TweetFollow Us on Twitter

The Road To Certification - Part 1 �

Volume Number: 23 (2007)
Issue Number: 12
Column Tag: Business

The Road To Certification - Part 1

Increase your knowledge and build credibility along the way

by Doug Hanley

Introduction

In this series of articles we are going to look at Apple's IT certifications. We will examine reasons for and benefits of getting certified. This article also covers the testing experience and the changes to Apple's IT certifications that Leopard brings with it. We also review the exams required and how best to prepare to pass them.

A Look To The Past...

Now to give you a little historical perspective, Apple started offering Mac OS X certifications in 2002. Before then, they only offered their Hardware certifications. The first Mac OS X certification available was Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC) certification. This certification required passing two exams: one focused on Mac OS X client and one on Mac OS X Server. They also offer the advanced level certification Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA). The requirements for ACSA certification have changed dramatically, and we will focus on the current changes later in this article.

With Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, Apple launched a new certification, Apple Certified Help Desk Specialist (ACHDS). ACHDS was granted after passing just one exam based on Mac OS X Client.

So now you have a quick overview of the three levels of Mac OS X certification offered by Apple: ACHDS, ACTC, and ACSA. Now let's talk about why you might want to get certified.

Benefits: Why Get Certified?

You might ask yourself, "Why should I get certified? What will it do for me?" or, "how will it benefit me?" Maybe your job requires it. Apple Resellers are required to have people on staff maintain certain Apple IT certifications. And members of the Apple Consultants Network are required to be at least an ACHDS. Apple requires its own system engineers to maintain an ACSA.

Maybe your employer or potential employer wants to know you have a base level of knowledge and skill set to efficiently deploy and manage Mac OS X. This is where Apple's IT certifications are helpful. Sure you may know your way around Darwin's kernel and zip rings around people using the command line, but by having a certification, you can show proof of your Mac OS X expertise. You will also be expected to perform at a commensurate level with that certification.

While there can be many benefits, not all of them are necessarily tangible and immediate. A certification enhances your credibility as a technology professional and provides recognition of your achievement. It gives validation of your technical knowledge and expertise that can be recognized by others. If you have a consulting practice, it can set you apart from your competition and get you in the door of prospective clients.

Ryan Grimes of Hoosier Mac, an Apple Consultant Network member in Indiana shared the benefits of achieving ACSA. Ryan said, "I received my ACSA last year at this time and it immediately started paying for itself. Shortly after becoming certified, I was contacted by Apple's Enterprise group for a project and I now have a wonderful relationship with my Apple reps. They know my level of knowledge and feel comfortable recommending my services because I have the certification."

My personal experience is basically the same as Ryan's; I feel it was well worth the investment of time and money to get trained and certified. Not only did I gain the certification, but I also acquired the knowledge and skills to better serve my clients.

The Process: Getting Certified

Step 1: Get your Tech ID:

The first thing you need to do is to get a Tech ID from Apple. This ID is used by Apple to track all of your certifications, whether IT, Hardware, or Pro Apps. You apply for your Tech ID at Apple's Certifications Website (http://certifications.apple.com). You can check your progress on achieving the various certifications by logging into this website. You will first need an Apple ID before you can register for a Tech ID. If you have ever made a purchase from the iTunes Music Store or Apple Online Store, you already have an Apple ID. (https://myinfo.apple.com/html/en_US/faq.html).

Step 2: Register for an exam:

Mac OS X certification exams are offered at Prometric testing centers and as of just recently, also at Apple Authorized Training Centers. You can locate your nearest Prometric testing center and register for an exam at Prometric by calling 888-APL-EXAM (888-275-3926) or visiting their website (http://www.prometric.com/Apple). Or visit http://train.apple.com to find the Apple Authorized Training Center nearest you - imagine, now you can register for an exam at the same time you sign up for a class! The cost per exam is $150.

Step 3: Take the exam:

Before you arrive to take your exam, make sure to bring two forms of identification, especially if you go to a Prometric Testing Center. They will have you sign in, leave your cell phone behind and lead you to a quiet little cubicle with a lovely little Windows based machine to take your exam. They should also provide you with a pencil and scratch paper for your convenience during the test. The exam questions will be a mix of multiple choice and true/false. There are a few non-scoring questions about demographical information before the actual test begins.

