Best IT Trainer Certifications: CTT+, MCT, ACT, CCSI

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  • March 26, 2015
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Have you heard a saying and tons of jokes about people who go into teaching since they can’t do their jobs well? Forget that! Jokers can joke all they want, but pursuing the career of an IT trainer is a great idea for a tech professional. Here’s why:

When teaching may be right for you

Many people choose IT career because of high salaries. It is not uncommon though for IT professionals to hate their jobs. People may love your paycheck but hate corporate IT environment, or not be so crazy about all this networking, routing or advanced infrastructure matters – or whatever they do. Yet, having invested lots of time, money and effort into their education, these IT professionals are very unlikely to walk away from their jobs. Yet, living a life with a job you hate can easily make you miserable. If this sounds anything like you, keep in mind that you can easily turn your career and your life around by becoming a certified IT trainer.

Many companies do not realize that a qualified, intelligent and certified tech instructor can keep the rank-and-file of the IT teams knowledgeable and up-to-date. Loyal employees are kept valuable and stimulated, short-timers can work free of worry knowing that they’re keeping their employability relevant. A qualified IT Trainer makes a huge difference in the efficiency and morale of an IT team and contributes to the company’s overall performance.

More often than not, instructors are found naturally within the company. If a person is a team lead who does a lot of instruction anyway, she or he may be perfect for the job. If it sounds like you, you should consider getting an IT trainer certification. The most popular ones are CompTIA’s CTT+ (Certified Technical Trainer+), Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) and the Apple Certified Trainer (ACT) and Cisco’s CCSI (this one is a great option if you already hold a CCNA which is required for the CCSI). These certifications present some bullet-proof ways to certify your IT training skills

CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer+

CompTIA is known for its solid vendor-neutral certifications that provide learners with foundational yet applicable knowledge, and the CTT+ is no exception. Like other CompTIA certifications, the CTT+ is endorsed by companies like Dell, IBM, Ricoh, Microsoft, and the US Department of Defense.

CTT+ is an international, vendor-neutral certification that covers core instructor skills, including preparation, presentation, communication, facilitation and evaluation in both a traditional and virtual classroom environment.

To become a CCT+, candidate needs to pass 2 exams: CompTIA CTT+ Essentials (TK0-201), and at least one of the two designations: Classroom Trainer or Virtual Classroom Trainer. You will have to submit a video or recording of your classroom or virtual classroom sessions.

The exam covers planning prior to the course, methods and media for instructional delivery, instructor credibility and communications, group facilitation and evaluating the training event.

You can find training materials for CompTIA CTT+ Essentials: TK0-201 exam here.

To get certified, candidates need to achieve the mini mum score of 655 on their the CompTIA CTT+ exam;  a minimum score of 36 on the Classroom or Virtual Classroom Trainer. Candidates are also recommended to have 6-12 months of training experience.

CTT+ is a great way to start an IT training career, and other credentials build well on it, so candidates can deepen their training competency with one of the following credentials – and their CV will still make sense.

Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT)

Microsoft does not need much of an introduction as an IT certification provider. If you hold an Microsoft credentials, becoming an MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer) might be a great idea. MCP is an almost exclusive group of technical training professionals that combines the benefits of training certification and membership that features a wide range of Microsoft perks. These include access to the complete library of official Microsoft training and certification products; substantial discounts on exams, books, and Microsoft products; readiness resources and access to a members-only online community; and invitations to exclusive events and programs.

The best thing about an MCT credential is that it does not require any additional exams. Instead, there’s a list of accepted certifications and qualifications (one of which is the CCT+). If you meet the qualifications, you apply, pay the fee, and you’re in. Furthermore, The Microsoft Certified Trainer program is an annual membership program. You must complete an online application, pay an annual fee, and meet program requirements to renew your training certification for the coming year.


Apple Certified Trainer (ACT)

The Apple Certified Trainer (ACT) credential may be very useful and marketable if your company relies on Apple products. This credential validates your capability of delivering the Apple certification curriculum across a range of products. The goal of the ACT program is to ensure the quality, consistency and accessibility of Apple training worldwide. The ACT program prepares applicants to deliver courses for commercial and academic Apple Authorized Training Centers. Candidates are qualified in technical proficiency and instructional skills by attending a Train-the-Trainer (T3) class and passing an ACT certification exam.

As an ACT candidate, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Have an accepted ACT application
  • Have at least 1 year teaching experience in a structured classroom setting (individual instruction does not satisfy this requirement).
  • Have at least 1 year of experience with the OS X.
  • Have at least 3 years of experience as an IT professional or teaching experience in this field.
  • Earn the end user certification for the relevant product.
  • Demonstrate teaching skills at a Train-the-trainer (T3) course and pass the trainer exam for the chosen application.


Certified Cisco Systems Instructor (CCSI)

If you are a Cisco certified professional, especially holding a CCNA, you should consider becoming a Certified Cisco Systems Instructor (CCSI) – since CCNA is a prerequisite for this credential. Achieving this certification may be a bit of a hassle, but it’s definitely worth the effort, especially if your company uses Cisco solutions and you want to remain in Cisco professional circle.

To become a Certified Cisco Systems Instructor (CCSI), you must first be sponsored or employed by a Cisco Learning Partner (CLP). Once you become sponsored by a CLP, they will guide you through the instructor certification process, which includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Select a Baseline technology (i.e., Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks)
  • Take the course(s) (i.e., BSCI)
  • Pass the exam(s) (i.e., BSCI ) *Passmark is based on the CCSI Exam requirements
  • Enroll for and pass the Instructor Certification Process (two-day evaluation)
  • Acknowledge the Cisco Certified Systems Instructor Agreement
  • Your sponsor (the Cisco Learning Partner) will submit and request certification on your behalf

These are the most popular certifications for IT trainers/instructors. Explore them if you consider this career change, and you might even be able to stay with your current company, but a much more enjoyable job.



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