Salesforce Administrator Certification - Complete Guide 2021

What is Salesforce Administrator Certification

Administrator Certification is a proctored exam, and once passed, serves as a proof of deep understanding and expertise in the field. Certified administrators have broad knowledge of configuring Salesforce, customizing the platform, managing users, and looking for ways to bring out more of its capabilities.Salesforce certification isn’t just about evaluating or demonstrating your proficiency. It’s a good way to increase your chances of getting employed as a Salesforce specialist, or raise your salary.

About the Exam

You can take the exam onsite at a testing center or online.If you decide to get certified remotely from your own computer, you must know there are a number of requirements to review. First of all, you need an external webcam. Secondly, you need to install Kryterion’s Sentinel Secure software, so do it beforehand. Also, you will be monitored by a proctor, so you must remember about Salesforce policies. For example, the testing area must be well-lit and quiet, and you are prohibited from reading the questions, or leaving the testing area. Make sure to check this article if you are planning on taking the exam online.Note: at the time of writing this article, because of the Covid-19 outbreak, built-in webcams are allowed. Not sure if this is going to last after the pandemic is over (hopefully soon!).The registration fee is USD 200 plus taxes. If you need to retake the exam, the fee is USD 100. I recommend checking out the Certification Days.It’s a free, half-day webinar to help you prepare for a specific certification exam. Besides helping you with tips and best practices, the participants get a discount code valid for 3 exams at the end of the webinar.The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice/multiple-select questions and 5 non-scored questions. You have 105 minutes to complete it, and the passing score is 65%.

What Salesforce Administrator Certification Exam Covers

The exam questions are divided into topics. Each topic covers a specific chunk of the exam. This means there are areas that you should focus on (Standard and Custom Objects, Sales and Marketing Application, Security and Access), and others that you can read on but aren’t worth sweating over (AppExchange, Desktop and Mobile Administration).Let’s look at each topic specifically. The percentage determines how many questions of that topic are going to be a part of the exam.Organizational Setup: 3%Describe the functionality found in the Company Settings. This includes: fiscal year, business hours, currency management, and others. Also, know how to set up different UI features, such as search settings, list views, or homepage layouts.Example Question:How do you control which fields are displayed in the “Recently Viewed” list view?Answer:Search LayoutsOfficial DocumentationUser Setup: 7%Set up and maintain users. This includes: assigning licenses, resetting passwords, activating, deactivating, and freezing users.Example Question:Which setting do you need to enable to allow administrators to log in as users?Answer:Go to Login Access Policies, and select “Administrators Can Log in as Any User”.Security and Access: 13%Explain various security settings: network settings, Salesforce sharing model, as well as profiles and permission sets. This topic covers a lot of information regarding security and data access, but if you are an experienced administrator, it may prove to be one of the easier parts of the exam.Example Question:What’s the minimum score of Security Health Check that indicates your org has at least good security?Answer:70%Standard and Custom Objects: 14%Describe the standard object architecture and relationship model. Explain how to use custom fields, page layouts, record types, and business process for standard and custom objects.Example Question:Can you convert a lookup field to a master-detail field?Answer:Yes, but there must be a value in all lookups fields on the records of the given object.Sales and Marketing Applications: 14%Identify the appropriate sales productivity features, describe the features of Salesforce Content, sales processes, lead automation tools and campaign management.Example Question:Which objects are supported by Paths?Answer:Leads, Opportunities, Quotes, Contracts, Orders, and custom objects.Service and Support Applications: 13%Describe how case management works, and different ways of automating its processes. Explain the functionality of Salesforce Knowledge and Communities.Example Question:What are the types of Communities?Answer:Partner, Employee, CustomerActivity Management and Collaboration: 3%Explain the features of activity management and Chatter.Example Question:Which setting needs to be enabled so users can edit their own feed posts?Answer:The “Allow users to edit posts and comments” option, which is enabled by default in Chatter settings.Data Management: 10%Determine all the factors that need to be considered when importing, updating, transferring, and mass deleting data. Identify the right tools for managing, validating, and backing up data.Example Question:How long are the records available after deleting them?Answer:Deleted records are available in the recycle bin for 15 days. To restore multiple records, use the Extract All option in the Data Loader and import them.Analytics - Reports and Dashboards: 10%Describe the capabilities of Reports and Dashboards. Explain the impact of the sharing model on reports.Example Question:When are dashboards refreshed?Answer:When a user clicks the “Refresh” button. You can also schedule refreshes to be daily, weekly, or monthly.Workflow/Process Automation: 8%Describe the capabilities of workflow/process. Identify which automation tool is appropriate for a given situation.Example Question:List the following automation tools in the order of executions: Assignment rules, Auto-response rules, validation rules, workflow rules.Answer:Validation rules, assignment rules, auto-response rules, workflow rules.Desktop and Mobile Administration: 3%Describe the functionality of the Salesforce Mobile App, and the installation of Salesforce Lightning for Outlook.Example Question:How can you manage users with the SalesforceA app?Answer:You can freeze and unlock users. You can also update certain fields, such as name, alias, active, nickname, username, phone, and title.AppExchange: 2%Identify use cases for AppExchange apps.No example of a question here. Just remember that you should consider using an app from AppExchange when the business requirement can’t be met using standard Salesforce tools. You should check for an app before integrating a 3rd party solution with the help of developers.

