Microsoft to enable certification renewals for free starting in February 2021

Microsoft is making the certification renewal processor easier, but it's also going to require more frequent validation starting next year.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft plans to allow IT professionals to renew their Microsoft Certifications virtually and for free in 2021. At the same time, Microsoft plans to require those with certifications to more frequently update those certifications' validity.

In early 2021, Microsoft officials said, IT pros will be able to renew role-based and specialty certifications by passing a free renewal assessment on the Microsoft Learn site. This assessment can be completed online on customers' own time, and anytime within six months of when a certification expires, officials announced this week.

After a user passes the renewal assessment, her/his certification will be extended by one additional year from the current expiration date. Microsoft is making available to interested IT pros a free collection of curated learning modules for each renewal assessment.

Also starting next year, Microsoft will be reducing the period for which role-based and specialty certifications remain valid. Currently, those kinds of certifications are good for two years, but starting in June 2021, they will be valid for one year from the date they were earned. Officials attributed the change to one-year validity to "how quickly cloud technology changes."

Those seeking more details on the renewal of their role-based and spcialty certifications can check out the Renew Your Microsoft Certification page.

Earlier this year, Microsoft extended the previously announced retirement date for its Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and Certified Solutions Architect (MCSA) certifications by seven months -- until January 31, 2021. The company cited the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus as the reason for the certification extension. 

Editorial standards