then you’ll design and build systems that may be as simple as a local area network (LAN) or as complicated as a cloud infrastructure. Depending upon experience and certification, you’ll likely earn around $117,000 per year.

Network Analyst
If you’re a born problem-solver who loves technology, becoming a network analyst could be the perfect career for you. You’ll be working with your organization to find ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness by optimizing IT systems, adding functionality, identifying new technologies, and guiding decisions based on your expertise in technology. You can also expect to be paid competitively, earning an average annual salary of $94,000.

Getting your CCNA can clearly help to jumpstart your career in technology, opening new doors that allow you to use your expertise in innovative and impactful ways. If you’d like to learn more about the CCNA preparation that’s included as part of the master’s program in Information Systems with a concentration in Network Administration and Cybersecurity contact Touro College Graduate School of Technology today!