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Microsoft Project 2013 Certification – Don’t Take it Here!

By:  Collin Quiring

Any regular reader of this blog knows that PMP Specialists is a Microsoft Partner specializing in Project Management and Project Server.  And, I personally have taken the certification tests since the 2003 version.  Lately, I have been very busy with some personal issues and a couple great clients that have kept me working long days!  So, even though I helped work on some of the pre-release Project 2013 items I still haven’t had a chance to take my certification tests (yes, even if you help out, you still take the tests, and I understand why so that is fine with me).  I am going to take them both:- 74-343, Managing Project with Microsoft Project 2013 and 74-344, Managing Programs and Projects with Project Server 2013.  I have been excited to see other folks in other cities around the country getting their certifications and I was finally happy to sign up for mine.

I went to Prometric to sign up to take the certification test like I have in the past.  BUT, this time it is a bit different.  There are NO test sites within a hundred miles (at least an hour and a half from me).  What is odd about that is that I have always taken the test “locally” before.  I live in NorthWest Arkansas, a population of around 500,000 people and home to some extremely large multi-national organizations (like Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods).  And, this is one of the areas where PMP Specialists holds classes on how to use Project and Project Server!  Along with those classes we encourage people to get certified.  In the past this was no big deal.  However, now apparently it is.  Tulsa is an hour and a half away the other direction and would work out but they do NOT have a testing center.  To the best of my knowledge, only Oklahoma City has a testing center in ENTIRE state of Oklahoma!

So, now I have to make a day of it – three hours round trip of driving, the test time (1-2 hours) and then I will have lunch or supper in there depending on the times.  A whole lost day of productivity to pay for the privilege of taking a test.  Yes, I will do it.  In fact, everyone at PMP Specialists in the NorthWest Arkansas area will do it.  But, that doesn’t make us happy!

I did call Prometric about this and they said that Microsoft determined the locations for the test.  I contacted Microsoft about it and they said that Prometric was in charge.  So, I don’t expect either organization to help us out.

The sad thing for me is that I know of clients that will not go get certified because it is a lost day of work and they may not feel it is “worth” it to get certified.  As a proponent of certifications (just see other posts in this blog) this makes me wish that Microsoft and Prometric could get together and fix this.  The one bright side that was pointed out to me though is that because people won’t take this test in this area (or apparently anywhere in Oklahoma other than Oklahoma City), it will keep our group as the only 2013 certified individuals in our area.  So, I guess there is a silver lining there!

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