This article talks about the MCT pathway for future aspirants. At the time that this article has been written (6th July 2021) this is a current perspective. However, be aware that the requirements and/or offerings may change over time. The bulk of this post applies to those interested in reaching MCT status, rather than those who are MCT or Alumni.
COVID-19 pandemic has caused critical disruption worldwide. Despite this tragedy, companies like Microsoft have offered a number of free opportunities to upskill. One of these opportunities is fees waived for MCT, and currently this is available until 31st December 2021!
In late February 2021, I’d completed Microsoft AI Engineer Associate (MS 2-star) and was made aware that I could be eligible to apply for MCT status. I had instructional experience from teaching at university and contacted my referee to support me with my application. The whole process was a fairly seamless experience from the time of application with the process complete in less than 24 hours. I had previously looked at the MCT application process in 2019 and at that stage the requirements were quite different (e.g. via instructional certification only) which enforced a higher (and paid) threshold for progressing down this pathway. Hence, a less onerous pathway to MCT for those with the requisite certifications and experience-only option provides more equity and inclusion. This is especially true for those working in less wealthy countries (and roles) who may have the skills — but not necessarily the resources to apply.
MCT — What’s it about?
According to the Microsoft website (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/mct-certification), “Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) are the premier technical and instructional experts in Microsoft technologies.”
As a MCT you get access to a range of benefits, including:
Immediate discounts on exams (MOS voucher 100% discount, 75% and 50% off vouchers for MS exams)
Official Microsoft training materials including teaching resources
Access to the MCT community forum
Access to a select range of Microsoft Products (while an MCT)
You should receive a physical certificate and card that shows the certificates that you are eligible to instruct on (e.g. usually those certificates that you’ve completed).
Being an MCT will likely open up other work and networking opportunities but you’ll need to put in some effort to make this happen. Whether you simply carrying on in your current role, apply for a trainer post or start your own business will be entirely up to you!
So how do I apply to become an MCT?
The process is described comprehensively on the Microsoft MCT site (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/mct-certification).
In a nutshell, you’ll need a qualifying certification and recognition of ability to instruct (certification or reference options).
Qualifying certification can be divided into two paths.
The first Microsoft “2-star / 3-star” Role-based certifications or MSCD/MSCE (see site for what’s included). Note fundamental certificate (1-star) are not eligible for MCT status, but can be critical building blocks for later certificates.
The second being eligible Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certifications (see the site — most are eligible). Depending on your word processing (or other) ability — this can represent the shortest route (as you may need to do only one exam).
Recognition of instructing/teaching experience
As identified above — this can occur in two forms. Firstly, via instructor certification proof OR reference.
1) Instructor certification — this option is largely unchanged from 2 years ago. This is a suitable option I believe for people who require certification for other purposes. These pathways involve additional work and are “paid” options. However, for those that may seek instructor recognition for CompTIA for example (and also wish to teach CompTIA courses), then this is probably a highly suitable pathway to choose
2) Reference — I would encourage people not seeking additional instructor certification and have teaching/instructing experience. I would suggest to look closely at the reference option and referee requirements. I would note that this has improved from 2 years ago and appears to be more inclusive
So once you’ve met the above criteria the next steps are relatively straightforward.
There is a 4 step process where you’ll complete any necessary details not captured by your Microsoft MCID. If you’ve chosen the instruction certification you will upload any proof OR if reference you will input your referee details.
This all happens very promptly (unless you’re waiting on your referee to complete their online form) and you should have a response within 24–48 hours all going well.
I wish any aspirants good luck in their application. The process is relatively painless once you’ve met criteria and I think a good goal for those people who are doing role-based certification.
I wish you well in your next steps!