Business News Daily receives compensation from some of the companies listed on this page. Advertising Disclosure


Apple Certification Guide: Overview and Career Paths

Ed Tittel and Earl Follis

Apple's certification program is very much like their products: well-designed, intuitive, focused and elegantly simple. Apple certifications fall into one of two categories: credentials geared to IT professionals and credentials geared to creative professionals. There's also an Apple Certified Trainer (ACT) credential for those interested in teaching the Apple certification curriculum to others, in both creative and IT knowledge domains.

Apple certifications in the IT professional bucket focus on macOS certifications, the AppleCare Mac Technician (ACMT) certification and the Apple Certified iOS Technician (ACiT) certification. Training options are available for Apple certifications that include traditional in-person, instructor-led classes; online, self-paced interactive training; and online, instructor-led classes, offered by multiple Apple Authorized Training Centers worldwide.

macOS certifications

A macOS certification recognizes an individual's ability to manage and support macOS in stand-alone systems and networked computers in an organization. As is Apple's tradition, operating system certifications are available for the two most current editions of the operating system, which are currently macOS Sierra and macOS High Sierra.

macOS Sierra certifications

  • Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) 10.13
  • Apple Certified Associate – Mac Integration Basics 10.13

macOS High Sierra certifications

  • Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) 10.13
  • Apple Certified Associate – Mac Integration Basics 10.13

The ACSP is all about installing, configuring and troubleshooting macOS. The Apple Certified Associate – Mac Integration Basics certification focuses on tasks related to networking. This certification covers connecting to directory services; creating network accounts; setting up file sharing and printing; configuring email, contacts, and calendar access; configuring security; and managing networked data.

Apple operating system certifications have no prerequisites. Exams for the ACSP are available only through an Apple Authorized Training Center, but candidates can sign up for all other exams through Pearson VUE, an Apple Authorized Training Center or online. Online test-taking is limited to certain exams, such as the Apple Certified Associate – Mac Integration Basics 10.13. Users who are new to the Mac ecosystem can learn the basics from a variety of online training resources available at the Apple Support Training website.

AppleCare service certifications

The AppleCare Certified Mac Technician (ACMT) credential focuses on troubleshooting and repair of Macintosh desktop and laptop computers and displays, as well as troubleshooting Mac operating system issues.

The Apple Certified iOS Technician (ACiT) certification recognizes required skills for servicing iOS-based devices, such as iPhones and iPads. Both certifications require two exams (available through Pearson VUE), and neither certification expires.

ACMt exams

  • Apple Service Fundamentals Exam (SVC-17A)
  • ACMT 2017 Mac Service Certification Exam (MAC-17A)

ACiT exams

  • Apple Service Fundamentals Exam (SVC-17A)
  • ACiT 2017 iOS Service Certification Exam (iOS-17A)

The concept of "performing repairs" on Apple products may be confusing. The company points out that achieving the ACMT certification verifies that you have the skills to repair Apple products, but certification alone doesn't mean you're authorized to make such repairs. For that, you'll need to become an Apple Authorized Service Provider, which establishes a business relationship with Apple. However, Apple has a self-servicing program in which participants, such as schools, are allowed to service and repair Apple products they own at their own sites.

Our Best Computer Hardware Certifications article features the ACMT as one of the top five hardware-related certifications, and provides a more detailed look at this certification and its requirements.

Apple creative professional certifications

On the creative side, there are two types of certifications available: one for Productivity Ap, and another for Pro Applications. Both Productivity App and Pro Applications certifications are designed to appeal to graphic artists and multimedia professionals.

An Apple Certified Professional (ACP) Productivity App designation recognizes an individual's skills in using specific Apple applications. Currently, three Apple Productivity App certifications are offered for the iWork software productivity suite:

  • Apple iWork – Pages: Document creation and editing
  • Apple iWork – Keynote: Presentation creation and editing
  • Apple iWork – Numbers: Spreadsheet creation and editing

Apple Certified Pro Applications certifications focus on Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X. Final Cut Pro X is post-production video-editing software, and Logic Pro X is a full-featured sound editor. Two Apple Certified Pro Applications certifications are available:

  • Final Cut Pro X (10.4 exam)
  • Logic Pro X (10.4 exam)

Although Productivity and Pro Applications certifications don't have specific prerequisites, Apple recommends "knowledge of OS X and basic computer navigation" across the board before taking associated training courses.

As with MacOS certs, users who are new to the Mac ecosystem can learn the basics from a variety of online training resources available at the Apple Support Training website.

If you're an Apple creative product master, or have great skills and passion for supporting Macs or macOS, the Apple Certified Trainer (ACT) credential can be your gateway to career opportunities in teaching Apple technology.

An ACT teaches Apple certification courses in corporate settings and in Apple Authorized Training Centers, helping the next generation of candidates earn their certifications. To become an ACT, you need to be certified in the knowledge area(s) you want to teach, possess a combination of teaching and real-world experience, and pass a Train-the-Trainer (T3) exam on the subject matter. LearnQuest administers the ACT program on behalf of Apple.

The Apple Certified Support Professional, or ACSP, is geared toward help desk personnel and service technicians. The Apple Certified Associate – Mac Integration Basics certification is useful for network professionals who need to know how to add a Mac to a network (a Windows-based network or others) and manage services for users.

An ACMT or ACiT diagnoses hardware or device problems, makes repairs and performs upgrades. Both certifications are ideal for service technicians seeking jobs that require such certifications, such as those employed by an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP), a Self-Servicing Account (SSA), or an Apple reseller. If you plan to spend several years in an organization that's mainly a Mac shop, an Apple certification can help you negotiate a higher salary or land a position with more responsibilities.

Apple creative certifications are geared toward videographers, multimedia designers, editors, artists, photographers and the like – folks who use Apple productivity and professional applications on a daily basis.

The certifications also frequently appear in job postings as pre-requisites for digital A/V specialists and library associates who oversee implementation of and/or use of the tools. Creative managers who lead creative strategy for corporate marketing teams but must also design and develop creative assets are excellent candidates for the Apple creative certifications.

Apple training and certification resources

To get started, visit the Apple Training and Certification website. There, you'll find links to books and e-books, video training, classroom training, and more. Apple provides free exam preparation guides for most certification exams. These guides let you understand the type of exam that's required, the total number of questions and time allotted, and the exam objectives so you know which topics will be covered. Prep guides also list recommended resources – books, courses, etc. – that best prepare you to take Apple certification exams.

Classes on Apple products are offered through Apple Authorized Training Centers, which are usually two- to five-day courses with live instructors who lead students through lectures and hands-on labs and answer questions along the way. Candidates for the ACMT or ACiT certifications can take AppleCare Technician Training, which is self-paced.

AASPs and SSAs offer the same self-paced training for employees seeking ACMT certification through ATLAS, which is offered through the Global Service Exchange (GSX). Apple certification candidates can also attend online instructor-led training classes offered by various Apple Authorized Training Centers.

Apple's creative certification candidates interested in self-study options can subscribe to O'Reilly Online Learning, an on-demand digital library that includes lots of e-books and video training, including the Apple Pro Training Series. Candidates for Final Cut Pro certification should also browse the web tutorials, user guides and whitepapers on the Final Cut Pro Resources page.

Although official certifications aren't involved, Apple also offers training resources for Swift 4 as well as iOS 12 SDK for developers.

Image Credit: Alexey Boldin/Shutterstock