Changes for MCTs

You may not have heard the complaints about the Microsoft Certified Trainer program… you may not be involved or interested in the program, or you may live on Mars.  However if you are an MCT, you have heard a lot of complaints over the past few years.  I have done my best to keep my issues with the program private, but I know that many of my MCT peers are much more vocal than I.

As the MCT Regional Lead for Canada last year I spent a lot of time speaking with the people responsible for the program, especially as they made efforts to revamp the program – certainly the first time they have done so since I joined it in 2006.  A lot of the changes that we (MCTs) have been asking for have been introduced recently… not all, but many will be widely welcome by the wide community of active MCTs.

Alumni Program

You may notice that I referred to active MCTs.  That is because a lot of MCTs do not train anymore, and many more exclusively train non-official courseware.  That may be for many reasons and I will not judge them.  However if they are not active trainers, they do not need to be active MCTs.  Because of that, Microsoft Learning Experiences have introduced a new program: MCT Alumni.  This is for people who were MCTs, but no longer teach official courseware. 

How does Microsoft Learning Experiences (MS Lex) determine if you are active or Alumni?  It’s simple… if you don’t teach any Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) courses in a program year, you become Alumni.  While you must still pay dues to remain an MCT Alumni, it is about 1/8th the cost of the annual MCT dues (for IT professionals & Developers) – $49 for those who join the ‘Charter Class’ of MCT Alumnis – on or before June 30th, 2014, and $99 per year for those joining after that date.

The advantage to the MCT Alumni program is two-fold.  For inactive MCTs they can remain connected to the program for a much lower annual fee, while still retaining many of the benefits.  For active MCTs they can differentiate themselves – I teach current technology and am current in my skills.  Both sides benefit.

MCT Fees

Incidentally, for the first time that I know of, the yearly dues for MCTs will also be going up.  Starting July 1st, the New MCT Fee(for IT Pro & Dev) will be $1,000, and then $800 per year.  This is new in two ways – there was never a ‘new MCT’ fee before, you simply paid your dues, which were $400/year (and have been since I joined the program).

Software Benefits

For the last few years MCTs have been given a free TechNet Plus subscription.  Unfortunately the TechNet team ended that program (we will still have our software rights from the last year through September, 2014).  There was a huge uproar from the MCTs, and while Microsoft MS Lex told the MCT Regional Leads that they were working on a replacement for that program, it was not announced until very recently.

Going forward, depending on the type of MCT you are, you will get one of the following:

MCT Software & Services MCT Developer Software & Services
Software downloads through MSDN Software downloads through MSDN
Office 365 Visual Studio Ultimate
$100 Windows Azure credit per month Office 365 Developer Subscription
  Visual Studio Online Advanced
  $150 Windows Azure credit per month
  Windows and Windows Phone developer accounts

As far as I am concerned as an IT Pro Trainer, I expect I will have everything that I need with that level of benefits… and much more.  A couple of the Dev MCTs I have spoken to are jumping for joy that they will be getting Visual Studio Ultimate and Online Advanced.

Exams

One of my favorite MCT benefits has always been the exam discounts.  I have, to date, written 68 Microsoft exams.  Let’s say that twenty of them were beta exams and maybe another eight were from vouchers I got for whatever reason, that means I have still paid for forty exams.  Although it has changed over that time – the original exams were $100 then $125 and now $150 – let’s say the majority of them cost $125.  That makes $5,000 worth of exams.  The 50% discount we get as MCTs makes a huge difference!  Unfortunately the down side to that is that you had to call in and speak to a rep, rather than simply registering on-line.

That, I discovered yesterday, has changed.  Woohoo!  I called to register a bunch of exams, and instead of him looking up the MCT discount code, I was told to go on-line and request one (per exam).  In fairness to MS Lex, this change was made nine months ago, but as I mentioned in a recent post I did not write any certification exams in 2013.  So as I sat on the line with the rep from Prometric, I dug on Born to Learn and found the link: http://bsf01.com/microsoft_vouchers/mct_portal.aspx.  I registered for and received four codes within seconds.  All you have to do is provide your name, e-mail address, and MCP ID – and yes, it does check to see if you are an MCT or not, so don’t try this if you are not Smile

Incidentally, an added benefit of these vouchers that nobody had told me about – the voucher is also good for a free re-take if you fail your first exam, (second shot).  Having failed a ridiculous number of exams (albeit many of those were beta exams) I am glad to have this safety net.

Conclusion

It is now 2014 and I am no longer a MCT Regional Lead – spending most of my time outside of my region made that decision necessary.  However I still care about MCTs and the program, and am glad to see that Microsoft has evolved the program – the first time in over twenty years that I know of.  It may not be perfect, but it is certainly a very good start, and you can’t please everyone.  I for one am satisfied, and I suspect the majority of MCTs will be too.

