Following yesterday’s release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, we are pleased to announce a new certification, Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA). The RHCSA certification allows system administrators to validate their ability to perform the key tasks required of Red Hat Enterprise Linux system administrators in today’s IT environments. The new RHCSA credential will replace the Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT) certification. Coverage of the RHCSA exam will be similar to RHCT, but with the addition of some key skills identified in an in-depth survey of Red Hat certified professionals. RHCSA certifications will be issued retroactively to individuals who have earned RHCT on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. With the launch of Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA), Red Hat will be offering a certification with a title that is more aligned to usage in the marketplace and reflective of system administration skills.

To redesign this certification to better meet the needs of IT managers seeking qualified system administrators, Red Hat conducted an extensive survey and analysis of Red Hat certification holders worldwide. This survey sought to identify the most frequent and critical tasks that today’s system administrators perform on the job. In addition, the survey also identified tasks that are more typically handled by senior system administrators.

Using this information, RHCSA includes those skills identified as skills every system administrator should hold. The skills found more typically among senior system administrators are covered by Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE). In addition to the survey, Red Hat has continually sought input on the certification program from its certified community through annual RHCE focus group sessions at Red Hat Summit, online focus groups with Red Hat Certified Architects (RHCAs), and informal discussions at RHCE Loopback events. This input has been central to changes made to the overall program in conjunction with the launch of RHCSA.

Earning RHCSA and Changes to the RHCE Exam
Like all Red Hat certification exams, the RHCSA exam assesses knowledge and skills through a hands-on, lab-based exam. The existing RHCT exam will be replaced by the RHCSA exam. Red Hat will continue offering RHCT exams in some regions under Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 for a period of time after Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 is released.

Beginning with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, candidates must pass both the RHCSA exam and the RHCE exam in order to earn RHCE. This is similar to the requirement under Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and earlier versions where candidates pass both RHCT and RHCE components in the RHCE exam. What differs is that the RHCSA exam is no longer embedded within the RHCE exam in the manner that the RHCT exam has been. They are now two separate exams. This change provides some clear benefits to those who pursue certification:

  • It makes the program simpler for those entering it and programs adopting it. Everyone must earn RHCSA first.
  • Under Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and earlier, RHCTs are required to re-test on RHCT elements when they take the RHCE exam. Under Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, those who earn RHCSA will not be tested again on those same skills. They need to only take the RHCE exam. Both exams will typically be available the same day and will be offered frequently, thus giving candidates considerable flexibility in scheduling.

Changes to the Re-certification Policy
The re-certification policy will change to a calendar-based approach that provides incentives for continued certification and professional growth. The re-certification policy for certifications earned on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and earlier stipulates that RHCT and RHCE certifications are considered current for two major releases but do not expire. Red Hat Certificates of Expertise do not expire, nor do they have a currency period, but they are pegged to specific releases of particular technologies.

A new re-certification policy will be in effect for certifications earned on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 or later. The aim of these changes is to provide greater flexibility for remaining current and to encourage the continuing education that contributes to a satisfying and secure career. All earlier certifications will retain the re-certification policy under which they were issued until one re-certifies. Under the new policy, RHCSA certification will be current for three years. We refer to this three-year period as the currency window. If someone passes a higher-level exam during that three-year period, Red Hat will reset the three-year currency window to the date of the more recent exam. For example, if an RHCSA earns RHCE, the currency window is moved to the date one passes the RHCE exam. If an RHCE passes a Red Hat Certificate of Expertise Exam, the window moves to the date of that exam.

For more information on the re-certification policy please visit here.

The value of Red Hat Certifications
Red Hat has offered Linux system administration courses and certifications for more than a decade and we expect to continue offering a job-relevant, hands-on training curriculum; a robust, performance-based certification program; and a consistent training experience worldwide. We believe that Red Hat’s certifications have gained a high reputation across the industry because performance-based testing requires more than just memorization. Individuals sitting for a Red Hat certification must demonstrate their ability to perform tasks required in actual IT environments. This helps increase demand for Red Hat certifications from employers and IT professionals and has garnered recognition across the industry including top rankings by IDC.

If you’re not a Red Hat Certified Professional but would like to learn more, please visit here. If you have additional questions, check out the Certification FAQ site.