Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA)

Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA)

Prove your expertise in systems administration on Windows Server operating systems by earning a Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) credential. This credential helps you advance your career by showing customers and employers that you have the skills necessary to successfully manage and troubleshoot network environments running on Windows server systems.

Level:

One to twelve months of experience in working with a desktop operating system, a network operating system, and an existing network infrastructure

Audience:

IT professional

Type:

Microsoft Certification

The Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) credential validates your ability to manage and troubleshoot network environments in the Windows operating system. It reflects a unique set of skills required to succeed in a variety of job roles, such as systems administrator, network administrator, information systems administrator, network operations analyst, network technician, and technical support specialist.

MCSA candidate profile
An MCSA candidate should have one to twelve months of experience in working with a desktop operating system, a network operating system, and an existing network infrastructure.

Why get certified?
Earning a Microsoft Certification validates your proven experience and knowledge in using Microsoft products and solutions. Designed to be relevant in today's rapidly changing IT marketplace, Microsoft Certifications help you utilize evolving technologies, fine-tune your troubleshooting skills, and improve your job satisfaction.

Whether you are new to technology, changing jobs, or a seasoned IT professional, becoming certified demonstrates to customers, peers, and employers that you are committed to advancing your skills and taking on greater challenges. In addition, certification provides you with access to exclusive Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) resources and benefits, including opportunities to connect with a vast, global network of MCPs.

MCSA on Windows Server 2003

The enduring strength of Windows Server 2003 in the market suggests that demand for related IT expertise will continue for many years. Earn the MCSA on Windows Server 2003 to demonstrate your expertise to customers and employers. Prove your skills in Windows administration, including system environment management and troubleshooting.

To earn the MCSA on Windows Server 2003 certification, you must pass four exams (in any order):

  • Two exams on networking systems

  • One exam on client operating systems

  • One elective exam

Note Many of the exams in this certification track are retired. If a required exam is retired and you have not yet passed that exam, you cannot complete the certification track. You must fulfill all listed requirements to earn the certification. If you passed a required exam before it retired, it can be applied toward certification. The credential will not expire.

Exams on networking systems: Both required

Exam number

Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment

Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure

Exams on client operating systems: Choose one

Exam number

TS: Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista Client

Note You may apply this exam toward either the elective requirement or the client operating systems requirement—not both.

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Windows XP Professional

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-210

Elective exam: Choose one

Exam number

Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-086

Planning, Deploying, and Managing Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003

Note This exam can count toward both the MCSA and the MCSE elective exam requirements.

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000, Enterprise Edition

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification. This exam can count toward both the MCSA elective requirement and an MCSA: Security Specialization requirement.

Exam 70-227

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification. This exam can count toward both the MCSA and the MCSE elective exam requirements.

Exam 70-228

TS: Developing Business Process and Integration Solutions Using Microsoft BizTalk Server

TS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Configuring

TS: Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005 – Implementing, Managing, and Troubleshooting

Implementing and Managing Microsoft Exchange Server 2003

Note This exam can count toward both the MCSA elective requirement and an MCSA: Messaging Specialization requirement.

Implementing and Administering Security in a Windows Server 2003 Network

Implementing Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004

Note This exam can count toward both the MCSA elective requirement and an MCSA: Security Specialization requirement.

TS: Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006, Configuring

TS: Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007, Configuring

TS: Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, Configuring

TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 – Implementation and Maintenance

TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence – Implementation and Maintenance

TS: Microsoft Windows Mobile Designing, Implementing, and Managing

TS: Microsoft Forefront Client and Server, Configuration

TS: Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista Client

Note You can apply this exam toward either the elective requirement or the client operating systems requirement—not both.

TS: Deploying and Maintaining Windows Vista Client and 2007 Microsoft Office System Desktops

TS: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Configuring

TS: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Configuring

TS: Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, Configuring

Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST)

MCSE on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

MCSA on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

See the requirements in the next section

MCSE on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0

Note This certification is discontinued, but if you already earned it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Discontinued

Specific third-party (CompTIA) certifications

If you have the MCSA on Windows Server 2003 certification, you can upgrade to the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) and Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) on Windows Server 2008 certifications.

MCSA on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

This certification is for administrators who want to demonstrate their ability to successfully implement, manage, and troubleshoot Microsoft Windows 2000 Server environments.

To earn the MCSA on Windows Server 2000 certification, you must pass four exams (in any order):

  • Two exams on networking systems

  • One exam on client operating systems

  • One elective exam

Note Many of the exams in this certification track are retired. If a required exam is retired and you have not yet passed that exam, you cannot complete the certification track. You must fulfill all listed requirements to earn the certification. If you passed a required exam before it retired, it can be applied toward certification. The credential will not expire.

