For the first time in nearly a decade — nine-plus years, anyway — Microsoft is raising its certification exam prices. As of July 1, 2011, the cost of an MCP exam (which applies to all Microsoft certifications except for Microsoft Office Specialist topics, and high end exams like those for the Microsoft Certified Architect and Microsoft Certified Master credentials) will jump by 20% from $125 to $150 in the USA. There’s a pricing tool to let people from all over the world assess the price increase in their local (or an acceptable payment) currency, as the following screen cap shows:
What will cert candidates get in exchange for the price uptick? Here’s what the FAQ on this topic says in partial answer to the question “What are the reasons for the price increase?”
The new fee structure enables Microsoft to improve the Microsoft Certification program. Examples of proposed improvements include new Microsoft Certifications, new question types, frequent updates to certification exams, improved exam security, and driving adoption of Microsoft Certification by accrediting bodies across the world.
Student discounts will remain available (and “substantial” according to the FAQ), and I would still expect to see promotions and discounts available through various outlets even after prices go up. But one thing’s for sure: with the date of a price increase known, and payment good for up to one year from exam purchase, if you’re planning to take an MCP exam any time in the next year, you might want to go ahead and visit Prometric online to pony up your $125 per exam now. Do it before prices go up, instead of waiting and paying an extra $25 on or after July 1.