I’m in the process of studying for my Salesforce certification, and it’s not easy! If you’re ahead of me and already have your certification, you’ve proven that you know all about the newest Salesforce release and you’re ready to send your company’s Salesforce ROI through the roof. That’s a major accomplishment, but make sure you hold onto it!
So how do you hold onto your Salesforce certification? The good news is that you don’t have to take the full exam every time you need to prove you’re current; much in the same way you don’t have to take a driving test each time your driver’s license expires, once you establish your Salesforce credentials for a given certification, there are far fewer hoops to jump through to keep it. All you have to do is take a short release exam to maintain that credential for each new release. It’s a pretty rational approach that lets us demonstrate we still know our stuff without adding much strain on our already packed schedules.
Salesforce Certification Exam Cycle
As a Salesforce Developer or Admin, you need to take the exam each release cycle, which happens a bit more often than driver’s licenses expire — a new release comes out about three times per year, every four months or so.
Some of the release exams are:
- Salesforce Certified Administrator Release Exam
- Salesforce Certified Force.com Developer Release Exam
- Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder Release Exam
- Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I Release Exam, and
- Salesforce Certified Pardot Consultant Release Exam
Administrator Release Exam
If you want to keep your Administrator, Advanced Administrator, Service Cloud Consultant, Sales Cloud Consultant, Community Cloud Consultant, or Field Service Lightning Consultant certification, you’ll need to take the Administrator Release Exam.
Force.com Developer Release Exam
If you want to maintain your certification as a Force.com Developer or Force.com Advanced Developer, you need to take the Force.com Developer Release Exam.
Platform Developer I Release Exam
To hold the Platform App Builder, Application Architect, or System Architect certification, you’ll have to take the Platform App Builder Release Exam. To be a certified Platform Developer I, Platform Developer II, or Application Architect you’ll need to take the Platform Developer I Release Exam.
Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Release Exam
If you are a Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist or Consultant, you’ll need to take the Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Release Exam.
Taking the Exam
You must answer about 15 questions in 30 minutes to complete a release exam. It’s an unproctored exam, so you’re allowed to reference whatever literature or online resources you’d like so long as you complete the exam with in the time limit. It’s a good idea to brush up on release notes and watch the videos in Salesforce’s YouTube channel immediately before taking it so that information is fresh in your mind.
In addition to taking regular exams, you’ll also need to pay an annual $100 maintenance fee to keep your certification.
Be sure to take the exams by the deadlines Salesforce.com establishes, which are typically 8 or 9 months before the release deadline. For example:
- The Summer ’16 Release Exam is due March 24, 2017.
- The Winter ’17 Release Exam is due July 14, 2017.