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What Goes Into Building An IT Certification Testing Center?

By , Aaron Axline - Source: Toms IT Pro

Opening a new IT testing center involves more than just leasing a building. Here's what it takes to create a new test centers.

Many of us have been in a test center to take an IT certification exam, but have you ever wondered how your local test center was first created? A lot of thought and best practices go into opening a new test center. Nearly every aspect has been considered, all the way from the parking lot to the examination room itself.

If you are of an entrepreneurial mind and feel like your city could use another test center, Pearson VUE has a detailed set of requirements you can download from its website. Going through these requirements gives some interesting insights into the level of detail planners and installers must consider when building a new test center or revamping an existing structure to accommodate one.

First and foremost, a test center must follow the guidelines for any public building. It should provide decent parking, and/or be close to public transportation. The exterior sidewalk and entrance must give proper access to the disabled as per federal regulations.

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The recommendations for the check-in area are also fairly standard. Candidates should have a place that is separate from the testing area to sit and wait for their scheduled exam. There needs to be an administrator workstation for checking in candidates, with a proper camera and printer for creating exam results reports.

Because candidates need to surrender any bags, personal electronics, and personal items, such as a purse or wallet, before entering the examination room, the test center needs to provide a secure storage solution like a lockable filing cabinet or a set of lockers.

The Pearson VUE test center requirements pay a lot of attention to noise. Exam rooms should be acoustically separated from any areas where talking or machine noise are present. If the test center offers classes as well -- which is a common arrangement -- classrooms should be located a fair distance from exam rooms. And, leasing a building located next to an interstate highway or airport is not a good idea.

Then, there is the question of proctoring -- visually supervising candidates while they take their exams. Pearson VUE gives three solutions for this:

  • Proctors watch candidates through a glass viewing window or wall. (Creepy.)
  • Proctors sit in the examination room with candidates. (Creepier!)
  • Proctors view candidates through a live video surveillance system. (Less creepy, and the most common solution in use.)

Want to learn more? Interested in opening your own testing center? Visit the Test Center Requirements page at Pearson VUE for more information.