Some certifications are inexpensive and easy to obtain, while others require hours of experience, study and even travel -- not to mention dollars.
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Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification online courses can run around $100 for 107 courses through MindLeaders. Microsoft recommends having at least one year in the field administering networks. The testing consists of five core exams and two elective exams.
To receive a Certified Lotus Professional (CLP) certification, the mid-level certification for Lotus, the company recommends at least 90 days of practical experience with the software the student is planning to get certified in, as well as taking courses, using the exam preparation guide and using practice tests. Depending on which type of CLP certification is desired (Notes Application Developer, Notes System Administrator or Domino Messaging Administrator, to name a few), candidates must pass anywhere from two to four exams on the specific topic.
Receiving a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification can be the most difficult task of all. Ed Tittel, principal at LANWrights Inc., estimates that the cost to obtain the certification can run a candidate $6,000 to $7,000. The written exam is $300, labs are $1200 -- and travel is necessary, as CCIE testing centers are not widely scattered. Most people do not pass the exam on their first try, either.