A tutorial is available for you to get familiar with the types of questions and conventions used in this testing process. But here are some tips I have learned from taking a number of these exams.If there is a graphical exhibit related to a particular question, you will need to click a display button to view it. You can mark an unanswered question or one you are not quite sure about and come back to it later. I really recommend doing this and I also use the scratch paper to make a list of the questions that I want to review before submitting the exam. You normally have about two hours to complete the exam. I recommend going through the questions, answering the ones you are certain of first, and saving time at then end for those that may require a little more effort. After reviewing all your marked and unanswered questions, you can then hit the Finish or Submit button.

At a Prometric center, your exam will be scored immediately and they will give you the results on a printout before you leave. This is not your certificate, but simply a receipt of your exam and results of your answers. You will be able to see by section your total correct and missed questions, but you will not be able to find out which questions you actually missed. You also don't get to keep your scratch paper. If you passed the exam, you will then be able to order your certificate online. The ACTC and ACSA certifications require more than one exam, and you can track you progress after your results are updated on Apple's Certifications Website.

Leopard: Changes to Certification

Over the past few years, Apple's Training and Certification programs have changed and evolved significantly. So it is no surprise that with all the new and exciting things coming with Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard, there are also changes to Apple certifications and how to achieve them.

One of the first changes is simply a name change to the first level certification. Away goes Apple Certified Help Desk Specialist as it is renamed the Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP). This is a much more succinct and appropriate name for the entry-level certification. You will achieve ACSP by passing the Mac OS X v10.5 Support Essentials Exam. This certification is a great starting place on the road to further certification. The focus of the exam is on troubleshooting and supporting Mac OS X client.

The ACTC certification remains the same. It requires that you pass both the Mac OS X v10.5 Support Essentials Exam and the Mac OS X v10.5 Server Essentials Exam. An ACTC is expected to not only know how to work with and support Mac OS X client, but also set up and maintain Mac OS X Server.

The highest certification, ACSA, has undergone the most changes through the years. Initially, for Mac OS X v10.2 and v10.3, the certification required two exams with the tests covering advanced client and advanced server administration. For Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger, it was changed into a credit-based system with a minimum requirement of seven current credits, achieved by passing ACSA elective exams-each worth from 2 to 4 credits. Initially the credits would expire two years from the date the exam was passed. When this change was made, it seemed Apple would be updating major versions of Mac OS X every two years. Since that has not been the case, Apple recently announced that all current ACSAs are being granted a new non-expiring ACSA 10.4 certification.

With Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard, ACSA certification will now again be based on the version of Mac OS X. So that means you would be certified for Mac OS X 10.5 as an ACSA and would need to recertify at the next level release of the operating system. ACSA certification will require passing four exams: the Mac OS X v10.5 Server Essentials Exam, plus three additional exams. The course names and exams have not been finalized at this time but they will cover Mac OS X and Mac OS Server Directory Services, Deployment and Advanced Administration. I believe this change makes it challenging but not unobtainable to achieve the Apple Certified System Administrator certification. The precise set of skills and knowledge possessed by an ACSA will now also be more clearly defined for employers and the industry as a whole.

In the next article we should have more detailed information about the requirements for an ACSA 10.5 certification.

In future articles, we will discuss the kinds of topics covered on the exams, and what resources are available to help you prepare for them. Those resources include Apple Authorized Training Center classes and books.


Doug Hanley owns MacTEK Consulting & Training, an Apple Authorized Training Center in Las Vegas, NV. His time is divided between teaching and wrangling servers. He has been providing support on the Mac since the early the 90's. To track him down go to http://www.mac-tek.com or doug@mac-tek.com

 
AAPL
$105.22
Apple Inc.
+0.39
MSFT
$46.13
Microsoft Corpora
+1.11
GOOG
$539.78
Google Inc.
-4.20

