Cisco CCNA Voice Certification
Cisco CCNA Voice certification validates associate-level knowledge and skills required to administer a voice network. With a CCNA Voice certification, a network professional demonstrates the skills required to perform baseline installation, operating, and maintenance on Cisco VoIP solutions, particularly the Smart Business Communications System from 8-250 lines. The CCNA Voice certification assesses skills and knowledge related to the Cisco Unified Communications Manager. It is typically employed by large organizations such as governments, large companies, and colleges.
Additionally, the CCNA Voice Certification assesses skills and knowledge related to the Cisco CallManager Express (CME) and Cisco Unity Express (CUE) solutions typically used by medium and small organizations. Either a CCENT or full CCNA R&S certification is required before this certification can be earned; candidates may also want to ensure they have some experience with general Cisco network technologies in addition to more specific voice elements.
The Certification Process
In order to obtain CCNA Voice certification candidates are required to pass either one exam only , this exam is arranged separately from any training courses offered, further information on this exam can be seen by clicking on the title.
- 640-461 ICOMM Introducing Cisco Voice and Unified Communications Administration
Note that this certification requires re-certification every three years, this can be done by performing any of the following:
- Pass the current ICOMM exam or
- Pass any current Associate-level exam except for ICND1 exam or
- Pass any current 642-XXX Professional-level exam, or
- Pass any current Cisco Specialist exam (excluding Sales Specialist exams or MeetingPlace Specialist exams, Implementing Cisco TelePresence Installations (ITI) exams, Cisco Leading Virtual Classroom Instruction exams, or any 650 online exams), or
- Pass any current CCIE Written Exam, or
- Pass the current CCDE Written Exam OR current CCDE Practical Exam, or
- Pass the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) interview AND the CCAr board review to extend lower certifications
Preparing for the Exam
The ICOMM exam lasts 90 minutes and contains between 60 and 70 questions, the exam contains many components, the largest of which are End User support and configuration of voice messaging and presence. Further details can be seen on the individual exam page. We would recommend erring on the side of over preparation so as to ensure a mark high enough to provide a pass.
For more information on Cisco exam policies in general, take a look at this page.
GBdirect offer the Cisco approved courses aimed to provide the skills and knowledge required to earn this certification. The courses offered are:
While such courses will help prepare you for the exams they may not provide you with everything you need to pass them. To ensure this we would recommend hands on experience with the products concerned, along with additional reading from Cisco certification texts. It is advisable to look up the content of the exam, while performing practice labs and taking advantage of the practice exams available on the Cisco website should also prove beneficial. We welcome any reviews of your Cisco Certification experience, if you feel that you know of an improved learning method then please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Official Cisco Materials
Cisco provides a large amount of online materials, some of which is available through the certification pages themselves. An excellent starting point is to look at the exam content available on the exam page as well as a PDF that provides the exam guidelines.
Cisco also hosts forums in the form of Study Groups, allowing for the discussion of any areas within CCNA Voice certification. This is naturally very useful for finding information on specific areas, but also for finding overviews of certification as a whole. If you are a relative newcomer to Cisco networking it may be worth looking at the CCNA groups in addition to the specific to Voice.
A webinar is available that may be of some use for those looking to set up a home lab in order to prepare for the Voice exams.
One particular discussion of some use is this "New to Cisco Voice" thread that contains helpful suggestions covering various elements of the learning and certification process.
A range of texts are available for those studying for this certification:
CCNA Voice 640-461 Official Cert Guide This book receives largely favourable reviews as one of the better Cisco cert guides, largely due to the large quantity of screenshots and step by step configuration instructions. Some reviewers do warn that this book does not cover the exam materials completely; however this is certainly a clear and concise guide that provides an exam centric structure. You will still need to use some other preparation materials in addition to this text unless you are highly experienced in Cisco voice technologies.
CCNA Voice Study Guide: Exam 640-460 While this book is slightly outdated, being aimed at an older exam, it can still potentially be used to set up a practice lab, or by those relatively new to this field to guide a basic overview along with a test engine that will still have some relevance to the newer style exam.
CCNA Voice Lab Manual This book receives good reviews as a guide for any labs candidates would like to carry out in preparation for the CCNA Voice exam; reviewers give favourable reviews due to the number of labs and the clear structure and overall organisation.
We welcome reviews and views of any text you have personal experience with, likewise if you feel we have missed off a more valuable study aid please do get in touch.
The Techexams.net forum is one of the most active covering Cisco and other certifications, there is a great deal of detailed information related to either specific technical details or the certification as a whole. You may also need to take a look at the regular CCNA section of these forums if you are less experienced in cisco networking technologies in general,
CBT Nuggets offer a programme of instructional videos for this certification lasting approximately 19 hours. These videos come highly recommended and can be a valuable study aid combined with background reading and instructor led courses.
Pluralsight offer a two part set of instructional videos covering this particular certification, including some elements of setting up labs.
Boson offers an exam simulator for this particular certification, with 180 questions to supplement those available on each exam's study page. These receive good reviews and could prove useful.
Amir's Professional Blog contains links to four presentations on the CCNA Voice certification, which could be useful as some form of revision or basic overview.
The Pluralsight blog contains a certification guide for CCNA Voice which may be of some use for a different perspective on the certification as a whole.
Someone has very kindly made their study notes for this certification available, the link to which can be found in this forum post.
What if I fail?
Don't panic. You will be able to see and your test result and the areas you felt weakest in, focus on content areas where your performance was weakest and areas with a high percentage of questions. Once you feel ready you can reschedule your exam. Cisco's exam retake policy is listed below:
The policies for retaking exams are as follows:
- Candidates who fail an exam must wait a period of five (5) calendar days, beginning the day after the failed attempt, before they may retest for the same exam.
- Once passed, a candidate must wait a minimum of 180 days before taking the same exam with an identical exam number.
- Candidates who violate these policies are in violation of the agreement. Such conduct is strictly prohibited as described in the Cisco Certification and Confidentiality Agreement.
Excellent, you've passed
Upon passing you will receive a score report complete with your photo; this can be used to share with employers or other third parties. This will also grant you access to the Cisco Certifications Tracking System, allowing you to see certification progress, access logos for valid certifications, allow third parties/employers to see your certifications and to sign any necessary agreements.
Obtaining CCNA Voice and Switching allows for progression CCNP Voice certification, it may be worth considering also studying for the CCNP R&S certification alongside this due to the level of networking and technologies involved. For a more detailed view of Cisco's certification see their certification map.
CCNA, Salary and Contract Rates
A recent survey of IT jobs offered across the UK reported the following statistics on the average earning of salaried and contract workers holding CCNA certification. The UK average salary for a CCNA is £38,500, with the average salary for London being £42,500. A breakdown of this shows 90% are offered a salary of more than £27,000 while 10% are offered more than £57,500.
Contractor daily rates were also surveyed and the UK average was found to be £310 per day and £350 per day for the city of London. The further breakdown of these figures shows that 90% are offered a daily rate in excess of £189 while 10% are offered more than £450. Further details can be found on the IT Jobs Watch site.