Top 11 PC Specialist Certifications

This article provides an overview of the most sought-after PC specialist certifications and their benefits.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for a PC specialist in the job market because they provide evidence of their knowledge and skills. Employers look for certifications when hiring PC specialists to ensure they have the technical ability to meet the requirements of a particular job. Certifications also demonstrate a commitment to ongoing professional development, which is important in today's competitive job market. A PC specialist who has certifications can often stand out from other applicants and be more attractive to potential employers. Additionally, many employers offer incentives or bonuses to employees with certifications, making them even more desirable candidates.

This article reviews the top certifications for PC Specialists, and explains how they can help to advance the career of a PC Specialist.

What are PC Specialist Certifications?

PC Specialist Certification is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who possess the knowledge and skills necessary to install, configure, maintain, and troubleshoot personal computers (PCs). The certification is offered by CompTIA, an international non-profit association of information technology professionals.

A PC Specialist Certification can help an individual demonstrate competency in the areas of hardware, software installation and configuration, networking fundamentals, operating systems, system security, and other related topics. It also provides employers with evidence that a potential employee has the knowledge and experience required to effectively manage PCs in a business environment. Having a PC Specialist Certification can also open doors for job opportunities within the IT industry. Finally, having this certification can help individuals stand out from their peers when competing for jobs or promotions.

Pro Tip: When looking to obtain a PC Specialist Certification, make sure to research the different types of certifications available and their associated requirements. This will help you to decide which certification is best suited for your specific needs and career goals. Additionally, be sure to take advantage of any free online training or practice tests that may be available as part of the certification process.

Related: What does a PC Specialist do?

Top 11 PC Specialist Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to PC Specialists today.

1. CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+ is a globally recognized certification for IT professionals. It is the industry standard for validating the skills and knowledge necessary to perform essential IT support functions. CompTIA A+ is an entry-level certification that covers a wide range of topics related to computer hardware, operating systems, networking, security, troubleshooting, and customer service.

It typically takes between 6 and 12 months to complete the requirements for CompTIA A+ certification. The requirements include passing two exams: Core 1 (220-1001) and Core 2 (220-1002). The exams are administered by Pearson VUE or Prometric Testing Centers and cost $226 USD each.

In order to pass the exams, candidates must demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of computer hardware components, troubleshooting techniques, mobile device management, installation of operating systems, network connectivity issues, security best practices, and customer service skills. To prepare for the exams, it is recommended that candidates take an approved training course from a CompTIA authorized training provider or self-study using official CompTIA resources such as study guides or practice tests.

The cost of taking the CompTIA A+ certification exam varies depending on where you take it and how many attempts you make at passing the exam. Generally speaking, it costs around $452 USD to get certified in CompTIA A+.

2. CompTIA Network+

CompTIA Network+ is an industry-recognized certification that validates a professional’s knowledge of networking concepts and technologies. It is designed to prove an individual’s expertise in network installation, configuration, management, troubleshooting, security and more.

It typically takes between 6-12 months to prepare for the CompTIA Network+ exam depending on your level of experience. To get certified you must pass the CompTIA Network+ N10-007 exam which has 90 multiple choice questions and a maximum time limit of 90 minutes. The cost of the exam varies depending on where you take it but typically ranges from $300-$400 USD.

In order to prepare for the exam there are many resources available such as online practice exams, study guides, textbooks, video tutorials and instructor-led training courses. Additionally, CompTIA also offers a range of free resources such as webinars, white papers and eBooks to help candidates prepare for the exam.

3. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is a certification offered by Microsoft to demonstrate expertise in designing and implementing solutions using Microsoft technologies. It is designed for IT professionals who have experience with the design, implementation, and maintenance of Windows Server-based networks. The MCSE certification validates the ability to design, deploy, configure, optimize, troubleshoot, and manage complex IT infrastructures.

In order to get an MCSE certification, you must pass one or more exams that cover topics such as networking fundamentals, server infrastructure, cloud platform and infrastructure, productivity and collaboration tools, business intelligence solutions, data management and analytics solutions. You can also choose from a range of elective exams depending on your specific area of expertise.

It typically takes between 6-12 months to complete the necessary training and exams required for an MCSE certification. However this timeline will vary depending on the individual’s prior experience with the relevant technologies.

