Certification Overview

The Cisco Channel Partner Program certification levels are based on the number and type of technology specializations a partner achieves and reflect your breadth of skills across key technologies. By choosing to specialize in multiple technology areas that are related to your core product and services offering, you further validate your broad-based value proposition to customers.

Check or update your certification levels by accessing the Certification and Specialization Application tool.(Log In Required.)

The Program has four levels of certification:Select, Premier, Silver, and Gold, each with specific requirements in the following areas: 

Specialization requirements:  Sales, technical, and lifecycle services training and exams

  • Gold: All four of the following specializations: Advanced Routing and Switching, Advanced Security, Advanced Unified Communications, and Advanced Wireless LAN
  • Silver: One of the following options
        Two from the following list of four Advanced Specializations: Routing & Switching, Security, Unified Communications, Wireless LAN
        Express Unified Communications Specialization and one of the following Advanced Specializations: Routing & Switching, Security, or Wireless LAN.
  • Premier: Express Foundation Specialization
  • Select: Small Business Specialization

Individual certification requirements: The number of individuals at your company that hold certifications

  • Gold Certification requires 12 unique individuals
  • Silver Certification requires 6 unique individuals
  • Premier Certification requires 3 unique individuals
  • Select Certification requires 1 unique individual

Service and support capabilities: As required by certification level
Services Assessment across the Cisco Lifecycle Services phases: Prepare, Plan, Design, Implement, Operate and Optimize.

Customer satisfaction requirements: As required by certification level
Independently audited customer satisfaction surveys to ensure that Cisco Certified Partners have the capabilities and proven success to meet customer needs.

In addition to the four levels of certifications listed above, a Global Certification and a Multinational Certification are available for those partners with the expertise of selling and supporting Cisco solutions globally.

Certification Benefits

The Cisco Channel Partner Program is the most highly awarded program in the networking industry. The program continues to set the industry standard and is frequently recognized, winning awards such as CRN Magazine's Channel Champion Award and the prestigious VAR Business Annual Report Card (ARC) Award.

 Cisco certification differentiates a partner's business through:

  • Market recognition and branding: Cisco partner certification provides recognition for technology expertise through specializations and individual career certification requirements.
  • Validation and credibility: As one of the strongest brands in the world, the Cisco name lends extra credibility to companies that achieve Cisco Certified Partner status.
  • Quality standards: Cisco uses an objective third party to conduct annual audits that help protect the integrity and value of Silver and Gold Certified Partners and Master Specialized Partners, ensuring that only the highest-quality partners are part of the program.
     

With each level of certification, partners benefit from an increased level of support, branding, and economic incentives from Cisco, including access to best-in-class products and services, technical support, productivity tools, online training, marketing resources, and sales promotions. Cisco offers additional partner benefits, based on the partner's certification level. These include:

  • Access to Joint Marketing Fund: The Cisco Joint Marketing Fund (JMF) provides Cisco partners with the tools and resources they need to effectively market their companies, and the Cisco product lines they carry. Funding may be available for pre-approved activities, such as events, training, direct mail pieces, e-mail blasts, and advertising.
  • Advanced Specialization discounts: The Advanced Specialization Discount Program rewards partners for their technological capabilities. It provides an additional discount on specific advanced technology products that are part of the subject specialization. The additional discount is equivalent to the Gold Certified Partner discount on products that qualify under the program.
  • Incentive programs: These programs reward partners who invest in specializations, and who promote advanced technologies (Value Incentive Program), develop new business (Opportunity Incentive Program), sell solutions (Solution Incentive Program), and migrate the installed base (Technology Migration Program and Trade-In Accelerator Program). To further enhance partner profitability, the Value Incentive Program offers tiered rewards for express, advanced, and master specializations.
  • Access to resources: Cisco Certified Partners gain exclusive access to the most comprehensive suite of sales, marketing, training, and technical tools and resources in the industry.
  • Cisco Partner Locator: This valuable online tool allows end-customers to easily search for and find partners that are qualified to address their specific needs, wherever they are in the world. Partner Locator highlights information such as certifications and specializations, technology focus, and geographic location. Partners that have earned the highest level of customer satisfaction are differentiated by a gold star that indicates Cisco Customer Satisfaction Excellence.
  • Technology education: Partners can learn about the latest networking technologies through a variety of learning tools to stay at the leading edge of their respective markets.

Partner Education Connection (PEC)
The PEC is the primary learning source for partner account managers, project managers, and engineers in support of unified communications, security, data center, and wireless LAN technologies. The PEC offers more than 150 unique advanced technology labs, and provides personalized learning maps that recommend a learning path and sequence of courses needed to achieve specific goals. Partners can receive fast access to training solutions in a variety of formats, test their skills on real equipment, and provide dynamic feedback.
The PEC provides:

  • A pathway to success for both sales and technical channel certifications and specializations
  • Associate-, professional-, and expert-level labs, including CCNA, CCVP, and CCIE
  • Exam preparation resources
  • Cisco Lab Central

SMB University
The SMB University is a global platform created to deliver education and training courses for partners focused on the small and medium-sized business market. The courses include technology and business skills and are offered in both e-learning and instructor-led formats.