The Value of Apple Certification

It's Worth More Than You Might Think

Apple logo and types of certifications
Apple Inc.

Apple certification is something not many people even know is available. One reason is that Macs are still not nearly as popular as Microsoft Windows in the corporate world. Still, it does have a specific niche in business. Creative organizations like advertising agencies and media outlets like newspapers, magazines and video production facilities normally rely much more heavily on Macs than other businesses.

In addition, a number of school districts nationwide are Mac based. And most large companies have a few Macs scattered around, especially in corporate art and video departments.

That’s why it can make sense to get an Apple certification. Although not nearly as numerous as, for example, Microsoft certified individuals, Mac certified pros are valuable in the right setting.

Application Certifications

There are basically two certification paths for Apple: application-oriented and support/troubleshooting-oriented. Apple Certified Pros have expertise in particular programs, like the Final Cut Studio video editing suite or DVD Studio Pro for DVD authoring.

For certain applications, like Logic Studio and Final Cut Studio, there are several levels of training, including the Master Pro and Master Trainer credentials. These can be handy to have if you’re self-employed and do contract video editing work, for example.

If teaching is your thing, consider becoming an Apple Certified Trainer. The chief benefit of a certification like this would be for instructors and trainers working with students learning the programs.

Technology Certifications

Apple also offers a number of titles for the more “geeky” folks. Those who like computer networking and digging into the guts of an operating system are targeted here.

There are three Mac OS X certifications offered, including:

  • Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP). This is an entry-level credential for support personnel, equivalent to the MCP. It covers the Mac OS X client, but not Mac OS X server.
  • Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC). The next level adds Mac OS X server support and is geared toward entry-level system administrators working on smaller networks.
  • Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA). This is for high-end Mac system administrators, working in complex and often large environments. You should have several years experience working with, and administering, Mac networks before attempting this one.

Apple also has credentials for hardware and storage specialists. Apple’s storage device is called Xsan, and offers two titlesfor experts in this area: Xsan Administrator and the Apple Certified Media Administrator (ACMA). The ACMA is more technical than Xsan Administrator, involving storage architecture and networking duties.

On the hardware side, consider becoming an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician (ACMT) Certification. ACMTs spend a lot of their time pulling apart and putting back together desktop machines, laptops and servers. It’s the Apple version of the A+ credential from CompTIA.

Worth the Money?

So, given the range of Apple certifications available, the question is whether they’re worth spending the time and money to achieve, since there are far fewer Macs in business use than PCs? One blog by an Apple fan asked that question, and got some interesting answers.

“The certifications are very useful and are valid industry recognised accreditation. I'm pretty sure that a having Apple accreditation on my CV helped me get my current job,” said one Apple Certified Pro.

Another compared the Apple certifications and Microsoft: “As for Apple vs Microsoft... MCSE's are a dime a dozen. Any Apple Cert is rare and if you have both (like I do) it is very marketable and valuable to clients. Scarcity is key to being valuable and my business in the past 18 months has exploded due to Apple and our requirement for dual certs.”

One multiple-certification Mac expert had this to say: “The certifications definitely help, when it comes to showing prospective clients (and even future employers) that you know Macs.”

Additionally, this article from Certification Magazine discusses how one college is starting to turn out Apple-certified students who are finding work, in part thanks to the credential.

Judging from those responses, it’s safe to say that Apple certification is quite valuable in the proper situation.