CCNA vs CCNP: Know the Differences and its Benefits

Cisco certificates are considered to be one of the most valuable certifications in the field of IT.

Introduced in 1998, the goal of standard CISCO certification was to complement the CISCO Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). Now, various CISCO certifications are available to people across all experience levels. 

Levels of Cisco Certification:

Cisco certification courses are available for the following levels:


All Cisco certifications are valid for up to 3 years, after which they need to be recertified.


The Cisco Certified Network Associate Certification is one of the most sought-after entry-level Cisco courses. The CCNA certification is designed for IT engineers with up to 2 years of experience in network engineering. 

The main objective of obtaining this Cisco certification is to provide entry-level knowledge to enthusiasts or professionals with previous networking experience. 

The CCNA training covers the following domains:

  • Collaboration
  • Industrial/IoT
  • Data centers
  • Routing and switching
  • security 
  • cloud
  • wireless
  • service provider

Although there are no prerequisite eligibility criteria for obtaining this certification, having basic knowledge and experience in networking is preferred. You can choose from the following exams:

  • CCNAX which is the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices: Accelerated 


  • ICND1 which is the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 
  • ICND2 which is the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2 



CCNP stands for Cisco Certified Network Professional. This Cisco course is available for IT-Professionals having at least one year of mandatory experience in network engineering. Having a high school diploma degree or its equivalent is also a prerequisite criterion.

If you are looking for a specialized training program in planning, maintaining, and implementing the various high-end CISCO network solution products, a CCNP course is the way forward. 

The course curriculum consists of:

  • Cisco Remote Access
  • Cisco Multilayer Switching
  • Cisco Advanced Routing
  • Converged Network Optimization
  • Scalable internet works

Choosing this CCNP training helps you learn the troubleshooting, maintenance, and installation of both WAN (Wide Area Network) and LAN (Local Area Network) for 100 to 500 noded systems. 

The CCNP course also teaches you a wide array of networking features and protocols, including Ethernet, AppleTalk, Access Lists, Route redistribution, etc. 

CCNA Vs. CCNP: Know the Difference 

The most basic difference between a CCNA and a CCNP course is that CCNA certification is an entry-level certification program that teaches an enthusiast or a beginner with some networking experience about routing and switching fundamentals. In contrast, the CCNP course is an advanced-level program that delves into higher levels of specialization. The following table represents the main points of differentiation between the two:


Parameter CCNA CCNP
Mandatory Prerequisite The CCNA certification does not require any compulsory eligibility criteria to be fulfilled. For a CCNP certification, a high school degree or its equivalent is mandatory.
Exam type A CCNA certification is an associate-level course. A CCNP certification is an advanced-level program.
Learning path A CCNA Certification course tests you on routing and switching fundamentals. A CCNP course primarily focuses on a deeper level of understanding WAN/LAN and their coexistence.
Exam details A CCNA certification lets you choose from two types of exams:

  1. CCNAX


i. ICND1 

ii. ICND2 

A CCNP course requires three examinations, namely the root, switch, and TSHOOT. 

  1. 300-101 ROUTE Implementing Cisco IP Routing (ROUTE)
  2. 300-115 SWITCH Implementing IP Switched Networks (SWITCH)
  3. 300-135 TSHOOT Troubleshooting & Maintaining Cisco IP Networks (TSHOOT).
Prospective career path Obtaining a CCNA certification allows you to transform your career and work in the following capacity:

  • First and second line support
  • Helpdesk engineer
  • ServiceDesk engineer
  • Network support engineer
Completing a CCNP training course helps you choose from the following career options:

  • Third line support
  • IT team leader
  • Network engineer
  • System engineer
  • Network specialist
  • Network analyst
Cost The CCNA certification costs from INR 22000 to INR 25000. The CCNP certification costs approx. INR 30000 (400 USD) in India. 



Looking at the two types of Cisco certification, we can say that both are necessary at different levels of expertise. The CCNA and CCNP certification helps you make better progress in your desired career path. 

If you are looking for a position as third-line support, a network engineer, or a network analyst, obtaining a CCNP course along with CCNA gives your career the best boost possible in this domain.

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