Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE)

The Cisco CCDE certification is the highest level of the Cisco Design curriculum and affirms advanced knowledge in network architecture. Candidates for the CCDE certification include network leads of IT infrastructure and architecture teams and design engineers. Fast Lane’s CCDE training will teach you how to produce design solutions at the infrastructure level for large customer networks which address planning, design, assimilation, expansion, processes, security and ongoing support. Advance your knowledge of network infrastructure design principle and fundamentals by completing CCDE training today!


There are no formal prerequisites for CCDE. No specific training or other professional certifications are required.


Step One: CCDE Written Exam

The 2-hour, written qualification exam covers network design in the areas of routing, tunneling, Quality of Service (QoS), management, cost, capacity, and security. You must pass the written exam before you are eligible to schedule the CCDE practical exam.

Step Two: CCDE Practical Exam

The 8-hour practical exam tests your ability to perform design analysis, justify design requirements, and develop a design implementation based on best practices. Only candidates that have a passing score on the CCDE Written Exam may register for the CCDE Practical Exam.


Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) certifications are valid for two years. To recertify, pass ONE of the following before the certification expiration date:

  • Pass any current CCIE Written Exam OR CCIE lab exam, or
  • Pass the current CCDE Written Exam OR current CCDE Practical Exam, or
  • Pass the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) interview AND the CCAr board review to extend lower certifications

Candidates can only apply one passed written exam towards recertification for every two year recertification period. Candidates must wait five calendar days between attempts at the written exam. CCIE and CCDE professionals that do not pass a qualifying exam or lab exam before the recertification deadline will be placed in a suspended status and their employers will be notified. Suspended CCIE and CCDE professionals have one year to pass the required exam or lab before their expert level certification becomes permanently inactive. Inactive CCIE and CCDE professionals lose all benefits and must pass both the CCIE written and lab or CCDE written or practical exams again.

Achieving or recertifying CCDE automatically extends your active Entry, Associate, Professional or other Expert level certification(s), or Specialist certifications. When using a higher level of certification to extend other certifications, the expiration date of other certifications will extend to the expiration date of the higher certification (i.e.: If you have one year left on your CCNA certification and you earn a CCIE certification (which has a two-year certification life) then both your CCIE certification and your CCNA certification will expire two years from the date you achieved the CCIE certification).

Recertification Verification/Deadlines

Your recertification deadline can be viewed online anytime (with login) at Certification Status. Subsequent recertification deadlines are always based on your original certification date, not on when you took your last recertification exam.