In the process of consulting and training many people in the efforts of studying for various Microsoft certifications, in particular Azure certification, I do receive a lot of various questions. On of the questions I’ve seen a lot is in the area around Exam or Certification expiration and/or renewal. So, I thought I’d explain a bit on what causes a Microsoft certification to expire, and how to renew your certifications when necessary.

When Do Microsoft Certifications Expire?

Eventually all technical certifications will expire in some fashion as the technology and skills tested on the required certification exams become outdated. There are 2 facets to the expiration of Microsoft Certifications, as there are 2 separate things that can (and eventually do “expire”); these are the Exams and the Certifications. These are each on their own time tables, and there isn’t a simple “expired or not” rule.

Exam Retirement

Microsoft will release certification exams for specific technologies periodically to offer IT Professionals in all different roles a way to test and prove their skills with that specific technology. As each technology release or version gets old, it’ll eventually get replaced with a new release, so the certification exam for that technology will be replaced with a newer exam that covers the new release. The older exam will get retired when this “exam replacement” happens. This has occurred with the transition from Windows Server 2008 to 2012, and SQL Server 2014 to 2016, to give a couple examples.

Pretty much every 6 months there are some Microsoft certification exams being retired. When an exam is retired, then it will no longer be available for people to take and attempt to pass. However, once you’ve passed a particular Microsoft certification exam, it will remain on your official Microsoft Certified Professional Transcript to indicate the date you passed that exam.

Here’s a screenshot from my own MCP Transcript that shows some old exams I passed a while back:

Do Microsoft Certifications Expire? 2

There are also times when instead of retiring the exam, Microsoft will publish an Update to the exam. These exam updates are more common in recent time with the Microsoft Azure certification exams, as the products covered on those exams are constantly changing; rather than only having a single release per year like older products. When Microsoft certification exams are Updated, then when you pass the new version of the exam you should have both exam passes listed in your MCP Transcript.

Certification Retirement

While certification exams get updated and retired a bit more frequently, there are times when Microsoft will retire an older Certification, and possibly release a new one. A Microsoft Certification is generally earned by passing 2 or more certification exams that are required for that particular certification. However, there are some certifications like the “Microsoft Specialist” certifications the do only require a single exam to earn.

When you pass all the required exams for a certification then each of the exams passed will be listed in the “Microsoft Certification Exams Completed Successfully” section of your Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) Transcript. Also, each of these exam will then count as credit towards all the different Microsoft Certifications they are requirements for. As a result, it is possible to earn multiple Certifications from passing 1 or more exams that complete the requirements for those multiple Certifications. An example of this is the current structure for earning MCSA and MCSE certifications.

Do Microsoft Certifications Expire? 3

Then after all the required certification exams for a particular Microsoft Certification have been passed, then that certification will be earned. Your MCP Transcript will display all “Active” certifications within the “Active Microsoft Certification” section.

Do Microsoft Certifications Expire? 4

Eventually, once the particular Microsoft Certification is being retired or is expired, then you will no longer hold that certification as “Active”. When a certification is no longer “Active” then it will be listed within the “Legacy Microsoft Certifications” section of your MCP Transcript.

Do Microsoft Certifications Expire? 5

There are also some Microsoft Certifications that do not expire. These certifications will always show on your MCP Transcript within the “Active Microsoft Certifications” as being Active. In the past it was most common that Microsoft Certifications would expire over time, specifically as they retired the exams necessary to earn them. However, the newer MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE certifications do not expire once earned. However, even though the MCSA doesn’t expire, the MCSE is “tagged” with the year you earn it in a way since Microsoft is now updating certification exams more; rather than retiring them.

Here’s an example of my own MCP Transcript that shows that I earned the “MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure” certification in 2016, and then again at the beginning of 2018. Both of these display within the “Active Microsoft Certifications” section of my transcript.

Do Microsoft Certifications Expire? 6

The following example shows my own MCP Transcript listing the old “MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect” certification still underneath the “Active Microsoft Certifications” section. This version of the MCSD certification has been retired and is no longer available to be earned. However, it does not expire, so it is remaining shown as “Active” for me.

Do Microsoft Certifications Expire? 7

In generally, it’s easiest to check your Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) Transcript every so often just to check if your Microsoft Certification is still “Active”. You can also check the Microsoft Learning site for Exam and Certification updates periodically too. If you do find one of your Microsoft Certifications are about to expire or be retired and you will no longer be active, then you can assess what certification exam(s) you’ll need to renew and stay current with the latest requirements.

