Certification Update - Recertification Exams (Revised)

Larry Kaye


My thanks to all that provided feedback on this thread.  Based on concerns you raised about maintenance of multiple MCSD and/or MSCE certifications, we have been able to make a change to the recertification deadline to ensure that all individuals will have a minimum of 12 months to prepare for and pass the associated recertification exams.  Below is the updated text, with an FAQ to address the additional points raised in the thread.



Microsoft Learning has completed its review of recertification options, and will be releasing recertification exams over the next several months.

Between Aug 2014 and Mar 2015, recertification exams will be released for all MCSE and MCSD specialties, starting with MCSD recertification exams in the Aug-Sep 2014 timeframe. 

Recertification exams will cover material from the exams taken to originally earn the credential, with particular emphasis on the most recent product and process changes.  Exam details will be available from the Certification Planner tool at least one month prior to release. 

Recertification deadlines for all MCSE and MCSD credential holders will be examined and adjusted, if needed, to ensure that these individuals have at least twelve (12) months to prepare and pass the recertification exam.  Please note that, if you do not recertify by the recertification deadline, your certification will become ‘Inactive’.


Q: Is this certification update announcing any changes to recertification policy?

A: No, MCSE and MCSD certifications have always had a recertification requirement to maintain the credentials, since their launch in Spring 2012.   The recertification period for MCSE is every 3 years, while the recertification period for MCSD is every 2 years.  The open issue that has now been resolved is the timing for the release of the associated recertification exams.

Q: What certifications have a recertification requirement?

A: Only current Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) credentials have a recertification requirement.  No other certifications - including, but not limited to, MTA, MCITP, and MCSA - require recertification.

Q: I've already received "Microsoft Recertification Due Soon" email notifications.  How does the release of the recertification exams impact my status?

A: The recertification deadlines for each of your MCSE and MCSD credentials will be adjusted to ensure that you have at least 12 months to take and pass the associated recertification exam.

Q: When I take and pass a recertification exam, what will be my new recertification deadline?

A: For MCSD certifications, your new deadline will be 2 years from the date you pass the recertification exam.  For MCSE certifications, your new deadline will be 3 years from the date you pass the recertification exam.

Q: What will happen to my certification if I do not take the associated recertification exam by the deadline?

A: If you do not take the recertification exam by the deadline, your certification will remain on your transcript in the "Inactive" state.

Q: What actions can I take once my certification is in the "Inactive" state? 

A: You should evaluate available certification paths at that time.  If a certification path with component exams different in exam number from those with which you originally earned the credential is available, you may pursue that path.  Per Microsoft Learning's Exam Retake Policy, if a candidate achieves a passing score on an exam, the candidate cannot take the exam again.

  • Christopher Reed - MCT
    | |

    Larry, let me see if I understand this correctly.  If we fail to recertify by the deadline, we have to retake all of the exams associated with that certification.  Is this what you mean?

    The reason I ask is that up until now, one could not retake an exam if they had already passed it.  Does this mean that this "ban" will be lifted for this?


  • Larry Kaye
    | |


    I can always count on you to provide timely and precise feedback. :-)

    The verbiage about re-earning the certification was incorrect, and I have revised the blog post accordingly.

    Please do let me know if you have any further questions.


  • Joseph Stewart
    | |

    Just to make sure I understand what you are saying.

    I am an MCT that is certified on 57 different products. I currently hold multiple MCSE's and I teach only on a few subjects a year.  

    If I let one of my MCSE's lapse IE. Cloud, then want to resume teaching that track I will not be able to recertify for the requirement of teaching.

    If that is incorrect please clarify.

  • Larry Kaye
    | |


    Yes, that is correct - to maintain a specific MCSD or MCSE credential, you must fulfill the recertification requirement for that certification.

  • Steve Wiggins
    | |


    To be completely clear, because I'm not sure I comprehend this decision.

    Let's say, like Joseph, I had an MCSE Cloud and I am unable to recertify. Are you saying that no matter what I did, by virtue of once holding that certification and not recertifying I will *never* be able to hold that certification again?

    In other words, once you obtain an MCSE or MCSD, you *have to* maintain that certification for as long as it is offered otherwise you will lose it forever? Seriously?

  • Ulugbek Umirov
    | |

    When we recertify, does 2-year period start from the date of recertification or from the expiration date of current period?

  • AndrewGB
    | |

    I would like to become an MCT but I believe that I could apply just having a MCTS SCCM2012 or perhaps the 070-246 and 247 exams rather the full blown mcse private cloud

  • Marin Frankovic - MCT
    | |

    If it is true what Steve Wiggins is saying that this is insane. I would understand that you need to pass all the exams for the new certification but to prevent you for ever holding that certificate is plain stupid!

    Can you please explain logic behind this decision? Did you ever tried to consult people that hold these certifications on this matter?

  • Steve Wiggins
    | |

    My concern is mainly for my students, as an MCT, I'm not too worried about retaining my certifications. I want to know if I have to warn students going for certification that they may have a 'lifelong' requirement.

