AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner vs AWS Certified Solutions Architect

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner vs AWS Certified Solutions Architect

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud computing platform that most information technology professionals should be familiar with to excel in their career.

Learning as much as possible about AWS applications through a combination of study and hands-on training will prepare you for certification. Particularly, distinguishing between the AWS Cloud Practitioner vs Solutions Architect will guide your study focus and hands-on training priorities.

Computer and information technology jobs are projected to grow by 13% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average of all occupations in the United States. This growth includes an increased demand for professionals who can clearly understand distinctions like AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner vs AWS Certified Solutions Architect. These jobs must be filled by qualified cloud computing specialists. Many employers look for AWS certifications as a sign of proficiency in the disciplines within AWS.

Two of the certifications that employers look for in entry-level cloud computing jobs are the AWS Cloud Practitioner and AWS Solutions Architect certifications. Understanding the differences between AWS Cloud Practitioner vs Solutions Architect certifications can significantly influence your career path in cloud computing. We look at the difference between the two in this article.

What is AWS (Amazon Web Services)?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a robust cloud platform that has the largest market share of cloud computing applications. There are over 200 full-featured services offered by AWS from data centers located around the world. Organizations that commonly use AWS to work more efficiently are government agencies, enterprise companies, mid-sized businesses, startups, and companies undergoing digital transformation. Professionals often weigh the merits of AWS Solutions Architect vs Cloud Practitioner certifications when deciding how to best align with the market's needs.

Why AWS Certifications are Important

Because AWS is commonly used for cloud infrastructure in many organizations, IT professionals are likely to work directly with AWS. It becomes essential to compare AWS Cloud Practitioner vs Solutions Architect roles to understand where one might fit within these organizations. Currently, AWS has 12 different certifications across four different levels: Foundational, Associate, Professional, and Specialty. The foundational understanding provided by the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner contrasts with the more in-depth architectural focus of the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate level. Each level builds on the previous level. There are different career paths that you can branch off into as you level up in certifications. You can read more about the twelve current AWS certifications in detail here. Below are listed the certifications and their corresponding levels.


  • AWS Cloud Practitioner


  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  • AWS Certified Developer – Associate
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate


  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional
AWS Certifications


  • AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Security – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Database – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty

So, what are the differences between the AWS Cloud Practitioner and AWS Solutions Architect certifications? The debate of AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner vs AWS Certified Solutions Architect revolves around the depth of technical skills and cloud architecture knowledge required for each.

What Is an AWS Cloud Practitioner?

AWS Cloud Practitioner

This is an entry-level AWS certification meant to validate a candidate’s overall understanding of the AWS cloud. Choosing between starting with the AWS Cloud Practitioner or aiming directly for the Solutions Architect certification involves assessing one's existing cloud knowledge and career aspirations. The AWS Cloud Practitioner certificate is for technical, managerial, sales, purchasing, or financial roles who work with AWS Cloud.

The AWS Cloud Practitioner exam validates a candidate’s ability to define basic cloud infrastructure and architectural concepts, and important services on the AWS platform. Meanwhile, the AWS Solutions Architect exam delves deeper into designing and deploying scalable systems on AWS, presenting a more challenging endeavor for those weighing AWS Solutions Architect vs Cloud Practitioner. You should also be able to explain basic security and compliance aspects of AWS Cloud Services. The certification offers an overview of core services offered by AWS, security, network and cloud pricing, and the available support services.

Prerequisites for taking the exam: Recommended six months of general AWS knowledge and AWS Cloud experience.

Conversely, the knowledge required for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect covers more technical and complex cloud solutions, reflecting the advanced nature of this certification compared to the Cloud Practitioner. To earn certification as an AWS Cloud Practitioner, you will need to know the following:

  • What the AWS Cloud is and how it works
  • Ability to identify and explain global AWS Cloud infrastructure
  • Describe the AWS Cloud value proposition
  • Familiarity and ability to explain AWS Cloud architectural principles
  • Key services on the AWS platform and their common use cases (like computation and analytics)
  • Basic security and compliance aspects of the AWS platform and the shared security model
  • Details of the billing, account management, and pricing models
  • Core characteristics of deploying and operating in the AWS Cloud

Reasons for earning the AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification

  • Becoming an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is a recommended prerequisite step before pursuing Associate-level, Professional-level or Specialty AWS certifications.
  • Professionals who work with AWS in any capacity are generally expected to have this certification.
  • Over 12% of IT professionals in the US will pursue this certification in 2022 in order to validate their foundational cloud computing knowledge of the AWS Cloud.

What Does an AWS Solutions Architect Associate Do?

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

This certification verifies that you know how to design, build, manage, and deploy systems in the AWS cloud. This in-depth approach contrasts with the broader overview provided by the Cloud Practitioner, highlighting the practical distinctions between AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner vs AWS Certified Solutions Architect. This exam is suited for candidates with experience in designing distributed applications. You should be familiar with AWS security and compliance guidelines before taking this exam.

Prerequisites for taking the exam: One year of AWS Cloud experience or equivalent study.

Things you will need to know to pass this certification exam:

  • Network technologies in AWS Cloud, including configuration and management.
  • How AWS-based applications work and how client interfaces connect to the AWS platform.
  • Designing and deploying AWS-based applications, how client interfaces connect to AWS.
  • Building secure applications on AWS.
  • Deploying systems with on-premises data and AWS components (hybrid).
  • Disaster recovery and data security.
  • AWS infrastructure and concepts.

Reasons for Earning the AWS Solutions Architect Certification

  • Show ability in AWS Cloud beyond a foundational level.
  • Demonstrate to employers that you know how to work with AWS networks, cloud application design and deployment, basic security measures.
  • You should be qualified for an entry-level Cloud Solutions Architect position with this certification.
  • This Associate level certification is a prerequisite for the more advanced AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional certificate. Professional certificates allow you to pursue Specialty certificates in focused information technology fields.

When comparing AWS Solutions Architect vs Cloud Practitioner, it's clear that each serves a unique role in validating cloud expertise, with the former focusing more on architectural design and deployment.

Take the First Step Toward a Rewarding Career in Technology with AWS Certifications

Campus, formerly known as MTI College, in Sacramento, CA has two programs which will help prepare you for a career working with Amazon Web Services and information technology. Both programs aim to clarify the AWS Cloud Practitioner vs Solutions Architect dilemma for students by offering tailored curriculum that addresses the scope and depth of each certification. Also, Campus is an AWS Academy Partner, meaning the curriculum is approved by AWS.

The AWS Cloud Administration Associates Degree Program gives you hands-on experience with fundamental cloud-based technology and services. Use networking tools and the Amazon AWS console to build virtual server-based network infrastructures from the ground up. This program prepares students for the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification, AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification, as well as the CompTIA A+, CompTIA Security+, and CompTIA Network+ certifications. This AWS Cloud Administration program is available in the Online format, allowing students to complete all of the required coursework online.

Eligible students can enroll in our fully online AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Diploma Program. This program can be completed 100% online, with no requirement to attend class at a physical location. The AWS Cloud Solutions Architect program at Campus prepares you for the Amazon AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner and Amazon AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certifications.

To get more information on these classes, or find out the differences between an AWS cloud Practitioner vs AWS Solutions Architect, contact our Admissions department by filling out the form on this page, or call us at (916) 339-1500 .