Annual Certification Renewal

The “smaller” Microsoft Certifications like Microsoft Specialist (MS) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) do not expire. However, the newer Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certifications do have a process where they go “stale” in a way.

The MCSE and MCSD certifications will remain “Current” through the next calendar year after you earn them, and they will display as “Active” on your MCP Transcript. Then after that time period, they will no longer be “Current” if you do not take and pass an additional elective exam to stay “Current”. When the MCSE and MCSD certifications are no longer “Current” that doesn’t mean their expired, it’s just that these certifications are now labeled with the Year you earned them.

Here you can see on my own MCP Transcript, that the “MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure” certification is listed twice. Once for when I first earned it in 2016, then a second time for when I renewed it to make it “Current” again in 2018.

Do Microsoft Certifications Expire? 6

NOTE: You can see the “MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure” certification I earned in 2016 being marked as “Charter”. This basically just means that I passed all the required exams for this certification before Microsoft started offering this version of the MCSE certification, and Microsoft decided to retroactively grant me it. Microsoft did this back when they retired the “MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect” and introduced the “MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure” as a replacement.

The Easy Answer

The easy answer to the question, “Do Microsoft Certification Exams Expire?” is a simple “No, but…”. Actually, they don’t really expire. Once you earn a Microsoft Certification you still hold that certification. It’s just that once earned it will be marked somehow with the Technology version or the Year you earned it.

  • The newer MCSD and MCSE certifications get marked with the year you earned them, and you may want to renew annually to keep “Current”.
  • The MCSA and MS certifications do not require renewal.
  • Older certifications are no longer “Active”, but you still earned them and they will remain on your MCP Transcript to indicate as such. These are also marked with the Technology that was tested.

Here’s a screenshot of my own MCP Transcript to show you what it looks like for the much older “Legacy” certifications that are no longer “Active” but still displayed on my MCP Transcript that I didn’t earn them in the past:

Do Microsoft Certifications Expire? 5

I hope this answers a few questions you have in regards to earning, renewing, and staying current with Microsoft Certifications.

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Posted by Chris Pietschmann

Chris is a Microsoft MVP and has nearly 20 years of experience building enterprise systems both in the cloud and on-premises. He is also a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect and developer, a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), and Cloud Advocate. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.

39 Comments

  1. Starlin Almonte February 6, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    In my case I got MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure back in September 2017. Does that mean that the certification will be current until September 2018, or the Current status expired Jan 1st 2018?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann February 9, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      The MCSE doesn’t really expire, but will be “marked” as 2017. Since it doesn’t expire, it will still who as “Active” on your official MCP transcript. Unless you’re planning on taking / passing additional certification exams as they relate to your job / role this year, personally I would recommend waiting until 2019 to renew. Unless of course you feel you want to retake one of the exams to stay current with recently changed objectives. It’s really up to you, and not a requirement for some time yet. 🙂

      Reply

  2. Great explanation. For the newer MCSE certifications though the terminology is that you don’t have to renew, but you have the ability to re-earn the MCSE each year to show that you are up to date with the current requirements. Thanks again for an excellent post.

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann February 12, 2018 at 9:07 pm

      Sure, no problem. I’m glad you found the article useful!

      Reply

  3. Can you please comment on how these expirations and/or status changes in individual certifications impact a companies Silver and Gold status once the individual’s certs are associated with a company? Can a company loose its Silver status, for example, if an individual’s certification status changes (they haven’t retaken an exam since 2016, say)?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann March 14, 2018 at 9:44 am

      As far as I know they’ll still count as the exams and certs are not retired. However, I would contact the MS Partner program to find out a definitive answer just in case.

      Reply

      1. Respected sir
        I am appearing in MCSA windows server 2016 next month. But I want to confirm something regarding names policy, I have my Primary/Secondary ID(s), but in the ID(s) last name is not shown, as in my country last name has no priority(Pakistan). But in Microsoft Exam registration Last name is required.I have my last name but not declared in ID(s) unintentionally.

        I am also Microsoft certified from certiport Panel in MOS(Word, Excel, Power point) using last name, even in my University degree last name is shown.

        So Can I appear in MCSA using last name, will Microsoft let me appear in Exam?

        Awaiting your positive response.
        Thanks

      2. Chris Pietschmann December 17, 2018 at 10:16 pm

        I would recommend you contact either Microsoft Learning or the testing center you plan to take the exam at. They will have all the information you need for this.

