Back to Directory

How to a Become a Cisco Certified Network Professional Routing & Switching


Gary McCauley


June 14, 2019

If you are an IT engineer who wants to improve your skills and add to your qualifications, the Cisco Certified Network Professional Routing and Switching certification can help you to add to your professional experience and knowledge.

What is CCNP?

The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Routing and Switching certification demonstrate that the holder can plan, implement, verify and troubleshoot local and wide-area enterprise networks. It also shows that you can work together with specialists to provide advanced security, voice, wireless, and video solutions. If you already have at least one year of experience in networking and want to develop your skills and start working on more complex network solutions, the CCNP Routing and Switching certification could be right for you.

The certification delivers skills that can help you in roles such as network engineer, systems engineer and support engineer. It offers a foundation in routing and switching protocol knowledge so that you can build relevant skills that will still be useful in the future. The knowledge gained from the certification applies to both physical networks and virtual networks.

How does the CCNP Certification Help IT Engineers?

The CCNP Routing and Switching certification can help you to grow your skills and take the next step in your IT engineering career. The certification validates a range of skills relating to local-area networks (LANs) and wide-area networks (WANs) for businesses.

Professionals with a CCNP certification will be able to collaborate with specialists and implement, maintain and troubleshoot a range of solutions.

Types of CCNP Certification

As well as the routing and switching certification, there are other types of CCNP certification also.

CCNP Routing and Switching - for network professionals to install and support networks
CCNP VOICE - for installing and maintaining voice over IP (VoIP) networks
CCNP Wireless - to learn how to configure, implement and support wireless networks
CCNP Data Center - focuses on data center solutions, technologies, and best practices
CCNP Security - for network professionals who design and implement secure networks

Skills Measured by the CCNP Routing and Switching Certification

The CCNP Routing and Switching certification validates a range of skills. People who obtain this certification will learn the following skills:

Implement and configure an EIGRP based solution
Create a multi-area OSPF Network and configure OSPF routing
Implement an eBGP based solution and configure eBGP routing
Setup an IPv6 based solution and document implementation results
Implement and configure an IPv4 or IPv6 redistribution solution
Create Layer 3 Path Control Solutions and broadband connections
Determine the necessary resources and implement VLAN based solution
Plan and implement a Security Extension of Layer 2 solutions
Design and configure Switch based Layer 3 services
Implement advanced VoIP, video, and wireless support solutions
Implement High Availability and confirm using show & debug commands
Maintain the network and develop a plan to monitor performance
Troubleshoot Multi-Protocol systems, such as EIGRP, NAT, and OSPF

Cisco CCNP Certification Exams

To obtain a CCNP certification, it's necessary to complete several exams. They are usually around 120 minutes in length and test different skills. There are three exams to complete and pass: 300-101 ROUTE, 300-115 SWITCH, and 300-135 TSHOOT. Each exam costs $300 and the first two have between 45 and 65 questions.

There are several things that you can do to prepare for your certification exams. Having a range of study materials, such as Cisco Press books, can help you to have access to the information that you need. Getting hands-on experience can help you to practice, especially if you can do it in your current role. You can use Cisco hardware or even virtualization technology to practice and learn new things. It's also important to make sure that you have enough time to prepare. At least two to three months' preparation time will help you get ready and give you time for consistent study. Practice tests will help you to understand the exams too.

Cisco CCNP Certification Prerequisites

Before taking the Cisco exams, required to gain the routing and switching certification, it's essential to make sure you fulfill all of the prerequisites. The Cisco CCNA certification is required before you can take the exams. This involves taking either two separate tests or taking a single combination exam. Altogether, it is a 90-minute exam.

Cisco CCNP Certification Training

To prepare for the certification, you might find materials that help you learn alone, or you might decide to have some professional training. If you don't attend training in person, you might find a useful course online with video demonstrations that can help you. Many people choose to build a lab at home so that they have somewhere to practice for their exams too. It can also be useful to complete the exams in an order that works for you. The ROUTE and SWITCH exams can be completed in any order, so taking the one that you are most confident about first can be helpful.



Cisco CCNP Certification Jobs

Taking the CCNP routing and switching certification can help to improve many professional skills, and open up new roles too. You can discover roles as a network engineer, systems engineer and support engineer, for example.

When you're looking for work, don't forget to take contract work into account. helps to connect you with freelancing opportunities around the world. More and more businesses are choosing to use the freelance marketplace to hire freelance engineers as and when they need them.

Cisco CCNP Certification Salary

Average salaries for CCNP certified engineers depends on the role. Network engineers can earn between $50,000 and $100,000 in the US, while a network administrator might earn up to $85,000 and a network architect more than $130,000.

One thing to keep in mind is that freelancing can be a great way to earn more for CCNP certified engineers. can help you find freelance work, connecting you with businesses who need your help. It takes only a few minutes to sign up and start looking for jobs that require your skills.


Ready to get started?
Download our app to sign up and get started
Field Engineer mobile app for IOSField Engineer mobile app for IOS