Top 11 Desktop Support Engineer Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for desktop support engineers, including details on requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are important for desktop support engineers in the job market because they demonstrate that a professional is qualified and knowledgeable in their field. Certifications show employers that an engineer has the necessary technical skills to troubleshoot and resolve complex issues, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with end users. Having certifications also indicates that an engineer is committed to staying up to date on the latest technologies and best practices. In addition, certifications can help a desktop support engineer stand out from other candidates when applying for positions, helping them secure better job opportunities.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Desktop Support Engineers and explain how they can help enhance a Desktop Support Engineer's career.

What are Desktop Support Engineer Certifications?

Desktop support engineer certification is a professional qualification that demonstrates an individual’s ability to provide technical support for desktop computer systems. This certification is typically offered by technology companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and CompTIA. Certification holders are considered experts in the installation, configuration, troubleshooting and maintenance of desktop computers.

The benefits of having a desktop support engineer certification include increased job security, higher wages and better career prospects. Having this certification indicates a level of expertise that employers recognize and value. It also demonstrates to employers that the individual has the necessary skills to handle any technical problems that may arise with their company’s hardware or software. Furthermore, certified professionals have access to additional resources from their certifying body which can help them stay up-to-date on new technologies and industry trends. Lastly, holding a valid certification gives individuals greater credibility when applying for jobs or consulting gigs.

Pro Tip: Before pursuing a desktop support engineer certification, consider the type of organization you want to work for and the qualifications they may be looking for. Make sure to research certifications that are specific to the industry, as well as those that are more general in nature. Additionally, look into organizations that offer certifications and what their requirements are for earning them.

Related: What does a Desktop Support Engineer do?

Top 11 Desktop Support Engineer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Desktop Support Engineers today.

1. CompTIA A+ Certification

CompTIA A+ is an industry-leading certification for IT professionals. It is a vendor-neutral certification that validates the skills necessary to perform core IT support tasks. The A+ certification covers topics such as hardware, networking, mobile devices, operating systems, troubleshooting and security.

It typically takes around 6 months to complete the CompTIA A+ certification process. This includes studying for the two exams required to become certified: 220-901 and 220-902. Both exams are 90 minutes long and consist of multiple choice questions.

To get CompTIA A+ certified, you must first register with CompTIA and purchase the exam vouchers for both exams (220-901 and 220-902). You can then schedule your exams at an authorized testing center near you.

The cost of the CompTIA A+ certification varies depending on where you take the exam and which version of the exam you take (the Core Series or Performance Series). Generally speaking, it costs around $200 per exam voucher plus any applicable taxes.

2. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is a certification program offered by Microsoft that validates an individual’s expertise in designing and implementing solutions based on Microsoft technologies. The MCSE certification covers a wide range of topics related to server infrastructure, cloud computing, desktop infrastructure, data platform, business intelligence and messaging.

It typically takes 6-12 months to complete the MCSE certification depending on how much time you can dedicate to studying and preparing for the exams. To become certified, you must pass one or more exams related to the technology of your choice. You can find the list of available exams here:

The cost of each exam varies depending on the country you are taking it in but generally ranges from $100-$200 USD per exam.

3. Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP)

Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) is a certification program offered by Apple to provide technical support professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to maintain, troubleshoot, and repair Apple products. The certification includes both hardware and software components, as well as an understanding of customer service best practices.

The ACSP certification requires successful completion of two exams: the Apple Service Fundamentals Exam and the Mac Integration Basics Exam. The Service Fundamentals exam covers topics such as customer service, basic troubleshooting techniques, and product knowledge. The Mac Integration Basics exam covers topics such as network setup, system preferences, file sharing, printing, and more.

It typically takes around 10-15 hours to study for each exam. However, this can vary depending on your experience level with Apple products. Additionally, it is recommended that you have hands-on experience working with Apple products prior to taking the exams.

The exams are available through Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide or through online proctoring services. Each exam costs $150 USD to take. Once you pass both exams you will receive your ACSP certification from Apple which is valid for three years from the date of issue.

4. CompTIA Network+ Certification

CompTIA Network+ is an industry-recognized certification that validates the knowledge and skills of IT professionals in networking technologies. It is designed for IT professionals who have at least nine months of experience in network support or administration, or who are looking to enter the field. This certification covers a wide range of topics related to networking, including network design, network installation, network security, troubleshooting, and more.

To get CompTIA Network+ certified, you must take and pass the CompTIA Network+ exam (N10-007). The exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and takes 90 minutes to complete. The cost of the exam varies by country but typically ranges from $300-$400 USD.

