Industry Certifications

Industry certifications provide potential employers with the ability to assess the skill set of applicants based on the certificates they hold. While certifications are not a replacement for experience, they often can make a big difference when applying for jobs, particularly for entry level positions. Industry certifications cover a wide range of topics and are offered by many different vendors, so it can be overwhelming to decide which certification to pursue. The image below offers a overview of several certifications as they relate to the CNM areas of emphasis and the skill level associated with the certification.

Certification Roadmap

As shown in the image above, there are some certificates that are specialized to a single area of emphasis and some that generally cover more areas of emphasis. Generalized certificates offer more flexibility in seeking jobs, whereas specialized certifications demonstrate more in-depth knowledge of the topic. For students who are unsure where they want to work, general certifications are recommended. 

Murray State also offers discounts on some certifications as well as reimbursement for students who meet certain criteria. See the Certification Reimbursement section below for more information. The Recommended Certification Catalog includes more detailed information about the recommended certificates.

Certification Reimbursement

NOTICE: The certification reimbursement program is suspended until further notice.

Murray State University will provide students reimbursement for one certification exam, regardless of whether the student passes or fails the exam, given these criteria are met:

  • The student must obtain approval from their advisor to take the exam. 
  • Exam fees should not exceed $300 (after discounts) unless otherwise approved by advisor.
  • After receiving approval from their advisor, students must complete a reimbursement request using this form: CNM Certification Exam Request (MSU Google Sign-In Required)
  • The student must provide evidence to their advisor of having satisfactorily passed a practice exam prior to taking the real exam.
  • After taking the exam, the exam results must be sent to the CNM office.
  • Murray State will send a check in the amount of the exam fees directly to the student.

Recommended Certification Catalog

The certifications below are some recommended certifications divided by vendor. See the table above to identify which certification is the most appropriate for your level and area emphasis. Also noted are any Murray State discounts and whether online testing is available or not. Links are provided to the vendor's certification pages as well, for your convenience. Disclaimer: The information provided below is unofficial and is subject to change at any time. As certifications change frequently, ALWAYS visit the official page for the most up to date information. For MSU discounts, check with your advisor for the most up to date information as these discounts can change without notice.

Murray State Student Discount? CCP exam is free with CNM-360 course enrollment

Online Exams Available? Yes

See all Amazon Certifications

Murray State Student Discount? CCNA exam is $125 with NetAcademy Completion

Online Exams Available? Yes

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Special Conditions for Reimbursement:  Murray State offers access to Cisco NetAcademy, which provides exam preparation material to prepare students to take the CCNA Certification Exam.  Students applying for reimbursement of their CCNA Exam fees must also enroll in the CCNA NetAcademy Courses and satisfactorily complete them prior to taking the exam in order to be eligible for reimbursement.
  • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Enterprise

See all Cisco Certifications

Murray State Student Discount? Varies

Online Exams Available? Uncertain

See all EC-Council Certifications

Murray State Student Discount? All Associate Level (JNCIA-) exams are free

Online Exams Available? Yes

Juniper's certificates are divided by levels and tracks, as shown below. The Enterprise Routing and Switching track and Data Center track share the same Associate and Specialist level certs, making those the most versatile certificates.

Enterprise Routing and Switching

Data Center


Security Track


* The JNCIS-ENT is an acceptable prerequisite for the JNCIP-DC.

Murray State Student Discount? No

Online Exams Available? Yes

Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

Murray State Student Discount? 50% off all exams

Online Exams Available? Yes

See all Red Hat Certifications

Murray State Student Discount? None

Online Exams Available? Yes

VMware classifies their certificates based on the following certification levels:

  • VMware Certified Associate (VCA) - For Administrators, Architects and Executives
  • VMware Certififed Professional (VCP) - For Administrators and Engineers
  • VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) - For Administrators, Architects and Engineers
  • VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) - For Architects

VMware's certification process is thorough and slightly complex. They offer traditional certifications but also award 'Badges' as a way of identifying the skill level and experience of an individual.  Certifications are divided into different industry tracks, where earning certificates will progress you along that particular track. Each certificate has pre-requisites (found it's info page) that must be met prior to taking the exam, which may include training, prior certificates or badges.

See a detailed breakdown of the VMware Certification Tracks

Below are the recommended Data Center Virtualization tracks:

 See all VMWare Certifications

Take the next step

© Murray State University Department of Web ManagementWe are Racers.