  • Steve Maslin
    | |

    Toward the end of TechEd 2014, I attended a focus group to discuss this exact topic.  At no point in that conversation, to my recollection, did we discuss anything like this.  We did discuss having a recertification exam, but we certainly did not discuss anything about our current certifications becoming inactive and never being able to obtain them again.  If I remember correctly we discussed having an upgrade exam to get the certification to the next release level (Windows 8 to 8.1, Server 2012 to 2012 R2, etc)........... If Microsoft thinks they are going to make more money on this, I would think the opposite.  This is going to cause people to think twice about getting Microsoft certified in the first place.  Other companies (CompTIA, RedHat, Cisco, etc.) either use Continuing Education credit systems to maintain certifications or require you to retake the exam in a certain amount of years (usually 3) in order to maintain.  If you happen to drop out because you didn't recertify, they don't say "oh, you didn't maintain it, so you can never earn it again, ever."   I obtained by Cisco CCNA in 2003, and I let it lapse in 2009 after recertifying once in 2006.  Cisco isn't saying to me: "you didn't maintain, you can't ever hold CCNA again".  This is crazy and I truly hope Microsoft re-thinks this strategy.

  • Vedran Dakic - MCT
    | |

    This doesn't make any sense. Why is it that MCT/MCP/MCSA/MCSE/MCSD/whatnot's should ONLY be able to recertify in this short, six-month period? I have four current MCSE's and gave up on two of my MCSA/MCITPs because of lack of time to prepare for newer exams in the past two years. This is unapplicable in real world as people - even without being trainers, which I am - don't have the time to keep their certifications and re-certify in such a short timespan. And because of work, many people have to keep their certifications. You should really re-think this strategy as it doesn't make any sense on any level.

  • Rachel Jones (MCT Regional Lead - Western US)

    Good to get the information on this. Thank you.

    As an early adopter of several of the MCSD tracks, my certifications expire in a few days. Those exams have NOT been available to schedule even though I've known for a year  that I had to re-certify.  For those of us trying to work in exams during work schedule and project demands, six months is NOT enough. Particularly if you have several certifications that have been "on hold" and unavailable for re-certification.

    Exams are typically available a year out and we have a year to re-certify.  Please re-consider this time line. Do we want to penalize the early adopters? I'm afraid this is the effect of this strategy :(

  • KevinM
    | |

    So let's just summarize here.  let's say that I earn an MCSE on Server Infrastructure (on Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2).  Now I will have to re-certify.  If I fail to re-certify in the allotted time, my certification will go to Inactive state.  We've known that for a long time.

    Now the tricky bit...are you saying that we will no longer be able to re-active or earn that certification ever again?  Let's play a few different scenarios.  Assume that I earn that MCSE: Server Infrastructure by passing the exams on Server 2012 and a recertification exam is released that covers 2012 R2:

    1.  I take and pass the recertification exam (R2) during the allotted time.  I am re-certified.

    2.  I take and pass the recertification exam (R2) after the allotted time has elapsed.  Am I not re-certified then?  Does my certification remain inactive?

    3.  Presumably I am not able to re-take the exams that I have already passed, and since the exam numbers were not changed when the exams were updated I cannot re-gain that certification.  Correct?

    4.  What about when the certification exams are updated for Windows Server 2014/2015/whatever?  Will those exam numbers change or will they remain the same again?  Will I be able to re-earn the MCSE: Server Infrastructure by passing exams for the next generation of the product, or will my certification career be at a dead end?

    I have very serious reservations about this if the certification will be blocked to me permanently for failing to re-certify.  For starters, Microsoft Learning has already demonstrated quite clearly an inability to deliver certification exams, recertification exams, and exam preparation content in a timely fashion.  Giving people who hold multiple MCSEs only 6 months to recertify, potentially on all of theeir certifications, is ridiculous.  But essentially imposing a lifetime ban on them for failing to do so would be inexcusable.

    I seriously have to wonder who is calling the shots at Microsoft Learning these days and what their motivations are.  I'm sure that what they want to do is encourage people to take as many exams as possible by forcing MCPs onto the upgrade treadmill with the threat of a lifetime ban for not upgrading.  But what will end up happening is that people will simply stop certifying.  If I can get a stack of never-expiring MCSAs instead of getting an MCSE that would end up being a career timebomb, why would I bother painting myself into this corner?

    I cannot help but feel that the changes at MSL over the past couple of years have been motivated by revenue generation concerns rather than actually wanting to help people learn.  I really hope that the changes as reported in this blog are not correct, for the sake of MSL.

  • Bing Xie - MCT
    | |

    I have 3 MCSD tracks due for recertification in Aug and Sep.

    If I read correctly, the deadlines will be extended by 6 months. However, if I am unable to complete them by the deadline for whatever circumstances (self/family sickness, work/life commitment), I will lose the active status and will never be able to gain them back. For MCT, this basically means not able to teach expired tracks forever.

    It does sound a bit unreasonable - I understand that for exam integrity candidates should in general not be allowed to re-sit a previously passed exam. However, when a candidate has an expired certification, it would be at least two or three years since the original exams were taken.

    If a candidate previously gained the certification through an upgrade exam, the candidate will be able to take the standard exams as technically those exams were never taken before?

  • Larry Kaye
    | |

    Fellow MCPs:

    I truly thank you for your responses.  It is great that we have such a high level of engagement on this site to gather valuable, early feedback on upcoming learning content and program changes before distributing broader communications.

    I am working with the rest of the certification team on a response to your concerns, and will update my blog shortly.

    In the meantime, please feel free to provide additional comments on this topic, if you feel that they haven't yet been represented by your colleagues.


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