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How to Become a Certified Mac Professional

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For most information technology jobs, there are industry and vendor certification programs that allow you to showcase your abilities and build your resume. Certifications such as Microsoft's MCSE and CompTIA's A+ are well-known, and employers often look for these and other certifications when scanning resumes. For Mac professionals, there is a series of certifications from Apple and other vendors that can build and showcase your knowledge of Mac troubleshooting, networking, and common applications. In this article, Ryan Faas looks at the certifications that Mac professionals can use to build their resumes and further their careers.
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Anyone in the IT field knows that technology certifications can be a great way to build your resume and showcase your abilities. Microsoft, Cisco, and many PC vendors offer certification programs for systems administrators, engineers, technicians, and support staff. Many companies also offer application-specific certifications such as Microsoft’s MOUS and Adobe’s ACE programs. Along with vendor certification programs there are also independent organizations that provide industry standard and vendor-neutral programs, most notably CompTIA, which provides programs for desktop technicians, network engineers, and Internet professionals among others.

Certifications are an excellent way for employers to quickly size up the skills of a prospective employee without needing to ask a series of very detailed questions. This is one reason why certifications are often listed as requirements for a job or why having specific certifications make your resume more likely to be considered for a job if other candidates are lacking in certifications. Although certification programs have been available for almost every IT profession for over a decade, certifications for Mac-specific knowledge have been almost nonexistent for much of that time. However, in recent years, Apple has moved to provide Mac professionals with a series of certification options that can help make your expertise clear to employers or clients quickly and easily.

Although not as broad as Microsoft’s wide array of certification choices, Apple’s certification program includes offerings designed for users of Apple’s professional software titles, technicians, and support personnel; and systems administrators and engineers. Apple also offers a program for technical trainers. This article looks at the various certifications available from Apple and other vendors that can be important for Mac professionals.

Apple Certified Desktop Technician and Apple Certified Portable Technician

The Apple Certified Desktop and Portable Technician certifications are actually two separate certifications for ensuring that an individual has the knowledge required to diagnose hardware, Mac OS X, and basic networking problems and make appropriate repairs. It indicates understanding basic troubleshooting and repair methodology as well as where/how to find required information for appropriate troubleshooting and repair. It also covers the diagnostic tools and supply channels used by Apple Authorized Service Providers.

These certifications are most helpful if you want to work as a technician in an Apple Authorized service facility. Apple requires that anyone doing repair work in a service center hold a current certification, and only individuals holding this certification are allowed to make warranty repairs to a Mac (and to access warranty-voiding components without actually voiding a Mac’s warranty). The desktop certification is more helpful than the portable certification because many portable repairs are facilitated by mailing computers back to Apple for repair.

Another point of value for this certification is the Apple Self Servicing Account program. Generally speaking, only authorized service centers can perform warranty repairs and have the capability to order replacement components from Apple. However, for companies and other organizations that meet certain requirements can apply to become self-servicing and be granted the capability to perform warranty repairs and order parts. This program requires that any employees conducting repairs be currently certified to work on the hardware in question. This can be a value-added feature if you are applying for a technician job beyond the requisite radius from the nearest service center.

Each of these certifications requires successful completion of two Apple exams. For the ACDT certification, you must pass the Apple Desktop Service Exam and for the ACPT the Apple Portable Service Exam. Additionally, you must pass either the Mac OS X Service and Support Exam or the Mac OS X Support Essentials Exam to qualify for either certification.

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