Professional Computer Certifications

Computer professionals can earn a wide variety of certificates and professional certifications covering different software, networking and information technology (IT) vendor technologies. Find out about the benefits of certification, and see how you can find courses, many of which are online, that will prepare you for the certification exams. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kind of Professional Computer Certifications Can I Earn?

Since the range of professional computer certifications and certificates you can earn is so broad, you'll need to know what you want to accomplish before choosing. For example, you can earn vendor-neutral certifications such as CompTIA A+ or Network Plus Certifications to advance a career as a computer support technician for hardware, networks and operating systems. CompTIA is an international professional trade organization for the IT profession. Other possible CompTIA certifications include networks, servers, security, document imaging architecture, project management and more.

Vendor-specific certifications are also possible. You can, for instance, become a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) if you want to work with Microsoft products; sub-specializations are also possible within that credential.

CertificationsCompTIA A+, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist
Advantages of CertificationJob promotions and opportunities, specific training and additional skills, extra credentials
Program FormatOnline or on campus
Exam LocationsCommunity colleges, third party testing centers
Median Salary (2018)  $53,470 (for all computer support specialists
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 11% growth (for all computer support specialists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Why Should I Become Certified?

There are a variety of reasons to seek certification at any point in your career. Such credentials reflect specific training and skills and demonstrate knowledge of a particular technology. Certifications prompt you to hone your skills and can help you enter or advance a computer-related career. They can open doors to promotions or other job opportunities and show a level of professionalism and a willingness to keep growing within the industry.

How Do I Prepare for Certification?

Preparation for certification exams can be done through on-campus or online programs. Community colleges typically offer preparatory courses for basic specific certifications. Programs may be structured as standalone courses or as a track that results in a certificate. Certificates reflect completion of courses but are different from certifications, which are exam-based credentials.

Study materials and practice exams are also offered through the sponsoring organization that administers the certification exams. CompTIA, for example, offers an eLearning Training Center that allows you to use a simulated environment and work at your own pace. Be sure the training center or material you select is authorized by the organization that administers the exam.

What Are the Final Requirements to Be Certified?

You'll need to successfully complete the exams for the specific certification you are seeking, and will also have to agree to comply with the credentialing body's rules and regulations before using the professional designation. You'll be able to search for a nearby testing center through the organization that administers the credential. Community colleges are often testing centers, but other options may exist since the testing process is sometimes operated by a third party. Prices for the exams themselves vary according to subject and candidate.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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