Oracle hikes certification testing fees

The move sparks mixed reactions from users

Oracle made significant increases this week in the cost of technical certification exams for Sun and Oracle technologies.

A full accounting of the fee changes was not immediately available, but one forum poster claimed the cost of a MySQL Certified Associate exam had more than doubled under the new pricing.

"It is in my opinion TOTALLY UNREASONABLE this is not treated as an (entry level) unproctored exam!," poster "bigdelboy" wrote on an official Oracle forum. "Remind me what guarantees Oracle gave to the EU about open source!!!!!!"

But one Oracle professional took the changes in stride.

"I think it falls under the category of 'that sucks ... oh well,' since certs are optional, employers often pay for them, you usually only take the test once and thus it's a one-time fee (that you may choose to repeat two years later to keep your cert up to date), it kind of falls under the realm of the optional, rare expense," said Kathryn Axelrod, an Oracle database administrator in Portland, Oregon, via e-mail.

The new fee structure represents "the first material exam price increase that Oracle has made since the inception of its program," according to an official blog post. "Prices may vary from country to country so please sure to check the links below or with your local site for details."

Both Internet-based exams and proctored ones conducted at testing centers are affected.

Under the new price schedule, "all non-proctored exams worldwide; proctored Sun exams for emerging-market countries and Oracle Database, Middleware and Linux exams for emerging-market countries" cost US$125.

In addition, proctored Oracle exams in developed nations and Oracle application exams in countries designated as emerging markets are priced at $US195. Proctored Sun tests will cost $300 in developed countries.

Oracle's blog post stressed that prices will vary due to local currency and urged users to users to test administrator Pearson VUE's Web site for specific details.

Test vouchers purchased prior to the price changes, which went into effect Monday, remain valid. Discount vouchers will be honored at the same discount rate, but applied against the new pricing.

Those who signed up and submitted payment for a test before Mar. 1 will not be required to pay more money as long as they maintain their original exam date.

An Oracle spokeswoman did not respond to a request for additional information.

Meanwhile, over time Oracle intends to "migrate and offer Sun certification offerings to Oracle certification offerings," but for now existing Sun certifications will be recognized, the company said in a Feb. 22 blog post.

"Future certification offerings may require candidates to take an exam if they wish to upgrade," the post added.

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