Technology training helps professionals survive the job market, now more than ever. Office workers and administrators now receive the same kind of instruction on file servers and databases that would have qualified them for highly technical roles just a decade ago. Meanwhile, professionals from a variety of fields have discovered how they can boost their salaries by blending their experience with specialized IT training. This upward surge within the technology community could be your key to a bigger compensation package, if you can leverage your existing Microsoft certification into a computer training job.
Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) have enjoyed consistent salary growth over the past few years, at a rate that has outpaced earnings for most other IT specialties. According to researchers at Foote Partners, the MCT designation signifies mastery of another technical certification as well as the teaching and communication skills necessary to assist other professionals. A report in IT trade magazine CIO suggests that effective companies must budget as much as 13 percent of their technology spending to training and professional development programs. MCTs stand to collect many of those funds, either in dedicated teaching positions or as occasional team trainers.
Earning MCT Status
MCT training helps prospective instructors apply their skills to a new environment: the classroom. The Microsoft Certified Training program builds on previously earned certifications, enabling you to customize your career. According to Microsoft's Learning team, MCT candidates must first pass a Microsoft Certified Professional premier exam in any of these specialties:
- Systems Engineer
- Systems Administrator
- Systems Administrator: Security
- Desktop Support Technician
- Microsoft Certified IT Professional
- Microsoft Certified Professional Developer
- Microsoft Office 2007 Specialist
- Microsoft Office 2010 Specialist
- Microsoft Certified Business Management Solutions Specialist
- Microsoft Certified Business Management Solutions Professional
- Microsoft Certified Master
- Microsoft Office 2007 Master
- Microsoft Certified Architect
After that, MCT candidates can use one of four options to certify their presentation skills:
- Pass the CompTIA CTT+ exam.
- Attend a Microsoft-approved presentation skills course.
- Provide instructor credentials from Microsoft or from a trusted partner, such as Cisco, Citrix, or Oracle.
- Submit proof of instructor or professor status from an accredited academic institution.
MCT remains one of only a handful of IT credentials that enable you to blend multiple existing certifications instead of sitting for a dedicated exam.
Top Employers for Microsoft Certified Trainers
Microsoft Certified Trainers enjoy even more job security than many of their peers, due to their flexible skills. If demand for training within an organization dries up, an MCT can fall back on his or her foundational skills or find another training job elsewhere. Compare that experience to a more typical IT career, threatened by potential outsourcing or offshoring.
Generally, there are three options or career pathways for MCTs:
- Full-time Microsoft trainers working in colleges, universities, and career development centers. The MCT certification, by definition, qualifies technical professionals to train students in formal classroom settings. When combined with the appropriate undergraduate and graduate degrees, an MCT can solidify faculty and staff positions in the higher education market.
- Full-time MCTs working in-house at major employers. Some companies have such complex development needs that they budget for dedicated personnel to handle ongoing training projects.
- MCTs in other functional roles, called upon to handle occasional training for their employers. Many companies offer bonuses or enhanced compensation packages for internal staff who can flex into training roles when needed.
In some cases, you might even use your MCT certification to make extra side money by teaching occasional training classes or offering personal consulting for clients outside your main employer. Pursuing the MCT shows employers that you're committed to keeping your skills current while investing in the development of your peers.