To get an MCSE certification you must first register for a Microsoft Certification ID (MCID). Once you have registered for an MCID you can then register for the relevant exam(s). Exams are taken at Pearson VUE testing centers located around the world.

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

4. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is a certification offered by Cisco Systems, Inc. that proves an individual’s knowledge and skills in networking fundamentals and technologies. It is the most popular entry-level certification for IT professionals who are interested in pursuing a career in networking.

It typically takes about 6-12 months to complete the CCNA program, depending on your experience level and how much time you can dedicate to studying. To get the CCNA certification, you must pass two exams: ICND1 (Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1) and ICND2 (Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2). Both exams cover topics such as network security, routing protocols, switching concepts, IP addressing, and troubleshooting.

The cost of the CCNA certification depends on which exam you take. The ICND1 exam costs $165 USD while the ICND2 exam costs $295 USD. You can also purchase a bundle package that includes both exams for $450 USD.

5. CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ is a globally recognized certification that validates the knowledge and skills required to secure networks, systems, and applications. It is designed for IT professionals with at least two years of experience in network security who are looking to demonstrate their competency in the field.

The CompTIA Security+ exam typically takes about 90 minutes to complete and consists of 90 multiple-choice questions. To be eligible for the exam, you must have either a CompTIA Network+ certification or equivalent knowledge.

To get your CompTIA Security+ certification, you can take an online course or attend a training program offered by an approved training provider. You will need to pass the Security+ exam with a score of 750 or higher on a scale of 100-900 in order to receive your certification.

The cost of the CompTIA Security+ exam varies depending on where you take it, but generally it costs around $320 USD.

6. Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA)

Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) is a certification program that verifies an individual’s knowledge and skills in administering Microsoft Windows-based systems. It is designed to provide IT professionals with the necessary skills to install, configure, manage, and troubleshoot Windows Server operating systems and related technologies.

To get the MCSA certification, you must pass three exams: two core exams (70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012; 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012; 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services) and one elective exam. The elective exam can be chosen from a list of available options such as Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, System Center Configuration Manager, etc.

The time it takes to complete the MCSA depends on your experience level and how quickly you can study for the exams. Generally speaking it should take about 6 months to a year to complete all three exams if you are studying regularly.

You can register for the MCSA exams through any Pearson VUE or Prometric testing center. The cost of each exam varies but typically ranges from $125-$200 per exam.

7. VMware Certified Professional (VCP)

VMware Certified Professional (VCP) is a certification program designed to validate an individual’s skills and knowledge in the use of VMware products. It is an industry-recognized credential that demonstrates an individual’s ability to install, configure, manage, and troubleshoot virtual environments using VMware vSphere products.

The VCP certification requires candidates to attend a VMware authorized training course and pass two exams: a qualifying exam and a hands-on lab exam. The qualifying exam covers the fundamentals of virtualization and the core features of VMware vSphere. The hands-on lab exam tests the candidate’s ability to configure, deploy, manage, and troubleshoot a vSphere environment.

It typically takes about three months for most individuals to complete their training and pass both exams. However, this timeline may vary depending on the individual's experience level and study habits.

The cost of obtaining the VCP certification varies depending on which training option you choose (instructor-led or online). The cost also includes the cost of taking both exams as well as any additional materials needed for study purposes. Generally speaking, it can range from $2,500 - $6,000 USD depending on your location and training provider.

8. Citrix Certified Professional (CCP)

Citrix Certified Professional (CCP) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of Citrix products and solutions. The CCP certification is intended for IT professionals who are responsible for designing, deploying, configuring, and troubleshooting Citrix solutions.

It typically takes 6-12 months to prepare for the CCP exam. To become certified, you must pass two exams: the Citrix Certified Associate (CCA) exam and the Citrix Certified Professional (CCP) exam. Both exams are administered by Pearson VUE.

The cost of each exam varies depending on your location and currency exchange rate. Generally, the CCA exam costs around $200 USD and the CCP exam costs around $300 USD. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with scheduling or rescheduling an exam.

9. Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) is a certification program that validates an individual’s skills in the Microsoft Office suite of products. It is designed to demonstrate proficiency in the most widely used business applications, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. To become certified, an individual must pass one or more exams.

The length of time it takes to get MOS certification depends on the number of exams taken and how much time is spent studying for them. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete all the requirements for certification.

