Oracle Certification and the Hands-On Course Requirement (Part 1)

Oracle Certification TrainingOne of the largest topics of conversation for the Oracle Certification Program is related to the hands-on course requirement in place for some of our certification tracks. So, I thought that I’d address a few of the most common questions and talk about the benefits of this requirement.

Why does Oracle have a hands-on course requirement?
Oracle’s hands-on course requirement was implemented in order to raise the bar for new candidates entering the Oracle Certification programs. In an era where complaints that “paper certifications” were devaluing some certification programs’ offerings, Oracle made the tough decision in 2002 that mandatory training would be required for most tracks. All new entrants after November 2002 would be required to attend an Oracle course, interact with an Oracle trainer, and participate in the in-class labs.

As time has gone on, we have continued to share about our position in how a significant part of the value of certification lies in the process of becoming certified (i.e. training, studying, practicing, etc.) Our course requirement plays a critical role in this process and can be highly valuable. This sentiment, more often than not, has been echoed by many certified individuals themselves.

The idea of requiring course attendance is not new. Universities, high schools and grammar schools require attendance. Additionally, many smaller application-oriented I.T. programs require their candidates to attend training; good examples are PeopleSoft and Siebel (now owned by Oracle).

What Is The Value To The Candidates?
A big value of the hands-on course requirement to the credential-holders is that Oracle has eliminated a large group of people that I unkindly refer to as “bottom-feeders” – those individuals and groups (identified by Oracle back in 2002) whose sole goal was to exploit the brand-recognition of the Oracle credentials without really doing the work to become certified. This includes cheaters, those taking advantage of proxy-testing, and those taking real short-cuts to become certified in many different company programs - practices that became evident during the tech-bubble. These people’s actions tend to damage the credentials that many people have legitimately earned. “Bottom feeders” - for the most part - are not willing to spend the time, effort and money to attend an Oracle course.

By cutting off the majority of these “bottom feeders,” Oracle’s certification program saw an immediate decline in volume, yet we knew that the overall value of the credential would be improved both short-term and especially long-term. This is one of many difficult actions that Oracle took to increase the value of its offerings. Others included the addition of scenario-based questions to our certification exams and the OCM certification path . The Oracle Certification Program has seen significant growth - 18 straight quarters and counting - an indication that people continue to reap the benefits and seek the value in holding these quality Oracle credentials.

We'll share more in our upcoming post "Oracle Certification and the Hands-On Course Requirement (Part 2)."

Paul Sorensen

Paul Sorensen,
Director, Oracle Certification


Great insight on hands- on -course Practice. I strongly believe a candidate looking up for a career as an Oracle Professional should take up Instructor led Training than Online. In this case the only prerequisite is attending the labs where the scope of exploring the subject to its core is quite high. I personally recommend you to visit multiple IT Training company websites to check the lab facilities. You can also visit our website Best Regards, Prima L

Posted by IT Training on July 08, 2009 at 03:45 PM PDT #

Hi, I would like the author to discuss the practical implication of this requirement. Specifically, the cost to independent consultants to lose 40+ hours of billing time, to pay for an expensive class, travel to a place, attend a class, and (for most of us) cover material we already know, because we do the work - day in, and day out.

Posted by Earl Shaffer on July 15, 2009 at 02:01 AM PDT #

i would like 2 have a short term oracle basics course please reply me with the there any office in jodhpur or jaipur

Posted by khushi on July 31, 2009 at 05:01 PM PDT #

@Earl Shaffer: I see your point. You are right: It is time consuming and (therefore) expensive to visit an Oracle University course, in order to be able to get certified as an OCP or even OCM. But that is the same with a M. Sc. or M.D. grade. Would you like to visit a "doctor" who only claims he is able to heal you because "that's what I am doing day in - day out"? Probably not. And your customers won't either :-) As for "cover material we already know" and can tell you, as an Oracle University Instructor, I see many consultants and DBAs in my courses. Many of them (especially in the Database New Features courses) have many years of experience. It is unlikely, though, that they know everything we deal with in our courses. I almost never had a student in my courses that did not learn something new from it. Kind regards Uwe

Posted by Uwe Hesse on August 27, 2009 at 06:53 PM PDT #

It is reasonable to raise the bar to help insure value of certifications. Requiring attendance to a costly training program does not raise the bar. Having attended a course does not make someone a better professional. Having a hands on exam, or a simulation exam that would preclude from brain dump sites hurting the value of a certification. I am intimately familiar with these forced training purchase strategies that can be marketed as raising the bar, but ultimately are about insuring revenue stream for training divisions. Please be considerate to those who are legitimate and come up with a sincere solution to raising the bar. Thanks in advance Dave Askey

