The Truth about Salesforce Release Exams and Maintenance Fees

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Truth about copyIf you think writing two maintenance exams for ADM201 and DEV401 every four months is a big deal, think again.

As the Marketing Cloud Practice Lead make positive, we have consultants certified in both Marketing Cloud and Pardot requiring to write four release exams for Spring 16! Why? (And this does not include the Administrator (or ADM201), Developer (or DEV401) or the new App Builder release exams!)


(And to add more fuel to the fire, there will be a new Salesforce Marketing Cloud Consultant exam by June 2016!)

Here are the things you need to know about Salesforce Release exams and the maintenance fees!

The standard and “Consultant exams” must be written three times a year. The “Specialist exams” such as the Pardot Specialist, Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist or Social Specialist have release his exams once per year.

The downfall is you still have to pay $100 US annually for each exam.

Luckily, those who have the Sales Cloud and Service Cloud certifications (i.e. the higher-level ones) are bundled with the Administrator exam!

What does this mean?

Note that the maintenance fee is charged when you register for a release exam that corresponds to the release cycle season in which you first earned your credential.

For example, if you earned your credential during the Spring ’15 certification release cycle, you will pay the maintenance fee upon registering for the Spring ’16 release exam and every Spring release exam thereafter.

However, what this means is potentially you can have eight exams to write. Here is the matrix:

Release ExamNumber per YearSalesforce Certifications
Salesforce Certified Administrator - Release Exam3• Salesforce Certified Administrator
• Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator
• Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant
• Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant
Salesforce Certified Developer - Release Exam3• Salesforce Certified Developer
• Salesforce Certified Advanced Developer
• Salesforce Certified Technical Architect*
Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder - Release Exam3• Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder
• Salesforce Certified Technical Architect*
Salesforce Certified Platform Developer - Release Exam3• Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I
• Salesforce Certified Platform Developer II
Salesforce Certified Pardot Consultant - Release Exam3• Salesforce Certified Pardot Consultant
Salesforce Certified Pardot Specialist - Release Exam1• Salesforce Certified Pardot Specialist
Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist - Release Exam1• Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist
Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Social Specialist - Release Exam1• Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Social Specialist

18 thoughts on “The Truth about Salesforce Release Exams and Maintenance Fees

  1. Avatar

    I thought the total cost of maintaining ALL credentials was $100. For example, I recently took 3 release exams (admin, dev and app builder) and was only charged a total of $100.

    1. Ben McCarthy

      Hi Raj,

      Perhaps your Admin or Dev payment did not renew at the same time? I did my Dev exam a release AFTER I did my Admin one. This means that I get charged for them at different intervals.

      1. Avatar

        True, that could definitely be a possibility. Well hopefully the added income from the certs will more than cover the cost of maintenance 🙂

    1. Avatar

      The exam should be available for registration as of April 26. The Email Specialist is a prerequisite. This cert, along with the Pardot Consultant, is “in line” with Sales Cloud & Service Cloud certs (i.e. “Implementation Experts”

  2. Avatar

    Hi Jimson,

    Thanks so much for posting this — super helpful! Quick scenario/question for you —- I received my admin certification in June and recently received the notice that I need to take the release exam to maintain my credential. I am already registered to take the advance admin certification exam in early August. Assuming I pass that, do I still need to take the release exam to maintain my baseline admin certification?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

  3. Avatar

    This post is very timely as I’ve been trying to clarify how the fees work. I’m still a little confused. The chart above lists the “Salesforce Certified Administrator – Release Exam” and lists four different certifications associated with that exam. My question is … do you pay $100 per certification or per exam? For example if I have my “Salesforce Certified Administrator” and “Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant” certifications, is that $100 annually or $200 annually?

    This Knowledge Article ( states “The annual maintenance fee also includes the cost to maintain any higher-level credentials. However, earning a higher-level credential does not waive your next annual maintenance fee.” That statement makes is sound like I only pay $100 to maintain any/all certifications in the Administrator track- whether I have one cert or all four. Or if I obtain all four in the Administrator track, will I be paying $400 annually?

    If I also obtain multiple certifications in the Developer track, is that another $100 (for the track) or will I pay $100 individually for Developer, Advanced Developer, etc.?

    Thanks for any clarification.

    1. Ben McCarthy

      Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m 95% sure that you only pay for each track. I currently have 7 certifications that fall into 3 tracks and I have only ever paid per track, not per certification.

      Hope this helps!


  4. Avatar

    Salesforce certifications / maintenance is a SCAM. They have figured out a way to monetize not only their end user customers, but also consultants/developers.

  5. Avatar

    Actually, They changed the certification maintenance fee policy from Mar/Apr 2017 and you need to pay a maximum of 300 per year for all the Maintenance exams. Salesforce will provide vouchers once you reach 300 cap.

    1. Avatar

      That seems to be a valid ask! Carol .. Couple of changes have happened in the recent past by Salesforce!

      1) All Salesforce Certifications Maintenance is currently capped @ 300$ per year, post which Salesforce provides vouchers to maintain your credentials.

      2) Going forward, maintaining Salesforce credentails will be done completely via Trailhead. Salesforce has already shared a roadmap the same.

      (All must have received an auto-mailer on your mapped Webassessor email).

      Effective with the Summer ‘18 release cycle, the Administrator, Platform App Builder and Platform Developer I maintenance exams will join the Marketing Cloud Email and Social Specialist maintenance exams on Trailhead. All other maintenance exams will remain in Webassessor, but will be migrated to Trailhead by the end of January, 2019. Check out the article for additional information.

  6. Avatar

    Salesforce exams are jokes these days. Dumps are easily available and there are dodgy bastards who easily passout exams without having much knowledge. Its a big joke and a money making business for Saelsforce itself.

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