Reminder: Role-based and specialty certifications to be valid for one year

Published Apr 21 2021 08:00 AM 30.6K Views

In December 2020, we notified the learning community of a couple changes to the Microsoft Certification program. Today, we’re announcing the effective time and date for the change in certification validity period. Starting 12 AM GMT on June 30, 2021, (5 PM PT on June 29, 2021), all newly earned role-based and specialty certifications will be valid for one year from the date the certification was earned. All required exams must be passed before 12 AM GMT on Jun 30, 2021 for certifications to remain valid for two years from the date they were earned; if the required exam(s) are passed after 12 AM GMT on June 30, 2021 certifications will be valid for 1-year from the date they were earned.


And, as a reminder, those who have earned role-based and specialty certifications can renew them annually for free by passing an online assessment on Microsoft Learn. This can be done at any time within six months before the certification expires. When the learner passes the renewal assessment, their certification is extended by one year from the current expiration date.


The shift to validating skills every year—rather than every two years—helps align Microsoft Certifications to evolving job roles and in-demand skills as a result of the rapid pace of change in cloud technologies. This new approach is intended to enable tech professionals to prove that their skills are relevant in the market and to help them stay up to date with evolving technology, while also reducing the stress, complexity, and cost of maintaining an active certification.


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Occasional Visitor

This is nice, but it will be very challenging to keep up to speed, especially if one has a whole lot of certificate to revalidate. 


When will we have an update for the Role-Based/Specialty certificate replacement for the MCSA/MCSE for Windows Server. These are important certs with no replacement yet, and have been asked for by the community non-stop.  


@PreciousD With the recent launch on renewing certifications annually on Microsoft Learn, you'll have the ability to stagger when you want to take the renewal assessment and have six months prior to a role-based or specialty certification expiring to do so.

We recommend you review the expiration dates for all certifications you currently have and plan your renewal assessment cadence accordingly, and plan to spread them out to lighten up the workload if you wish to do so. Note: Passing the renewal assessment will extend your certification by one additional year from it's current expiration date, not from the date you passed the renewal assessment. Hope that helps!

Occasional Visitor

Not sure how this will be an incentive for anyone to get "New" certifications from Microsoft.

Microsoft should be making things easier for people interested in being certified with their products instead of more difficult.

This will also make it considerably harder to keep up with multiple certifications.

To each their own I guess.  I will not be renewing any of mine, not that Microsoft or anyone else for that matter really cares.

Not a smart move IMHO...


I dont think this is gonna help certificate holders, if someone holds multiple cert i dont think they will be able to renew all of them in one year, because is work and other commitment 


this is going to reduce exam takers and few people will hold microsoft certifications

Occasional Visitor

With the constantly evolving software rat race that Microsoft had previously I don't see this as beneficial for anyone. I stopped getting MS certifications because of the way it was before, and was evaluating the viability of moving ahead with the Azure Architect certifications as I work in that space now, along with AWS and a few others. This just made my decision for me. I already don't have time to chase these around and keep up with the never ending and  constant stream of changes MS makes in the cloud. Now I just won't bother with the Azure cloud and I'll focus on the AWS Architect credentials and move into that space permanently. You really aren't helping anyone with this, I have a job and a company to run, so this is the nail in the coffin...

Regular Visitor

@KarinaUng can you please confirm How many times one can extend certification by one additional year by giving free online exam , is this only for additional 1 year and then need to give proper exam or can go for many years 


I was MCSA and MCSE on Windows Server 2003 but honestly, if there are no renewal exams we tend to forget some of the content we don`t work with. On the other side imagine having to retake seven exams to stay MCSE. Now I know that someone will say that the topic is role-based exams but imagine if an IT pro is a DEV-Ops Engineer expert and at the same time a Security Engineer Associate, so he would need to retake about 5 exams every year. Yes, it keeps the information fresh but it would require weeks of preparation on a yearly basis. I think two years is fair and keeps the info fresh without the burden.


What Microsoft can do is make mini exams that tackle the changed topics and new ones and not all the material covered in the courses.


@NavinTyagi you can renew your certification annually for free on Microsoft Learn by passing the online renewal assessment. You can do this every year as long as the certification is still in market. By passing the renewal assessment before your certification expires (you can take the assessment as early as six months prior to your certification expiring), you will extend the certification expiration date by 1 additional year from the existing expiration date. For more details, check out the blog post on Is your certification expiring soon? Renew it for free today. Hope that helps!

Regular Visitor

Thanks @KarinaUng For clarification. 

Senior Member

This is nice because this way we no longer need to pay for a certification renewal every 2 years and we can start working on the renewal 6 months prior of expiration date.

New Contributor

This thing will backfire, this is an unreasonable requirement.

Occasional Visitor

It will be entirely up to me but I don't understand what Microsoft is doing anymore. Let's just shorten the term to 6 months validity instead of a year. Oh no, let's make it even shorter: 1 quarter! Then you are simply only concerned with obtaining and keeping your certificates. And oh yes, let's change all the names of the exams again every half year. And you simply don't get to work anymore.
Now explain the rationale for such a ridiculous decision. My plan was to do recertification but with this announcement I think it's okay. I quit. This is really becoming a huge circus with clowns. Not only that: you just can't keep up with everything because of the speed and width. Today, in my opinion, also requires other skills than simply memorize all the buttons, checkboxes, scripts and options (which change daily anyway). Applying functionality in the context of your company and being able to quickly familiarize yourself with a specific part. Add real value in this way. I also have other certifications like CISSP and you just have a 3 year term to get your points for a recertification. All will not be ideal too, but then you can still reasonably plan this around other activities and your private life. I may sound like Statler and Waldorf but Microsoft: you did it! The shakeout has begun!

Occasional Visitor

My guess is that Microsoft wants out of the certification business. 

New Contributor

As long as I can renew y cert every year for free that is cool, let's say you paid for your exam and you don't have to invest more more at the second year to get it current for another year


basically if you pay for your certs you don't spend money every 2 years and if your company does it for you it is a money they can invest in something else


The is no way Microsoft is walking away from cert, because most companies around the world are running Microsoft technologies


How do we prove to emploers we know Microsoft technologies  

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