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Best Wireless Networking Certifications 2018

Best Wireless Networking Certifications 2018
By , Mary Kyle

Credit: ShutterstockCredit: Shutterstock

Though networking of all kinds remains a white-hot IT concern and technology area, nothing could be hotter than wireless technologies for everything from local area networking with 802.11ad, to the widespread proliferation and adoption of fourth-generation (4G) wireless wide area networking technologies, such as LTE.

The five certifications that we cite in this article represent just a small sample of the total number of wireless IT certifications available in today's marketplace. This year, we've chosen to feature two ever-popular Cisco certifications — the CCNA Wireless and CCNP Wireless — along with the CWNA and CWDP credentials from the Certified Wireless Network Professional organization. Rounding out our top five list is the SANS GAWN credential.

Salaries in the industry vary considerably, but entry-level wireless networking professionals should expect to make roughly $58,000 to $62,000. SimplyHired reported average earnings for CWNAs at $56,000 to $70,000 for those holding the GIAC GWAN certification. Of course, these are just average salaries. Indeed, other factors, such as job role and experience, can greatly influence earnings potential. When looking at salaries by job role rather than individual certification, you'll find average salaries are much higher. For example, SimplyHired reports average earnings for network architects (a common role performed by CCNP Wireless credential holders) at $124,000, with earnings on the high end more than $173,000.

In preparation for this article, we conducted a random survey of various IT job boards to see what certifications are being requested by prospective employers. In reviewing the results, it's important to remember that factors such as geography, the current climate of the employment market and the complexity of the cert influence outcomes. You can expect to see lower numbers on more senior certifications because, quite frankly, they're more difficult to obtain and fewer people possess them as compared to entry- and mid-level wireless credentials.

Job Board Survey Results (in alphabetical order, by sponsor)*

CertificationSimplyHiredIndeedLinkedInUS.JobsTotal
CCNA Wireless1,4261,9261,170
500*
5,022
CCNP Wireless1,255
1,328
54
500*
3,107
CWDP
14
156
11
46
CWNA
78
79
69
47
273
GIAC GAWN1313
11
10
47


* See our complete methodology for selecting top five certifications in the Best Certifications series.