Preparing for the Salesforce Administrator Certification Exam

To make sure you are prepared for your exam, get familiar with all the available resources. Even if you are an experienced administrator, this exam covers a vast number of topics. You might be surprised by features you’ve never seen before.Before we start listing the resources, I highly recommend signing up for a Developer account. It’s a free edition of Salesforce that’s perfect for practice. It comes with some limitations but they shouldn’t be an issue as long as you use it solely for testing and playing around with admin tools.

First of all, let’s take a look at what Trailhead offers.Trailmix: Prepare for Your Salesforce CredentialThis is the most thorough official trailmix you can find. It includes modules, projects, and superbadges. It’s a must for any beginner administrator. But even more experienced users should take a look to re-familiarize themselves with concepts that they might have forgotten.Trail: Study for the Administrator Certification ExamDo you need a quick review of what you need to know before an exam? If so, this 3-hour trail should be perfect for you.Superbadges:One of the best ways to test your skills and knowledge in Trailhead are Superbadges. They use real-world business problems, and don’t include the usual step-by-step instructions. It’s on you to figure out what to do, and how.Lightning Experience Reports & Dashboards SpecialistPractice administration of reports and dashboards, design a record filtering strategy, create reports charts and dashboards, apply buckets, groups, and custom summary formulas.Business Administration Specialist A superbadge that tests a little bit of everything. You’ll be asked to import data, manage users and email templates. You will need to configure some UI elements, create reports, and set up chatter features.Security SpecialistThis might be one of the most important learning materials out there. Object-level security, record-level security, password policies, field-level changes, report security, multi-factor authentication - all of that will be part of this exercise. Highly recommended.Aside from trails and superbadges, Trailhead also offers another way of learning - classes. Trailhead Academy allows anyone to enroll in expert-led courses. Well, anyone willing to pay the cost.Administration Essentials for New Admins (ADM-201)A five-day course recommended for new administrators. It covers basically everything any new admin needs to know about setting up, configuring and maintaining their organization. One important note, though: the course is done in the Classic interface, which is slowly becoming obsolete.Administration Essentials for New Administrators in Lightning Experience and Certification (ADX-201C)Same as the previous one, but you learn how to do all those things in the Lightning interface. Also, in the Americas region, the course includes a voucher to sit for the Salesforce Administrator certification exam.Certification Preparation for Administrator (CRT101)This course is specifically designed for people who want to become a Salesforce Certified Administrator. Aside from reinforcing your knowledge, this course will help you understand exam objectives and how to approach exam questions. In the Americas region, it includes a voucher for the certification exam.Administrative Essentials for New Admins in Lightning Experience (ADX-201)A 1-day course designed to hone your problem solving skills and reinforce your knowledge of key topics. In the Americas region, this course includes a voucher to register for your certification exam.Lightning Experience Administrative Essentials for New Admins (ADX-201E)A flexible version of the ADX-201 course. It’s the same core training but over the course of 10 days. A good option for those interested in learning administrative essentials but without a whole day to spare.Trailhead Virtual Bootcamp for New Admins (TVB201)Learn how to be a great admin in 30 days. This course covers a broad range of topics. Not just configuring and maintaining your Salesforce organization, but also automations, troubleshooting common user issues and more. The virtual bootcamp is designed for anyone who wants to learn the ins and outs of Salesforce administration with a flexible self-paced learning schedule.Who Sees WhatIt’s a YouTube series from Salesforce that covers the main features that determine the visibility of, and access to data that every administrator will need to set up for their Salesforce organization. If you are struggling to understand how security in Salesforce works, this is a must-watch for you!Salesforce Certification DaysA free, half-day webinar that helps you prepare for your Salesforce Certification exam. Expert instructors share their knowledge and tips about the exam. You also earn a discount coupon code valid for any $200 exam. There are webinars available for Administrator Certification, Advanced Administrator Certification, Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification, Platform App Builder Certification, Platform Developer Certification, Service Cloud Consultant Certification and Sales Cloud Consultant Certification. Be mindful that there are limited seats so make sure to register in advance.Practice tests are another good way to not just test your knowledge, but learn something new. Here are some mock exams that you should try:Salesforce Ben Practice QuizA good way to see where you are before you register for an exam, or even before you start preparing for it. It’s free and includes 20 questions from different topics.Focus on ForceIt’s another good source of practice questions. It costs $19 but includes over 400 of them in similar format to the actual exam. Each question comes with an explanation, and links to official documentation that covers that particular topic.

