An IT or cybersecurity professional who needs to or wants to support Mac users may benefit from the Apple Certified Support Professional certification. The certification — ACSP for short — verifies your knowledge of Macintosh operating system functions. It also certifies that you can support multiple Mac users, set up key services, and perform basic troubleshooting.
System administrators, help desk staff, and network administrators — or anyone who wants to work in a role providing tech support for Mac users — may benefit from this certification.
According to software company Jamf, 23% of enterprise clients (organizations with more than 1,000 people) used macOS devices in 2020. That's up from 17% in the previous year. In addition, iPhones represented 49% of all smartphones used by enterprise customers. And iPads are the most often used tablets for business purposes.
Also, consider that this snapshot doesn't account for the millions of devices in use by smaller businesses. It also doesn't capture people who use Macs to support side hustles or personal use.
Why become an Apple Certified Support Professional?
Hardware and software companies offer dozens of certifications. Most are PC-focused. That's because Windows still holds a huge market share of over 80% for operating systems. The Chrome OS powers lots of entry-level tablets popular with K-12 students. Chrome is second in market share with almost 11%.
But if you're looking for an IT or cybersecurity job, the ACSP certification may help you stand out. According to one source, Mac certifications are valuable in certain industries. Businesses that tend to use Macs more often include advertising agencies, magazines, video production companies, visual designers, and the music industry.
Since fewer people have Mac-based tech certifications, an ACSP certification could be highly valuable. Apple also says anyone who considers themselves a Mac power user may find value in earning this certification.
Earn the Apple Certified Support Professional certification
To earn the ACSP certification, you'll need to take an exam on macOS Support Essentials (11 was the latest version at the time of this guide's publication). The exam costs $250. It's taken through OnVue. Apple describes the exam platform as "a live, online proctoring solution." Exams are scheduled in advance. You'll need to use or create an Apple ID.
According to Apple, if you do not pass a certification exam, you may retake it one week after your last attempt. You can retake an Apple certification exam three times.
The exam has 100 scored, multiple-choice, and interactive technical questions.
The computer randomly selects the questions.
You cannot use any reference materials.
You must score at least 75% to pass.
Consider these other Apple-focused certifications and courses
Apple has lots of tutorials, courses, certifications, instructor-led training, and self-paced training programs. In some instances, Apple relies on outside organizations to deliver training and certification courses.
Here are a few Apple-focused certifications and tutorials to consider:
Deployment and management: In this 12-hour tutorial, you'll learn the basics of configuring, deploying, and managing Apple devices. The content includes developing a deployment strategy, information on Apple School Manager, wi-fi authentication, and configuring VPN connections.
Develop apps for iOS: This 14-hour tutorial covers the tools, language, and design principles that allow apps to work with Apple platforms. Topics include the SwiftUI and design and animation.
Mac integration basics: This four-hour virtual classroom course will teach you how to integrate a Mac into a Windows network environment. You'll learn about how to maintain security, run Windows programs on a Mac, and how to set up file sharing, email, calendars, and contacts.
This article was reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico
In 2019, Monali Mirel Chuatico graduated with her bachelor's in computer science, which gave her the foundation that she needed to excel in roles such as a data engineer, front-end developer, UX designer, and computer science instructor.
Monali is currently a data engineer at Mission Lane. As a data analytics captain at a nonprofit called COOP Careers, Monali helps new grads and young professionals overcome underemployment by teaching them data analytics tools and mentoring them on their professional development journey.
Monali is passionate about implementing creative solutions, building community, advocating for mental health, empowering women, and educating youth. Monali's goal is to gain more experience in her field, expand her skill set, and do meaningful work that will positively impact the world.