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Best Wireless Networking Certifications of 2023

Jordan Bishop
Jordan Bishop
Business News Daily Staff
Updated Jan 30, 2023

Find the best certification to enhance your IT career, whether that’s Cisco or CompTIA.

  • Becoming certified as a wireless professional is an effective way to land a high-paying job.
  • As the wireless industry grows, it’s crucial to select the certifications that will enhance your career as a wireless professional.
  • CCNA, CCNP Enterprise, CompTIA Network+, CWNA and CWSP are among the most valuable certifications, but many more are available.
  • This article is for IT professionals seeking to advance their careers in the wireless networking arena.

The wireless networking space has exploded in recent years and wireless technologies have become a connectivity game-changer. The advent of fourth-generation (4G) wireless wide-area networking technologies and the emergence of LTE (Long Term Evolution) and 5G technology further underscore wireless networking’s critical role in business today. 

The demand for professionals with wireless networking knowledge and expertise is at an all-time high. As wireless professionals map their career paths, adding respected wireless networking certifications to their resumes can show hiring managers they have the cutting-edge, in-demand career skills to take their organizations to the next level. 

We’ll highlight the best wireless networking certifications IT professionals can obtain to demonstrate their skills to current and prospective employers. 

Did you know?Did you know?: Earning the best IT certifications, including wireless networking certifications, is an excellent career advancement asset that validates your skills and knowledge.

Best wireless networking certifications

According to Salary.com data, wireless engineers earn about $98,99 to $125,000 annually. However, bonuses, commissions, location, seniority and many more factors can affect earnings and boost pay much higher. The right certifications can increase your value and salary. 

Here are our picks for the top wireless networking certifications. 

1. CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate Certification

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Certification is one of many Cisco certifications. It’s considered to be one of the most reliable certifications for professionals navigating the ever-changing IT industry. The exam is comprehensive and covers the following topics: 

  • Network fundamentals
  • Network access
  • IP connectivity
  • IP services
  • Security fundamentals
  • Automation and programmability

Cisco doesn’t insist on stringent prerequisites for this certification. However, there are age requirements: No one younger than 13 can take the exam, and those aged 13 to 17 must have parental consent to proceed. Additionally, Cisco recommends that applicants have at least one year of experience using and implementing Cisco products and solutions, a basic knowledge of IP addressing, and an understanding of network fundamentals. 

Passing the CCNA certification exam will provide opportunities for wireless professionals in the following job roles:

  • Entry-level network engineer
  • Help desk technician
  • Network administrator
  • Network support technician

After you pass the certification test, your status is valid for three years. After three years, you must apply for recertification via one of two options: passing a qualifying exam or earning 30 continuing education credits.

CCNA fact sheet

Certification information

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

Prerequisites and required courses

There are no formal prerequisites for this certification. However, Cisco recommends candidates have one or more years of experience implementing and administering Cisco solutions.

Number of exams

One exam, 120 minutes long

Cost per exam

$300 (with the option to use Cisco learning credits instead of paying)

Exam website

CCNA – Training & Certifications – Cisco 

Preparation materials

Cisco offers an online course: Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions (CCNA). You can purchase this course through several online learning models and resources. Visit Cisco’s CCNA exam preparation web page for more information. 

Did you know?Did you know?: The CCNA certification is also recommended when pursuing the best computer networking certifications and the best data center certifications.

2. CCNP Enterprise: Cisco Certified Network Professional Enterprise

If you’re seeking a job maintaining and troubleshooting global enterprise networks, the Cisco Certified Network Professional Enterprise (CCNP Enterprise) certification is a significant credential upgrade. The CCNP Enterprise certification will test your mastery in the following areas:

  • Architecture 
  • Virtualization 
  • Infrastructure 
  • Network assurance 
  • Security 
  • Automation 

The CCNP Enterprise certification is more complex than the CCNA. You’ll need to complete the following examinations.

