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Apple Certification Questions/Journey


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~Luke

 
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Hello,

I have a few questions which I hope some Certified Apple members can answer - If you're not Apple Certified and still know the answer please still answer.

Please don't just refer me to the training.apple.com or certification link - I have had a good read on there.


My questions are:

1.) I read that the Associate, ACSP, ACTC are certifications per version of OS ie ACSP for OS X 10.8 etc. Would I have to do a full exam every year to renew or is there an upgrade exam or 'differences between OSX' revision material?
- Do I really have to buy expensive books each year or are there other methods?

2.) If I started with the Integrations material for 10.8 (which is a free PDF) and then take the exam to gain 'Associate status' will I have to do the same later for 10.9 or could I do 10.8 integrations (for Associate) and then do 10.9 for ACSP? In other words can you do anything higher to get re-certified? (Cisco works like this).

3.) Do you think now would be a good time to do the 10.8 integrations or would you say 10.9 will be released soon and due to re-reading and getting re-certified it would be a waist and just worth waiting to do the 10.9 one?

Any information you can give will be greatly appreciated as I cannot find the answers to these on the Apple website.

Thank you.
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~Luke

 
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Surely someone knows? Or has an idea?
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There are a few members here who've worked at Apple stores and were Apple geniuses, apart from that, not sure who is a Apple Certified person..so not sure you'll get an immediate response to very specific questions about the certification process, especially if it isn't readily available on Apple.com

The only thing I can is that Apple has kinda switched to a faster yearly release cycle for OS X with the idea being a major release one year followed by a minor release the following year before another major release.

So Leopard (major, 2007), Snow Leopard (minor, 2009), Lion (major, 2011), Mountain Lion (minor, 2012)..so the next version 10.9 (whatever it is going to be codenamed) will be this year and likely a major release..as to specifically WHEN 10.9 is going to come out is anyones guess..have to wait for the WWDC or some other Apple conference to get that info..

--
Regards
...Ashwin



Be sure to read the Community Guidelines | The more information you provide, the better answers you get, remember GIGO.
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electronink

 
Member Since: Jul 07, 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Luke View Post
Hello,

I have a few questions which I hope some Certified Apple members can answer - If you're not Apple Certified and still know the answer please still answer.

Please don't just refer me to the training.apple.com or certification link - I have had a good read on there.


My questions are:

1.) I read that the Associate, ACSP, ACTC are certifications per version of OS ie ACSP for OS X 10.8 etc. Would I have to do a full exam every year to renew or is there an upgrade exam or 'differences between OSX' revision material?
- Do I really have to buy expensive books each year or are there other methods?

2.) If I started with the Integrations material for 10.8 (which is a free PDF) and then take the exam to gain 'Associate status' will I have to do the same later for 10.9 or could I do 10.8 integrations (for Associate) and then do 10.9 for ACSP? In other words can you do anything higher to get re-certified? (Cisco works like this).

3.) Do you think now would be a good time to do the 10.8 integrations or would you say 10.9 will be released soon and due to re-reading and getting re-certified it would be a waist and just worth waiting to do the 10.9 one?

Any information you can give will be greatly appreciated as I cannot find the answers to these on the Apple website.

Thank you.
_________________________


Hi, Luke:

I'm Apple certified (Associate: Integration & Management 10.8, ACSP 10.8, ACTC 10.8, ACMT 2013 (yep, that's 10.8 also)).

Briefly:

(1) You'll take a full exam to qualify at a level once, then a recertification exam as a newer version of the OS comes out -- which is just about as long. Books, webinars, geeky friend -- all work well. Don't buy books new if possible, but books are always good for reference. Sometimes ebook versions are available, and are substantially cheaper (though the DRM is a pain when transferring between your computer and tablet/reader).

(2) Every version has its own test, and is specific to that version. Higher certifications will "refresh" lower certifications, but only in a specific track. ACSP/ACTC/ACSA is one track, ApplePro certs are a different track, Mac Associate is a different track, etc.

(3) Me? I do every test as it becomes available (but then, I make Sheldon (BBT) look well-socialized). Take whatever's current. Yes, it will change. No, it will not change as soon as we hope it will.

Meandering version:

Apple Repair Track (ACMT):
If you are certified in the Apple technician track, you take two tests. One, the hardware test, is yearly, approximately at the same time each year as when you first qualified. The second, the OS, you'll take every time there's a new OS released. This may or may not be yearly -- with 10.6, there was no newer OS version to test on for a two year period. The newer version OS might be around a while in actual use before authorized tests are released for that version.

