Esri Technical Certification Blog

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Esri Contributor

So, you are ready to pursue an Esri Technical Certification.  By now, you know that certifications boost your resume, as well as, confidence in your skills, help you stand out among your peers, and position you for greater opportunities for success.  And, obtaining a certification creates happier, more productive, employees that tend to stick with a company.  But how do you choose the exam that is right for you so you can take advantage of all the perks of being certified?

The first step in determining which exam is right for you leads you straight to the Esri Technical Certification website.  You will need to decide if you are going to attempt a Core or Specialty exam.  This decision might be easy because, in order to be eligible to sit for a Specialty exam, you must already be certified with a Core exam.  Without first validating your foundational or core knowledge of Esri software, you will be unable to take full advantage of the Specialty exams, which are singularly focused on specific topics and meant to be stacked on top of foundational exams.

Once you have decided to pursue either a Core or Specialty exam, the next step is to decide in which domain your skills and experience most closely relate to.  Are you a Desktop whiz or an Enterprise guru?  Look through all the exams offered in the domains to determine where your foundational product and skills knowledge best fits.  When you have an idea of which exam best suits your skill set, you can determine the appropriate level: entry, associate, or professional.  The entry-level indicated skills and experience with Esri software at between 0-2 years, whereas, the associate level would require 2-4 years’ experience, and finally, the professional level is set at 4+ years of experience.

The final step will be utilizing the exam resources to perform a self-guided skill assessment.  Each exam has an associated information guide that outlines the details, qualifications, and skills measured.  Additionally, you will find an outline of the software that will be tested on in the exam and even a list of skills outside the scope of the exam.  Use the information guide to determine if your skills and experience align with that being tested on in the exam.  If you identify any skills gaps during your self-assessment, you can use the additional preparation resources to refresh your knowledge or learn new topics that will appear in the exam you are interested in.  Learning Plans, a free web course, and study guides are all available to support your exam preparation process.

When you have completed your skills assessment and are confident you have chosen the best exam to fit your skills and experience you are ready to register for your exam appointment!  It's just that easy and with a combination of planning and preparation, your journey to certification will feel like a walk in the park.


Good luck and don’t forget to share your success story to help others on the journey!

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Esri Contributor

The Esri Technical Certification Program recognizes qualified individuals who are proficient in the best practices for using Esri software and technology. Esri certifications are available within two domains: Desktop and Enterprise. Additionally, we offer the newly introduced Specialty exams, which are shorter, more focused on a particular topic, and meant to build on your foundation of ArcGIS knowledge and they are stacked on your current Esri certification.

Whether you are looking for a personal or professional development opportunity, achieving an Esri certification can help you validate skills, inspire trust, and distinguish yourself in the field of GIS.


Explore Exams

There are no prerequisites for our core exams within the Desktop or Enterprise domains, you can take any exam that you feel matches your skills and experience level. Specialty exams, however, require that you hold a core exam certification at version 10.3 or higher, prior to registration.

To explore our exams, visit:

Test takers can access the exam details on the program website to learn about the exam specifications, the definition of a qualified candidate, and the topics tested.


Each exam has a companion Exam Information Guide to assist you with preparing for an exam.

Candidates should carefully review the guide to identify exam specifications, the definition of a qualified candidate, skills measured, and the preparation resources available for each exam.

If you identify a gap between your knowledge and skills and those measured by the exam, the guide also provides a useful list of learning options and online resources, organized by topic.

Taking an Exam

In partnership with Pearson VUE, Esri Technical Certification exams are delivered at Pearson VUE Authorized Test Centers worldwide or by registering for with OnVUE (online proctored).

Pearson VUE Test Center

Esri partners with a test delivery vendor to offer flexible appointment times and locations for candidates.  Visit the site to register for an appointment at a Pearson VUE Test Center.

Online Proctored

We also offer OnVUE remote testing as a delivery option, through Pearson VUE. This allows employees to test from the convenience of your home or office while being monitored via web-cam. Visit the site register for an OnVUE exam.