  1. Core exam: First, you’ll take a core exam and its recommended training. The 350-401 ENCOR exam will objectively assess your knowledge of enterprise network technologies, a vital step to cementing your CCNP Enterprise certification.
  2. Concentration exam: After you complete the core exam and training, you’ll be prompted to take another concentration exam along with completing its recommended training. You can select a concentration exam based on your preferences.

When you pass the two required exams, your certification will be valid for three years. You’ll have expanded opportunities for the following job roles:

  • Network administrator
  • Systems engineer
  • Network support technician
  • Mid-level network engineer

CCNP Enterprise fact sheet

Certification information

Cisco Certified Network Professional Enterprise

Prerequisites and required courses

There are no formal prerequisites for this certification. However, Cisco recommends that candidates possess three to five years of relevant experience in implementing enterprise network solutions.

Number of exams

Two exams are required. 

  • 350-401 ENCOR Exam 
  • Concentration exam

Cost per exam

$400 

Concentration exams

Select one of the following: 

  • 300-410 ENARSI (Implementing Cisco Enterprise Advanced Routing and Services)
  • 300-415 ENSDWI (Implementing Cisco SD-WAN Solutions)
  • 300-420 ENSLD (Designing Cisco Enterprise Networks)
  • 300-425 ENWLSD (Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks)
  • 300-430 ENWLSI (Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks)
  • 300-435 ENAUTO (Implementing Automation for Cisco Enterprise Solutions)

Exam website

CCNP Enterprise – Training & Certifications – Cisco 

Preparation materials

Cisco offers an online course: Implementing and Operating Cisco Enterprise Network Core Technologies (ENCOR). You can purchase this course through several online learning models and resources. Visit Cisco’s CCNP Enterprise exam preparation web page for more information. 

TipTip: The CCNP Enterprise certification is among the best mobility certifications and certifications to advance your networking career.

3. CompTIA: Network+

The CompTIA Network+ is a wireless networking and cybersecurity certification that assesses a wireless professional’s technical skills in establishing, troubleshooting and maintaining networks for any business on any platform. Additionally, the Network+ certification serves as a prerequisite for other CompTIA certifications, including those listed below:

  • Security+
  • Cybersecurity Analyst+ (CySA+, formerly CSA+)
  • Linux+
  • PenTest+

The CompTIA Network+ exam examines a candidate’s IT professional capacity and skills in designing and implementing functional networks, configuring and maintaining essential network devices, and implementing network security standards and protocols. Here are some of the topics covered: 

When you pass this certification exam, your certification will be valid for three years. You’ll benefit from expanded opportunities in the following job roles:

  • Network administrator
  • Network field technician
  • Junior network administrator
  • IT consultant
  • Network field engineer
  • Computer technician
  • Help desk technician

CompTIA: Network+ fact sheet

Certification information

CompTIA Network+

Prerequisites and required courses

CompTIA A+ certification is required. CompTIA recommends at least nine to 12 months of networking experience.

Number of exams

One exam: N10-008; maximum of 90 questions. (Pearson VUE is the testing provider.) 

Cost per exam

$358 

Exam website

Network+ (Plus) Certification | CompTIA IT Certifications 

Preparation materials

Visit CompTIA’s Network+ Certification Training web page to find out about exam prep, e-learning resources, interactive labs, study guides and more.

Did you know?Did you know?: CompTIA Network+ certification is a prerequisite for the CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI certification, which is considered one of the best Linux certifications for an IT career.

4. CWNA: Certified Wireless Network Administrator

The CWNA (Certified Wireless Network Administrator) certification was developed by the Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) organization. It’s a long-standing certification for IT professionals, particularly those who want to specialize in installing and maintaining wireless networks. The exam covers the following topics: 

  • Radio frequency (RF) technologies
  • Antenna concepts
  • Wireless LAN hardware and software
  • Network design, installation, and management
  • Wireless standards and organizations
  • 11 network architecture
  • Wireless LAN security
  • Troubleshooting
  • Performing site surveys

The CWNA certification is considered a foundational wireless LAN certification under the CWNP program. Candidates must achieve a score of at least 70 percent to be deemed certified. 