If you are dropping from the program this year I hope you stay as an MCT Alumni… I am looking forward to speaking with some of them and hearing their thoughts on the program!

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14 thoughts on “Changes for MCTs

  1. Pingback: The Harsh Realities of the Exam Room | The World According to Mitch

  2. Nice summary, I too was excited to be getting a VS Ultimate license and thought it was a fair trade for the sudden dropping of TechNet. However, I’ve yet to find a way of accessing the Ultimate license (as an active MCT), so jury’s still out.

  3. Hello. I have a question: in my case, I’m a freelancer MCT. Last year, because the birth of my son and my work towards my Master degree, I didn’t teach a MS course. But this year, I was planning to get back in April. So, I will lost my MCT status and start it all over again? Thanks.

    • I’m in the same boat… freelance MCT since 2008, but haven’t taught a MOC course in the last 12 months, so I’ve renewed as a MCT Alumni. The question that I can’t seem to find the answer to is how do you convert from Alumni back to full MCT?

      Is is just a case of delivering a MOC course (based on the approved courses on my transcript) and getting the required MTM scores?

      Great blog post though – thanks!

  4. I have been trying to register as an MCT Alumni for about a month. I filled the application but made the mistake of selecting: “pay by wire transfer”. What a terrible mistake. I thought I could just pay by Western Union or do a transfer from my bank but as of today (more than one month later) the payment was never registered. I called Microsoft, I called the Regional Service center, I have written emails and I have tried live chat. Still 4 out of 5 people I have spoken to have no idea what the MCT Alumni program is. So as you might expect I have been re-routed to other representatives more times than I want to count. Two days ago I decided to call again and just pay again using my credit card, this seemed to go fine until I noticed no charge has been made to my card and the application on the https://mcp.microsoft.com/Authenticate/MCT is stiil “New Alumni MCT Application Submitted without Payment”. I had never had such an irritating experience trying to get customer service from Microsoft and that is a lot to say since I had a couple of XBOX units sent for service (but that is a different story). I sincerely hope I can finally be accepted as an MCT alumni since I was an active MCT a couple of years ago and I have been doing some freelance training but without the benefits that being an official MCT or MCT Alumni would give me.

    tl;dr; I was an MCT, I am still trying to finish my application but I am frustrated with the process. Thanks.

      • I was finally accepted into the program yesterday May 12, 2014 (I started my request on March 26, 2014). This whole process was a learning experience. I learned that an MCT is a business user not a home user, that is why when I called customer support nobody knew what I was talking about and I ended up wasting the representative’s time and mine. I learned that payment by wire transfer is complicated and that I should always try to pay by credit card. It seems strange to me that a payment with credit card takes 7 labor days to be processed by Microsoft’s Finance Department and once approved you have to wait 24 hours for the acceptance email to be sent. I am happy to be part of the MCT Alumni program, I was able to request my certificate and sticker by mail but I still am not able to access the MCT Central or the MCT Alumni Member Site… maybe i have to wait another 24 hours for the changes to reflect in all the systems. I hope my story helps someone out there and make their experience more pleasant than mine.

    • Hi Steve.
      You should contact the regional service center if you haven’t received an email detailing how to access MCT Software & Services subscriptions within two weeks after enrolling in the MCT Program. Azure and O365 access is bundled with the Software & Services subscription and is available to all current MCTs. Your welcome email should include this information unless you joined as a MCT Alumni, in which case, you would not be eligible for those benefits.

      • Hi Mitch, yes someone else told me that so I looked back at the ‘Welcome to the MCT Program’ email I first got which was juts over 2 weeks ago and it does indeed mention “Within the next 2 weeks you will receive several emails with instructions on how to access your MCT benefits”…so looks like I’ll just have to wait a little longer…but I have sent them an email too ask then how to get those benefits…thanks, Steve

  5. I’m a lapsed MCT and thinking about re-enrolling, but I has always frustrated with the process of building the MOC VMs. Are there any plans to move the process or generating the VMs to Azure? Should be a no-brainer…

    • Actually Jason it is not such a no-brainer… because a lot of the courses today require the installation of Hyper-V, and you cannot install Hyper-V within Azure (which is already a VM). With that said, I believe that MS LEX now does offer on-line labs… I just haven’t looked into it in a while. Good luck! -MDG

      • I guess it matters where you are coming from. I teach .Net classes. There is nothing structural that I can think of that would keep those MOC VHDs from being hosted on Azure.

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