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Oracle Certification Guide: Overview and Career Paths

Ed Tittel and Earl Follis
Updated Oct 19, 2022

Discover certifications that can help you be a better IT manager.

  • Oracle is known worldwide for its numerous hardware and software solutions.
  • Oracle offers more than 200 credentials across 16 different categories, with options for entry-level and experienced professionals.
  • Job listings and hiring data indicate that programmers and developers continue to be highly sought after in the IT world.
  • This article is for anyone interested in learning more about Oracle’s certification program and the various credentials available.

Oracle offers myriad hardware and software solutions designed to simplify and empower IT systems and processes. Perhaps best known for its premier database software, the company also offers cloud solutions, servers, engineered systems, storage, and more. Oracle has more than 430,000 customers in 175 countries with about 133,000 employees and generates over $40 billion in revenue.

Over the years, Oracle has developed an extensive certification program. Today, it includes six certification levels that span 16 product categories with more than 200 individual credentials. Considering the depth and breadth of this program – and the number of Oracle customers – it’s no surprise that Oracle certifications are highly sought after. 

Here’s everything new and experienced professionals need to know about Oracle’s certification program and how to use certifications to navigate their career path

TipTip: Read our review of Oracle NetSuite for a better understanding of this comprehensive enterprise resource planning platform.

Oracle certification program overview

Oracle’s certification program is divided into 16 primary categories:

  • Oracle Cloud
  • Oracle Software
  • Systems
  • Industry Applications
  • Oracle Applications
  • Middleware
  • Operating Systems
  • Virtualization
  • OCI
  • Business Intelligence
  • Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management
  • Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Performance Management
  • Oracle Fusion Cloud Supply Chain & Manufacturing
  • Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience
  • PaaS

Additionally, Oracle’s credentials are offered at six certification levels:

  • Foundations Associate
  • Associate
  • Specialist
  • Professional
  • Master
  • Expert

Did you know?Did you know?: Around 1.8 million Oracle Certified professionals worldwide hold certifications that advance their networking careers and professions in various IT segments.

Oracle Applications and Oracle Cloud certifications

The Oracle Applications certification category offers 18 individual credentials across four products or product groups, such as E-Business Suite, Hyperion, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and PeopleSoft. 

Each of these certifications confers Certified Implementation Specialist status for a specific application. The Application certifications are for individuals with expertise in selling and implementing specific Oracle solutions.

Oracle’s newest certification category is Oracle Cloud, which covers several Oracle Cloud certifications, including Oracle Database Cloud. Cloud certs fall into seven subcategories:

  1. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI): This includes Application Development and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS): This includes Data Management, Business Analytics and Integration.
  3. Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience: This includes Oracle Marketing, Service, Configure, Price, Quote, Sales and Commerce.
  4. Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Management Performance: This includes Financial Consolidation and Close, Planning, Account Reconciliation, Narrative Reporting, Profitability and Cost Management, and Enterprise Data Management.
  5. Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning: This includes Financials, Risk Management and Compliance, and Project Management.
  6. Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management: This includes Global Human Resources, Workforce Rewards, Talent Management and Workforce Management.
  7. Oracle Fusion Supply Chain and Manufacturing: This includes Inventory Management, Manufacturing, Logistics, Maintenance, Order Management, Supply Chain Planning, Product Lifecycle Management and Procurement.

These credentials recognize individuals who deploy applications, perform administration or deliver customer solutions in the cloud. Credentials primarily include Associate and Certification Implementation Specialists, plus a professional-level Oracle Database Cloud Administrator.

TipTip: If you’ll be selling and implementing various solutions, consider exploring the best sales certifications to show employers that you’re willing to go above and beyond to reach sales targets.

Oracle Database certifications

Oracle offers some of the best database certifications for database administrators, database developers and anyone else who works with databases. 

Oracle’s Database certifications are a part of the software category and are geared toward individuals who develop or work with Oracle databases. There are five primary categories: 

  • Administration
  • High Availability
  • New Features
  • Development
  • Security 

Whenever a significant database version is released, Oracle updates its certification exams over time. If an exam isn’t available for the latest release, candidates can take a previous version of the exam and then an updated exam when it becomes available. Though MySQL 5.7 certifications and exams are still available for candidates supporting that version, the new MySQL 8.0 certification track may be more appropriate for those just starting their MySQL certification journeys.

Note: The Oracle Database 12c certification was redesigned for cloud computing (and is included in both the Cloud and Database certification categories). The Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Associate and Administrator Certified Professional credentials will be retired on January 31, 2023, having been replaced by 2019 updates. The Administer Certified Master and Implementation Specialist credentials will remain in place. However, there is an upgrade path for the OCP credential. 