When you pass this certification exam, your certification will be valid for three years, after which you can apply for recertification. While your credential is still valid, you’ll need to take and pass a professional-level exam — CWSP, CWDP, or CWAP — to renew your certification. You can also recertify by retaking the CWNA exam.

CWNA fact sheet

Certification information

CWNA: Certified Wireless Network Administrator

Prerequisites and required courses

Certified Wireless Specialist (CWS) and Certified Wireless Technician (CWT) certifications are recommended but not required.

Number of exams

One exam: CWNA-108 (Pearson VUE is the testing provider.) 

Cost per exam

$249.99 

Exam website

(CWNA) Certified Wireless Network Administrator | Networking Certifications & Training 

Preparation materials

5. CWSP: Certified Wireless Security Professional

The Certified Wireless Security Professional certification is a step toward achieving a Certified Wireless Network Expert (CWNE) certification. It’s a professional-level wireless LAN and cybersecurity certification for which you must first achieve CWNA certification.

The exam covers the following topics: 

  • WLAN discovery techniques
  • Intrusion and attack techniques
  • 11 protocol analysis
  • Wireless Intrusion Prevention Systems (WIPS) implementation
  • Layer 2 and 3 VPNs used over 802.11 networks
  • Enterprise/SMB/SOHO/public-network security design models

To pass the CWSP exam, professionals must score at least 70 percent, and instructors must score at least 80 percent. When you pass this certification exam, your certification will be valid for three years, after which you can apply for recertification. Recertification is possible only if you hold a valid CWNA credential and pass the current CWSP exam. If you meet these requirements, the certification will be renewed for another three years.

CWSP fact sheet

Certification information

CWSP: Certified Wireless Security Professional

Prerequisites and required courses

You must hold a current and valid CWNA credential.

Number of exams

One: CWSP-206 (Pearson VUE is the testing provider.) 

Cost per exam

$324.99 

Exam website

CWSP (Wi-Fi Security), Certified Wireless Security Professional 

Preparation materials

TipTip: Information security professionals should also consider the best infosec and cybersecurity certifications as more business owners seek to protect their companies by hiring qualified cybersecurity experts.

Other worthwhile wireless certifications

While the five featured certification exams are among the most well-regarded in the industry, other certifications can benefit IT professionals seeking to augment their skills and credentials. Here are two more to consider. 

  • CWDP: The Certified Wireless Design Professional (CWDP) certification is suitable for professionals with enterprise network design skills and a clear understanding of the WLAN architecture and protocol.
  • CWAP: If you’re an IT professional interested in wireless LAN troubleshooting and analysis, the Certified Wireless Analysis Professional (CWAP) certification is right up your alley. Aside from the certification, the CWAP examination will also fast-track your chances of becoming CWNE certified, which is great for IT professionals who plan on catering to a broader market or industry.

How IT professionals can enhance their careers with certifications

Achieving respected, rigorous wireless networking certifications can help IT professionals expand their credentials and land more profitable job opportunities. Additionally, they’ll demonstrate their willingness to learn to hiring managers. 

While certifications take time and money, the rewards of career growth and higher compensation more than justify the investment. 

Ed Tittel and Mary Kyle contribute to the reporting and writing in this article.

Image Credit: EvgeniyShkolenko / Getty Images
Jordan Bishop
Jordan Bishop
Business News Daily Staff
Jordan Bishop is a personal finance expert and travel hacker who holds a degree in finance and entrepreneurship from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada. He is the founder of Yore Oyster and How I Travel, two sites to help you optimize your finances while living an international life. He recently published his first book, Unperfect, an exploration of problem solving.