Recertify the CCNA
Cisco certifications are typically valid for three years (with a few exceptions), so you’ll eventually have to recertify if you wish to keep your certification current.
The easiest option to recertify the CCNA is to simply pass the current ICND2 640-816 exam or the CCNA 640-802 exam. Passing either of these exams renews your certification for three years from the date you pass.
What typically happens, though, is that we become so interested in networking that we don’t want to stop at just the CCNA! As you probably know, there are higher-level Cisco certifications such as the CCNP and CCIE.
The “professional-level” exams (those in the CCNP, CCIP, etc. tracks) include the 642-series exams. If you decide to continue down the certification path, any of these professional-level exams will also recertify your CCNA in addition to getting you closer to the CCNP certification.
As an example, I earned the CCNA certification on March 19, 2008. Ten months later, on January 16, 2009, I took and passed the (now defunct) ISCW (Implementing Secure Converged Wide Area Networks) 642-825 examination, which was one of the professional-level exams towards the CCNP. Because of this, my CCNA was automatically recertified for three years, extending the expiration date to January 16, 2012.
The same thing happened each time I took and passed one of the CCNP exams. I took the last CCNP exam and earned the CCNP certification on July 30, 2010, which means that both my CCNA and CCNP certifications are now valid until July 30, 2013.
Other options for recertifying include passing one of the CCNA concentration examinations (security, service provider operations, voice, or wireless).
Once you’ve managed to earn the CCNA certification, don’t let it lapse! The cost of the CCNA exams and effort to keep it current are minimal (especially if you work in the networking industry) and having those credentials on your résumé only helps you out.