Exams on networking systems: Both required

Exam number

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-215

Managing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Environment

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-218

Exams on client operating systems: Choose one

Exam number

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-210

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Windows XP Professional

TS: Configuring Windows Vista Client

Note You can apply this exam toward either the elective requirement or the client operating systems requirement—not both.

Elective exam: Choose one

Exam number

Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-086

Planning, Deploying, and Managing Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003

Implementing and Administering Security in a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-214

Implementing and Administering a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-216

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-224

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000, Enterprise Edition

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-227

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-228

TS: Developing Business Process and Integration Solutions Using Microsoft BizTalk Server

TS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Configuring

Supporting and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Network

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-244

TS: Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005 – Implementing, Managing, and Troubleshooting

Implementing and Managing Microsoft Exchange Server 2003

Implementing and Administering Security in a Windows Server 2003 Network

Implementing Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004

TS: Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006, Configuring

TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 – Implementation and Maintenance

TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence – Implementation and Maintenance

TS: Microsoft Windows Mobile Designing, Implementing, and Managing

TS: Microsoft Forefront Client and Server, Configuration

TS: Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista Client

Note You can apply this exam toward either the elective requirement or the client operating systems requirement—not both.

TS: Deploying and Maintaining Windows Vista Client and 2007 Microsoft Office System Desktops

TS: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Configuring

TS: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Configuring

TS: Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, Configuring

Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST)

Specific third-party (CompTIA) certifications

MCSA specializations

With an increasing number of IT professionals pursuing certification and a significant demand for specialized expertise, MCSA specializations provide a valuable means of demonstrating your proficiency in a particular technical field. These specializations are not more advanced than the MCSA certifications; they are simply more focused.

MCSA Messaging on Windows Server 2003

To earn the MCSA Messaging on Windows Server 2003 certification, you must pass four exams (in any order):

  • Two exams on networking systems

  • One exam on client operating systems

  • One exam on messaging specialization

Exams on networking systems: Both required

Exam number

Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment

Note This requirement is waived for candidates who have passed Exam 70-292 and who hold an MCSA or an MCSE on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server certification. Exam 70-292 is now retired.

Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure

Note This requirement is waived for candidates who have passed Exam 70-292 and who hold an MCSA or an MCSE on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server certification. Exam 70-292 is now retired.

Exams on client operating systems: Choose one

Exam number

TS: Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista Client

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Windows XP Professional

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-210

Exam on messaging: Required

Exam number

Implementing and Managing Microsoft Exchange Server 2003

MCSA Security on Windows Server 2003

To earn the MCSA Security on Windows Server 2003 certification, you must pass five exams (in any order):

  • Two exams on networking systems

  • One exam on client operating systems

  • Two exams on security specialization

Note Many exams in this certification track are retired. If a required exam is retired and you have not yet passed that exam, you cannot complete the certification track. You must fulfill all listed requirements to earn the certification. If you passed a required exam before it retired, it can be applied toward certification. The credential will not expire.

Exams on networking systems: Both required

Exam number

Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment

Note This requirement is waived for candidates who have passed Exam 70-292 and who hold an MCSA or an MCSE on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server certification. Exam 70-292 is now retired.

Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure

Note This requirement is waived for candidates who have passed Exam 70-292 and who hold an MCSA or an MCSE on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server certification. Exam 70-292 is now retired.

Exams on client operating systems: Choose one

Exam number

TS: Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista Client

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Windows XP Professional

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-210

Exams on security: Choose two

Exam number

Implementing and Administering Security in a Windows Server 2003 Network

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000, Enterprise Edition

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-227

Implementing Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004

TS: Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006, Configuring

Specific third-party (CompTIA) certifications

MCSA Messaging on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

To earn the MCSA Messaging on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server certification, you must pass four exams (in any order):

  • Two exams on networking systems

  • One exam on client operating systems

  • One exam on messaging specialization

Note Many exams in this certification track are retired. If a required exam is retired and you have not yet passed that exam, you cannot complete the certification track. You must fulfill all listed requirements to earn the certification. If you passed a required exam before it retired, it can be applied toward certification. The credential will not expire.

