Esri Technical Certification: Exam Plans for 10.2 and Beyond

As the technical certification program continues to grow, we periodically make changes and improvements to ensure we offer the best possible program to the global ArcGIS community. In the time since ArcGIS 10.2 was released, we’ve gotten questions from the community about exam availability for that version. Many of you have asked for a certification exam release schedule so you can plan the time needed to prepare for and take a specific 10.2 exam. Esri technical certifications

Well, we love to make the community happy. You asked for a release schedule, and we’re sharing it here. But first, let’s cover the backstory—the strategy behind the schedule.

It’s no secret that the tech landscape always has and always will change in response to innovation. Change these days happens to be fast and furious, or feels that way sometimes. Change applies to the ArcGIS world as well. Thanks in large part to agile software development methods, ArcGIS Online, and the ArcGIS Marketplace, Esri can deliver innovative new tools and capabilities to meet the needs of our customers much faster than ever before.

What does this mean for the certification program going forward?

As software releases become more frequent, the frequency with which we update our suite of exams will change in some cases. Currently, we provide eight certification exams, each of which has an ArcGIS 10.0 and an ArcGIS 10.1 version. For ArcGIS 10.2, we will release four updated exams. Four existing exams will not have a 10.2 version.

The process we use to develop exams is psychometrically robust and involves many people. When a new software version is released, the certification team works closely with groups of Esri subject matter experts to evaluate the impact of the new release on all existing exams. Together, we determine the level of change from one software version to the next using impact assessment surveys and extensive review of individual exam frameworks.

Based on this process, an exam will be updated only if more than 10 percent of its content is impacted by software version changes. Exams that are minimally impacted (less than 10 percent) will not be updated for the new software version.

Bottom line: If we decide not to update a particular exam, it means that exam applies to the latest release of the software.

As a result, some exam versions will not correlate with the latest ArcGIS software version. For example, the skills measured by the ArcGIS Desktop Associate and ArcGIS Desktop Professional 10.1 exams are all still relevant at the 10.2 release and the exams’ content was minimally impacted, so we will not be releasing 10.2 versions of those exams.

A big part of our exam-release strategy is to be respectful of the time and resources Esri-certified individuals have invested in the program. If you are an Esri-certified ArcGIS Desktop 10.1 Associate or Professional, your certification now has a longer shelf life. You won’t have to spend time preparing for (or pay for) a 10.2 exam that isn’t significantly different than the exam you have already passed.

If, on the other hand, you are someone who is working with ArcGIS 10.2 and wants to earn the ArcGIS Desktop Associate or Professional certification, you would take the 10.1 version of the exam because the content of that exam applies to ArcGIS 10.2.

    “We’re not creating exams just to create exams. Our focus is testing critical knowledge and skills that demonstrate expertise applying Esri best practices,” says Jessi Mielke, certification program manager.

As Esri continues to release new software and new certification exams, we’ll update the Certification website with information about the most current exams. And, as indicated in the first sentence of this post, we may make other changes and improvements from time to time in response to shifts in the tech landscape and to make sure we continue to provide the best-possible certification program.

Esri and our customers are pioneering new uses of GIS-powered maps, apps, and analytics that promise to greatly expand our understanding of the world. It’s an exciting time to be a member of the ArcGIS community.

10.2 Exam Plans

Esri technical certification exams and versions


About SuzanneB

Suzanne is a Maryland native with a degree in English Literature who enjoys writing about Esri technology and other topics. She works with Esri Training Services in Redlands, California.
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  5. spheroid1 says:

    Hi Susan,My goal is to prepare/pass the ESRI desktop professional exam without taking instructor led courses, because I don’t want to jump through the hoops at my company and then be indebted to them, contractually to stay on board for any length of time.My Plan:  Buy the ESRI Associate study guide and take/pass the associate exam.  Q1:  Will this help me prepare for the professional exam, by taking this exam first?Q2:  After passing the associate, what would be the best course of study for passing the professional?Q3:  How much harder is the professional, than the associate and will taking the associate make any difference in passing the professional?Q4:  Do you have data on how many people pass or fail the professional…and…what is the percentage that pass on the second try?Thanks,Spheroid1  

    • SuzanneB SuzanneB says:

      An ArcGIS Desktop Professional is expected to know everything tested by the ArcGIS Desktop Associate exam plus have more advanced skills and knowledge primarily gained from workplace experience. While preparing for and earning the Associate certification could help you prepare for the Professional exam, it is no guarantee that you will pass the Professional exam because the Professional exam measures more in-depth knowledge. We recommend you review the Skills Measured section on our website to determine how your current skills and experience match up. You could also take our free sample question web course for the ArcGIS Desktop Professional exam to get a quick idea of the exam’s structure–keeping in mind that the actual exam scope is much broader. A list of web courses and Esri Press books that can help you prepare for the exam is provided here.

  6. ssaine0180 says:

    Hi Suzanne,What the primarily differences between the Associate and the Professional Certif’ and who are they respectively designed.Thanks

    • SuzanneB SuzanneB says:

      Hi, compared to an Associate, Professional certification holders generally have more workplace experience and a wider range of ArcGIS product exposure and expertise. A Professional exam measures more advanced ArcGIS skills and knowledge.

  7. mostafasuper85 says:

    Can i know please what is the passing score of the exam? the total number of questions is 94 now for 10.1 version how many questions i need to give a right answer to pass?
    Appreciate your reply…

    • SuzanneB SuzanneB says:

      Hi, it is Esri’s policy to keep numerical score information, including pass scores, confidential. This helps protect the integrity and value of Esri technical certifications.