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How do I get MCDST Certification?

By Jessica Reed
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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MCDST certification, short for Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician, allows the certified person to work in a customer support or computer repair profession working with Windows operating systems. To get MCDST certification, the interested person must pass both the “Supporting Users and Troubleshooting a Windows XP Operating System” exam and the “Supporting Users and Troubleshooting Desktop Applications on a Windows XP Operating System” known as exams 70-271 and 70-272 respectively. The two exams prepare the technician to work with Windows operating systems and desktop applications found on computers running Windows.

The two exams cost $125 US Dollars (USD) each. The exams can be taken in any order. While a technician may have taken other tests and become certified in those areas, he will still need to take these two specific exams to earn MCDST certification. Interested technicians can register for the exams on Microsoft's website and find when and where they can take the tests.

Microsoft also provides links to websites that offer practice tests and materials to help prepare the interested person before his test. Online classes, in-person classes, and study materials are available from a variety of websites to provide guidance and a better idea of what the actual exams are like. Classes for older operating systems may be limited and the person should use online resources to learn about the exams.

When choosing whether or not MCDST certification is the right step to take, a technician should consider what sort of jobs he wants and the current qualifications he has. Anyone who has received some type of certification through Microsoft is known as a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and can perform computer-related repair jobs in the field they studied. A technician may not need MCDST certification, but typically most technicians will at some point need to work with the Windows operating system and this certification can help them get a job in this field.

As Windows systems upgrade, such as the release of Windows 7, technicians can take new exams to upgrade their certification. Whether or not this is necessary depends on the company the technician works for and which operating system the company or its clients use. Over time, upgrading certification may become necessary as operating systems change and the older systems are used less often.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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