Additional database certifications

The following are additional database-related certifications. 

Oracle Database Foundations Certified Associate

The Oracle Database Foundations Certified Associate credential targets:

  • Those who’ve participated in the Oracle Academy through a college or university program
  • Computer science and database teachers
  • Individuals studying databases and computer science 

As a novice-level credential, the Certified Associate is intended for individuals with limited hands-on experience working on Oracle Database products. To earn this credential, candidates must pass the Oracle Database Foundations (novice-level exam) (1Z0-006).

Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) – Oracle Database 12c Administrator

The OCA certification measures the day-to-day operational management database skills of DBAs. Candidates must pass an SQL exam and another on Oracle Database administration. Candidates can take the Oracle Database 12c SQL (1Z0-071). Candidates must also pass the Oracle Database 12c: Installation and Administration (1Z0-062) exam.

Note: This certification retires on January 31, 2023. 

Did you know?Did you know?: SQL is a programming language used to communicate with and manipulate databases.

Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) – Oracle Database 12c Administrator

The OCP certification covers more advanced database skills. You must have the OCA Database 12c Administrator certification, complete the required training, submit a course submission form and pass the Oracle Database 12c: Advanced Administration (1Z0-063) exam.

Note: This certification retires on January 31, 2023. 

Oracle Certified Master (OCM) – Oracle Database 12c Administrator

To achieve OCM Database 12c Administrator certification, you must:

  • Have the OCP Database 12c Administrator certification or the OCP Database Administration 2019 certification
  • Complete two advanced courses
  • Pass the Oracle Database 12c Certified Master Exam (12cOCM)
  • Complete the course submission form
  • Submit the Fulfillment Kit request

Oracle also offers the Oracle Database 12c Maximum Availability Certified Master certification, which requires three separate credentials, including:

  • Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Master
  • Oracle Certified Expert, Oracle Database 12c – RAC and Grid Infrastructure Administration
  • Oracle Certified Expert, Oracle Database 12c – Data Guard Administration

Key TakeawayKey takeaway: racle’s Certified Master is among the best enterprise architect certifications for IT pros.

Oracle Certified Expert (OCE) – Oracle Database 12c

The OCE Database 12c certifications include Maximum Availability, Data Guard Administrator, and RAC and Grid Infrastructure Administrator credentials. All these certifications involve prerequisite certifications. 

Data Guard Administrator certification requires:

  • The OCP Database 11g, 12c or 2019 Administration credential
  • Oracle Database 12c – Data Guard Administration training 

The RAC and Grid Infrastructure Administrator provides the most flexibility, allowing candidates to choose from:

  • OCP Database 11g
  • OCP Databases 12c
  • Oracle Certified Expert – Real Application Clusters 11g 
  • Grid Infrastructure Administration 

Once the prerequisite credentials are earned, candidates can then achieve Data Guard Administrator or RAC and Grid Infrastructure Administrator by passing one exam. 

Achieving OCP 12c alone, or OCP Administration 2019 plus the RAC and Grid Infrastructure Administration and Data Guard Administration certifications, earns the Maximum Availability credential. 

Note: Both the Data Guard Administrator and RAC and Grid Infrastructure Administrator certifications will be retired on October 31, 2022. Newer English versions are expected to be available soon after that time.

Oracle Database Certified Implementation Specialist

Oracle also offers the Oracle Database 12c Certified Implementation Specialist credential. Specialist credentials target individuals with a background in selling and implementing Oracle solutions. This credential requires candidates to pass a single exam to earn the designation.

Oracle Industries certifications

Oracle Industries offers additional options, with seven individual certifications focused on Oracle software for construction and engineering, communications, and utilities.

Oracle Middleware certifications

The Middleware certifications span several subcategories, such as:

  • Cloud Application Foundation
  • Data Integration
  • Service-Oriented Architecture
  • Business Project Management

Oracle Middleware credentials represent Associate, Professional and Specialist levels of the Oracle Certification Program.

TipTip: If you’re interested in cloud certifications, consider exploring Google Cloud certifications to enhance your knowledge of cloud security, storage, engineering and more.

Oracle Java certifications

Oracle Java credentials represent the Associate and Professional levels of the Oracle Certification Program and include:

  • Java Application Developer
  • Java Developer
  • Java Programmer 

Oracle Operating System certifications 

The Oracle Operating System certifications include Linux and Solaris and are considered among the best system administrator certifications. Additionally, Oracle’s Linux certifications are considered among the best Linux certifications to earn. 