Exams on networking systems: Both required

Exam number

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-215

Managing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Environment

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-218

Exams on client operating systems: Choose one

Exam number

TS: Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista Client

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Windows XP Professional

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-210

Exams on messaging: Choose one

Exam number

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-224

Implementing and Managing Microsoft Exchange Server 2003

MCSA Security on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

To earn the MCSA Security on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, you must pass five exams (in any order):

  • Two exams on networking systems

  • One exam on client operating systems

  • Two exams on security specialization

Note Many exams in this certification track are retired. If a required exam is retired and you have not yet passed that exam, you cannot complete the certification track. You must fulfill all listed requirements to earn the certification. If you passed a required exam before it retired, it can be applied toward certification. The credential will not expire.

Exams on networking systems: Both required

Exam number

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-215

Managing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Environment

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-218

Exams on client operating systems: Choose one

Exam number

TS: Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista Client

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Windows XP Professional

Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-210

Exams on security: Choose two

Exam number

Implementing and Administering Security in a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-214

Implementing and Administering Security in a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

Exam 70-227

Implementing Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004

TS: Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006, Configuring

Specific third-party (CompTIA) certifications

Upgrade to MCTS on Windows Server 2008

If you have an MCSA on Windows Server 2003 certification, you only need to pass one exam to earn the two Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certifications on Windows Server 2008.

Current certification

Certification goal

Required exam

MCSA on Windows Server 2003

MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration

and

MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration

Exam 70-648: TS: Upgrading Your MCSA on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist

Upgrade to MCITP on Windows Server 2008

After you have earned the MCTS certifications by following the path shown in the preceding table, you have completed several requirements for earning two Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) certifications on Windows Server 2008.

Current certifications

Certification goal

Required exam

MCSA on Windows Server 2003

and

MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration

and

MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration

MCITP: Server Administrator on Windows Server 2008

Exam 70-646: PRO: Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator

Current certifications

Certification goal

Required exams

MCSA on Windows Server 2003

and

MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration

and

MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration

MCITP: Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008

Exam 70-643: TS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring

and

Choose one  of the following prerequisite exams:

Exam 70-620: TS: Configuring Windows Vista Client

or

Exam 70-624: TS: Deploying and Maintaining Windows Vista Client and 2007 Microsoft Office System Desktops

and

Exam 70-647: PRO: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator

Upgrade to MCSA on Windows Server 2003

If you have an MCSA on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server certification, use the following upgrade path to earn the MCSA on Windows Server 2003 certification.

Current certification

Certification goal

Required exam

MCSA on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

MCSA on Windows Server 2003

Exam 70-292: Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment for an MCSA on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

Note This exam is retired, but if you already passed it, you can apply it toward this certification.

 

View all answers

A.

MCSE and MCSA job roles are distinct. The two certifications—one for systems engineers and one for systems administrators—provide hiring managers with an accurate means to identify qualified individuals for specific job roles in an organization's IT structure. Recent research indicates that a demand gap exists between the number of Microsoft Windows systems administrators needed and the number of skilled IT professionals available to do the job. The MCSA credential will help employers easily identify qualified individuals to close the gap.

A.

The MCSA credential covers the job functions of a network administrator. The MCSA certification contains a subset of the skills represented in the MCSE credential. After earning the MCSA credential, you must pass several other exams to earn the MCSE certification.

A.

A certification validates competency in a specific job role. A specialization validates job-role competency in a specific technical area. Specializations enable individuals who currently have or who are seeking certifications to highlight their focus in a specific field.

A.

No. A specialization provides a way for candidates to show a hiring manager that they focus on a specific technical area. However, the job role proficiency that the certification validates is the same for an MCSA with or without a specialization.

A.

Yes. If you have already taken a specialization requirement to satisfy your MCSA elective requirement, you are one step closer to achieving your specialization.

A.

No. In response to customer requests for certifications that are more targeted and up to date, we have aligned the Windows Server 2008 certifications with a new generation of Microsoft Certifications. Rather than offering MCSA certifications on Windows Server 2008, we are offering Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) certification paths that reflect current job roles. Windows Server 2008 credentials follow the new certification structure.

A.

No, not exactly. The MCITP on Windows Server 2008 requires a new skill set—in some cases, a more robust one—that differs from the skill sets needed for MCSA certifications. The MCITP: Server Administrator certification covers more operations-related job skills than the MCSA certification.

A.

No. The MCSA and MCSE certifications are not being replaced. There is no change to the Microsoft Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 tracks and certifications. The MCTS and MCITP certifications are for Windows Server 2008.

A.

No. Your MCSA certifications and specializations will hold their value in the marketplace as long as there is a need for IT professionals with skills in working with Microsoft Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003. The Windows Server 2008 certifications are intended for IT professionals who are using or will be using Windows Server 2008; there is no requirement to upgrade to them.