Microsoft delivered an early Christmas present of sorts with the announcement of free certification renewals in 2021. The yearly certification renewals vary in price but can cost a pretty penny, so some relief from the annual outlay will be music to the ears of certification holders.
Free Microsoft Certification Renewals for 2021
Microsoft Certifications cover almost every aspect of a Microsoft professional’s working life. They confirm that you know your stuff and come as a guarantee that Microsoft has tested your knowledge of their products or a specific role.
All Microsoft Certifications come with a renewal date. If you want to keep your certifications up to date and official, you would have to pass another Microsoft Certification exam. This process can be costly, especially for individuals, freelancers, and small tech companies.
A recent post on the Microsoft Tech Community blog revealed a switch to the Microsoft Certification renewal process for 2021.
From February 2021, you can renew role-based and specialty certifications using a new free renewal assessment tool on Microsoft Learn (that’s Microsoft’s learning portal). Instead of having to schedule a new exam, you can jump into the new renewal tool whenever you like, and “anytime within six months before your certification expires.”
Returning certification holders can also access a free renewal course, packed with learning modules designed for the certification at hand.
This new frictionless approach is intended to enable you to focus on keeping current with technology, while also reducing the stress, complexity, and cost of keeping your certification active.
Furthermore, starting June 2021, Microsoft is switching newly earned role-based and specialty certifications to a one-year renewal model. The change reflects Microsoft’s commitment to providing the most up to date certification training.
Right now, most Microsoft Certifications are valid for two years but require the certification holder to take an exam to renew their credentials. So, while the new model reduces the certification validity period, Microsoft is making it easier to renew, not to mention removing the cost.
What’s the Point in Renewing Microsoft Certifications?
The new Microsoft Certification renewal model will be a welcome change for those operating on smaller budgets.
Renewing yearly should reduce the amount of time spent studying for the certification exams, too, although for many holders, the knowledge comes from existing job roles; the exams just validate the skillset.
Renewing under the new program is also a much better option than allowing your certifications to lapse. If your Microsoft Certification expires, you must take the initial exam to regain your credentials.
Embracing a growth mindset and the need for continuous learning can help you open career opportunities, successfully perform in job roles, and continue to support your organization’s digital and cloud transformation. With a Microsoft Certification—globally recognized and industry-endorsed evidence of mastered real-world skills—you also demonstrate your proficiency in keeping pace with technology.
The Microsoft Certification portal provides more detail as to when the certification renewal process will change for individual courses, and some handy frequently asked questions regarding the new certification options.