Apple offers its own certification for system administrators. The Apple Certified System Administrator certification, or ACSA, covers Apple technical architecture and ensures that the individual knows how to:
- install and configure machines;
- architect and maintain networks;
- enable, customize, tune and troubleshoot services; and
- integrate Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server and other Apple technologies within a multi-platform networked environment.
Apple says this certification is suitable for full-time, professional system admins and engineers who are in charge of medium-size or large networks of systems within complex deployments that include several platforms.
Exams and Preparation:
In order to obtain the ASCA designation, you have to take a number of exams:
- Mac OS X Server Essentials v10.5 Exam
- Takes up to two hours to complete 90 multiple-choice questions, with a minimum passing score of 69 percent.
- Reference book: Apple Training Series: Mac OS X Server Essentials, Second Edition (Peachpit 2008).
- The Mac OS X Server Essentials 10.5 course is also recommended.
- Mac OS X Directory Services v10.5 Exam
- Takes up to two hours to complete 74 multiple-choice questions. The passing score is 68 percent.
- Reference book: Apple Training Series: Mac OS X Directory Services v10.5 (Peachpit 2008).
- Apple also recommends taking the four-day Mac OS X Directory Services 10.5 course.
- Mac OS X Deployment v10.5 Exam
- This exam includes 64 multiple-choice questions; you need to answer 70 percent correctly in order to pass. You can take up to two hours to complete the exam.
- Reference book: Apple Training Series: Mac OS X Deployment v10.5 (Peachpit 2008).
- The three-day Mac OS X Deployment 10.5 course is also recommended.
- Mac OS X Advanced System Admin v10.5 Exam
- Ninety multiple-choice questions are part of this exam, which takes up to two hours to complete. The passing score is 70 percent.
- Reference book: Apple Training Series: Mac OS X Advanced System Administration v10.5 (Peachpit 2008).
- Recommended training: the Mac OS X Advanced System Administration 10.5 course.
Before you can register for any of these exams, you must have an Apple Tech ID number. The Apple Certifications website will tell you how to apply for a Tech ID.
It costs about $200 to take each exam. Keep in mind that each of the recommended courses can cost anywhere between $1,500 and $3,000; however, these courses are not essential and you may know enough to pass the exam without taking the course.
The ACSA certification used to require renewal after a certain time, but Apple has changed it so that the certification is now tied to the version of the system (for example, 10.4 or 10.5). The certification is therefore permanent.