In order to prepare for the exam, it is recommended that candidates have at least nine months of hands-on experience with networking technologies as well as a comprehensive understanding of TCP/IP protocols and topologies. Additionally, there are many online resources available such as practice tests and study guides that can help you prepare for the exam.

The certification is valid for three years after which you must recertify by either taking a new version of the CompTIA Network+ exam or earning continuing education units (CEUs) through approved activities such as attending conferences or completing online courses.

5. Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)

Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) is a certification program from Microsoft that validates an individual’s expertise in specific areas of IT. It is designed to help IT professionals demonstrate their ability to design, implement, and manage technology solutions based on Microsoft products and technologies.

It typically takes around six months to two years to obtain the MCITP certification depending on the number of exams taken. To get the certification, individuals must pass one or more exams that cover topics such as Windows Server administration, system architecture, networking, security, and virtualization.

The cost of obtaining the MCITP certification varies depending on the number of exams taken and whether or not you are using a third-party training provider. Generally speaking, each exam costs around $150 USD.

6. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is a certification program offered by Cisco Systems, Inc. that validates an individual's knowledge and skills in networking. It is the entry-level certification for those looking to break into the IT field or advance their career in networking.

To get CCNA certified, an individual must pass two exams: ICND1 (Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices 1) and ICND2 (Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices 2). The exams cover topics such as routing, switching, network fundamentals, security, wireless and more. The tests can be taken separately or together as one exam called the CCNA Composite exam.

It typically takes about 6 months to prepare for the CCNA exams. This includes studying course materials such as books and online resources, taking practice tests and attending training courses if available.

The cost of getting CCNA certified varies depending on how you choose to pursue it. The cost of the two exams is around $300 each but there are also discounted bundles available from some vendors that include both exams plus study material for a reduced price. Additionally, some training courses may cost extra depending on the provider.

7. CompTIA Security+ Certification

CompTIA Security+ is a vendor-neutral certification that validates the knowledge and skills of IT professionals in the field of information security. It is an internationally recognized certification that demonstrates a professional’s competency in areas such as network security, compliance and operational security, threats and vulnerabilities, access control and identity management, and cryptography.

The CompTIA Security+ certification exam takes about 90 minutes to complete and consists of up to 90 multiple-choice questions. To obtain the certification, you must pass this exam with a score of at least 750 on a scale of 100-900.

To get the CompTIA Security+ certification, you will need to register for the exam through Pearson VUE or Prometric testing centers. The cost of the exam varies depending on where you take it but typically ranges from $320-$400 USD.

You can prepare for the exam by studying independently or taking an online or classroom course offered by CompTIA or one of its partners. There are also several study guides available to help you prepare for the exam.

Once you have passed the exam, your certification will be valid for three years before needing to be renewed. You can renew your certification by passing another Security+ exam or completing continuing education activities related to security topics.

8. HDI Desktop Support Technician Certification

HDI Desktop Support Technician Certification is an industry-recognized certification that validates the skills and knowledge of IT professionals who provide technical support for desktop systems. This certification is designed to assess the ability of IT professionals to troubleshoot, diagnose, and resolve hardware, software, and network issues in a timely manner.

The HDI Desktop Support Technician Certification exam consists of 90 multiple choice questions covering topics such as user support, customer service, system installation and configuration, troubleshooting techniques, and problem resolution. The exam also covers topics such as security protocols and procedures, system maintenance, data backup/restore processes, network connectivity issues, and more.

The HDI Desktop Support Technician Certification exam takes approximately two hours to complete. Candidates must score a minimum of 70% on the exam in order to pass. The cost of the exam varies depending on the country you are taking it in but typically ranges from $200-$300 USD.

In order to get certified as an HDI Desktop Support Technician, candidates must first register for the certification program with HDI (Help Desk Institute). After registering for the program candidates must then purchase an exam voucher which can be done online or through a local testing center. Once registered for the program and purchased an exam voucher candidates can schedule their exam at a local testing center or take it online through Pearson VUE.

9. Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA)

Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA) is a certification program designed to validate the skills and knowledge of professionals who install, configure, manage, and troubleshoot Citrix products. It is a vendor-neutral certification that covers a wide range of topics related to Citrix products such as XenApp, XenDesktop, NetScaler, and more. The CCA certification demonstrates an individual’s ability to successfully install, configure and manage Citrix solutions in an enterprise environment.

How long does it take to get it?

The time required to obtain the CCA certification depends on the individual’s experience level. Generally speaking, it takes about two months for an experienced professional to prepare for the exam and pass with flying colors.

