CISCO Frequently Asked Questions

I'm having problems with the application or registration system. I get this message. ..

If you have problems with the noncredit application, or registration, please contact the Community Learning Center staff at 760-795-8710. Only support staff can assist with registration problems (not instructors).

If you have problems with Surf (ID and/or password), please contact the Surf Helpdesk (760) 795-6655 or

When I try to register for a class, I am asked to enter a permission number. What's that and how do I get one?

Permission numbers are needed by those registering for the more advanced classes, if the student did not complete the previous course at MiraCosta College. (Example: You are a CCNP student enrolling at MiraCosta for the first time. The Surf system will not know that you have completed the CCNA and are qualified to enroll in a CCNP level class.) Contact the instructor for that class to obtain a permission number.  With the number, you will be able to complete your class registration online.

What is the cost for classes?

There is no materials fee for any class.

Do I get the certification from MiraCosta College?

MiraCosta College offers training classes to prepare students to take the certification exams. Currently, one must go to an independent testing center selected by Cisco to sit for the exam. Locations can be found at You can find the cost for the individual exams at as prices vary by exam (generally $150-250). Cisco provides discount vouchers to students who meet various qualifications upon course completion.

How many classes are there to get CCNA?

There are four (4) courses that prepare students for the CCNA exam. Students may also choose to prepare for the exam by splitting it into two parts. Two courses prepare students for the first exam, and an additional two courses prepare students for the second exam.

Can I register for two courses at the same time?

No. The Cisco Academy program is sequential, and one course must be completed before the next can begin. (The Cisco Academy website does not permit registration in more than one course at a time.)

Can I take the classes in any sequence?

The first two courses must be completed in sequence – NCVOC11 followed by NCVOC12. NCVOC12 may be followed by NCVOC13, NCVOC14 or NCVOC60.

Am I required to take the certification exam?

No.  We have many students who want the knowledge and experience for their jobs, and have no intention of taking the exam. There is no requirement to take certification exams.

How long does it take to go through the program?

This will depend on the amount of time you have to study. Classes typically take one semester to complete.

We frequently have students state that they will move through the class materials at a rapid pace (short time), only to find that there is more work than they anticipated.

How much work is required for this program?

Study time will always be an individual matter, depending on experience and subject matter difficulty. If you have less time available, you may not complete a course during the semester. If you want to complete a course faster, you should plan to spend more hours on the work.

The NCVOC11 and NCVOC12 courses should be considered as college level 3 unit courses. You should plan to spend 10 – 12 hours per week depending on your background, including lab exercises. (Those with more computer experience may spend less time.)

NCVOC13, NCVOC14, NCVOC60 are more advanced classes and should be considered the same as 4 unit college courses. These courses have more lab work, as well as more technical topics.

Why do the classes take so many hours (or months)?

The philosophy is that students are building solid skills, not just learning answers to exam questions. There is a fair amount of reading and lab exercises to be completed.

Cisco prevents Cisco Academies from offering individual classes in less than 7 weeks.  For shorter term classes, you can look into class offerings by the Cisco Learning Partners at These typically have substantial fees for their classes.

In the past we have offered shorter, 8 week classes but our night students rebelled! Things moved too quickly for them to get the work completed.

How can I be successful?

These courses should be considered as a 3 or 4 unit college-level course with regard to the amount of work that might be required.

Time – Consider your other commitments (classes, job, family, etc). If you have many commitments outside of the class, you should probably plan to complete one course per semester. If there are too many commitments in your life now, perhaps wait a semester until you can allocate the time required to be successful.

Focus – Set aside time to complete the work. (We do find that students are more likely to let things slide because there is no grade or transcript. However, this also slows down their progress.) If the class is an online/hybrid, block out the time to do the work. You can go to a library, or perhaps stay at the office to focus on assignments. Set the time in an appointment calendar to avoid conflicts.  Turn off Facebook and the phone while studying.

Motivation – Do you want a better job or promotion? When do you want it? If you let the class work slide, your progress will be slow. (We have students who take 2 semesters to complete one course. Then suddenly and magically, they want to be done and have a certification. Clearly, without focus, if one spends 2 semesters in the same course, progress will be slow and it will take more than two years. Not criticizing here - If that works for your goals, that is ok too. At the same time, can one complain? (We don’t set a limit on how long you can attend.)

Can I take multiple courses at the same time?

No, Cisco Academy requirements state that one course be completed prior to enrollment in the next course. Instructors are not allowed to enroll students in multiple CCENT/CCNA level classes in the Cisco Academy system at the same time.

Is every course offered every semester?

Not at this time.  It depends on enrollments as classes must have a minimum of 20 students or they are cancelled. The schedule of classes is determined by the anticipated number of students enrolling (to minimize cancellations). We do our best to schedule classes so that students can continue to proceed through the program.

I have IT industry experience. I looked at the course descriptions for NCVOC11 and I know that material already. Can I skip that class?

Possibly.  At the beginning of each semester, a ‘test-out’ session will be available.  Students will take the final exam for NCVOC11.  If the student passes the test, they may register in the second class immediately. If a student fails to get 70% or better on the final exam, they must complete the course. There is only one opportunity to test-out of NCVOC11.  Refer to the test out link for more details.

I read the information on testing out.  Can you give me access to the class materials so I can study on my own prior to taking the test out exam?

Sorry. The purpose of the test out process is to allow those with previous training and/or experience to move on to new material.  If you do not already know the material, then you should complete the course.  Cisco Networking Academy materials can only be accessible to students enrolled in a class at a participating institution.

How many certifications exams are required for CNNA?

There are two options for testing for CCNA certification.

Option 1 – Take one comprehensive exam covering all the material in the 4 Cisco Academy CCNA prep courses.

Option 2 – Take 2 exams.  ICND1 covers material in NCVOC11 and NCVOC12.  Successfully passing this exam awards the CCENT certification (Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician).

ICND2 covers the material in NCVOC13 and NCVOC14. Successful completion of both ICND1 and ICND2 exams awards or completes the CCNA certification.

Why should I take the CCENT (ICND1, or 2 exam path) exam?

Sometimes it is easier to stay motivated if one has a tangible measurement of success. By passing the ICND1 exam after 2 courses, there is a sense of accomplishment. You can be motivated to go the distance and complete the final 2 courses. Also, you can show an employer that you are progressing toward the CCNA.

What is the passing score for Cisco exams?

The passing score is set by Cisco and can vary from time to time, as well as by exam. It is generally about 82-85%. It is a timed exam. A test-taker cannot go back and forth through the questions (or skip one then return later). There is only one opportunity to answer the question.

 It is a very challenging exam and requires test-takers to know their stuff, as well as manage their time during the exam. A high percentage of students who fail the exam the first time do not have enough time to complete the exam. This can be due to poor time management, or lack of knowledge.

What types of questions are on the exam?

There are simulations that require configuring or troubleshooting equipment according to the instructions presented. Testlets and simlets present a scenario and ask multiple questions based on the scenario. There are multiple choice questions as well.

Contact Information

Associate Faculty


Community Learning Center (CLC)
1831 Mission Avenue
Oceanside CA 92058
Phone: (760) 795-8737