Please note: Appointment availability is limited due to social distancing precautions and varies by location. Additionally, customer service wait-times might be longer than usual.

Esri Certified

Achieving an Esri Technical Certification can help you gain confidence, inspire trust, and stand out from the crowd.

Success Stories

Esri Technical Certification helps individuals around the world advance their professional and personal goals. We encourage you to participate by submitting your own success story.

Manage Your Certification

Certified individuals may need to access, view, update, and share their certification-related information.  You can share your digital badges to promote your achievement, get recognized by peers, and noticed by employers.

Directory of Esri-Certified Individuals

Opt-in to be included in the certification directory, then share your verification code as a secure way for others to verify your achievement.

We look forward to supporting your certification journey!


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Esri Contributor

So, you are ready to get certified.  You have explored the exams and picked the one that matches your skills and experience.  You are well on your way to achieving your goal.

Are you ready to prepare?

As you begin your journey to certification, there are valuable resources available to help you study and get acclimated to the style and structure of the exam.  In early November, our team released a new technical certification web course with the goal of helping candidates to prepare like a pro for any Esri exam.  The web course was designed to offer information and support with overall resources, skills assessments, and basic content review. 

Exam preparation can sometimes seem overwhelming and if you don’t know where to start then your preparation can get derailed before you even start studying.

Using the web course to self-assess

No matter your reason for wanting to achieve a technical certification, the goal is to make sure you understand what is expected of you during the exam.  In the first section of the web course, we introduce basic exam strategies.  For example, remember to read all passages thoroughly before answering so you don’t get tripped up and answer incorrectly.  There is also valuable information on how to conduct a self-assessment.  In the web course, you will be introduced to all the current resources available to help you identify which exam is right for you, how to identify knowledge gaps, and how to determine if you are indeed a qualified candidate to sit for a particular exam.

Each exam has specific resources tailored to the exam topics and will help you make the assessment on where your skills and experience fall against those measured in the exam. 

Practice makes perfect

Now that you know what to expect, you are ready to try your hand at a few practice questions.  The new web course offers three multiple-choice questions for each exam in the Desktop, Enterprise, and Specialty domains.  Simply click on the exam you are preparing for and test your knowledge with questions that are very similar to what you might expect in your live exam.

Each question will self-grade instantly, so you can better understand how you need to prepare going forward.  The sample questions are not meant to be an exhaustive practice test, but moreover, a means for you to get a feel for how the questions are structured and how the questions align with topics provided in other study resources.

Additional help topics

In addition to the preparation tips, sample questions, and learning resources, the web course offers in-depth information about how to register for your exam and what to expect on the day of your exam.  If you are taking your exam online or in a test center, you will be fully prepared with what to bring (two forms of ID), and what will not be allowed in the testing area (your wallet, cell phone, and keys, just to name a few).

Explore the new web course in the Esri Academy course catalog.  Good luck preparing for your exam!

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Esri Contributor

Every year, our technical certification team sends out a brief survey to Esri certified individuals requesting feedback on their certification experience.  We want to hear from our community about how Esri certification fits into their personal and professional development goals, how their management offers support for certification, and how impactful certification is for personal branding.

This year we surveyed over 140 certified individuals and we found some interesting trends that support our mission to recognize and validate users who are proficient in ArcGIS best practices.


Key Results

One of the key results reported in the 2019 certified individuals survey was that the most popular exam continues to be ArcGIS Desktop Associate, with almost 60% of respondents to the survey stating they currently hold a version of this exam – overall, 30% of program candidates select the ArcGIS Desktop Associate exam.

As expected, the Enterprise exams follow closely behind in popularity, but surprisingly, approximately 10% of respondents have engaged with our newly developed Specialty exams.  One respondent who has achieved a Specialty certification said, “I am looking forward to more Specialties on broader topics such as IoT, Data Science, 3D, Remote Sensing, etc. which show proficiency in non-product related topics.”


