Accredited Configuration Engineer (ACE) FAQ

Where do I sign up to take the exam and how much does it cost?

ACE exam registration is free of charge and is now accessible in the Learning Center at:

Once you’ve successfully logged into the Learning Center, the location of the ACE Exam will depend on your relationship with Palo Alto Networks.

  • Customers and employees will find the ACE exam on the Learning Center home page. Click the link to start the ACE Exam once you feel prepared.

  • Partners will need to request the Partner Technical Learning Path, also available on the Learning Center home page.  The ACE exam is one of the required steps in the learning path.

What are the differences between the ACE and CNSE exams?

The Accredited Configuration Engineer (ACE) exam is an accreditation exam that, once passed, indicates that an engineer understands the core features and functionality of the Palo Alto Networks firewall technologies. The ACE exam will typically be tied to the .0 release of each version of PAN-OS (4.0, 5.0, etc.). It is taken over the Internet, using a common web-browser, and it is a free exam. The ACE exam serves several purposes:

  • It can be used as a “bar of entry” exam, to indicate base product understanding
  • It can be employed as a study aid for taking the CNSE exam

The Certified Network Security Engineer (CNSE) is a formal certification that proves that those who have passed it possess an in-depth engineering-level knowledge of how to install, configure, and manage Palo Alto Networks products. The CNSE exam will typically be tied to the .1 release of each version of PAN-OS (4.1, 5.1, etc.). It should be taken by anyone who wishes to demonstrate a deep understanding of the Palo Alto Networks technologies. This includes customers who use Palo Alto Networks products, value-added resellers, pre-sales system engineers, system integrators and varied tiers of support staff.

How many questions are there, what is the passing score, and how much time is allotted?

The ACE exam comprises 50 multiple-choice questions, and requires an 80% or better passing score. The exam is not timed, and you can retake it as many times as necessary to earn a passing score.

Do I get a certificate after I pass?

Those who pass the ACE exam will be able to download and print an Accredited Configuration Engineer certificate.

How should I prepare for the exam?

The ACE exam questions are distributed across the following categories:

  • Networking (including High Availability)
  • Security Policy
  • Content Identification
  • User Identification
  • VPN (GlobalProtect and Site-to-Site)
  • SSL Decryption
  • Management & Reporting

For the ACE exam, the suggested approach is to study the Admin Guide and the white papers and technical documents found on the support portal. Also, we recommend taking our Firewall Essentials 1: Installation, Configuration, and Management training class.  Finally, the more time spent working hands on with Palo Alto Networks products, the more successful your ACE accreditation experience will be.