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February 9, 2012

OS X Lion Support Essentials First Class

Today I finished teaching my first full class of OS X Lion Support Essentials.  And barring the slight network issues and the fact that I had a server completely die on my this morning (and it was sitting in the server room), it was a pretty good experience. My class size was larger than usual, and the students were extremely bright.  All of them caught on quickly and easily, making it possible to cover a lot of topics faster than usual.  We even had time to run a certification exam that afternoon (the student passed!).  For those who have not taken the class before, we cover the necessary essentials in managing an OS X Lion computer.  We cover installation, configuration, accounts, file systems, Directory binding, providing network services, printing and the boot process.  There's more and if you are interested in learning, feel free to register!  I call this certification the phone support cert, as it prepares someone to work at the help desk for Mac computers.  If you pass the certification exam then you receive your Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) certification, which is an accomplishment.  Ask anyone that had to take the exam, and I'm sure they would agree.  I really enjoyed the class today, and I'm looking forward to this April for our Server Essentials class.  That will be a blast as well, particularly since I got to contribute to the Workbook on that one!  


Hi Jeremy:
Greetings. I came across your blog because I am not certain whether or not the Lion 101 certification is valued, by Apple itself, or/and by corp world. For one thing, Apple does not seem to maintain the information regarding this particular exam. There is no public info as how much it costs and the FAQ on training.apple.com simply lump sums all certifications. It is also very difficult to find out the schedule from the authorized training center. I contacted local training center where according to Apple even if they don't offer the course, ALL of them provide the exam. Not true. I visited the Cupertino AATC operated by Apple, which was listed as one of the locations. The engineer there was apologetic and informed me they only conduct T3 training, NO exam is offered on site. And the other 3 locations in bay area (v2 in SF & SJ) and Expression Pro in Emeryville also left much to be desired. v2 in SJ offers exam on 7/9 but it was full or something and the next one won't be until 8/27. Expression Pro's availability is 7/29. v2 SF is more flexible, just give them 2 day notice. Based on experience, Apple is certainly not promoting its certification and not monitoring how the AATCs reach out to us. I am not sure if that's the case in U of Utah. (And besides, v2 charges $200 for exam, while express pro $150!?! Standard price, hello?) Besides, I passed the Mac integration a month+ ago but was just told there is still backlog to mail the certification. (They don't offer the PDF cert anymore.) It's funny exactly how many ppl actually took the exam on monthly basis. backlog? hmm...

You are considering to relocate to Nor Cal? My brother-in-law is autistic. I enjoy reading your blog and will visit often. Thanks and have a great day.

Hello Lucky! Thanks for the comments! It sounds like you have had quite the experience trying to take the certification exam. Having participated in the creation of the certification courses and spoken with those who create the certification exams, I can tell you that Apple does take them seriously. The decision to have AATCs offer the exams was in order to provide a better experience for the tester than a Prometric Testing Center would. Though it sounds like you haven't had that good of an experience.

Most AATCs can offer a test for you, as long as you schedule it ahead of time. I can't speak for all of them, but we at the U are pretty flexible in making sure you can take the exam when you need to take it. I couldn't tell you why the Cupertino AATC doesn't offer the exams, other than they are generally just for Train the Trainer classes, and don't offer end-user training.

I don't have a lot of experience with Express Pro, but I do know the guys at v2. David Long is a great guy.

Pricing really is up to the AATC, though the "standard" price for an OS X certification exam is $200.00, while the "standard" price for a Pro Apps test (Final Cut, Motion, etc.) is $150.00. From there training centers can decrease their pricing if they feel they can afford it, but most keep to the standard price.

If you run into trouble with cents, you may want to send a quick email to applecert at apple dot com. They are a great bunch of people there, and are pretty responsive to certified professionals, and should be able to help you.

I hope your experience is better with any of the training centers you try for in future. If you have any concerns, you can forward them on to that email address, and I'll let my contacts with Apple know about the frustrations you have run into.

Hi Jeremy, thanks for the feedback. As a matter of fact, I visited v2 SJ just now. Nobody answered the door. I dialed their main line and it was routed to their SF office (again.) Was told the class starts tomorrow. Told them I am here to schedule an exam in person but was advised the internet quality in SJ is not reliable and they are looking for secondary solution, etc. Alternatively, v2 SF is available for exam given 24-hour notice.

I don't wanna get in trouble pointing out negative things about Apple or its AATC, never my intension. I love Apple. Though I do have a fair share of frustration. I did email Cupertino AATC at training@apple.com (that's how I figured it might be operated by Apple.) The email was actually replied by applecert ppl but they only gave me the generic info such as visit training.apple.com website to get information I needed such as local AATC's contact info. Hello?? I wrote back to complain about the fact that I knew all that and this IS the official contact info associated with Cupertino AATC and there is no other way to contact them. Then I got another reply: "Since the Homestead Training Center only does T3 courses for Apple Certified Trainer candidates, they do not have contact information for general inquiries." Therefore, I decided to go there in person. Took the receptionist lady 30 mins to find someone who can help me. The PIC was surprised v2 does not offer regular exam and got my phone# & email, told me someone from Apple will contact me back. Still waiting...since last Thursday.

Unfortunately, today's visit to v2 SJ did not turn out what I expected. I am sure those work @ v2 are nice ppl, I enjoyed the phone conversations w/ them. The problem is, the "accessibility" of taking Apple cert is unbelievable. I am in the heart of Silicon Valley, where Apple is headquartered. As I have to run into all these inconveniences, I can't imagine how people in other regions deal with it. It's great it's executed well where you at.

Honestly, I am not 100% ready to take the exam. I wish =] I scored pretty well on "Revise IT" iPhone app. I am about to read the Lion Support Essential book (By Kevin White) the "3rd time." I just thought it'd be great to find a test center locally and know I have X days count-down until the actual exam day. Really need this bad for my job hunting, if it did add any value...

Have a great day.

Don't worry about it! Letting someone know about the frustrations you are having helps us make the system better! It sounds like you have run into a lot of circumstances that just made the experience more frustrating. I'll let my contacts know, so they can get that resolved as soon as possible.

On a brighter note, it sounds like you are pretty prepared for the exam. In my experience Amsys' Revise IT app has been the best prep tool for the exam. All of my credit students and most of my non-credit students that have used that app have passed their exams without any trouble. If you score 90% or better on each of the revision chapters, you should be set.

Good luck!

The issue that a lot of us are facing now is the proximity to an AATC. The decision by Apple to remove Prometric as a testing option means that the testing has become all but infeasible for us. With a distance of 220-250 miles to the nearest AATC it becomes cumbersome. Some of the staff I work with are are over 400 miles from an AATC. Very disappointed in Apple with this.

That's a fair assessment. It is more difficult to become certified, though I heard a lot of complaints from those that tested at Prometric testing centers too. There are fewer of them now then there were when I was first starting out.

Anyway, Apple made that decision based on trying to provide a better experience for the person trying to certify. I'm sure they would like to provide the test online, but there would be the issue of cheating that they would need to address (not an easy one, I can assure you).

But Apple Training is constantly trying to improve the way they deliver training and testing, so hopefully there will be a solution forthcoming.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jeremy Robb published on February 9, 2012 4:37 PM.

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