So you want to be an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician. You want the fame, the adoration, the fans screaming for your affections and/or phone number, the nifty certificate from Apple after you pass your exams.
Okay, you'll get one of those things. Just find a nice frame for the certificate, and it'll look that much better on your wall.
To become Apple certified, you have to jump through some hoops—specifically, you must successfully complete Apple's Macintosh Service Certification Exam and the Mac OS X 10.8 Lion Troubleshooting Exam, each of which retails for $150. You must score 80 percent or better on each test, and achieve perfect scores in certain areas (namely, Embedded Battery Safety and Electrostatic Discharge Precautions on the Macintosh Service Certification Exam, and any and all Apple environmental policy questions that may surface). Get full details at Apple's ACMT Certification website, which hooks into training materials and testing centers as well.
A lot of work
Getting Apple certified is no small effort, but certification also give you some definite benefits. First, it allows you to repair Macs that are currently under AppleCare warranty without risk of violating that warranty. Next, you'll be able to order parts for your clients' machines via Apple's Global Service Exchange (GSX)—including the obscure, hard-to-find parts that are almost impossible to get your hands on via eBay or Craigslist; this kind of access can make you feel as if you're part of the club. The prices are available at Apple's prices, with no retail markup.
If you ever wanted direct access to an Apple employee who knows the hardware inside and out, certification and GSX access allow you participate in live chats with Apple's technicians. Yes, it's a chat room format, and the back and forth involved in describing a technical issue takes a while, but this gives you a main line to the mothership and it comes in handy if a diagnosis is eluding you.
And perhaps the most important benefit is that certification allows better access to tech jobs with Apple Authorized Service Partners, Apple resellers, or self-supporting operations such as colleges, school systems, and universities. This also helps current techies draw a better salary; you know your stuff and you now have a piece of paper from Apple that says so. It's not unreasonable to point this out during negotiations with a potential employer. It enhances your credibility and helps attract customers should you decide to go solo and moonlight with your own repairs.
What's involved with the exams
After June 23, 2013, the rules regarding testing to become an Apple Certification Macintosh Technician changed significantly. The exam, which has traditionally been hosted at assorted, proctored Prometric testing sites around the country as well as at specified testing locations and online, switched to an online-only format (find full details on the company's ACMT FAQ page). The current U.S. Apple certification exam schedule is here.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.