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Where to get a certification

where to get a certification


I was hoping to get a little advice from someone here.  I have 9 years experience working different contracts in the IT field ranging from Desktop Support to some light server administration on Windows 2000 and 2003.  I also held a position for 3 years working for the Virginia Employment Commission as an sys admin at one of their call centers but that was more manging telcom circuits, channel banks, and ISDN PRI lines.

The problem is while I have a good resume with alot of different experience I still feel like a Helpdesk technician because I have forgotten alot and still barely understand all the concepts behind Active Directory and Windows administration.  It's like the saying goes - If you don't use it, you lose it.

Couple of things:

1. I don't want to do online only courses as I have done CBT's for other programs before and never could get a grasp of learning the material this way.

2. I don't want to JUST GET BY and get the MCITP certification (being a paper MCSE basically), as I want to soak in and LEARN the Windows server environment and know what I'm doing in a new job.

Another words, self studying for me isn't really the answer.  Yes it's cheaper, but doing CBT's, or just reading from a book 24/7 isn't my idea of "taking in the knowledge" and learning the material.  I don't want to MEMORIZE things, I want to be shown so I actually understand it.

This brings me to taking classroom instruction which would be ideal.  I have done alot of research on about 6 different technical schools here in the Washington DC area.  Just to give you an example, I have researched as well as drove out to these schools and talked with their director of admissions or admissions counselors.

1. New Horizons Computer Learning Center

2. Academy of Computer Education (ACE)


4. Knowlogy Corporation

5. Global Knowledge

6. System Source

These are

the major schools in the area (all claim to be accredited schools, member of the Microsoft IT Academy as well as a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner).  They range in pricing from $5000 to $18500 in tuition costs which include the books, labs, training materials, exam vouchers, etc.

I am currently unemployed and have been for 5 months now as every interview I've been on, I haven't been comfortable with the technical interview in answering the questions.  The one school that really impressed me the most when I went there was which is in Annapolis Junction, MD near where I live.  They have the most to offer, but they are also the most expensive.

Here's what they claim to offer for $18500:

1. Books, Training Materials, Labs

2. One on One Instruction

3. Exam Vouchers for each module

4. Resume and Cover Letter guidance

5. Mock Interview guidance

6. Job Placement (they dont guarantee you placement but they help)

7. Lab Scenarios - they have you create an office network from scratch and throw situations at you to see if you can fix certain issues, etc

6 months course for the MCTS and MCITP - Server Administrator certs

I have been to their facility and not only was it the nicest and biggest one.  I saw alot of students there that seemed pretty happy when I talked to them (they were on break from a class in the break room).  The thing is, I have read some bad reviews online on ripoff or scam sites to stay away from, but it sounded like they were just bitter because they had to do actual studying.

I wanted to get your input on my situation and what your advice is on some of these training schools.  Again, I would much rather go to classroom training instead of trying to self study.  I want to have not only the certs but the actual skill to perform in the job world and not just be a PAPER MCITP.

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