How to get it?

To become a CCA certified professional, you must first attend a training course from an authorized training provider or self-study using official study materials from Citrix. After completing the course or studying on your own, you must then pass the CCA exam which consists of multiple-choice questions covering various topics related to Citrix products.

How much does it cost?

The cost of obtaining the CCA certification varies depending on whether you opt for a training course or self-study using official study materials from Citrix. The cost of attending a training course typically ranges between $1,000 - $2,000 while purchasing official study materials can cost around $300 - $400. Additionally, there is also an exam fee which is currently set at $200 USD per attempt.

10. VMware Certified Professional (VCP)

VMware Certified Professional (VCP) is a certification program designed to recognize IT professionals who have demonstrated their knowledge and skills in VMware technologies. The VCP certification is the industry standard for validating virtualization expertise and provides an opportunity to demonstrate one’s technical capabilities.

To obtain the VCP certification, candidates must first attend an authorized VMware training course, such as the vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage course. This course covers installation, configuration, management and troubleshooting of VMware vSphere products. After completing the course and passing the associated exam, candidates can then take the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) exam.

The cost of obtaining the VCP certification varies depending on which version of vSphere you are taking the exam for and which training provider you choose to use. Generally speaking, it will cost between $3,000 - $5,000 USD for both the training and exam fees combined.

The amount of time it takes to get your VCP certification depends on how quickly you complete your training courses and exams. Generally speaking, it should take about two weeks from start to finish if you are studying full-time or four weeks if you are studying part-time.

11. Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)

Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) is a certification program designed to provide individuals with the fundamental technology skills needed to pursue a career in IT. The MTA certification is an entry-level credential that validates basic knowledge of core technical concepts and helps bridge the gap between academic study and real-world job preparation.

The MTA certification consists of three exams: Networking Fundamentals, Security Fundamentals, and Windows Operating System Fundamentals. Each exam takes approximately 45 minutes to complete and covers topics such as network infrastructure, security principles, operating systems, software development, databases, programming languages, web services, and more.

To get the MTA certification you must pass all three exams with a score of 700 or higher. You can take each exam at any Microsoft Certified Testing Center or online via Microsoft’s official website. The cost for each exam varies depending on your location but typically ranges from $50-$125 USD per exam.

Overall it should take about 3-4 hours to complete all three exams and obtain your MTA certification.

Do You Really Need a Desktop Support Engineer Certificate?

The short answer is no, you do not need a desktop support engineer certificate to work in the field. However, having one can definitely benefit your career. A certificate program in desktop support engineering provides specialized knowledge and skills that employers value and can give you an edge over other applicants.

A desktop support engineer certificate program typically includes courses in operating systems (such as Windows, Linux, and Mac OS), networking technologies (including routers, switches, and firewalls), troubleshooting techniques, hardware components (including motherboards and RAM), software installation and maintenance, customer service principles, and more. The curriculum also covers the latest trends in technology so that you are up-to-date on the latest industry developments.

Having a certificate in this field will demonstrate to potential employers that you have the necessary technical skills to perform the job duties of a desktop support engineer with confidence. It also shows them that you are committed to staying current with new technologies and trends. In addition, many companies offer incentives for employees who complete certification programs or upgrade their certifications when new versions become available.

In conclusion, while it is not essential to have a certificate in desktop support engineering to work in this field, it can definitely be beneficial for both your career prospects and salary potential.

Related: Desktop Support Engineer Resume Examples

FAQs About Desktop Support Engineer Certifications

Q1. What types of certifications are available for Desktop Support Engineers?

A1. Common certifications available for Desktop Support Engineers include CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).

Q2. How long does it take to become certified as a Desktop Support Engineer?

A2. The length of the certification process varies depending on the type of certification you are pursuing, but typically takes anywhere from three months to two years to complete.

Q3. What skills do I need to become a Desktop Support Engineer?

A3. To be successful in this role, you will need strong technical skills, excellent problem-solving abilities, and good communication and customer service skills. You should also have a working knowledge of computer hardware and software systems, networking technologies, operating systems, and mobile devices.

Q4. Are there any prerequisites for obtaining a Desktop Support Engineer certification?

A4. Yes, depending on the type of certification you are pursuing you may need to meet certain prerequisites such as having at least one year of experience in the field or passing an exam before being eligible for certification.

Q5. Is there any cost associated with obtaining a Desktop Support Engineer certification?

A5. Yes, most certifications have associated fees that range from $100-$500 USD depending on the type of certification you are pursuing and where you obtain it from.