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Top 10 Help Desk Technician Certifications

This article provides an overview of the most popular help desk technician certifications available and how to choose the best one for your needs.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are an important part of the job market for help desk technicians. They can provide a competitive edge over other job candidates and demonstrate the technician's knowledge, skills, and abilities to employers. Certifications also show employers that the technician is committed to staying up to date on the latest technology and trends in the industry. Furthermore, certifications can give potential employers more confidence in hiring a help desk technician as they can attest to their experience and knowledge.

The article reviews some of the top certifications for Help Desk Technicians and explains how these certifications can help to advance a help desk technician's career.

What are Help Desk Technician Certifications?

Help Desk Technician Certification is a certification program designed to recognize professionals who demonstrate a high level of proficiency in providing help desk support. The certification covers topics such as troubleshooting, problem solving, customer service and communication skills. The certification also requires knowledge of various software programs and hardware components.

The primary benefit of Help Desk Technician Certification is that it provides validation of an individual's technical skills and abilities. This can be extremely beneficial for those wishing to enter the IT industry, as employers are more likely to hire individuals with this certification than those without it. Additionally, having this certification may open up opportunities for career advancement within the IT sector. With the increasing demand for IT personnel, having this certification can give an individual a competitive edge when seeking employment or promotions.

Moreover, obtaining Help Desk Technician Certification demonstrates commitment to one's professional development. This can be especially beneficial if one wishes to progress their career within the IT field by gaining additional certifications in other areas such as network administration or security management. Finally, having this certification may also make it easier for individuals to gain access to resources that may help them stay current with technological advancements and best practices in the industry.

Pro Tip: Make sure to research the requirements for any help desk technician certification you are considering, as different certifications require different levels of experience and knowledge. Additionally, take advantage of online resources and practice exams to ensure you are fully prepared before taking a certification exam.

Related: What does a Help Desk Technician do?

Top 10 Help Desk Technician Certifications

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

1. CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+ is a vendor-neutral certification that is designed to validate the knowledge and skills of entry-level IT professionals. It is the most popular IT certification in the world, with more than one million people certified since its inception in 1993. This certification covers topics such as installation, configuration, diagnosing, preventive maintenance and basic networking.

The CompTIA A+ exam consists of two parts: Core 1 (220-1001) and Core 2 (220-1002). To earn your CompTIA A+ certification you must pass both exams. Each exam has a maximum of 90 questions and takes 90 minutes to complete. The cost of each exam is $226 USD.

It typically takes between 6 to 12 months to prepare for the CompTIA A+ exams depending on your experience level and study habits. Before taking the exams it is recommended that you have at least nine months of hands-on experience working with computer hardware and software technologies. You can also find many online resources to help you prepare for the exams such as practice tests, study guides, tutorials, and more.

In total, it costs approximately $452 USD to get your CompTIA A+ certification if you take both exams at once. However, if you choose to take just one exam at a time then it will cost $226 USD per exam.

2. CompTIA Network+

CompTIA Network+ is a certification from CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) that validates an individual’s knowledge and skills in networking technologies. It is designed to help IT professionals who work with network infrastructure and related technologies. To get the certification, you must pass the CompTIA Network+ exam, which typically takes about 90 minutes to complete.

To get the CompTIA Network+ certification, you must first register for the exam through Pearson VUE or Prometric. Once registered, you will need to pay the associated fee (currently $329 USD). After payment has been made, you can then schedule your exam at a time that works best for you.

The exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and covers topics such as network architecture, network operations, network security, troubleshooting, industry standards/best practices and emerging technologies. You must score at least 720 out of 900 points on the exam to pass and receive your certification.

Once passed, your certification will be valid for three years from the date of issue. After this period expires, you will need to retake the exam in order to maintain your certification status.

3. Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)

Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) is a certification program designed to provide individuals with an entry-level understanding of Microsoft technologies. It provides a foundation for individuals looking to pursue higher-level certifications and begin a career in IT.

The MTA certification covers a wide range of topics, including Windows operating systems, networking fundamentals, security fundamentals, software development fundamentals, database fundamentals, and mobile device fundamentals. The exam is based on multiple-choice questions and can be taken online or at an approved testing center.

It typically takes 3-4 hours to complete the exam. To get the certification, you must pass the exam with a score of 700 or higher out of 1000.

