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The Road To Certification: Part 4: Pro Apps

Volume Number: 24 (2008)
Issue Number: 03
Column Tag: Professional Development

The Road To Certification: Part 4: Pro Apps

Increase your knowledge and build credibility on the way

by Doug Hanley


In this series of articles, we have looked at Apple's IT certifications and hardware certifications. We examined reasons for and benefits of getting certified, as well as the testing experience and the changes Apple made to its IT certifications with the release of Mac OS X Leopard, and their new Macintosh Technician certification, which qualifies a technician to perform warranty repairs while working at Apple Authorized Service Providers. In this article, we will review Apple's Pro Apps certifications for applications like Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro.

Apple offers a tiered certification program for Apple's professional digital applications. The supporting curriculum applies to creative professionals in varying capacities, including: editors, filmmakers, sound designers, photographers, special effects artists, teachers, and more.

Apple Certified Pro

Obtaining Pro Apps end-user certifications grants you the title of Apple Certified Pro. To become an Apple Certified Pro for an application, you need to pass the associated exam at an Apple Authorized Training Center (AATC). A Level One certification means that you have basic operational knowledge of the application, while a Level Two certification attests to a deeper understanding of the application. Level One exams are usually administered at the end of specific courses, but you can take Level One exams without taking a class, for a fee at an AATC that offers Pro Apps Classes. Level Two exams can be taken only in conjunction with the associated advanced classes and you need to pass the Level One exam before you can take the Level Two class and exam. The certifications are version-based for each application.

Once you are an Apple Certified Pro you can use the Apple Certified Pro logo on your business card and website. Certification gives you a way to differentiate yourself and validate your expertise in the digital media applications whose exams you pass. You may also join the Apple Certification Alliance ( at no cost and have a free listing in the directory of Certified Pros on Apple's website.

You can obtain certification for the following applications: Final Cut Pro 6, Final Cut Express 4, Final Cut Studio 2 (Motion Graphics), DVD Studio Pro 4, Motion 3, Soundtrack Pro 2, Color, Aperture 1.5, Color Management, Logic Pro 7 and 8, Shake, and Xsan For Pro Video. Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro are the only two applications for which a Level Two certification is currently available.

The average class length is 3 days. There is a more extensive Final Cut Pro 6 class that is five days long. The Soundtrack Pro 2 course is only two days long. The courses do a great job of balancing concepts and theory with demos and hands-on exercises. The Apple Training Series books from Peachpit Publishing are used in each of the classes. If you want to become certified, the test is normally offered in the afternoon on the last day of class. You can find more information about the classes and course outlines at:

Apple Certified Trainer Certification

The Apple Certified Trainer (ACT) program trains and tests qualified industry professionals to deliver Apple's certified curriculum. ACTs work with AATCs to teach courses to end users. To become an ACT, candidates must submit an application. Once the application is accepted, candidates must attend a Train-the-Trainer course and pass the associated trainer exam. For more details on becoming an ACT, visit:

Apple Certified Master Pro and Master Trainer Certifications

Apple offers both end-user and trainer versions of the Final Cut Studio Master and Logic Studio Master certifications. Master certification recognizes your expertise with an entire product suite. Since workflow is such a significant component of both Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio, each curriculum is set up so that you must earn individual certification in multiple products in the suite to earn Master Certification, as outlined below. As exams are retired when a new version of the application is released, you will need to re-certify on the new versions to keep your Master Certification current.

To become a Final Cut Studio Master Pro you need to pass five exams:

Final Cut Pro 6 Level One

Final Cut Pro 6 Level Two or Color Level One

Motion 3 Level One or Final Cut Studio Motion Graphics Level One

DVD Studio Pro 4 Level One

Soundtrack Pro 2 Level One

To become a Logic Studio Master Pro you need to pass three exams:

Logic Pro 8 Level One

Logic Pro 8 Level Two

Soundtrack Pro 2 Level One

Remember all Level Two exams require attendance of the associated class to be eligible to take the test. Becoming a Master Trainer requires Trainer certification for each of the classes listed for Final Cut Studio or Logic Studio.

Preparing for the Exams

In previous articles, we reviewed some of the areas covered on the tests. Pro Apps exams focus more on application features than general technical knowledge. The best way to prepare for one of Pro Apps exams is to take the associated class at an AATC. You can find the nearest AATC at: You could also prepare by reviewing the Peachpit book for the particular course, but you will be more thoroughly prepared by participating in a class.

Next Article on the Road to Certification

In the fifth article in this series, we will provide detailed information about the requirements for the Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA) 10.5 certification. We will discuss the topics covered on each of the exams required for ACSA certification, and what resources are available to help you prepare. Those resources of course will include Apple Authorized Training Center classes and books. We will also discuss how to become an Apple Certified Trainer for IT courses.

Doug Hanley owns MacTEK Consulting & Training, an Apple Authorized Training Center in Las Vegas, NV. His time is divided between teaching classes and wrangling servers. He has been providing support on the Mac since the early 90's. To track him down, go to or email


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