Certification refers to the confirmation of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organization. This confirmation is often, but not always, provided by some form of external review, education, or assessment. One of the most common types of certification in modern society is professional certifications where a person is certified as being able to competently complete a job or task, usually by the passing of an examination.
Professional IT certifications are non-degree awards made to those who have achieved qualifications specified by a certifying authority. Depending on the particular certification, qualifications may include completing a course of study, proof of professional accomplishments, achieving a specified grade on an examination or some combination thereof. The intention is to establish that an individual holding a certification is technically qualified to hold certain types of position within the field.
Certifications, generally, need to be renewed periodically, or may be valid for a specific period of time (e.g. the life-time of the product upon which the individual is certified). As a part of a complete renewal of an individual's certification, it is common for the individual to show evidence of continual learning — often termed continuing education — or earning continuing education units (CEU).i.e Cisco certifications are valid for 3 years