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Top 10 Software Support Specialist Certifications

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

Updated 16 min read

Certifications for software support specialists are important in the job market for a few reasons. First, certifications demonstrate to employers that an individual has the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in the field. Certifications also provide employers with assurance that an employee is up-to-date on the latest technologies and best practices in the industry. Furthermore, having certifications can make an individual more competitive in the job market, as they can stand out from other applicants who do not have them. Finally, many employers prefer to hire individuals who have certifications because it makes it easier to assess their qualifications and abilities.

This article reviews the top certifications for Software Support Specialists and explains how they can contribute to a software support specialist's career.

What are Software Support Specialist Certifications?

Software Support Specialist Certification is an industry-recognized certification that validates a professional's skills and knowledge in providing software support. The certification focuses on the technical aspects of software support, including installation, troubleshooting, configuration, and maintenance. It also covers customer service best practices for working with clients to ensure their goals are met. This certification can be beneficial for individuals looking to enter the field of software support or for those already working in the field who want to demonstrate their expertise. Having a Software Support Specialist Certification can help individuals stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs and may give them an edge when negotiating salary or benefits. Additionally, having this certification can provide employers with confidence that they are hiring someone with a proven track record of success in the software support field.

Pro Tip: When selecting a software support specialist certification program, be sure to look for one that offers hands-on experience and practical skills. This will help ensure you have the necessary knowledge and expertise to excel in this role. Additionally, always check the credentials of the institution offering the program to make sure it is reputable and will provide you with a well-rounded education.

Related: What does a Software Support Specialist do?

Top 10 Software Support Specialist Certifications

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

1. CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+ is a certification for entry-level IT professionals. It is the industry standard for validating the skills of IT support and technical personnel. CompTIA A+ covers a wide range of topics including hardware, networking, mobile devices, operating systems, software troubleshooting, virtualization and cloud computing.

The CompTIA A+ certification requires two exams: Core 1 (220-1001) and Core 2 (220-1002). Both exams are 90 minutes long and include 90 multiple choice and performance-based questions. The passing score for each exam is 750 out of 900 points.

It typically takes around 3 months to prepare for the CompTIA A+ certification exams. This includes studying course materials such as books or online courses, taking practice tests, and attending training classes if available.

In order to get the CompTIA A+ certification you must pass both the Core 1 and Core 2 exams. You can register for the exams through Pearson VUE or Prometric testing centers. The cost of each exam is $219 USD.

2. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is a certification program designed to validate an individual’s expertise in designing, implementing, and managing solutions based on Microsoft technologies. The MCSE certification requires passing a series of exams that demonstrate knowledge and skills in areas such as Windows Server, Exchange Server, SQL Server, System Center, SharePoint Server, Lync Server, and more.

The MCSE certification typically takes 12-18 months to complete. It requires passing three core exams plus one elective exam from the list of available options. Each exam costs $165 USD and must be taken at an authorized testing center.

In addition to the exams, candidates must also have two years of experience working with Microsoft server technologies before they can receive their MCSE certification. This experience can be gained through hands-on work or through formal training courses offered by Microsoft or other authorized providers.

The total cost for obtaining the MCSE certification will vary depending on how much experience you already have and whether or not you choose to take formal training courses. However, it is estimated that the total cost could range from $1,000-$3,000 USD.

3. Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)

Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) is a certification program offered by Microsoft that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated proficiency in using Microsoft products and technologies. The MCP credential is designed to validate an individual's technical expertise in the use of Microsoft products and services.

To become an MCP, you must pass one or more exams related to the Microsoft technology you wish to be certified for. The number of exams required varies depending on the certification track chosen. Once you have passed all the required exams, you will receive your MCP certificate from Microsoft.

The amount of time it takes to get an MCP certification depends on how quickly you can study and prepare for the exams. Generally, it can take anywhere from one month to six months or more, depending on your level of experience with the technology being tested.

To get an MCP certification, you must first purchase a voucher for each exam that you plan to take. Vouchers can be purchased through Microsoft or third-party vendors such as Prometric or Pearson VUE. Once you have purchased a voucher, you can register online at Prometric or Pearson VUE and schedule your exam appointment.

The cost of each exam varies depending on the country in which it is taken, but typically ranges from $100-$200 USD per exam. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with purchasing vouchers and scheduling appointments with Prometric or Pearson VUE.

4. Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP)

The Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) is an industry-recognized certification program for individuals who provide technical support and troubleshooting for Mac OS X and macOS operating systems. This certification is designed to help professionals demonstrate their expertise in the use of Apple products, including troubleshooting, system configuration, and user support.

The ACSP exam consists of two parts: a hands-on component and a written component. The hands-on component requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to configure and troubleshoot Mac OS X or macOS systems. The written component tests knowledge of Apple hardware, software, networking, and security concepts.

It typically takes around 8-10 hours to complete the ACSP certification process. Candidates must first register for the exam through the Apple Certification website. Once registered, they can access preparation materials such as study guides, practice exams, and other resources to help them prepare for the exam.

The cost of the ACSP certification varies depending on where you take it; however, it typically ranges from $150-$250 USD. Additionally, some organizations may offer discounts or special pricing for students or members of certain professional associations.

5. Oracle Database Administration Certified Professional (OCP)

Oracle Database Administration Certified Professional (OCP) is an Oracle certification that recognizes a professional’s expertise in administering and managing Oracle databases. It is designed to validate the skills of experienced database administrators who have a deep understanding of Oracle Database 12c and 18c technologies.

In order to become an OCP, you must first pass two exams: 1Z0-061: Oracle Database 12c: SQL Fundamentals I and 1Z0-062: Oracle Database 12c: Installation and Administration. The exams are administered by Pearson VUE, which charges $245 USD per exam.

The entire process can take several months, depending on how quickly you are able to study for the exams and pass them. After passing both exams, you will receive your OCP certification from Oracle University.

The cost of becoming an OCP depends on the number of exams taken and other factors such as course materials or practice tests. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $500-$1000 USD to become certified.

6. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is a certification program from Cisco Systems that validates an individual’s skills and knowledge in networking. It is designed for entry-level network engineers to help them develop the necessary skills to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot medium-sized routed and switched networks.

It typically takes around six months to prepare for the CCNA exam. This includes studying for the exam, attending classes or workshops, and taking practice tests. The actual exam lasts 90 minutes and consists of 60–70 questions.

To get the CCNA certification, you must first pass the two-hour ICND1 (Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1) and ICND2 (Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2) exams. You can also take a single four-hour composite exam instead of taking both exams separately.

The cost of the CCNA certification varies depending on where you take it. Generally speaking, it costs around $300-$400 USD per exam plus any additional fees associated with taking the exam such as registration fees or proctor fees.

7. Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA)

Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) is a certification program designed to validate an individual’s skills and knowledge in system administration. This certification is designed for those who are experienced Linux system administrators and have the ability to manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems. It is also suitable for those who want to demonstrate their skills as a Red Hat Enterprise Linux system administrator.

The RHCSA exam consists of two parts: a performance-based exam and a multiple-choice exam. The performance-based exam requires candidates to perform tasks on the command line, while the multiple-choice exam tests knowledge of concepts related to system administration. The performance-based exam takes approximately 2 hours, while the multiple-choice exam takes approximately 1 hour.

To get certified as an RHCSA, you must pass both exams with a score of at least 70%. You can prepare for the exams by taking courses offered by Red Hat or self-study using resources available online. Once you have passed both exams, you will receive your official RHCSA certification from Red Hat.

The cost of getting certified as an RHCSA depends on which route you take to prepare for the exams. If you take courses offered by Red Hat, then the cost can range from $1,000-$3,000 depending on which course you choose. If you opt for self-study using resources available online, then there is no cost associated with getting certified as an RHCSA.

8. VMware Certified Professional (VCP)

The VMware Certified Professional (VCP) is a certification program designed to recognize IT professionals who have the skills and knowledge to successfully install, configure, and manage VMware vSphere environments. The VCP is the most popular and widely recognized certification in virtualization.

To become a VCP, an individual must pass two exams: one on the fundamentals of virtualization and another on the specific version of VMware vSphere they are using. The exam topics include installation, configuration, management, troubleshooting, security, networking, storage, backup/recovery, automation, scalability and availability.

It typically takes about three months to study for the VCP exam. You can prepare for it by taking online courses or attending instructor-led classes. Additionally, there are practice tests available that can help you gauge your readiness for the exam.

The cost of becoming a VCP varies depending on how you choose to prepare for it. Online courses range from $200-$500; instructor-led classes range from $1,000-$3,000; and practice tests range from $50-$100.

Once you have passed both exams and met all other requirements (such as having at least six months of experience with VMware vSphere), you will be awarded your VCP certification.

9. Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA)

Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA) is a certification program designed to validate the skills of IT professionals who have demonstrated expertise in deploying, managing, and troubleshooting Citrix products. The CCA certification is offered by Citrix Systems, Inc., a leader in virtualization, networking, and cloud computing technologies.

The CCA certification requires candidates to pass two exams: one on XenApp and one on XenDesktop. Both exams are multiple-choice and performance-based tests that measure the candidate's knowledge of Citrix technologies. The exams are administered through Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide.

It typically takes about two months to prepare for the CCA exam. Candidates should plan to study for at least 40 hours before taking the exam. It is recommended that they take practice tests to ensure they understand all of the material covered on the exam. Additionally, it is important to become familiar with the Citrix product suite and its features prior to taking the exam.

The cost of obtaining a CCA certification varies depending on where you take the exam and which version you choose (XenApp or XenDesktop). Generally speaking, it will cost between $200-$300 USD per exam plus any applicable taxes or fees.

10. ITIL Foundation Certification

ITIL Foundation Certification is a globally recognized certification program that is designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage IT services. The ITIL Foundation certification is the entry-level qualification for anyone interested in learning about IT service management best practices. It provides an understanding of the key elements, concepts, and terminology used in the ITIL service lifecycle, including how operations and processes are linked to achieve business objectives.

The ITIL Foundation certification requires a minimum of 21 hours of training and study time, which can be completed in a variety of ways such as self-study, online courses, or classroom instruction. Once you have completed your training and study time, you will need to pass an exam consisting of 40 multiple-choice questions. The exam must be taken at an accredited testing center and typically costs between $200 - $300 USD depending on where you take it.

Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your official ITIL Foundation Certificate from PeopleCert (the organization responsible for administering the exams). This certificate is valid for three years before needing to be renewed by taking the latest version of the exam.

Overall, obtaining your ITIL Foundation Certification is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of best practices related to IT service management.

Do You Really Need a Software Support Specialist Certificate?

The short answer is no, you do not need a software support specialist certificate to become a software support specialist. However, having a certificate can give you an edge over other job applicants who may not have one. A certificate can demonstrate to employers that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in the role of software support specialist.

Having a certification also shows employers that you are committed to staying up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends within the software industry. It can provide proof of your technical expertise and commitment to personal development in the field of software support. Moreover, having a certificate gives you access to exclusive events, resources, and job opportunities that may not be available otherwise.

In conclusion, while having a software support specialist certificate is not required for becoming a successful software support specialist, it can certainly provide an advantage in terms of demonstrating your commitment and technical proficiency in the field.

Related: Software Support Specialist Resume Examples

FAQs About Software Support Specialist Certifications

Q1. What is a Software Support Specialist Certification?

A1. A Software Support Specialist Certification is a professional certification that certifies individuals in their knowledge and skills related to providing technical support for software applications. The certification demonstrates the individual's expertise in troubleshooting, problem solving, and customer service related to software support.

Q2. What are the benefits of becoming certified as a Software Support Specialist?

A2. Becoming certified as a Software Support Specialist can provide an individual with increased job opportunities, higher salaries, and greater recognition within the IT industry. Additionally, it can help demonstrate an individual’s dedication to their field of work and commitment to providing quality customer service and technical support.

Q3. How do I become certified as a Software Support Specialist?

A3. To become certified as a Software Support Specialist, you must first pass an exam administered by an accredited organization such as CompTIA or Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your certification and be able to use it on resumes and job applications to demonstrate your proficiency in software support services.

Q4. How long does it take to become certified?

A4. The amount of time it takes to become certified depends on how much time you are able to dedicate to studying for the exam, but typically it takes between one and two months if you are preparing on your own or taking courses from an accredited institution such as Microsoft Virtual Academy or CompTIA CertMaster Learn.

Q5. What is the cost of becoming certified?

A5: The cost of becoming certified varies depending on which type of organization you choose for certification, but typically ranges from $100-$400 USD for exam fees alone; additional fees may apply for training materials or courses taken through accredited organizations prior to taking the exam(s).

Editorial staff

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Brenna Goyette

Expert Verified

Brenna is a certified professional resume writer, career expert, and the content manager of the ResumeCat team. She has a background in corporate recruiting and human resources and has been writing resumes for over 10 years. Brenna has experience in recruiting for tech, finance, and marketing roles and has a passion for helping people find their dream jobs. She creates expert resources to help job seekers write the best resumes and cover letters, land the job, and succeed in the workplace.

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