According to Pluralsight, network engineers with a CCNA certification earn $20,000 more on average than associate network engineers without a certification. The CCNA certification provides a career development pathway through the higher Cisco certifications. Network engineers holding the higher CCIE certification earn $124,000 on average, as of 2015.
The Cisco Certified Network Associate certification is the second tier in the Cisco certifications hierarchy, above the entry-level Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician certification. There are eight versions of the CCNA certification: Cloud, Collaboration, Data Center, Industrial, Security, Service Provider, Wireless, and Routing and Switching. The most popular CCNA type is Routing and Switching, which is a prerequisite for many other Cisco certifications. CCNA-certified network engineers can progress to the Cisco Certified Network Professional, Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert and Cisco Certified Architect qualifications.
The CCNA has no prerequisites, but the CCENT certification is a useful starting point for people who do not currently work in the networking industry. CCNA training courses are available from a number of providers, but training is not mandatory, and many people achieve the certification through independent study. The CCNA certification is valid for three years; certified engineers can keep their certifications valid by retaking the CCNA exams or by achieving a higher Cisco certification.