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

OS X Server 4.0 - For OS X 10.10 Yosemit...
Designed for OS X and iOS devices, OS X Server makes it easy to share files, schedule meetings, synchronize contacts, develop software, host your own website, publish wikis, configure Mac, iPhone,... Read more
TotalFinder 1.6.12 - Adds tabs, hotkeys,...
TotalFinder is a universally acclaimed navigational companion for your Mac. Enhance your Mac's Finder with features so smart and convenient, you won't believe you ever lived without them. Tab-based... Read more
BusyCal 2.6.3 - Powerful calendar app wi...
BusyCal is an award-winning desktop calendar that combines personal productivity features for individuals with powerful calendar sharing capabilities for families and workgroups. BusyCal's unique... Read more
calibre 2.7 - Complete e-library managem...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital... Read more
Skitch 2.7.3 - Take screenshots, annotat...
With Skitch, taking, annotating, and sharing screenshots or images is as fun as it is simple.Communicate and collaborate with images using Skitch and its intuitive, engaging drawing and annotating... Read more
Delicious Library 3.3.2 - Import, browse...
Delicious Library allows you to import, browse, and share all your books, movies, music, and video games with Delicious Library. Run your very own library from your home or office using our... Read more
Art Text 2.4.8 - Create high quality hea...
Art Text is an OS X application for creating high quality textual graphics, headings, logos, icons, Web site elements, and buttons. Thanks to multi-layer support, creating complex graphics is no... Read more
Live Interior 3D Pro 2.9.6 - Powerful an...
Live Interior 3D Pro is a powerful yet very intuitive interior designing application. View Video Tutorials It has every feature of Live Interior 3D Standard, plus some exclusive ones: Create multi... Read more
The Hit List 1.1.7 - Advanced reminder a...
The Hit List manages the daily chaos of your modern life. It's easy to learn - it's as easy as making lists. And it's powerful enough to let you plan, then forget, then act when the time is right.... Read more
jAlbum Pro 12.2.4 - Organize your digita...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code!... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Rami Ismail Opens Up distribute​() for D...
Rami Ismail Opens Up distribute​() for Developers Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Rami Ismail, Chief Executive of Business and Development at indie game studio | Read more »
Great Hitman GO Goes on Sale and Gets Ne...
Great Hitman GO Goes on Sale and Gets New Update – Say That Three Times Fast Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Rival Stars Basketball Review
Rival Stars Basketball Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: RESTRICTIVE BUT FUNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Rival Stars Basketball is a fun mixture of basketball and card collecting but its... | Read more »
Rubicon Development Makes Over a Dozen o...
Rubicon Development Makes Over a Dozen of Their Games Free For This Weekend Only Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
I Am Dolphin Review
I Am Dolphin Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: NEARLY FIN-TASTICUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Swim around and eat nearly everything that moves in I Am Dolphin, a fun Ecco-ish kind of game... | Read more »
nPlayer looks to be the ultimate choice...
Developed by Newin Inc, nPlayer may seem like your standard video player – but is aiming to be the best in its field by providing high quality video play performance and support for a huge number of video formats and codecs. User reviews include... | Read more »
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Wi...
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CLASSY STORYTELLINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch is a sterling... | Read more »
A Few Days Left (Games)
A Few Days Left 1.01 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.01 (iTunes) Description: Screenshots are in compliance to App Store's 4+ age rating! Please see App Preview for real game play! **Important: Make... | Read more »
Toca Boo (Education)
Toca Boo 1.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.2 (iTunes) Description: BOO! Did I scare you!? My name is Bonnie and my family loves to spook! Do you want to scare them back? Follow me and I'll... | Read more »
Intuon (Games)
Intuon 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Join the battle with your intuition in a new hardcore game Intuon! How well do you trust your intuition? Can you find a needle in a... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Weekend sale: 13-inch 128GB MacBook Air for $...
Best Buy has the 2014 13-inch 1.4GHz 128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849.99, or $150 off MSRP, on their online store. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Price valid... Read more
Nimbus Note Cross=Platform Notes Utility
Nimbus Note will make sure you never forget or lose your valuable data again. Create and edit notes, save web pages, screenshots and any other type of data – and share it all with your friends and... Read more
NewerTech’s Snuglet Makes MagSafe 2 Power Con...
NewerTech has introduced the Snuglet, a precision-manufactured ring designed to sit inside your MagSafe 2 connector port, providing a more snug fit to prevent your power cable from unintentional... Read more
Apple Planning To Sacrifice Gross Margins To...
Digitimes Research’s Jim Hsiao says its analysts believe Apple is planning to sacrifice its gross margins to save its tablet business, which has recently fallen into decline. They project that Apple’... Read more
Who’s On Now? – First Instant-Connect Search...
It’s nighttime and your car has broken down on the side of the highway. You need a tow truck right away, so you open an app on your iPhone, search for the closest tow truck and send an instant... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $949,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $949.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $150 off MSRP. Price is... Read more
Save up to $125 on Retina MacBook Pros
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $125 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available sta...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for up to $60 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $255... Read more
Textilus New Word, Notes and PDF Processor fo...
Textilus is new word-crunching, notes, and PDF processor designed exclusively for the iPad. I haven’t had time to thoroughly check it out yet, but it looks great and early reviews are positive.... Read more
WD My Passport Pro Bus-Powered Thunderbolt RA...
WD’s My Passport Pro RAID solution is powered by an integrated Thunderbolt cable for true portability and speeds as high as 233 MB/s. HighlightsOverviewSpecifications Transfer, Back Up And Edit In... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple Inc. (U...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.