Microsoft certification standards have changed and so should you if you intend to become a certified MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) in the near future.
The first level of Microsoft accreditation is called the Technology series. This simply means that you have the necessary basic skills to use certain Microsoft technologies so that you can be properly called a Microsoft Technology Specialist. To become a Microsoft Technology Specialist, you need to prove that you can implement, create, troubleshoot, and debug specific Microsoft technologies. Under the Technology series, once the product you trained for has lost its mainstream product support, then the Technology accreditation you specialized in will also be retired.
Under the second stage of Microsoft accreditation (the Professional series), you need to work towards either becoming a Microsoft Certified IT Professional, or to become a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer. For these two Professional accreditations, you need to keep re-applying over time to be accredited so that you stay in active status (meaning, if you only take the exam once then never take refresher forms of accreditation, then your active status will be stripped from you.)
The highest level of MCP accreditation is for the Architect series, where you will aim to qualify for Microsoft Certified Architect status. But to qualify for this level, you need to have at least ten years of experience in advanced IT work first; have been practicing IT architecture for a minimum of three years; have managerial and technical capacity at the same time; and be recognized by your peers in the IT architecture community.
The growing competitiveness of these forms of MCP accreditation raises the bar for IT standards and guarantees quality control.