The cost of the exam varies depending on where it is taken; however, it typically costs around $127 USD.

4. HDI Support Center Analyst (HDI-SCA)

HDI Support Center Analyst (HDI-SCA) is an industry certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a high level of competency in providing technical support and customer service. The HDI-SCA certification is offered by the Help Desk Institute, a global organization dedicated to helping IT professionals develop their skills and knowledge.

The HDI-SCA certification is earned by passing two exams: the HDI Support Center Analyst Exam and the HDI Customer Service Representative Exam. The exams cover topics such as customer service, problem solving, communication, technical support, and more. To prepare for the exams, candidates should review the exam objectives and become familiar with the content areas covered on each exam.

It typically takes between six months and one year to complete both exams and earn the HDI-SCA certification. Candidates can register for both exams online at www.hdi-certification.org or through an authorized training provider. The cost of registration varies depending on where you take your tests; however, it generally ranges from $200-$400 per exam.

Once candidates have passed both exams, they will receive an official certificate from HDI that recognizes their achievement as a certified Support Center Analyst. This certificate is valid for three years before needing to be renewed.

5. ITIL Foundation Certification

ITIL Foundation Certification is a globally recognized qualification that provides individuals with an understanding of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices for IT service management. It is designed to help organizations improve their IT service delivery and support processes, as well as enhance customer satisfaction.

The ITIL Foundation certification typically takes two days to complete, depending on the provider and the format of the course. The course covers topics such as service management processes, service lifecycle stages, roles and responsibilities in service management, and more. At the end of the course, participants must pass an exam in order to be certified.

To get certified, you must first register for a training program or purchase self-study materials from an accredited provider. You will then need to study and prepare for the exam. Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your certificate from AXELOS Global Best Practice.

The cost of getting ITIL Foundation certification depends on which provider you choose and whether you take a classroom-based or online course. Generally speaking, prices range from $500 - $2,000 USD per person for a two-day classroom-based course or around $200 - $400 USD for an online self-study program.

6. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is a certification program designed to validate an individual's skills and knowledge in networking. It is offered by Cisco Systems, the world’s leading provider of networking solutions. With the CCNA certification, individuals can demonstrate their understanding of basic network concepts, routing protocols, switching technologies, and IP services.

The CCNA certification is valid for three years from the date of completion. To obtain the certification, individuals must pass two exams: ICND1 and ICND2. The first exam covers topics such as operating Cisco routers and switches, configuring basic networks, troubleshooting common network issues, and implementing security measures. The second exam covers topics such as advanced routing protocols, advanced switching technologies, wide area networks (WAN), wireless LANs (WLAN), virtual private networks (VPN), quality of service (QoS), and network management tools.

The cost of obtaining the CCNA certification varies depending on the training provider chosen. Generally speaking, it takes around six months to complete both exams if you are studying full-time or 12 months if you are studying part-time. You can also choose to take accelerated courses which will reduce the time needed to complete both exams significantly.

7. Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP)

The Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) certification is a globally recognized credential that validates an individual’s technical proficiency and knowledge of the macOS operating system. It is designed for IT professionals, educators, and service technicians who support Mac users.

It takes approximately 8-12 hours to complete the ACSP course. The course consists of two parts: the macOS Support Essentials 10.15 exam and the macOS Troubleshooting exam. In order to obtain the certification, you must pass both exams with a minimum score of 80%.

To get started on your ACSP certification journey, you must first purchase the ACSP course from Apple’s website or an authorized training provider. The cost of the course varies depending on where you purchase it from but typically ranges between $300-$500 USD.

Once you have completed the course, you will be required to take and pass both exams in order to earn your certification. You can take these exams at any authorized testing center or online via Apple’s proctored exam delivery platform. The cost for each exam is $150 USD.

Once you have passed both exams and earned your ACSP certification, it will remain valid for three years before needing to be renewed.

8. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is a certification program from Microsoft that validates an individual’s expertise in designing and implementing technology solutions based on the Microsoft platform. This certification is designed to recognize IT professionals who have the skills needed to design, deploy, configure, and manage complex IT infrastructures using Microsoft products and technologies.

