Apple has five levels of certification for its application software. Associate certifications are for entry-level users. The five levels are:
- Apple Certified Associate
- Apple Certified Pro Level One
- Apple Certified Pro Level Two
- Apple Master Pro
- Apple Master Trainer
Apple Certified Associate certifications are available only for iWorks and Final Cut Pro. Both are designed to validate basic skills in using the software. The Certified Pro exams are for more advanced operational knowledge of Apple application software. These higher level certifications are currently available for Aperture, Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro and Motion. There are no Pro level courses for iWorks. The Master Trainer certification is for those who want to teach courses in Apple applications.
Apple Associate Target Audience
Apple Associate Level certifications are based on entry-level exams, designed for students, or those preparing for an entry-level position. Having an associate certification may give you an edge when applying to a company that uses Apple software, compared to someone who does not have such expertise.
Exams and Preparation
The exam consists of sixty questions with a one hour time limit. A score of 80 percent is required to pass the exam. You can take the exam at any Apple Authorized Training Center (AATC). Many of these training centers also offer courses to prepare you for the exam, but these courses are not required to take the exam. Even if an AATC doesn't offer a course, they will host the exam. If you have a valid promotional code, you can also take the exam online from home. For example, you can get the code for the online Final Cut Pro exam if you own the Apple Pro Training Series book "Final Cut Pro X."
For the iWorks Associate Certification, you should have a working knowledge of the iWork software suite, which includes the Pages word processing program, the Keynote presentation program, and the Numbers spreadsheet program. For example, you should be able to create and format a basic newsletter using Pages. You should also know how to create a spreadsheet using Numbers, as well as being able to sort and chart data using spreadsheet formulas.
For the Final Cut Pro Associate Certification, students should have basic familiarity with the terminology and editing processes used by the software. This includes having the skills needed to edit a basic project, able too import and manage media, apply effects and make color adjustments to a video project.
Apple also has exam preparation guides for both the iWork Associate Level Certification and the
Both the iWork and Final Cut Pro Certified Associate exams costs $65. The iWork 101 course and the Final Cut Pro X 1010 course are offered by a limited number of AATCs world-wide. Course fees vary, but the iWork 101 course is generally about $500. The Final Cut Pro course is about $100. Both are usually taught as two-day workshops. Depending on where you live, finding the course may be difficult, or some travel may be involved. At the time of publication courses are available in a few cities worldwide, including Washington DC, Irving Texas, Houston Texas and Toronto Canada.
Because each certification is based on the current version of the software, there are no renewals for either of these certifications. However you can update your certification by taking the exam again when the software is upgraded. At the time of publication, the current versions are Apple iWork '09 and Final Cut Pro X
Is it Worth it for You?
Generally speaking, the value of having any technical certification on your resume is proportional to the amount of time and effort it takes to acquire it. Developing a basic expertise in a application-level software like iWorks does not generally take a lot of time. Consequently, for some employers, such an associate level certification may have little value. However, having the certification on your resume does not just prove your mastery of the software, it can demonstrate to an employer your personal initiative and desire to learn -- an important quality that is hard to demonstrate if you don't have prior work experience.
Having the Final Cut Pro Associate Certification could be more valuable if you are applying for an entry-level position with a company that uses this software, such as a video production or marketing company. It can also valuable if you plan to proceed to the Final Cut Pro courses, although the Associate certification currently does not seem to be a prerequisite for the Pro certification.