Additionally, of those surveyed, almost half had engaged with our current 19-001 development series which was released this year.  Speaking generally about the new series, one respondent said, “I found the process challenging but rewarding at the same time.  It's nice to know that I have the skills to achieve Esri certification.”

As the program drives away from the versioned exams to focus on a time-based development model, certified individuals will likely continue to engage heavily with the newer exams as they look to update certification to align their personal and professional goals.


Lastly, an astounding 85% of respondents said they were likely to pursue another Esri technical certification.  Which means the personal and professional value of an Esri certification outweighs the cost of an exam, the time spent preparing, and any other barriers that might stand in front of achievement.

“Esri technical certification demonstrates my commitment to superior professionalism, upholding industry standards, and continued learning. These merits can help boost my professional credibility and prestige within my own network, with my current clients, and when pursuing new business opportunities or bidding on projects.”






Survey Conclusions

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the annual survey.  The value of Esri technical certification is as diverse as the population of candidates that sit for the exams.  The certification program is committed to maintaining the value and integrity of your achievement from exams all the way through promoting your accomplishment and we look forward to sharing your Esri certification Success Stories.

“Passing gave me the confidence that my skills were up to speed, as well as, learning the questions that are important to understand for leveraging the full value of the ArcGIS Platform.”

Aaron ZureickJessi MielkeJessica RosalesSuzanne Boden

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Esri Contributor

If you are keeping up with Esri Technical Certification news, then you already know we’ve made some exciting changes to the program to provide you with more opportunities to certify your skills. We are excited to announce the addition of specialty certifications to our exam offerings. Specialty certification exams are shorter and singularly focus on a specific topic or product and are intended to be stacked upon your existing certifications.

The first release of specialty exams that are currently in development are two very popular topics of interest: ArcGIS API for JavaScript and ArcGIS Online Administration. Both exams will be live and available to the public in June 2019.

What’s the value in achieving a specialty certification?

We wanted to create an exam type that was focused and didn’t require you to test on foundational concepts you’ve already proven you know. To do that we’ve created a model that allows you to stack your specialties on top of your existing core Esri certifications, as you’ve demonstrated your foundational knowledge of the ArcGIS Platform.

Specialty certifications are meant to enhance your foundational ArcGIS knowledge. You have already proven your skills and experience with the greater Esri platform, and now you can showcase your skills with very specific and nuanced topics, allowing you to further set yourself apart from the competition.

How do I get a specialty certification?

To be eligible to participate in a specialty exam, you will need to be currently certified at version 10.3 or higher. If you’ve not already achieved a certification, you will need to meet this eligibility requirement before taking a specialty. You can choose from any currently available version of an exam.

If you know your specialty area inside and out, why not take the step to showcase your capabilities in that area? Whether your goals are for personal or professional development, the addition of Esri’s new specialty certifications will help you further benchmark your expertise in the field. 

Explore our new specialty exams:  Have an idea for the next specialty exam?  Let us know!

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Occasional Contributor

Are you looking for a more flexible way to achieve your certification goals in 2019? We've got you covered! We are excited to announce a new delivery model for Esri technical certification exams that allows you to take an exam securely from your own office or home workspace. Online Proctored, offered by Pearson VUE, eliminates the need to travel to a physical test center.

With Online Proctored, your experience will be very similar to taking an exam at a Pearson VUE test center. For example:

  • You still schedule your exam through Pearson VUE and take it at a specific appointment time.
  • A proctor checks you in through the formal process, including ID verification.
  • During the exam, a proctor will monitor the test-taking process just as they would in person.

The only difference is that everything is done online. To register for and take an Esri exam using Online Proctored, simply follow three steps:

You will need to run an exam simulation to get familiar with the online testing environment and verify that your system meets the requirements. You must have access to a web cam and a private workspace in which to take your exam. The workspace should be free of distractions, notes, and any exam preparation materials—the proctor will use the web cam to visually scan your space before the exam starts.

