Online MCSE Certification

Find out how to become a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE). Learn about the program, how online programs work and the curriculum. Discover what this certification can do for your career as well. Schools offering Computer Support Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Online MCSE Certification Program?

Microsoft offers several credentials for IT professionals who prove they can successfully use its products and technologies. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) credential is for individuals who have experience using Microsoft server platforms to design and implement computer and network infrastructures.

The MCSE certification tests are not offered online, but must be completed in person at a testing center. However, few schools do offer online or hybrid programs that can prepare you to take the MCSE certification exams. While you are not required to complete these programs, they can better assist you in passing the exams. Due to the advanced nature of MCSE training, these online courses are often available in associate degree programs for aspiring IT professionals, though some schools also offer online courses for continuing education credit.

EducationOnline courses to prepare for MCSE certification exam available, some as part of associate degree or continuing education programs
Online Course StructureNo special requirements other than ensuring enough computer memory for lab assignments
Common TopicsInstalling and maintaining a Windows server, configuring security settings, implementing data recovery services
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 28% growth (for information security analysts)*
Median Annual Salary (2018) $98,350 (for information security analysts)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do Online Programs Work?

Online programs typically deliver instructional content via course management systems like Blackboard. In addition to an Internet connection, you might need to download software programs and ensure you have enough computer memory to work on lab assignments. Students without sufficient space might have to complete these assignments on campus in a designated computer lab. If you're earning an associate degree, you may also be required to complete some introductory courses on site.

What Is the Curriculum Like?

To receive the MCSE credential in one of eight specialty areas, you'll need to pass five exams. An online program containing coursework that can prepare you for MCSE certification typically covers the same material included on these tests. For example, you might study the steps required to install a Windows server and design server infrastructure. You could also learn how to manage and maintain a Windows server environment by configuring security settings, creating user accounts and implementing data recovery services. This coursework usually prepares certification candidates to earn the server or desktop infrastructure certifications.

What Can This Credential Do For My Career?

The MCSE credential is widely recognized in the IT profession. Depending on the specialty area you pursue, this certification can help you get a job as a computer support specialist or information security analyst, among others. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a job growth of 11% and 28% for these professionals during the 2016-2026 decade. Computer support specialists earned a median annual salary of $53,470 as of May 2018, while information security analysts earned a median salary of $98,350 that year, according to the BLS.

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