Mac Associate certifications (Integration, Management):
The Associate level certifications are separate from the ACSP/ACTC/ACSA track, and only apply to and are only affected by those specific tests. If you have an Associate cert (e.g., a certified Mac Associate Integration 10.6), and you obtain the ACSP 10.7, your Associate certification remains unchanged and is not "upgraded" to 10.7.

Apple OS certifications (ACSP/ACTC/ACSA):
With the OS track (MIS, ACSP, etc.), you'll take your test for whatever the current OS might be, and retake it for the new one when it's available. Apple only officially recognizes and supports the current version of OS, plus one version back. For instance, I've been a Mac Tech since 2005, but only have the most recent two OS versions listed on the Apple site (10.7 and 10.8 certifications). The certification for a particular version is specific to that version. If you certify as an ACSP for 10.5, you'll always be certified at that level for that version of the OS.

Once you obtain an ACTC at one OS version, you have the option of taking one test to recertify your ACTC at the next adjacent OS. From that single recertification test, your ACSP will also be "refreshed" to that new OS. One caveat is that you *must* take the recertification test within the indicated period of time, else, you are back on the individual tests track again.

If you want, you can take both tests again with a new OS, rather than one test for the ACTC level.

Sometimes, people achieve an ACSP in one OS, and the next OS becomes available. During this transition time, you can progress in either OS for a certification, but I do not know if you can "jump" OS versions (ACSP in one, and an ACTC in the newer). Apple might allow this, though, within a certain time period. I didn't specifically experience this, though. I've always immediately taken every test in a version as it's available. If it happens to you, you probably have something like a 90-day window.

Does that make sense?

If you take any of the ACTC follow-on specializations (Mobility, Security, Directory), your "general" ACTC (and ACSP, as well) is upgraded (again, similar to Cisco with the current CCNA specializations, though that will probably change September 2013).
If you take all three of the ACTC courses, you can then qualify for the ACSA certification.

While almost every version of OS X has common elements, every version has enough things that are different (and some are wildly different), that it makes reasonable sense to try to know as many versions as you can. The tests typically will cover the current version of OS, plus questions from the previous version, and even *might* ask about earlier versions. For example, 10.8 tests asked about 10.7 and 10.6 differences and compatibility, where 10.6 tests asked about 10.5, 10.4, 10.3, and even one or two questions from 10.2.

Two more things:

I know that it is very difficult to get clear answers about the certification path(s) from Apple; I ran into that for many years, and still find that different groups at Apple have differing opinions on how the certifications work. Some of the opinions are partially correct, and some are just flat wrong. Someone being at Apple doesn't guarantee accuracy, unfortunately.

The second thing is that while you can probably just read a book and pass the test, you're really robbing yourself of the opportunity to learn the subject in depth. If at all possible, play with the hardware. The actual items will teach you a number of things that either are much clearer than as explained in the book, or don't exist at all in the book(s). As with Cisco, where the simulators don't do everything the real thing does (though they are great for practicing for the test simulators!).

Does this help? Let me know -- thanks!
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~Luke

 
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First of all... Oops! I left this for so long and forgot to check back as I didn't think anyone was going to answer.

Those posts above (especially the last one) have really helped - thank you both so much!

I'm wondering whether to go down the ACSP to ACTC/ACSA route or whether to go for ACMT.

Is it worthwhile doing both?
Is there a way to easily certify for both or do you just do each separately? I think you mentioned the ACMT covers the OS too but is that just ACSP level (do you get that cert) or is it that you just get the ACMT only on completion?

With the ACMT could you start you own apple repair business?

Likewise with ACSP/ACTC/ACSA can you start your own apple support business?

If anyone knows any of the above please respond, even if it's what you think.

All appreciated.

Thanks
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electronink

 
Member Since: Jul 07, 2013
Posts: 2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Luke View Post
I'm wondering whether to go down the ACSP to ACTC/ACSA route or whether to go for ACMT.
Is it worthwhile doing both?
Is there a way to easily certify for both or do you just do each separately? I think you mentioned the ACMT covers the OS too but is that just ACSP level (do you get that cert) or is it that you just get the ACMT only on completion?
Hi, Luke:

I know it all doesn't seem very clear; Apple is trying to make each certification have enough information over a broad enough area to confirm that each cert is actually useful, which is really smart... but it also means that there's a lot of overlap, and many aspects of each certification will seem to actually cover other certification tracks. The authorized syllabus/books/training material is a great guide to what's what. Peachpit publishes the official Apple stuff; they constantly have sales and bundles and deals. I mean, who doesn't like to curl up with a 1200 page book (or two) filled with acronyms and a nice glass of Merlot, or a cold IPA? Okay, everybody, put your hands down!

I would strongly suggest doing all of them.

