CCIE recertification choices - Stay Active or Emeritus?

Many of you "old school" CCIEs (4-digit ones for sure, and lower 5-digit ones) may be thinking about the need to stay active or go Emeritus.


There used to not be a choice! You were either active or inactive, but after your 10-year CCIE anniversary, Cisco now allows you to opt for an Emeritus status that still allows you to claim/show your CCIE status, albeit one that doesn't have the same benefits as an active one. Still, it is an option for those that no longer need to maintain an active status (for example, you're not at a Cisco partner that needs your CCIE for a partner role).

Note the caveats for CCIE Emeritus status:

  • CCIE/CCDE Emeritus is a non-active status. As such the following rules apply:
    • DOES NOT recertify lower-level certifications
    • DOES NOT provide TAC support privileges or preference
    • DOES NOT count towards Channel/Partner requirements
    • DOES NOT apply towards maintaining status levels for Channel Partners
    • DOES NOT recognize/qualify for CCIE/CCDE anniversary
    • DOES REQUIRE candidates to continue to report violations to the program when encountered

Note: As with the CCIE/CCDE program itself Cisco reserves the right to terminate at any time without specific notice to the candidate. Individuals who are accepted as CCIE/CCDE Emeritus must maintain all ethics and guidelines of the program.

Again, if you're "out of the game" and have switched industries or job roles that no longer require you to maintain an active CCIE, Emeritus can be a good option if you'd like to someday reactivate it.

Staying Active

If you're at a VAR or otherwise want/need your CCIE to remain active (remember, Emeritus will NOT fulfill any company/partner requirements), then you have no choice. You will want to stay active through Cisco's recertification options:

  • Pass the CCDE written exam
  • Pass any one expert-level Lab/Practical exam
  • Pass any three separate professional concentration exams
  • Pass one technology core exam and pass any one professional concentration exam.
  • (This is also a CCNP certification if done in the same track.)
  • Pass any two technology core exams

If you're not a great test taker, you can go the Continuing Education (CE) route (recommended!) by doing the following:

  • Earn 120 CE credits
    • Or
  • Pass one technology core exam and earn 40 CE credits
  • Pass any two separate professional concentration exams and earn 40 CE credits
  • Pass any one professional concentration exam and earn 80 CE credits

Why not both?

Personally, I chose Emeritus when I left a large Cisco VAR in 2019 and didn't think I would need an active CCIE. I was filling some partner roles with my CCIE and other miscellaneous certifications, but I had planned on leaving the VAR space for good at that time.

Fast-forward a few months and I found myself at another large VAR that needed help "getting over the hump" and completing a Cisco Gold audit. Since they didn't have enough CCIEs, they needed mine to be active so I went all-in on some CE training to get recertified in less than a month. I DO NOT RECOMMEND WAITING AND RUSHING THROUGH IT. The CE content is quite good and you can learn a lot about different/complementary technologies (which is the point!).

However, I did learn that there was a way to recertify my Emeritus CCIE and become active again for less than $900! 

Now that it's recertification time again, I think I'd like to keep my certification active, even though I won't be at a VAR. 

The good news is that it looks like there's a new way to do it for even less than before! 

I'll post the new strategy soon!