CompTIA CTT+ Certification

Why

Over the past couple of years, I have created a sizeable amount of content on YouTube and Blog and have been lucky enough to speak at some wonderful user groups and other events.  The format of this content is based on replicating what I enjoy when I consume similar content.  Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, right?

I had an opportunity to produce content for ACloud.Guru and was excited about the opportunity.  At that time, I decided that some form of formal training related to, well, training, may be beneficial.  There is science behind teaching adult learners, having some level of understanding can only be helpful.

I had another goal in mind.  I want to pursue the Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) status.  That has several requirements, including a history of teaching or a teaching-related certification, one of the options is the CTT+ certification.  With those two goals in mind, I decided to pursue the CTT+ certification.

What

The CompTIA CTT+ Certification is a well-established and recognized training certification.  It is intended for instructors who teach adults and recognized by many organizations.  There is two versions of the certifications, one for classroom trainers and one for virtual trainers. 

The certification is made up of two parts, a test and a video of the candidate delivering training.  The test works the same as any other CompTIA certification.  A voucher is available from CompTIA and is used to schedule the exam with a local proctor.  Once the exam is passed, the second part is to submit a 17-22 minute video of the candidate teaching a class.  The exact content is not important, but it does need to demonstrate the concepts outlined in the requirements.

Although the virtual training option would be a better fit for me, I decided on the classroom version.  The virtual training version seems to be newer, and I couldn’t find details on requirements or much information published on others experiences.  For example, I couldn’t find details or examples on the video submission for online training.  This certification costs over $600 US, I didn’t want to risk a failed attempt to find out.

How

There are several instructor-led options for preparing for the exam and video.  I took the DIY option and purchase the CompTIA CTT+ Certified Technical Trainer All-in-One Exam Guide and a practice test, scheduled the exam for a couple of months out, and started studying.

Overall, the book helped, but not like some of the technical books I’ve used for IT-related certifications.  There are a lot of theories that map to objectives in the certifications.  These seemed to be somewhat nebulous to me.  Admittedly, it’s been several years since I’ve studied any academic theory; it’s a bit of a shift from studying technical documentation.  The book helped map that theory to actual training methods.  For example, it explained why asking “are there any questions” is not a good way to solicit questions from adult learners.  Many adults don’t want to look ignorant when they are with their peers.  If you plan to go the DIY route, this book will help.  It’s also one of the only references available for the exam.

I also used the Prep Master CTT+ Essentials online TestPrep.  I don’t believe in using practice exams to memorize answers. I use them as a guide to learning the answers. I never used the timed exam simulation mode.  I take my time researching the answer to the question, and if I get it wrong, I try to identify why before moving onto the next.  From that regard, the Prep Master test was helpful.  That is the only good thing I have to say about Prep Master.

The Prep Master practice tests had a lot of grammar errors (and if I can identify grammar errors, there is a big problem).  There were also technical issues with the exam.  For example, select answer C, it told me I got it wrong, then went on to explain why C was the correct answer.  It’s infuriating that a company charges $50 for content like this and doesn’t put forth the effort to quality check the product.  Did it help me prepare for the exam?  Maybe, but that is despite the quality of the practice test.

The Exam

The exam was similar to other CompTIA exams I’ve taken.  To be honest, a lot of it seemed like common sense.  I don’t intend to give a brain dump in this (or any other) post, and I took it a few months ago, so specifics are lost.  CompTIA exam questions have a reputation for giving multiple right answers but ask for the most correct answer.  Overall, put forth an honest effort working through the book and the end of chapter questions you will probably be fine.  If you’re not sure, add the Prep Master questions, and you should be good.

The Video

I had an unpleasant surprise with the video.  Not the video specifically, but the submission.  As I got started with the certification, the only requirement I read was that I had to submit a video that was no longer than 22 minutes.  That sounds easy, no problem. Left out was the need for five or more people to be in the room and a written submission that goes along with the video.

The five people in the recording was easy; I had some content that I planned to deliver during a work-related lunch and learn.  The submission, however, took more effort than expected.  A requirement for the video submission is documenting objectives on the TK0-202 submission form and mapping them to the video.  A link to the form can be found here.  There is also a How to Prepare doc that outlines what the reviews are expecting.  That document can be found here.  The written submission took more time than putting together the video.  I recommend reviewing these document before recording the video and verify your submission meets all the requirements.

Conclusion

I passed and am now CompTIA CTT+ certified.  More important, I have a better understanding of the theories that support adult learning.  The process is not overwhelmingly difficult but certainly more involved than most computer certifications I’ve taken. 

It took me a few months from purchasing the book to getting the certification.  There are classroom training options available if someone doesn’t have that amount of time.  The classroom option will likely take care of the video requirement.  If I was in a hurry for the certification, I might recommend that route, but the DIY approach worked fine for me.

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