Cisco Centralizes CCIE Lab Testing in Texas
Today (July 12) is my first full day back at work, after a family/summer vacation. We were supposed to get back a day earlier, but as fate would have it, the weather intervened. Upon arriving at DFW from Vancouver, we learned that a massive thunderstorm had cancelled all flights scheduled for the rest of the evening.
Google Street View reveals Cisco's new CCIE lab exam location (in Richardson, Texas) is a typical corporate campus building.
In turn, this led us to a Ramada Inn near Love Field in Dallas. American Airlines couldn't get us home until Friday evening, but Southwest proved perfectly willing to get us home the next morning instead. While checking in at the hotel, I ran into Drew Mickus (CCIE #62438), who had just finished (and passed) his CCIE lab exam the day before.
That's when I learned that Cisco has shuttered its CCIE test labs for the grueling hands-on lab exams that were formerly located in San Jose, Calif., and in the Raleigh/Triangle Park (RTP) area of North Carolina. These days, there's just one permanent CCIE lab exam location for the enitre western hemisphere.
CCIE ground zero is now located in Richardson, Texas, at 2250 East President George Bush Highway, Building 5 (zip code: 75082).
Where Are the Rest of the CCIE Labs Located?
A look at the following table, lifted verbatim from Cisco's CCIE lab exam locations web page, shows there are eight such testing centers globally, along with a ninth roving location labeled "Mobile Labs."
Indeed, the most interesting of the listings in the "Lab Location" column is the one that read "Mobile Labs." For those unable to arrange travel to one of the eight permanent lab locations, this page lists a schedule of mobile lab locations around the globe where the CCIE Lab Exam are also offered for the current calendar year.
Most months offer at least one, and sometimes two or three, such locations, each for a duration of three days. Thus, CCIE candidates who wish to test at other locations should check this schedule at the start of each calendar year, to obtain the best chance of garnering a seat at that particular table.
Given that demand for exam slots is high and mobile labs stay in place for only a short period, planning ahead seems to be crucial in obtaining such access. Consider this a word to the wise in dealing with the logistics necessary to sit for the any of the CCIE lab exams.
My informant told me this attempt to pass the exam was not his first, and that planning for when, where, and the expense involved is no small task. I'm going to follow up with an interview with him about his testing experience, during which he promises to provide information to help other candidates minimize their exam attempts before achieving success.