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We continue to advocate for our learners to have a continuous learning mindset. This key principle is critical because cloud technologies are rapidly changing and it’s important to keep your skills current. Plus, maintaining an active certification can validate your up-to-date knowledge and your ability to perform in the job role. A couple months ago, we announced a new approach – free certification renewals – to reduce stress, complexity, and cost of keeping your certifications active.
Today, we’re proud to announce that 19 certifications are now available to renew on Microsoft Learn, with additional certifications following shortly. Within six months of your role-based or specialty certification expiring, you’re eligible to renew it by passing an online assessment – at no cost and on your own schedule. If you’re within the eligibility window, visit your Certification Dashboard to find more information about renewing your certification.
How can you prepare?
To help you prepare for the certification renewal assessment, we offer a curated collection of bite-sized learning content aligned to each assessment, and you can access it at any time – even before you’re eligible to renew your certification. Completing the collection is optional but we highly recommend it, especially if you’re not familiar with the latest technology updates. To understand what the assessment might include, you can review the skills measured section on the renewal page specific to your certification. Based on your assessment performance, we’ll also curate a personalized collection of learning content for you to save so you can learn which topics you might need to spend more time on.
When should you take the assessment?
Another key principle we’re adopting is to help learners keep their certification active with more flexibility and less friction. The eligibility window begins within six months before your certification expires, providing you the ability to complete the assessment online at a time that works best for you.
You may take the assessment as many times as you need to pass. If you don’t pass the first time, you may immediately attempt it again. After your second attempt, you must wait at least 24 hours before trying again. Keep in mind that you must pass the renewal assessment before your certification expires, otherwise the assessment will no longer be accessible and you’ll need to earn the certification again by passing the required exam (or exams). Be sure to factor this in as you plan to renew your certification. Note that the renewal assessment won’t be available to you prior to your eligibility window, but the learning collection will always be available so you can continuously learn and keep your skills up to date.
What if you have multiple certifications? To avoid renewing your certifications in the same week or month, you’ll have the flexibility to stagger your renewal assessment time frames, thanks to the six-month eligibility window. We recommend that you review the expiration dates for all certifications you currently have and plan your renewal assessment cadence accordingly. For example, if you have three certifications expiring in December, your eligibility window for all three certifications begins in June. You may decide to spread out your workload by taking one renewal assessment in June, another in August, and the third in October.
No matter when you pass the assessment, your certification will be extended by an additional year from its current expiration date. Note that if you have an expert-level certification for which an associate-level certification is a prerequisite, you only need to pass the assessment for the expert-level certification to renew it. Your associate-level certification needs to be renewed separately, and you need to follow the eligibility window based on when you earned that certification. In other words, you aren’t required to pass two renewal assessments to keep your expert-level certification active. If you choose to let your associate-level certification expire, you can keep your expert-level certification active by passing the renewal assessment for that certification only.
Exam updates and their impact on renewal
Renewal assessments are at the certification level and not for individual exams that lead up to the certification. Assessments are kept in sync with any changes made to the certification exams to help ensure that content and skills measured are aligned. If updates are made to the exam (or exams) that lead to a certification you already have, there’s no need to re-take the updated exam as changes will be reflected in the skills measured within the renewal assessment.
For example, if you earned a Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification by passing Exam AZ-103 initially, no action is required on your part to take the replacement Exam AZ-104. You only need to pass the certification renewal assessment to keep your certification active. If a certification retires altogether because the job role associated with it has evolved, the ability to renew the certification will no longer be available.
What about newly released certifications?
As we continue to invest in new certifications, we’ll also release associated renewal assessments and collections of learning content approximately six months after the certification has been in market. Additionally, renewal assessments will be updated periodically to reflect changes to the technology that impact the job role. To keep your certifications active, be sure to pass the assessment every year before your certification expires.
Find details on how to renew your Microsoft Certification. We’re excited to share the evolution of our certification program to help you validate your up-to-date skills with more flexibility while supporting you through your continuous learning journey.
Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.