Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) certification hub

What is Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) Certification?

The RHCSA, or Red Hat Certified System Administrator, is a certification offered by Red Hat, Inc., an industry provider of open-source software solutions. It authenticates your knowledge and skills in administrating Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) systems. RHEL is one of the leading enterprise Linux distributions. With an RHCSA certification, you demonstrate competence in managing and operating the system.

Our RHCSA Boot Camp covers system administration topics common across various environments and deployment scenarios based on Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 9. It’s a great option if you’re a Red Hat Enterprise Linux system administrator or on the path to becoming a Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE).

Explore more about Infosec's Red Hat Certified System Administrator exam training.

Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) certification hub

200+

Countries with RHCSA professionals

$100,000

Avg. U.S. salary

0-1 years

Recommended experience

Red Hat system administration certification exam objectives

To achieve a Red Hat system administration certification, you must pass the RHCSA exam (EX200). The exam tests your knowledge in system administration areas common across environments and scenarios. 

Read more about the RHCSA certification.

Why should I get the RHCSA certification?

RHCSA (Red Hat Certified System Administrator) certification offers a tangible validation of hands-on skills in managing Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems. Many organizations value this certification, and earning it helps you stand out in the IT industry. It can lead to increased job opportunities and higher salary potential.

As a foundational certification, the RHCSA provides a stepping stone to advanced Red Hat certifications and ensures you remain updated with current technologies. Obtaining the RHCSA highlights your dedication and technical expertise and is a recognized professional certification.

What is the current RHCSA certification exam?

The current RHCSA exam, EX200, tests your ability to carry out system administration tasks, including installing and configuring a Red Hat Enterprise Linux system and attaching it to a live network running network services. The exam tests your knowledge in the following areas and more: 

  • Essential tools for handling files, directories, command-line environments and documentation.

  • Operating running systems, including booting into different run levels, identifying processes, starting and stopping virtual machines and controlling services.

  • Configuring local storage using partitions and logical volumes.

  • Creating and configuring file systems and system attributes, such as permissions, encryption, access control lists and network file systems.

RHCSA Certification exam FAQs

The Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) certification is highly esteemed across various sectors and demonstrates your ability to manage systems and applications on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Want to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about this certification test: 

What is the RHCSA exam outline and structure?

The RHCSA exam (EX200) evaluates skills in everyday administrative tasks required to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux environments. Tasks could include basic system management, user administration, file permissions, software management and basic networking.
 
The exam is performance-based, which means it’s a hands-on, practical exam where you perform 10-15 tasks on a live system. You are not allowed to bring hard copies or electronic documentation, which includes notes, books or other materials.
 
For more details, see the above section, Red Hat system administration certification exam objectives.  

How difficult is the RHCSA exam?

The difficulty is subjective and dependent on experience and training. If you are familiar with Linux, especially Red Hat or Fedora distributions, you may consider it only moderately challenging. For beginners, it can require significant preparation.

What are the experience requirements for the RHCSA certification?

There are no strict prerequisites for taking the RHCSA certification exam, but it is recommended that you have:

  • Some experience as a Linux System Administrator or a similar role.

  • The capacity to complete tasks related to SELinux, firewalls, networking, clustering, storage configuration and virtual machines.

  • An understanding of enterprise Linux administration, which can be attained through courses like Red Hat’s System Administration I (RH124) and System Administration II (RH134).

If you’re just starting with Linux system administration, it might be beneficial to take the preliminary Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certification and then move on to the more advanced RHCSA. Red Hat encourages you to consider Red Hat System Administration I (RH124) and Red Hat System Administration II (RH134) to help prepare, though these classes are not required to take the exam.

I don’t have the required experience. Can I still become an RHCSA?

Yes, you can. While experience is recommended to ensure a higher chance of passing, it isn’t strictly necessary. With sufficient study and hands-on practice, even someone new to Linux can pass the exam. Self-study and practice are highly encouraged, and training like an RHCSA Boot Camp increases your chances of passing the exam.

How do you take the RHCSA exam?

You can take the RHCSA exam at a physical testing center or as a remote exam from your home or office. Both formats are proctored. You can learn more about the remote options on the Red Hat resources page.

How much does the RHCSA exam cost?

The exam costs $400 and lasts for three hours. Costs vary for different countries, and the training costs for the RHCSA examination can vary, often between $200-$300. 

How to pass the RHCSA exam?

To pass the exam, you must achieve a minimum of 70% (210 out of 300). Some key ways to prepare include: 

  • Familiarize yourself with the exam objectives.

  • Take training courses.

  • Practice on a live system. For a hands-on exam, you need more than theoretical knowledge.

  • Use study guides and resources available online.

  • Take practice exams if available. 

How long does the RHCSA certification last?

The RHCSA certification is valid for three years from the date you pass the exam.

How do I earn CPEs and renew my RHCSA?

Red Hat does not have a Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit system like some other certifications. Instead, to renew your RHCSA, you either retake the current RHCSA exam or take a higher-level exam, such as the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) exam, before your RHCSA expires.