To get MCSE certified, you must pass one or more exams related to the specific technology track you are pursuing. The number of exams required depends on the track chosen. For example, if you choose to pursue the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification, you will need to pass five exams.

The cost of each exam can vary depending on where you take it; however, they typically range from $165-$200 per exam. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking an exam such as proctoring fees or travel expenses.

The amount of time it takes to become MCSE certified depends largely on how much time and effort an individual puts into studying for the exams. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from six months to two years to become fully certified depending on your experience level and how quickly you can learn new material.

9. 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 to help IT professionals gain the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective desktop support services. The HDI-DST certification validates a professional’s ability to troubleshoot hardware, software, and network issues.

To obtain the HDI-DST certification, an individual must complete a two-day training course and pass an exam. The training course covers topics such as customer service, problem solving, communication skills, system administration tools, and technical troubleshooting. After completing the course, individuals must pass an exam consisting of multiple choice questions in order to receive their certification.

The cost of the HDI-DST certification varies depending on where you take the training course. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,500 for the two-day course plus exam fee.

In addition to taking the training course and passing the exam, individuals must also meet certain prerequisites in order to be eligible for the HDI-DST certification. These include having at least one year of experience working in IT or related field and having basic knowledge of computer hardware and software systems.

Overall, obtaining an HDI-DST certification can be beneficial for those looking to advance their careers in IT or related fields as it demonstrates their expertise in providing effective desktop support services.

10. Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) is a certification program for IT professionals who want to demonstrate their expertise in Microsoft technologies. The MCSA credential is designed to validate the skills and knowledge required to build a successful career in IT.

The MCSA certification requires you to pass two exams, which typically take around 3-6 months to complete. To become an MCSA, you must pass one of the following exams: Microsoft 365 Fundamentals, Windows Server 2016, or Azure Administrator Associate.

To get started on your path to becoming an MCSA, you will need to purchase the appropriate exam vouchers from Microsoft. Exam vouchers cost approximately $165 each and can be purchased directly from Microsoft or through a third-party vendor. Once you have your exam voucher, you can register for the exam at Prometric or Pearson VUE testing centers.

After passing both exams, you will receive your official MCSA certification from Microsoft. This certification proves that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to work with various Microsoft technologies and solutions.

Do You Really Need a Help Desk Technician Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual and their specific goals. For some, a help desk technician certificate may be necessary to gain employment in certain industries or to advance within an existing job. It could also give potential employers assurance that the applicant has the skills needed for the job.

For others, a help desk technician certificate may not be necessary. Depending on experience and knowledge, one may be able to demonstrate their competency without a certificate. Furthermore, some employers may not require applicants to have a help desk technician certificate in order to be considered for the job.

In conclusion, it is important for individuals to consider their personal goals and decide whether or not they need a help desk technician certificate in order to reach them. If it is determined that such a certification would be beneficial, then pursuing one should be strongly considered.

Related: Help Desk Technician Resume Examples

FAQs About Help Desk Technician Certifications

1. What is a Help Desk Technician Certification?

Answer: A Help Desk Technician Certification is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual's knowledge and skills in providing technical support to computer users. This certification is typically offered by an accredited institution or organization, such as CompTIA or Microsoft, and requires successful completion of a series of exams.

2. How long does it take to get certified?

Answer: The amount of time it takes to become certified depends on the specific program you choose and the amount of experience you have in the field. Generally, completing a help desk technician certification program can take anywhere from several months to two years, depending on the scope and complexity of the program.

3. What are some common topics covered in Help Desk Technician Certifications?

Answer: Common topics covered in help desk technician certifications include troubleshooting hardware and software issues, network security, customer service protocols, system maintenance best practices, and more. Additionally, certifications may also include instruction on how to use various industry-specific tools and software programs.

4. Are there any prerequisites for taking a Help Desk Technician Certification exam?

Answer: Yes, most programs require applicants to have some prior experience working with computers or IT systems before taking an exam for certification. Additionally, some programs may require applicants to pass certain prerequisite courses or tests before they can take the actual certification exam.

5. How much do Help Desk Technician Certifications cost?

Answer: The cost of a help desk technician certification varies depending on the program you choose and other factors such as location and duration of the coursework involved. Generally speaking, these certifications range from $500-$3000 USD depending on the level of instruction provided by the program provider.