I don't think there is a definite answer to the tangible benefits of passin the CSWA, CSWP or CSWE tests. I took my tests for personal satisfaction of having accomplished them. I have heard that there have been people who have found that it made a positive impact on their working situations. I have heard that some found it made no difference. I have not heard anyone say that it had any negative effect.
Regarding the cost to take the test - if you are on the annual subscription plan for the software you are entitled to take a test free of charge by signing up for a free test voucher on the certification portion of the customer portal.
I looked into the tests a while back and, if your company has a subscription everyone at your company can take the tests for no additional cost. I'm pretty sure they reset every 6 months as well now.
The young lady who got me set up said they decided to open it up for everyone at the company because so many companies had multiple shifts using the same seats & because so many people could check out a license.
I can say that the certifications that I have have definitely improved my employability. If you're gainfully employed, and considering certification, I'd recommend taking the CSWP exam. The CSWA was designed more for students versus professional.
- ) It proves to your current employer or a future employer your level of knowledge.
- ) More and more employer's are requiring this as personal development for your yearly review.
- ) Some Employer's will not interview you without this.
Over all I feel every engineer use this software should be certified for both personal and professional development.