Free and self-study RHCSA exam materials

Preparing for the RHCSA exam can be a significant undertaking, but thankfully, many RHCSA certification resources are available to assist you. Before diving into your studies, refer to the official Red Hat exam outline to understand the subjects you need to focus on. 

RHCSA study guides and RHCSA books 

Many books and other resources on system administration for Red Hat products are available. Red Hat does not officially endorse these materials as exam preparation guides, but the additional reading helps deepen your understanding.
 
Some popular options include: 

  • RHCSA Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9: Training and Exam Preparation Guide (EX200), Third Edition by Asghar Ghori

  • Red Hat RHCSA 9 Cert Guide: EX200 (Certification Guide) 1st Edition by Sander van Vugt

  • RHCSA/RHCE Red Hat Linux Certification Study Guide, Seventh Edition (Exams EX200 & EX300) (RHCSA/RHCE Red Hat Enterprise Linux Certification Study Guide) 7th Edition by Michael Jang, Alessandro Orsaria

You can also find several tutorials on YouTube to bolster your knowledge.

RHCSA practice exams and simulations

Because it is a hands-on exam, following the exam format and known topics and using them in practical settings is an invaluable way to practice.

Training courses and programs like RHCSA boot camps include practice and exam review. Combining study with practice helps ensure you’re comfortable with the format and content of the RHCSA exam. Red Hat also offers a skills assessment to get recommendations about where to start your training.

 

Other free RHCSA training resources

You can also find assistance training for Linux and Red Hat from those in the IT and cybersecurity community:

  • Forums like TechExams and Reddit allow you to connect directly with others who have already taken the RHCSA exam.

  • YouTube is another great place to learn about the RHCSA exam. Although most RHCSA courses cost money, numerous free videos are available with a quick search.

Podcasts may not help you directly study for your Linux+ exam, but those like Cyber Work and Code and Coffee are a great way to learn about Linux and Red Hat career options, the newest updates and your peers' career journeys.

RHCSA jobs and careers

Companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix rely heavily on Linux, and the demand for Linux professionals is rising. Job roles for RHCSA-certified professionals can range from Linux system administrators and technical support specialists to IT infrastructure managers. RHCSA jobs are a great stepping stone to more advanced Red Hat certifications like RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer) and RHCA (Red Hat Certified Architect), which open even more job opportunities.

What does a RHCSA holder do?

A RHCSA (Red Hat Certified System Administrator) holder is qualified to manage and administer Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems. Their responsibilities typically include basic system management, user administration, storage management, configuration, troubleshooting and ensuring security on a Linux server. Here are some popular job titles RHCSA-certified individuals might hold: 

  • Linux operations engineer

  • Linux support specialist

  • Linux systems engineer

  • Linux support systems engineer

  • Information systems engineer

  • Senior systems administrator

Want to explore more job details? Check out our RHCSA salary guide for in-depth information about common positions, salary prospects and useful advice.

Is RHCSA worth It?

If you’re contemplating earning the RHCSA certification, consider how it aligns with your career path. The industry continually evolves, and the need for secure development practices becomes more critical. Earning the RHCSA can prove your commitment and specialized skills in this vital area.  

Red Hat is a major player in the Linux world, and its certifications are recognized globally. Earning an RHCSA is a mark of credibility and competence. The training and study needed for the RHCSA improve your knowledge and skills with Linux, which increases job opportunities. Many companies, especially those that rely heavily on Red Hat solutions prefer or require their system administrators to have RHCSA certification.

What is the RHCSA average salary?

Your earnings with a RHCSA certification will vary on several factors, including your experience level, job role and location. PayScale says the average U.S. salary for RHCSA-certified professionals is around $100,000 annually.

Where can I find RHCSA jobs?

RHCSA certification is frequently cited in job listings. General job platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor and specialized tech job boards often have openings for these roles.  

Networking through professional groups, joining local meetups or engaging in other cybersecurity forums and websites can also uncover exclusive opportunities. 

Are you preparing for an interview in this field? Download our guide on Cybersecurity interview tips to give yourself a competitive edge.

Paid RHCSA training and exam prep

When preparing for the RHCSA exam, you can opt for self-study using books and freely available materials or enroll in a paid course. Most paid RHCSA courses fall into two categories: live online RHCSA boot camps or on-demand, self-guided RHCSA courses where you go at your own pace. 

RHCSA comparisons and alternatives

RHCSA certification is a great option if you currently or plan on working with RHEL systems. Still, there are Red Hat certifications that focus on other Linux areas and other Linux-specific certifications. Check out these articles to learn more:

  • Linux+ vs RHCSA/RHCE: Linux+ is a vendor-specific certification CompTIA offers. Find out the differences between and benefits of each certificate.

  • The many flavors of Linux: This system has several radically different distros that professionals may be unaware of.

  • Average RHCE salary: RHCE is the next level of certification many people obtain after the RHCSA and may be a better choice for already seasoned senior administrators.
  • Vendor-specific vs. vendor-neutral certifications: Confused about vendor-neutral vs. vendor-specific IT and cybersecurity certifications? We break them down in detail.