CompTIA Offers Online Option for Exams via PEOPLECERT
CompTIA is adding an online proctoring service from test delivery service provider PEOPLECERT to its current lineup of test center based exam delivery through Pearson VUE. The net result will be much broader, more accessible coverage for CompTIA certification exams globally, especially in those parts of the world where getting to a Pearson VUE testing center may be expensive, difficult or both.
On March 4, 2014, CompTIA announced a relationship with online exam proctoring service delivery company PEOPLECERT to offer the CompTIA Strata IT Fundamentals exam globally. Because PEOPLECERT operates in 110 countries, it offers broad coverage on a geographical basis, and is equipped to provide proctored exam services outside the major metro areas in first world and Pacific Rim countries, where Pearson VUE particularly excels at bringing certification candidates and exams of interest together.
For the record, although Pearson VUE operates in "over 4,500 test centers in more than 175 countries" even in the USA there are geographic areas that require exam candidates to travel more than 300 miles to get to their nearest test center. In other parts of the world, distances can exceed 1,000 miles and require more than a full day's travel to make that pilgrimage to pursue higher learning and IT certification achievement.
Right now, the relationship between CompTIA and PEOPLECERT is limited to the entry-level gateway credential, the CompTIA Strata IT Fundamentals. However, the press release indicates that "other CompTIA exams will be added in the future." What's more, CompTIA PR director Steven Ostrowski told me by phone this morning that this relationship "could ultimately reach full coverage for all CompTIA exams," assuming that the initial rollout produces positive results, and the CompTIA-PEOPLECERT relationship progresses as planned. He hastened to observe that this partnership is meant to complement not supplant CompTIA's relationship with Pearson VUE, which remains the sole and exclusive testing center outlet for CompTIA exams.
In this way, the PEOPLECERT relationship offers a good avenue to make CompTIA exams available in areas where VUE lacks testing centers and is unlikely to add them any time soon. I'm assuming this means that online proctoring makes it possible for individuals outside the market areas for VUE testing centers to turn to PEOPLECERT instead. Through that company, those people could sign up for and take CompTIA exams instead of committing the travel time and expense needed to get to their nearest VUE testing center. Presumably, this might also apply to current and aspiring IT professionals who have accessibility issues that could hamper their in-person attendance at a VUE testing center but not stymie their access to the personal computers they would use to take online proctored exams instead.
I like the way this opens up the field, both geographically and demographically, to a larger population of certification candidates. Frankly, I'd like to see more major certification providers enact relationships with PEOPLECERT or other similar online exam proctoring providers (such as Kryterion and others) to broaden coverage and availability for IT certification exams. Let's hope that the big guns from outfits such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, IBM, HP, and others hear about this, and elect to open other avenues for certification candidates to chase down their credentials, too. Particularly from a geographical standpoint, this could open up those very parts of the world where IT growth could help to spur economic growth and success in the decades ahead, thereby improving the state of the world as we know it today.
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