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Roadmap to Success: MCTS SCCM 2012

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Roadmap to Success is a series of posts designed to help learners better understand certification pathways, career opportunities associated with those certifications, and next steps beyond certification.

UPDATED: We updated this article August 8, 2017, to reflect relevant changes to the Microsoft SCCM 2012 certification curriculum.

The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist System Center Configuration Manager 2012 (MCTS SCCM 2012) certification enables administrators to manage the deployment and security of devices and applications across an enterprise. MCTS SCCM 2012 is closely aligned with the Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 certification.

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS): System Center Configuration Manager 2012 (SCCM 2012)
UPDATE: Microsoft restructured its certifications. For more information about its certification restructure, please read our What to Expect from the New Microsoft Certification Paths post.

The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: System Center Configuration Manager 2012 (MCTS: SCCM 2012) certification is designed to affirm a learner’s ability to help businesses manage client computers and devices. The MCTS: SCCM 2012 certification is made up of one exam, which is covered by CBT Nuggets training:

Technically, there is no formal prerequisite for the MCTS: SCCM 2012, but the certification exam does assume foundational knowledge in a variety of areas. Typically, learners pursuing this certification should have 1-3 years of experience working with SCCM 2012, Windows Server 2012 (or Server 2016), security, and networking in an enterprise environment. Learners should, ideally, have some basic knowledge of Microsoft SQL ServerPowerShell, mobile device management, and application configuration. In addition, learners should have a fundamental knowledge of Active Directory.

Microsoft is no longer developing new MCTS certifications, but it is a relevant and practical certification for any organizations where the technology is in use.

Exam Details
Learners may be able to take the MCTS: SCCM 2012 exam remotely as an online proctored (OP) exam. Learn more about the requirements on Microsoft’s Learning OP site.

Time allotted for exam: 2 hours (120 minutes)
Number of questions: 40-60*
Passing score: 700**
Question types: Multiple choice/single answer; multiple choice/multiple answer; scenario
Exam registration: Microsoft Learning or Pearson Vue
Exam cost: $165 (USD)
Skills measured: Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (free resource)
*Microsoft does not publish the exact number of questions associated with its exams. Therefore, the number of questions a learner will see varies on a case-by-case basis.
**Because the number of questions varies, it is not necessarily true that learners must earn a simple 70 percent to pass the exam.

Microsoft exams have a reputation for being challenging. Many learners find they have to take an exam more than once to achieve a successful outcome. Fortunately, Microsoft is aware of the level of challenge associated with their exams, and often provides an Exam Replay, allowing learners to retake exams at a fraction of the cost. Please note that the Exam Replay may not always be available. As of this post’s publication date, each of the exams associated with the MCSA: Windows Server 2016 certification offers the option to include Exam Replay, but that may change. Learners should research Exam Replay availability to avoid missing out on the opportunity.

Recertification
The MCTS certification does not require recertification and is a lifetime certification.

The Next Step
As previously noted, the MCTS: SCCM 2012 certification assumes learners have some foundational knowledge in various areas. Many learners who have experience may not yet have the certifications to demonstrate their knowledge. Therefore, learners may benefit from earning the certifications that prove that experience and knowledge:

For those looking to advance their MCTS certification, many will consider pursuing an MCSE certification:

Career Considerations
Payscale.com provides information that can help learners determine appropriate pay scales for job opportunities associated with an MCTS certification. Depending on experience, an employee who holds any MCTS certification can earn anywhere between $45,482 and $135,862 annually. Common roles or titles for those who hold an MCTS include systems administrator, software engineer, senior software engineer, IT manager, IT consultant, SharePoint developer, and software developer.

Microsoft Certifications

Microsoft certifications are laid out as a pyramid, with each level of certification leading learners to higher, more specialized, complex certifications. At the base of the Microsoft pyramid, IT professionals develop the foundation of knowledge with the MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate). The next level is the MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) and MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer), which include many of the most popular certifications among IT professionals that are offered by Microsoft, including Server 2012, Office 365, and Azure. Finally, the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solution Expert) represents the highest level of certification offered by Microsoft and provides learners the opportunity to develop specializations related to MCSA-level content.

As Microsoft describes it, the new MCSE and MCSD certifications (MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSE: Mobility, MCSE: Data Management and Analytics, MCSE: Productivity, and MCSD: AppBuilder) are aligned to Centers of Excellence, used by the Microsoft Partner Network to identify technical competencies that are widely recognizable by both Microsoft partners and customers. These credentials do not have a recertification requirement. Instead, the achievement date signifies how you keep up with changes to the technology.

Each year, you have the opportunity to renew the certification by passing an exam from the list of electives, demonstrating your investment in broadening or deepening your skills in a given Center of Excellence. Each time you earn the certification, a new certification entry is added to your transcript. This process replaces the existing recertification requirement of taking a specific recertification exam every two years (MCSD) or every three years (MCSE) to prevent your certification from going inactive. Learn more about the new Microsoft certification structure.

Begin exploring other Microsoft training and certification options to open up even more professional development opportunities.

Concluding Thoughts
The MCTS: SCCM 2012 provides learners with the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise with System Center 2012 configuration. Expertise in this area is often highly sought after by employers, so it is certainly worth the effort!

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