Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) is overhauling its popular Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification program for channel partners and networking professionals to reflect new skills required of security, voice and wireless experts.

“Now, network professionals have to understand networking systems with integrated security, wireless, voice capabilities and data center as well as business applications,” said Jean Beliveau-Dunn, Learning@Cisco vice president and general manager. “The evolution of the CCNA Routing and Switching certification will provide learners with skills and knowledge that are in demand today, adding substantial value for themselves and their employers."

Not only has Cisco reworked the curriculum for its associate-level CCNA program to include materials relevant to next generation networking technologies such as IPv6 but also has rebranded it to “CCNA Routing and Switching.”

Beliveau-Dunn said that refreshing the CCNA Routing and Switching certification “helped us zone in on those things that are really core and important to the foundation of the network and address new things like IPv6 that are important to have in today’s career in the network.“

In addition to Routing and Switching, new CCNA designations in the upgraded certification program also include CCNA Voice, CCNA Security, CCNA Wireless, CCNA SP Operations and CCDA. Cisco said it believes these categories better align with today’s job requirements.

With the CCENT and CCNA Routing and Switching certifications, Cisco has redesigned the training curriculum for the ICND1, ICND2 and CCNAX exams and introduced new exams for ICND1, ICND2 and CCNA Composite. The updates include comprehensive troubleshooting, technologies such as IPv6, and updated software on Cisco routers and switches.

Cisco also has pared the testing requirements for certain certifications, with candidates now having to complete two rather than three exams to attain the CCNA Routing and Switching, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CCNA Wireless and CCNA SP Operations badges. Two exams also are required to complete certification for CCNA Data Center, CCNA Video, CCNA Service Provider and CCNA SP Operations. The new exams and training will be available starting March 26.

For the Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) certification, candidates must attain as a prerequisite a valid Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certification beginning Oct. 1, 2013.

Cisco said it will continue to offer instructor-led training and exam preparation delivered through its authorized learning partners.