Certification Life Cycle

The lifespan of a certification varies, based on the certification track and certification technology. Some certifications will have a recertification path to allow you to continuously hold the certification until the certification has been deemed inactive. Find out what exams are being retired and what certifications will become legacy. Certification policies vary by program and may change at any time.


To maintain the value and relevance of Microsoft Certifications, they must be kept up-to-date, reflecting not only the current use and functionality of our technologies but the current trends and industry expectations of what it means to be “certified.” That’s why Microsoft continually monitors industry trends and revises certification requirements and updates our exams to keep pace with increasingly frequent changes in technology. On a regular basis, new exams are introduced, existing exams are revised, older exams are retired, and out-of-date certifications are transitioned to a Legacy status.

     Revisions to existing exams

Each exam is reviewed regularly to determine if the skills tested are still relevant and real-world, and whether new methods for accomplishing the same skills are now available. Depending on the scope of changes that are recommended, the existing exam may be revised, or a new exam may be released. Service packs and revisions of the primary technology will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, a service pack or revision may have significant enough changes to trigger development of a new exam to replace an existing exam. Changes to exam requirements will be announced before they go into effect to give candidates a chance to either complete the exam before it is updated or prepare for the updated exam.

     Exam retirements

Microsoft regularly evaluates the relevance, currency, and validity of each exam. Exams that no longer meet established criteria are scheduled for retirement. Once an exam is retired, you will no longer be able to take the exam. When all exams required for a certification have been retired, that certification can no longer be earned.

Exams are typically retired when one or more of the following scenarios occur:

1. Two newer versions of the Microsoft technology are available (for example, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 are newer versions of Microsoft Windows 2000 Server technology).

2. Markets around the world are no longer using the product version on which the exam is based.

3. The ongoing exam maintenance can no longer be supported.

4. Too few people are taking an exam.

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