Maintaining Salesforce Certification

Passing your exam is only the beginning. To stay up-to-date on new product releases, every administrator is required to complete maintenance modules on Trailhead once per year. This means you can’t just pass it and forget it. If you don’t complete the maintenance modules by deadline, your certification gets expired, or in some cases suspended.The schedule for completing maintenance modules for Administrator certifications is as follows:Salesforce Certified Administrator:Administrator maintenance module - Spring ReleaseSalesforce Certified Advanced Administrator:Administrator maintenance module - Spring ReleaseSalesforce Certified Platform App Builder:Platform App Builder maintenance module - Winter ReleaseSalesforce Certified CPQ Specialist:CPQ Specialist maintenance module - Spring ReleaseHere’s a detailed schedule.Also, after getting certified, remember to link your Trailhead and Webassessor accounts. After passing the exam, you should receive an email explaining everything, along with your certificate.

Other Salesforce Certifications

Certified Administrator is only one of the available options. Salesforce offers other certifications for all kinds of Salesforce experts. When you are done with Administrator Certification, you should probably take a look at the Salesforce App Builder Certification, or Advanced Administrator Certification.But you could also try a different path, so here’s a list of what’s available (just remember that some of the certificates have prerequisites, e.g. you can take the advanced administrator only after you earn administrator certification):Administrator Credentials:Salesforce AdministratorSalesforce Advanced AdministratorCPQ SpecialistMarketing Cloud AdministratorPlatform App BuilderSalesforce Architect Credentials:Application ArchitectB2C Solution ArchitectB2C Commerce ArchitectHeroku Architecture DesignerSystem ArchitectTechnical ArchitectDeveloper Credentials:B2C Commerce DeveloperJavaScript Developer IMarketing Cloud DeveloperPlatform App BuilderPlatform Developer IPlatform Developer IIMarketing Credentials:Marketing Cloud AdministratorMarketing Cloud ConsultantMarketing Cloud DeveloperMarketing Cloud Email SpecialistPardot ConsultantPardot SpecialistConsultant Credentials:Community Cloud ConsultantEducation Cloud ConsultantEinstein Analytics and Discovery ConsultantField Service Lightning ConsultantMarketing Cloud ConsultantNonprofit Cloud ConsultantPardot ConsultantSales Cloud ConsultantService Cloud ConsultantAs you can see, there’s a lot of choice. Depending on what career path you are interested in, you could really grow your resume.


Salesforce Administrator Certification is your very first step in the world of Salesforce experts. Getting the certificate gives you an opportunity to start an amazing career. But nothing that's worthwhile is ever easy. That’s why we hope this guide will help you reach the goal. Of course, you can also read other articles on our blog to learn more about Salesforce .And last advice: try to understand, not memorize. No matter how many mock questions you will do, learning by heart won’t do you any good. That’s because the questions may tackle the same issues from different perspectives. Or sometimes there isn’t a completely wrong answer, but one where you have to choose the best answer for a given scenario.