The Cisco Certified Network Associate certification, otherwise known as the CCNA certification, is an entry-level certificate designed for IT professionals working in small to medium-sized networks. It shows that the certified individual can install, organize, manage and troubleshoot these networks as well as handle minor security threats and understand basic IP terminology. This certification helps individuals gain a foothold in the prestigious IP community, gains them more credibility with employers, and gives them a greater chance to get a job at a large, respectable IP company. In addition, the CCNA certification is one of the most sought-after certifications by employers in the computer networking field.

The CCNA certification can also result in salary increases of as much as 20 percent. In the U.S., the salary of a person who possesses this certification can run anywhere from $30,000 to $90,000, depending on factors such as experience, workplace and additional education. Certified individuals with experience generally earn much more than those without; however, it is still possible to earn as much as $30,000 per year with this certification even with less than a year of experience. According to a survey done by Certification Magazine in 2009, the average salary of a CCNA-certified person in the U.S. is $87,790. Cisco’s Global Knowledge 2010 Salary Survey places this number a little lower, at $79,695.

Common jobs held by an individual with CCNA certification include IT network administrator, systems engineer, network engineer, IT manager and IT director. Each of these jobs has a different salary, with IT network administrator being the lowest and IT director being the highest. On average, a network administrator earns about $50,268 a year, a systems engineer earns $61,958, a network engineer earns $62,964, an IT manager makes $76,250 and an IT director is worth $90,862 a year. Senior IT engineers can earn more than engineers who don’t hold this position; a senior systems engineer makes around $83,741 per year and a senior network engineer earns about $85,506.

A person’s income after CCNA certification can also be influenced by the city they live in, the company they work for and even the school they graduate from. In Atlanta, Georgia, the salary range with this certification is between $38,605 and $112,625, whereas in New York, it starts at $44,674 and can reach as high as $122,960. As far as employers go, the U.S. Army pays the least for this certification, with a salary range from $30,000 to $87,000, and Cisco System, Inc. has the highest salary range at $56,782 to $117,906. In addition, graduates of ITT Technical Institute tend to earn the least, and those with a certificate from Strayer University tend to earn the most.

Another factor that can affect a person’s salary is the exact type of CCNA certification they hold. There are five levels of CCNA certification available, including entry, associate, professional, expert and architect. A person with an entry-level CCNA certification usually earns far less than someone with a certification at the architect level. In addition, Cisco offers three different specializations under the CCNA certificate: security, voice and wireless. As a general rule, specializations help a person make more money. According to Cisco, a person with a security specialization averages $89,911, someone who specializes in voice makes $88,020, and a wireless specialization can earn a person as much as $94,323.

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