  4. Hi Mr. Chris I want to ask one question that what is Charter Member and does it expire or not.

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann April 3, 2018 at 8:25 am

      “Charter Member” just means that you passed the exams before Microsoft designated the specific MCSA or MCSE certification, and you were basically “grandfathered in” and automatically granted the certification because of the previous exams you’ve passed. Expiration and Retirement still applies just the same.

      Reply

  5. Thank for your informative article. You mentioned that MCSA’s don’t expire, but am I correct Microsoft has now retired the MCSA in general and thus you can’t get a new MCSA?

    Reply

    1. Sorry, meant to say “MCSA for SharePoint” everywhere I wrote MCSA.

      Reply

      1. Chris Pietschmann April 3, 2018 at 8:07 am

        You are correct, the MCSA: Sharepoint certification has retired. As a result, of retiring the certification, it has essentially been retired and is no longer current. When exams and certifications are retired, that’s the only way that Microsoft certifications really expire. However, if you have earned the MCSA: SharePoint certification then you still are certified in SharePoint, but it’s getting dated and may not be relevant anymore as a result.

  6. […] Больше подробностей по этой теме приведено в статьях Do Microsoft Certifications Expire? и Microsoft Certification Changes and Goodbye to MCSD Azure Solutions Architect. Пример […]

    Reply

  7. […] nobody can say what is the accurate expiration date of this certification. How long the credential will bear its value completely depends on the […]

    Reply

  8. Peguei o transcript atual, mas não encontrei/não é exibido a informação de “ACTIVE MICROSOFT CERTIFICATIONS” ou “LEGACY MICROSOFT CERTIFICATIONS”
    sabem onde encontro esta informação?

    Reply

  9. I passed the 7 exams for MCSE NT in year 2000. I kept that on my resume..even when i did not take any new exams. I heard mcse Nt for life..even when it is a legacy and the cert long retired. Am I right to keep in in resume..?? I have worked with 2008, 2012 and 2016 servers.but never took exams. In a recent onterview..they asked me.about it. I told them that itt was NT. They made me feel like ai should not have had it there. But I understand MS allows to keep the cert for life..even if itntagged with the technology or year when taken. Please advise.

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann December 8, 2018 at 5:59 pm

      As long it’s relevant to your career it makes sense to have it listed, but MCSE NT is really not something that adds to your credentials at this point. If you want to keep it on there I’d suggest labeling at NT to make it clear it’s not current Windows Server. If you have it labeled appropriately then I don’t know why anyone would really have a problem with it there.

      Reply

  10. Here is my transcript:

    ———————————————————————————————
    Microsoft® Certified Solutions Associate: Web Applications (Charter)*
    September 26, 2016

    Microsoft Specialist: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
    December 29, 2014

    Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer: Web Applications (Inactive)
    May 28, 2014

    Microsoft Specialist: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3
    May 28, 2014

    Microsoft Certified Professional: Microsoft Certified Professional
    April 29, 2014
    ———————————————————————————————

    Can you suggest me how to renew my MSCD certificate?

    Need to give 70-494-Recertification for MCSD: Web Applications?
    OR
    I need to give all 3 three exam to renew my MSCD certificate?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann December 17, 2018 at 10:07 pm

      The 70-494 exam has already been retired, so you can’t take it anymore. I don’t know what exams you’ve already passed, but if you most recent certification is from 2014, then you’ll likely need to take all the current exams necessary for the newer certifications.

      Reply

      1. Thanks for reply.

        I already passed out following exams:
        – 70-480, 70-487, 70-486, 70-533

        I want to earn MCSD App Builder certificate.
        Now this certificate need is MCSA + 1 Exam. I already have MCSA So I just need to pass one exam right?

        But Now Problem is When I selected 70-487 exam from step 2 list of exam. But that is I already passed out at that time of MCSD web application certificate.
        And When I tried to schedule this exam then I getting following error.

        “our records indicate that you have already passed this exam and are ineligible to take the exam again if your record so otherwise, please contact customer support.”

        So Can you suggest me when I will do?

        Other exams(In step 2) are not that much helpful as per my current job, so selecting that exam which is not helpful to me.

        Ref: https://www.microsoft.com/en-in/learning/mcsd-app-builder-certification.aspx

      2. Chris Pietschmann March 25, 2019 at 10:56 pm

        Once you earn an MCSA certification, then you need to pass 1 additional exam to earn the MCSD.

  11. Hi! Great article, but I want to ask one thing about expiry date of Microsoft certifications. Does MCE (Microsoft Certified Educator) expire? Thanks

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann March 25, 2019 at 10:55 pm

      Sorry, I’m not familiar with the specifics of the Microsoft Certified Educator. Please contact Microsoft directly with any questions about this. Thanks!

