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A New Course for MCTs

In an effort to ensure that its certified trainers stay up to date on the latest products coming out of Redmond, Microsoft announced a new set of requirements for its MCT 2002 program, which goes into

In an effort to ensure that its certified trainers stay up to date on the latest products coming out of Redmond, Microsoft announced a new set of requirements for its MCT 2002 program, which goes into effect Oct. 1, 2001.

As of the beginning of this year, all MCTs needed to possess a premier certification—MCSE, MCSD, or MCDBA. Now they must also deliver at least 10 days of Microsoft Official Curriculum or MSDN training a year, pay a program fee (for North America, it’s $400 for independent trainers, $300 for full-time trainers at CTECs), and earn a mix of 20 technical and instructional continuing education credits (obtained by attending classes, going to technical conferences, or spending time consulting in the field).

What no longer exists is the requirement that MCTs sit through the same courses they teach. Some trainers believe that eliminating that requirement will lessen the quality of instructors. In turn, that will “degrade the quality of Microsoft courses,” said Blake Hall, a systems engineer and MCT in Houston, Texas.

Liz Brackett, Training Channels group manager, said that Microsoft has “been running more of a one-size-fits-all program, one that focuses specifically on proving instructional skills.” But data collected over the years suggests that students want instructors with a broad set of IT experience as well, which the new program hopes to remedy, she explained.

Obtaining a premium certification, plus satisfying the continuing education requirements, will be a challenge in itself, according to Brackett. She pointed out that Microsoft will continue suggesting MCTs take courses as part of the continuing education credits. “It’s just that we’ll offer trainers more flexibility in how they obtain those skills.”

Come October 2002, which is when MCTs will have to recertify, Brackett expects attrition among the ranks. But it’s not a bad thing in her view: “Serious instructors should have no problem satisfying the requirements.”

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