Posted by David Askey on September 02, 2009 at 05:54 AM PDT #

Hi I do not think that forcing people to attend Oracle Training programs by shelling out 2000 USD is going to improve the credentials of Oracle Certification. Rather than forcing people to get Hands on Training it should be more in line with what PMI does for PMP certification. The candidate should provide all the relevant experience details to appear for PMP certification. Similarly Oracle can mandate a minimum of 5 years of Project Experience in Oracle as a developer and Database Designer. If one has less than 5 yrs of expereince he/she has to attend the Training programs. Regards Vivek Bangalore India

Posted by Vivek on September 21, 2009 at 04:25 PM PDT #

@Uwe Hesse: Comparing these certifications with medical doctors actually weakens your argument with Earl Shaffer. I agree with Earl. I would much rather get surgery from someone who does the procedure successfully every day, than from a brand-new MD who attended a week-long certification course, even if it was "hands on". In fact, that is exactly what specialists advertise: years of experience and number of operations. I am like thousands of other Oracle professionals who are disappointed with the course requirement. I have several Oracle certs, but I will not get any more because of the cost. I have 12 years of hands-on experience. Why waste $$thousands on the course cost and lost billing hours?

Posted by A.M. on November 09, 2010 at 03:22 AM PST #

This requirement makes no sense for me. I've taken several courses from Oracle university/training center before, out of my own interest. But now Oracle forcing me to take a course in order to get certification is down right ridiculous.

Posted by om on February 24, 2011 at 11:57 AM PST #

Hi OM, We hope that you found value in the OU training you took previously and hope that you will find value in any future OU training you take. This is actually not a new requirement. The training requirement has been in place sincd 2002, and it has proven to be a valuable part of the certification paths that require training. This is why we have a list of qualifying courses candidates can choose from for most of the paths - so that candidates can find a course that is valuable to them. Regards, Brandye Barrington

Posted by Brandye Barrington on February 25, 2011 at 01:27 AM PST #

NOBODY is buying into this excuse that requiring a class somehow reduces testing cheaters! So, if a "“bottom-feeder” with a lot of money attends an Oracle Class, sleeps in the class for 40 hours, that magically weeds out the person from being a "bottom-feeder" ? Really So... please explain in painful detail how warming a chair in a classroom excludes that person from cheating or brain dumping an exam? As compared to hard studying certification students?

Posted by Steven Beebe on March 22, 2011 at 12:54 PM PDT #

I can't really see the point of introducing the hands-on course requirements, unless appropriate courses are pre-requisite for each certification. Now, if I'm an experienced J2EE developer, I can go for the OCPJP exam which does not require a training course (this tests me for detailed knowledge of Java syntax and semantics). Then I can go straight for the OCMEA certification which I believe an experienced J2EE developer should be able to achieve easily. But then I would have to take a hands-on course, so what course can I take? All the courses in there have pre-requisites, and ultimately they all depend on the Java Programming Language, SE6 course. Whaaaat????????? So after I took the Java Programmer certification which is also a pre-requisite of the Enterprise Architect certification, I need to take a Java language course? 5 days of training about the basics of the Java language? I ask you: HOW IS THIS NOT FOR THE MONEY? I'll tell you what I would do if I were you and if I didn't want to pose as "greedy for easy money". I would keep the hands-on course requirement for the master certifications, but I would take out the stupid course pre-requisites. I, as an experienced J2EE developer would have taken a J2EE-related course as a pre-requisite for the Architect certification and I could have even be professionally interested in that course, and not just attend it because there is no other way. But no ... that course depends on the Java Language course which I didn't take, and even if I have the Java Programmer certification I can't dodge the basic Java course. So what is left for me now is to take the freaking Java Basics course. This is the case for any outsider that wants to get into the certification business, without having earned anything. He is forced to take a 5-day, 2k USD, completely useless (for him) course. Excuse me, but that is just STUPID. At least admit Oracle is doing this for the money, you know we are not stupid after all.

Posted by Calin Jebelean on February 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM PST #

One thing to clarify - I believe that the course pre-requisites are suggested pre-reqs. I don't think that anyone is barred from taking a course if you have not completed the course pre-req.

Brandye Barrington

Posted by Brandye Barrington on February 13, 2012 at 06:04 AM PST #

i will like to take hands-on courses for the ocp certification. But the problem is do i have to partake in the required prerequisites training before partaking in my hands-on training of choice.
Oracle 11g: RAC and Grid Infrastructure Administration Accelerated

Posted by guest on February 09, 2013 at 01:31 AM PST #

The prerequisite courses are not required. However, the instructor will approach teaching the course with the assumption that all attendees have the foundational knowledge from those courses. To put it simply, the courses are not required, but the knowledge is.

Brandye Barrington

Posted by Brandye Barrington on February 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM PST #

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