      Reply

  12. Hi Chris,great article answered all my questions! However to keep my MCSE “Current” I was looking at exam 70-465 however this was released in June 2012, do you know if they plan to retire it in the near future?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann March 25, 2019 at 10:48 pm

      I do not believe the 70-465 exam is retiring. However, I’m not sure which MCSE you have. If it is the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure then you wont be able to renew it as that MCSE has been retired as of December 31, 2018.

      Reply

  13. What is the cost and yearly cost to re-new the MSCE?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann March 25, 2019 at 10:53 pm

      This depends on the exams you need to take to earn the MCSE certification. Most exams are $165 USD to take, and it’s possible you’ll need to take them multiple times in order to get a passing score. Generally, the MCSE would require 3 certification exams to be passed to earn. Also, Microsoft does have exam retake vouchers available where you can purchase an exam voucher to take an exam for a little more than the normal price, and if you fail you can retake it for free 1 more time. Overall, the cost can vary additionally due to what ever study / training materials and services you subscribe to and use for study.

      Reply

  14. Thank you for reply.

    Can you please help me, I am too much confused about which exam I need to give. Even I contacted to microsoft support but still I am struggling for my answer.

    Currently Active certificate is: Microsoft® Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
    And I want to achieve MCSD: App Builder.

    I already passed following exams: 70-533, 70-480, 70-487, 70-486

    Now my question is I already passed 70-487 exam and If I will give this exam again then I will get MCSD: App Builder certificate?

    OR

    I need to select another exam from list of step 2.

    Note: In MCSD: App Builder certificate path needed MCSA + 1 Exam from list (70-487 exam is one of exam)

    So please help me.

    MCSD: App Builder link which I am following.
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-in/learning/mcsd-app-builder-certification.aspx

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann March 25, 2019 at 10:54 pm

      If you pass an exam (so long as it’s current) it will count towards any certifications it count for. You do not need to take an exam multiple times. Unless the exam was updated and you took it over a year ago, then you may need to take it again or choose another that qualifies for the certification you’re after.

      Reply

  15. Janson Augustine March 4, 2019 at 4:19 am

    HI,

    I passed MCP 2003 Exam on 2007, Now i am looking MCSE certification, Can you Advice me,If i take other two server papers, can i get the MCSA certificate..

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann March 25, 2019 at 11:10 pm

      Your existing certifications from 2007 will be out dated and not able to be upgraded. As a result, you’ll need to start from the beginning with the current MCSA certification you are looking at. This is as expected since your old certifications are no longer relevant with current technologies, I’m sure. The MCSA certifications require 2 exam to pass in order to earn the certification.

      Reply

  16. Do the new Role Based certificates expire ?

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann March 25, 2019 at 11:21 pm

      There’s no specific expiration announced for them. As with the past Microsoft Certifications, I’ll imagine they’ll eventually be labeled with the year you earned it, and you’ll be able to upgrade it annually to be the latest, current certification if desired. But, this is a guess, as Microsoft hasn’t announced how this will work yet with the new role based certifications.

      Reply

  17. Hello, I have a question about MTA. I’m trying to take MTA 98-349 – Windows Operating System Fundamentals. This seems like used to consider as part of MCP.
    Exam is still active on the Microsoft. Can I still take this exam and earn MCP?

    Thank you.

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann May 13, 2019 at 5:42 pm

      If the exam is still active, then yes you can still take it.

      Reply

  18. Indrajit Mullick April 23, 2019 at 3:13 am

    Hello, I have completed my MCSD in Visual studio 6.0 which includes SQL 2000. I earned the MCSD credentials. So, it’s under legacy. So, is it expire ? If I post it in my linkedin profile, is there a expiration date ? I hope that once I gor the credentails in any ols technology, it will not expire. Please comment.

    Reply

  19. Indrajit Mullick April 23, 2019 at 3:18 am

    Hello, I have completed my MCSD in Visual studio 6.0 which includes SQL 2000. I earned the MCSD credentials. So, it’s under legacy. So, is it expire ? If I post it in my linkedin profile, there should be an expire date or not ? I hope that once I got the credentials in any old technology, it will not expire. Please comment.

    Reply

    1. Chris Pietschmann April 24, 2019 at 9:14 am

      It’s not really expired as much as it’s outdated. You still earned it! I have the same certification myself. I don’t see much value promoting it at this time anymore. Best to get a new, current certification to show your current expertise if certification provides value for you.

      Reply

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