  • Oracle Linux 8 System Administrator certification: Individuals who earn this certification are prepared to utilize the most recent and advanced system features. Successful candidates possess the fluency and skills necessary to deploy, configure and maintain Oracle Linux 8. It is recommended that candidates have some combination of Oracle training and hands-on experience prior to sitting for the exam. 
  • Solaris 11 certifications: The Solaris 11 certifications include the OCA and OCP System Administrator certifications, plus an Oracle Solaris 11 Installation and Configuration Certified Implementation Specialist certification. The OCA and OCP Solaris 11 System Administrator certifications identify Oracle Solaris 11 administrators with a fundamental knowledge of and base-level skills with the UNIX operating system, commands and utilities. As indicated by its name, the Implementation Specialist cert identifies intermediate-level implementation team members who install and configure Oracle Solaris 11.

Oracle Systems certifications

Oracle Systems certifications include Engineered Systems (Big Data Appliance, Exadata, ZFS Storage Alliance, Private Cloud Appliance and DIVA). Most of these certifications are aimed at individuals who sell and implement a specific solution. 

Oracle Virtualization certifications

The Oracle Virtualization certifications cover Oracle Virtual Machine (VM) Server for X86. This credential is based on Oracle VM 3.0 for X86 and recognizes individuals who sell and implement Oracle VM solutions.

The Oracle VM 3.0 for x86 Certified Implementation Specialist Certification is for intermediate-level team members proficient in:

  • Installing OVM 3.0 Server and OVM 3.0 Manager components
  • Discovering OVM Servers
  • Configuring network and storage repositories

The sheer breadth and depth of Oracle’s certification program creates ample opportunities for professionals who want to show their willingness to learn and work with Oracle technologies – or who already do and want their skills recognized and validated. 

Although there are many specific Oracle products in which to specialize in varying capacities, the primary job roles include administrators, enterprise IT architects, programmers and developers, and implementation specialists.

  • Administrators and architects: Every company that runs Oracle Database, Oracle Cloud, or Oracle Linux or Solaris needs qualified administrators to deploy, maintain, monitor and troubleshoot these solutions. These companies also need architects to plan and design solutions that meet business needs and are appropriate for the specific environments in which they’re deployed, indicating that the opportunities for career advancement in Oracle technologies are abundant.
  • Programmers and developers: Job listings and hiring data indicate that programmers and developers continue to be highly prized in the IT world. Programming and development skills are some of the most in-demand career skills sought by hiring managers in 2022, and database administration isn’t far behind. A quick search on Indeed results in more than 240 pages of job listings for “Oracle developer,” which is a great indication of both need and opportunity. Developers create and modify Oracle software and must know how to design software from the ground up, package products, import data, write scripts and develop reports.
  • Implementation specialists: Oracle and its partners will always need implementation specialists to sell and deploy the company’s solutions. This role is typically responsible for tasks that must be successfully accomplished to get a solution up and running in a client’s environment, from creating a project plan and schedule to configuring and customizing a system to match client specifications.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway: Earning the best IT certifications, including those from Oracle, is an excellent career advancement asset that validates your skills and knowledge.

Oracle training and resources

It’s not surprising that Oracle has an extensive library of exam preparation materials. Visit the Oracle University website for hands-on instructor-led training, virtual courses, training on demand, exam preparation seminars, practice exams and other training resources.

A candidate’s best bet, however, is to choose a certification path and follow the links on Oracle’s website to the required exams. If training is recommended or additional resources are available for a particular exam, Oracle lists them on the exam page.

Another excellent resource is the Oracle Learning Paths webpage (education.oracle.com/learning-paths/all_paths), which provides a lengthy list of Oracle product-related job roles and recommended courses.

Oracle certification FAQ

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Oracle certifications.

How much do Oracle exams cost?

On average, Oracle certification exams are $245. However, some entry-level exams are only $95. Oracle Certified Master exams, which typically take more time to complete, cost more. 

Can I take Oracle certification exams online?

Yes. Oracle University will deliver online exams through its learning and delivery platform, MyLearn.

What happens if I fail an Oracle exam?

Candidates may take a failed exam four times in a 12-month period. Each new attempt must be paid separately. However, candidates may only schedule exam retakes five or more days from the failed exam appointment date. 

How long are Oracle certifications valid?

In general, Oracle certifications do not expire. However, they may be retired. In this case, you can always decide to achieve the next certification through an upgrade path or newer certification. These options can help ensure you stay updated on product upgrades.

Oracle Certified professionals have options

A survey of Oracle Certified professionals showed that 61% received a promotion, secured a new job or entered a new field thanks to their certification. Additionally, 91% of those surveyed stated their certification gave them more credibility on the job. Given the wide range of credentials, products and regular product upgrades, Oracle provides countless opportunities for IT professionals to continue expanding their knowledge and skills.  

Casey Conway contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.