Cisco CCENT vs CCNA: What Are the Differences?

Man on a lap top looking at multiple computer servers Rameez Khizer, IT Marketing


IT certifications show employers that you have demonstrable skills in that area, making them more likely to want to hire you and leading to higher salary offers. Two popular certifications that seem to teach similar skills are the Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) and the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).


CCENT and CCNA certifications are both specific to the Cisco ecosystem. Cisco is a major provider of networking infrastructure components and has pioneered many innovations in routing, switching and networking technologies over the past few decades. Cisco certifications teach different skills at different levels and are geared toward different types of IT jobs and positions.


In order to obtain these certifications, students have to to pass a rigorous exam that typically requires many hours of preparation. Both certifications are valid for three years before they need to be renewed.

What is CCENT Certification?

CCENT is the first level of certification for Cisco networking. This certification covers basic Cisco networking skills and prepares students for entry-level jobs in networking like Network Administrator, Junior Network Engineer, Cisco Network Engineer or Network Support Specialist.


Students who earn the CCENT certification demonstrate the skills to install, operate and maintain small business networks as well as provide basic security for those networks. The CCENT certification is a precursor for the CCNA certification, which is more advanced, although CCENT certification is not a prerequisite for taking the exam to become CCNA-certified.


Row of iMacs on multiple desks with keyboards and mice Rameez Khizer, IT Marketing

What is CCNA Certification?

CCNA prepares students to administer medium-sized routed and switched networks and wide area networks (WAN) that connect computers and devices over different geographical areas. Students with the CCNA certification have also learned how to prevent and troubleshoot basic security threats to keep these networks safe from hacking attempts and viruses that could harm them or expose private user information and data.


CCNA requires skills equivalent to the CCENT certification in order to get this more advanced certification, although this is not a formal prerequisite to take the CCNA exam, many students get the CCENT prior to pursing CCNA. CCNA-certified IT professionals are qualified for jobs as internetwork engineers and LAN/WAN engineers.


Both CCENT and CCNA certifications are valuable to employers and demonstrate practical, real-world skills for Cisco networking in various business settings. These certifications can help you get hired and also serve as stepping stones to more advanced certifications that will build your skills as a network IT professional.


PC AGE offers courses to prepare students for jobs as IT professionals, including both the CCENT and CCNA certifications as well as many others in different specialty areas of IT like cybersecurity, Linux, and various Microsoft certifications. Request info about all of PC AGE’s courses.

 Rameez Khizer, IT Marketing