Top 10 Help Desk Agent Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available for help desk agents to help them advance their careers.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for a help desk agent in the job market because they demonstrate to potential employers that the individual has acquired a certain level of knowledge and expertise. Certifications provide employers with evidence that a candidate is competent and qualified, and can be trusted to perform essential tasks related to their role. Furthermore, certifications also show employers that a help desk agent is committed to their profession, as they have made the effort to invest time and money into learning more about their field. In addition, certifications may also qualify an individual for higher-level positions, as well as increased wages.

This article reviews and explains the benefits of some of the top certifications for Help Desk Agents and how they can help to further an agent's career.

What are Help Desk Agent Certifications?

Help Desk Agent Certification is a professional certification program designed to help individuals gain the skills and knowledge necessary to become a successful Help Desk Agent. This certification is designed to provide individuals with the technical and customer service skills needed to provide quality technical support services in a variety of settings, including corporate IT departments, software development firms, and other customer service organizations. The certification consists of core courses covering topics such as troubleshooting techniques, operating systems fundamentals, network fundamentals, security protocols, user account management, system administration tasks, software installation and configuration, web server administration, database administration, system monitoring and maintenance.

The benefits of obtaining Help Desk Agent Certification include increased job opportunities in the field of IT support and greater earning potential for those who hold the credential. Additionally, having this type of certification can demonstrate an individual's commitment to their profession and enhance their credibility in the eyes of employers. Finally, it can also give them an edge over other applicants when applying for positions within their chosen field.

Pro tip: To maximize your success as a help desk agent, become certified in the specific software and hardware used by your organization. This will not only increase your knowledge of the products, but also demonstrate to employers that you are capable of providing technical assistance with those products.

Related: What does a Help Desk Agent do?

Top 10 Help Desk Agent Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Help Desk Agents today.

1. CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+ is a certification that validates the knowledge and skills of entry-level computer service technicians. It is an industry-recognized credential that demonstrates competency in areas such as installation, configuration, diagnosing, preventive maintenance and basic networking.

The exam consists of two parts: Core 1 (220-1001) and Core 2 (220-1002). Both exams must be passed to earn the certification. The exams cover topics such as hardware, networking, mobile devices, hardware and network troubleshooting, operating systems, security and operational procedures.

It typically takes three to six months to study for the CompTIA A+ exams. To prepare for the exams, it is recommended to take online courses or attend instructor-led classes. Additionally, there are practice tests available online that can help you prepare for the actual exam.

The cost of the CompTIA A+ certification varies depending on where you take the exam. Generally speaking, it costs around $200 per exam or $400 for both exams combined.

2. HDI Customer Service Representative (HDI-CSR)

HDI Customer Service Representative (HDI-CSR) is a certification program offered by the Help Desk Institute (HDI). It is designed to provide customer service professionals with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in their roles. The HDI-CSR certification is a globally recognized credential that demonstrates an individual’s commitment to excellence in customer service.

The HDI-CSR certification program consists of two courses: HDI Customer Service Representative Fundamentals and HDI Customer Service Representative Advanced. The program takes approximately 16 hours to complete, depending on the student’s prior knowledge and experience.

To get certified, individuals must first register for the course through HDI’s website or through an authorized training provider. Once registered, students will have access to online course materials, including videos, quizzes, and practice tests. Upon completion of both courses, students must pass a proctored exam in order to receive their certification.

The cost of the HDI-CSR certification varies depending on the provider. Generally speaking, it can range from $400 - $1,000 USD for both courses and exam fees combined.

3. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is a certification that demonstrates a professional’s ability to design and implement solutions based on Microsoft technologies. It is designed for IT professionals who want to demonstrate their expertise in designing and implementing solutions based on the Microsoft platform.

To get the MCSE certification, you must pass several exams related to Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, System Center, Azure and Office 365. The exams cover topics such as installation, configuration, deployment, troubleshooting and maintenance of these products. The number of exams required depends on the specialization chosen by the candidate.

The time it takes to get an MCSE certification depends on the individual's experience level and how much time they have available to study for the exams. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from six months to one year or more to complete all of the required exams.

In order to get an MCSE certification you will need to register for each exam individually with a testing center such as Pearson VUE or Prometric. Each exam costs around $150 USD. Therefore, depending on the number of exams required for your particular specialization, it can cost anywhere from $900-$1500 USD or more in total for all of the exams needed for an MCSE certification.

4. Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP)

The Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) is a certification program designed to recognize technical professionals who have the skills and knowledge necessary to provide support for Mac OS X and macOS products. This certification program is offered by Apple, Inc. and is recognized as an industry standard for technical proficiency in the use of Apple products.

In order to earn the ACSP certification, individuals must pass an exam that covers topics such as troubleshooting, system administration, networking, security and more. The exam typically takes about 90 minutes to complete and requires a minimum passing score of 80%.

To get started with the ACSP certification process, individuals must first register for the exam through Apple's website or through an authorized testing center. Once registered, individuals can then choose from one of two study paths: self-study or instructor-led training. Self-study involves studying independently using materials provided by Apple while instructor-led training involves attending classes taught by certified instructors.

The cost of the ACSP certification exam varies depending on where you take it but generally ranges from $150 - $200 USD. Additionally, if you choose to take instructor-led training courses there may be additional costs associated with those courses.

Once you have successfully passed the ACSP exam you will receive your official certificate from Apple which will serve as proof of your achievement in becoming an ACSP certified professional.

5. ITIL Foundation Certification

ITIL Foundation Certification is a globally recognized qualification that demonstrates an individual's understanding of IT service management best practices. It is the entry-level certification for the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework, which provides a comprehensive set of processes and procedures for managing IT services. The certification is designed to help IT professionals understand how to effectively use ITIL to improve their organization’s service delivery, as well as their own professional development.

The ITIL Foundation Certification exam takes approximately 90 minutes and consists of 40 multiple-choice questions. To obtain the certification, candidates must score at least 65% on the exam. The cost of the exam varies by country and can range from $150 - $500 USD.

To prepare for the exam, candidates should review the official study material provided by Axelos, which includes books, eLearning courses, and practice exams. Additionally, many organizations offer instructor-led training courses in preparation for the exam.

6. Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)

Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) is a certification program designed to provide individuals with an industry-recognized credential for entry-level IT professionals. It is an entry-level certification that validates the foundational knowledge needed to begin building a career using Microsoft technologies. The MTA certification covers core technical concepts in five main areas: Windows Operating System, Server Administration, Networking, Security and Software Development.

The MTA certification requires that you pass one or more exams in order to earn the credential. Each exam typically takes between 60 and 90 minutes to complete and consists of multiple choice questions. The cost of each exam varies depending on the country in which it is taken. Generally speaking, the cost of each exam ranges from $50 to $150 USD.

In order to get an MTA certification, you must first register for an exam through Pearson VUE or Prometric Testing Centers. Once registered, you can take your exam at any time within 6 months of registering. After successfully passing your exams, you will be awarded with a digital badge that can be used to demonstrate your achievement online or printed out as proof of your credentials.

The cost of obtaining an MTA certification depends on how many exams are required for the particular track that you choose and where you take them. Generally speaking, it costs around $100 - $300 USD per exam depending on location and currency exchange rates.

7. CompTIA Network+

CompTIA Network+ is a certification that validates the skills and knowledge of IT professionals in networking technologies. It is an internationally recognized credential that verifies the ability to design, configure, manage, and troubleshoot wired and wireless networks.

The CompTIA Network+ certification exam covers topics such as network architecture, network operations, network security, network troubleshooting and tools, and industry standards and best practices. The exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within 90 minutes.

In order to obtain the CompTIA Network+ certification, candidates must pass the Network+ exam with a score of at least 720 out of 900 points. Candidates can prepare for the exam by taking an approved training course or self-study using resources provided by CompTIA.

The cost for taking the CompTIA Network+ exam varies depending on location but typically ranges from $200 to $300 USD.

8. HDI Support Center Analyst (HDI-SCA)

HDI Support Center Analyst (HDI-SCA) is a certification program offered by the Help Desk Institute (HDI). It is designed to help individuals gain the skills and knowledge necessary to become an effective support center analyst. The HDI-SCA certification provides a comprehensive view of the customer service and technical support industry, covering topics such as customer service, problem solving, troubleshooting, communication techniques, and more.

The HDI-SCA certification program consists of two parts: an online training course and a final exam. The online training course covers all of the material needed to pass the final exam. The course can be taken in either self-paced or instructor-led formats. It typically takes about 40 hours to complete the training course.

To become certified as an HDI-SCA, individuals must pass the final exam with a score of 80% or higher. The exam consists of multiple choice questions and can be taken online or at an authorized testing center. The cost for taking the exam varies depending on where it is taken; however, it typically costs between $150 and $200 USD.