Once you verify that your system meets the requirements, you can schedule your exam appointment on the Pearson VUE website. You will need to create a Pearson VUE login if you don’t already have one to schedule a date and time for your exam. In some cases, you may even find that a same-day appointment is available.

On test day, you'll login to Pearson VUE, select your exam, and proceed through the self-check-in process. Once checked in, you will wait in the lobby for a proctor to connect with you. Once connected, your proctor will guide you through the process and launch your exam.

Testing online offers the convenience of less (or no) travel time and it can reduce test-taking anxieties by allowing you to work from a comfortable, familiar space.

Online Proctored is now available for all Esri technical certification exams. Of course, if you’d prefer to take an exam at a test center, you still have that option. The choice is yours!

Explore the latest Esri technical certification exams at

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Occasional Contributor

Each year Certification Magazine conducts a salary survey, and in 2018, for the first time, two of Esri's technical certifications made it into the top 75 certifications!  The annual survey is open again and we invite all of our certified individuals to participate. 

Please note not all Esri certifications are included in the survey.  Rather, what you will see is a curated list of certifications that align with upcoming program offerings.  You can learn more about the future of the program and our offerings by reading

Take the survey now!

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Occasional Contributor

UPDATED 10/30 to include final exam names and our first two specialty exams.

Have you been considering Esri Technical Certification as part of your personal or professional development plan?  If so, we have some exciting news to share about the future of our program and our exam offerings coming next year.

The Esri Technical Certification team will be rolling out a complete program redesign of our exam structure and offerings. To better align with Esri’s product messaging and software release, our program will adjust our current exam offerings, introduce specialty exams, and move to a time-based development cycle.


The refreshed program will offer exams across two domains, Desktop and Enterprise, with five core exams visible below.  We will continue to include ArcGIS Desktop exams at the Entry, Associate and Professional levels, as well as, Enterprise Geodata Management and a brand-new ArcGIS Enterprise Administration exam, both at the Professional levels.   

In order to keep pace with our developer community, we will focus all of our Developer topics into our new specialty exams.  These specialties will be smaller, more focused exams that can be stacked upon our core Esri certifications. We will share more details about the specialties later this year.

If you currently hold an Esri Technical Certification you can rest assured the new program redesign will not impact your certified status.   Our current exams will continue to be available until their planned retirement dates; specifically, 10.3 version exams will retire December 31, 2018, so if you are planning to certify at that version, do not delay.


We are confident that the redesigned program structure and new development cycle will allow for more effective professional development planning for candidates as they grow their skills and experience and look to validate their expertise.

Our team is currently in an active exam development cycle, and our focus will be on creating the core exams, with the first exams releasing in early 2019.  Stay tuned for more exciting updates from the certification program, and follow this space for future announcements!

Please reach out to should you have additional questions. 

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New Contributor III

A big thank you to all the UC attendees who came out to the Esri Technical Certification's Education Summit session, "Aligning Education with Esri Certification".  

If you missed the session, here's the description...

As geospatial technology continues to grow as an integral component of enterprise systems, organizations are increasingly seeing the value of certifying their workforce. Building Esri Technical Certification into the curriculum has enabled us to build a strong correlation between education and industry technical certifications, resulting in a highly skilled and recognized workforce. We'll share success stories and resources and help you promote the value of your students' skills and certification achievements.

We had a great turnout and lively discussion about how higher education institutions can ...

  • Align their curriculum to the ArcGIS Desktop Entry Certification
  • Locate their Certification Alignment Tools
  • Prepare their faculty to become Esri-Certified
  • Locate their Certification Exam Guides to prepare for an exam
  • Identify their exam's levels of cognitive complexity within the Certification Exam Guides
  • Engage with our team in GeoNet

As promised, here is the PowerPoint presentation.  We look forward to assisting you with your education alignment goals.

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