To get MOS certification, individuals must register with Certiport and purchase vouchers for each exam they wish to take. The vouchers can be purchased online or through a Certiport partner center. After registering with Certiport and purchasing the vouchers, individuals can schedule their exams at a local testing center or online through Pearson VUE or Certiport's Online Proctoring Service.

The cost of MOS certification varies depending on the number of exams taken and which versions of Microsoft Office are being tested on. Generally speaking, each exam voucher costs around $150 USD per exam plus any applicable taxes and fees.

10. Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC)

Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC) is an industry-recognized certification program for Linux professionals. It is designed to validate a candidate’s knowledge and skills in the field of Linux system administration. The LPIC certification is offered in two levels: LPIC-1 and LPIC-2.

LPIC-1 covers basic system administration tasks such as installation, configuration, maintenance, and troubleshooting of common Linux systems. It also covers topics such as networking, security, scripting, and other related topics. To obtain the LPIC-1 certification a candidate must pass two exams: 101 and 102.

LPIC-2 covers more advanced topics such as system optimization, network services, email services, web services, and more. To obtain the LPIC-2 certification a candidate must pass three exams: 201, 202, and 203.

The time it takes to get certified depends on the individual’s study habits and level of experience with Linux systems. Generally speaking it can take anywhere from a few months to several years to become certified depending on how much time you are willing to dedicate to studying for the exams.

To get certified you will need to register for the exams through Pearson VUE or Prometric Testing Centers which offer both online and in person testing options. You will then need to purchase exam vouchers from either Pearson VUE or Prometric Testing Centers prior to scheduling your exam date(s). The cost of each exam voucher varies depending on which vendor you use but generally ranges from $100-$200 USD per exam voucher.

11. EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is a certification program designed to help individuals learn the skills and techniques needed to identify, counter, and prevent malicious attacks on computer systems. It is an advanced ethical hacking course that teaches the methodology and tools used by hackers for attacking computer systems. The CEH program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

The CEH certification typically takes between 60-90 days to complete depending on the individual's learning style and experience. To get certified, applicants must pass an exam which consists of 125 multiple choice questions. The exam covers topics such as network security threats, cryptography, system security, scanning/enumeration techniques, social engineering tactics, and more.

The cost of the CEH certification varies depending on the provider but usually ranges from $500-$1000 USD. Additionally, some providers offer discounts for students or military personnel.

Do You Really Need a PC Specialist Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on what your career goals are and what type of job you are looking for. If you want to work in the field of information technology, having a PC Specialist Certificate can be beneficial as it demonstrates that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to handle computer hardware and software. It also shows employers that you take your career seriously and have taken the time to learn more about computers and their uses.

However, if your career goals don't involve working with computers, then a PC Specialist Certificate may not be necessary. Many entry-level positions in other fields don't require any certification or special training in computer technology. In these cases, employers will often look at your experience, education, and other qualifications before making a hiring decision.

At the end of the day, it's up to you to decide whether or not getting a PC Specialist Certificate is worth it for your particular situation. You should consider your career goals, current skill set, and job opportunities before making a decision.

Related: PC Specialist Resume Examples

FAQs About PC Specialist Certifications

1. What types of certifications does PC Specialist offer?

Answer: PC Specialist offers a range of certifications that cover various aspects of IT, such as CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, and Microsoft Office certifications.

2. How do I become certified with PC Specialist?

Answer: To become certified with PC Specialist, you must first complete the applicable courses and pass the relevant certification exams. Once you have done this, you can then apply for your desired certification through the PC Specialist website.

3. How long will it take to get my certification?

Answer: The amount of time it takes to get certified depends on the type of certification and how quickly you can complete the necessary coursework and exams. Generally speaking, most certifications can be completed within 3-6 months.

4. Is there any cost associated with becoming certified?

Answer: Yes, there is a fee associated with each certification exam that must be paid before taking the exam. These fees vary depending on which certification you are pursuing.

5. Are there any prerequisites for obtaining a PC Specialist certification?

Answer: Yes, some certifications may have prerequisites that must be met before attempting the certification exam(s). For example, if you are looking to obtain a CompTIA A+ certification, then you must first pass both the CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2 exams before attempting the A+ Practical Application Exam.