Once individuals have passed the exam they will receive their HDI-SCA certificate in approximately 4–6 weeks. This certificate will demonstrate that they have met all requirements for becoming an HDI Support Center Analyst and are qualified to work in this field.

9. Service Desk Institute ITIL Practitioner Certificate

The Service Desk Institute ITIL Practitioner Certificate is a globally recognized certification that demonstrates an individual's proficiency in the use of ITIL best practices. This certification is designed to provide practitioners with the skills and knowledge they need to effectively manage and improve their service desk operations.

The ITIL Practitioner Certificate is a three-day course that covers topics such as service design, service transition, service operation, incident management, problem management, and change management. It also includes hands-on exercises to help participants develop their understanding of the concepts discussed.

To get the ITIL Practitioner Certificate, individuals must first complete an accredited training program or self-study program. After completing the training program or self-study program, individuals must pass an exam administered by a certified examination body. Once they have passed the exam, they will receive their certificate from the Service Desk Institute.

The cost of obtaining the ITIL Practitioner Certificate can vary depending on where you take your training and how you choose to study for it. Generally speaking, courses range from around $1,000 - $2,000 USD for classroom-based courses and self-study materials can range from around $300 - $500 USD.

10. HDI Desktop Support Technician (HDI-DST)

HDI Desktop Support Technician (HDI-DST) is a certification program offered by the Help Desk Institute (HDI). It is designed for professionals who provide technical support and troubleshooting services to end users in an IT environment. This certification covers topics such as customer service, problem solving, communication, and technical skills.

The HDI-DST certification requires successful completion of an online exam. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete. The cost of the exam is $295 USD.

In order to become certified as an HDI-DST, you must meet the following requirements:

1. Have at least six months of experience in a desktop support role;

2. Have a working knowledge of desktop operating systems;

3. Have a basic understanding of networking concepts;

4. Understand how to troubleshoot hardware and software issues;

5. Be able to use remote access tools;

6. Be familiar with system security best practices; and

7. Possess strong customer service skills.

Once you have met these requirements, you can register for the exam online or through an authorized training provider such as Global Knowledge or New Horizons Learning Centers. After registering for the exam, you will be provided with study materials that will help prepare you for the test day. Once you have successfully completed the exam, you will receive your HDI-DST certification which is valid for three years from the date it was issued.

Do You Really Need a Help Desk Agent Certificate?

Whether or not you need a Help Desk Agent Certificate depends on your career goals and the requirements of the job you are seeking. If you are looking to enter into a career as a help desk agent, having a certificate can be beneficial in showing potential employers that you have the necessary skills and knowledge for the position. A certificate can also show that you have taken the initiative to learn more about help desk operations and how to provide effective customer service.

However, it is important to note that having a certificate is not always necessary when applying for help desk positions. Depending on your experience and qualifications, some employers may value practical experience over certification. Additionally, many organizations provide their own training and certifications which may be more relevant to the particular organization's procedures and policies.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if obtaining a Help Desk Agent Certificate is right for you. You should consider what type of job or career you are seeking and what skills or qualifications are required for that role. If having a certificate will give you an edge in landing the job of your dreams then it could be worth investing in one.

Related: Help Desk Agent Resume Examples

FAQs About Help Desk Agent Certifications

1. What is a Help Desk Agent Certification?

Answer: A Help Desk Agent Certification is a certification program that validates an individual’s knowledge and skills in providing technical support, troubleshooting, and customer service on IT systems.

2. What are the benefits of having a Help Desk Agent Certification?

Answer: Having a Help Desk Agent Certification can help you stand out among other job applicants, demonstrate your expertise in the field, and give you access to better job opportunities. It can also serve as proof of your commitment to professional development and career growth.

3. What are the requirements for obtaining a Help Desk Agent Certification?

Answer: The requirements for obtaining a Help Desk Agent Certification vary depending on the particular certification program. Generally speaking, programs require candidates to have experience working in a help desk or customer service environment and pass an exam that tests their knowledge of help desk processes, technologies, and customer service best practices.

4. How long does it take to complete a Help Desk Agent Certification program?

Answer: The length of time required to complete a Help Desk Agent Certification program varies depending on the particular program you choose. Some programs may require as little as one month of study while others may require six months or more.

5. How much does it cost to get certified as a Help Desk Agent?

Answer: The cost of getting certified as a Help Desk Agent varies depending on the particular certification program you choose. Generally speaking, costs range from $100-$2000 USD depending on the type and duration of the program selected.