The "Mac Associate" track is a less-detailed version of the ACSP>ACTC>ACSA track; with the Mac Integration being a condensed version of the ACSP (pertaining to more to individual Macs), and the Mac Management having the same relationship to the ACTC. You could consider the Associate certifications as a great way to see how you like Apple certifications -- at the price, they're an inexpensive way to start. Remember, however, that the Mac Associate track, though related subject-wise to the more challenging Support and Tech Coordinator certifications, are separate from them. You won't get any of the Mac Associate certs by taking the ACSP or ACTC certification tests, nor will you gain any direct credit toward the ACSP or ACTC by taking all of the Mac Associate certifications. They are even under different tracks in the testing area (some are under the umbrella of "AppleCare", and the others, "Apple OS").

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Luke View Post
With the ACMT could you start you own apple repair business?
Likewise with ACSP/ACTC/ACSA can you start your own apple support business?
You can do Apple support or repair without any certifications, but you would be at a disadvantage. Achieving an ACMT confirms that you actually know something about Macs (like the name of that thingamajig, or what the whatchamacallit does when the whoozit fails), but doesn't automatically qualify you with Apple to do warranty-authorized repairs. Apple requires that Authorized Service Providers (ASP) at whatever level also qualify as actual businesses; they must have certain mandatory minimum repair areas of a particular size, have a particular type and size of customer waiting area, etc.-- and have an ACMT on staff (which could be you). Apple tries very hard to confirm that a business isn't "fly-by-night", a "hole-in-the-wall", or that it ignores elements and behaviors that Apple has identified as supporting and promoting good customer service. It can take a fair amount of time and can be a bit frustrating, but it's overall pretty fun.

No, I don't work for Apple, nor do I agree with everything they do, but the vast majority of the requirements (other than technical knowledge) do make a great deal of sense for any business.

When you achieve an ACMT (and actually work well with Macs -- or technical items), you become a desirable asset to any existing ASP, or for a large enough business wanting to qualify as an ASP, whether for walk-in repairs, or to support their fleet of internally-deployed Macs (like a college or business). You can do Apple support with any of these certifications, though, as I'd mentioned, doing Apple-authorized repairs involves additional aspects. Regardless of your certification level, though, your reputation would be based on your business practices and customer relational-behaviors, like everything else in the business universe.

If you'd like a suggested order to approach the certifications:
- Mac Integration, Management (~70- 100 pages each)
- ACSP (~670 pages)
- ACMT (~1200+ pages -- split between OS (430 pages) and hardware-specific subjects (680 pages)
- ACTC (~600+ pages)

The ACSA certification path is a bit unclear to me. Apple certification personnel I've spoken with have indicated that, should you do all three of the ACTC specialties, an ACSA would be awarded, but I've been having a bit of a challenge to actually locate the specific test names/numbers. My assessment that doing all three ACTC specialties (required for the ACSA) would cover a *lot* more material than the original base ACTC does (~2000 pages), so it shouldn't be taken lightly -- but again, while there's a fair amount of repetition and overlapping of subjects. Don't let the raw number of pages put you off, though. In addition, I would strongly suggest adding in other networking or OS training/experience -- at a certain point, all of them overlap to some degree, and no study is ever really wasted if you enjoy the field. I do general platform and mobile programming, wireless and wired network, media transport design, etc., and they all relate in both obvious and sometimes surprising ways.

But YMMV -- this is all my own opinion and direct experience, and I represent no one other than myself.

In any case: study hard, play with the hardware, help everyone you can, and most of all, enjoy it. Good luck with whatever you decide -- your efforts *will* reward you!
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~Luke

 
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Thanks again for the detailed reply.

I currently have the Apple Certified Associate: 10.9 integrations.

I thought this had to be done first before the ACSP but it is not a waste. I think I might wait until 10.10 Yosemite comes out (or at least the training material) and study for the ACSP fast then with any luck move on to the ACTC and carry on until ACSA in the same year cycle before the later OS X 10.11. I don't think I'd be able to do the ACMT until a little while after the rest (surely not the same year cycle). If anything it would be difficult to learn the further modules of ACTC (to gain the ACSA). I guess whatever is not complete able before the next OS can just be done again under that OS ie 10.10 ACTC if unfinished I could do ACTC 10.11 and continue.

I would love to get to the point like yourself where one exam (ACSA) refreshes all of your previous certs (ACSP/ACTC etc).

Going back to the starting your own Apple Mac/iPhone support company (non hardware) would this be breaking Apples rules? What about if it was hardware? With the qualifications you would be qualified etc but not authorised for cheaper parts or to become a centre? With the non-hardware side this would be easier/doable right?

Also are you from the UK.

I'm in the UK so don't know many ASP's or ATC's to try and get jobs
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