How to Start an IT Career with a Certification Prep Program

Whether you’re in an entirely different industry or just getting started in IT, certification can help you advance to the positions you really want. For career changers, a certification lets employers know you have the knowledge and skills to do the job despite not having the experience. For IT workers with some experience, certifications legitimize that experience and give employers assurance that you’re the right hire. 

The ACI Learning Hubs offer three IT programs for entry-level certification: 

Read on to learn more about each program and what kind of jobs you’ll be qualified to take with a little information technology education. 

Technical Support Specialist 

This 25-day program includes training for the CompTIA A+ and ITIL® certifications and is designed to help individuals get entry-level jobs in IT. 

Instruction focuses on desktop support, basic TCP/IP networking and troubleshooting, Windows and other operating system installation and maintenance, server hardware and software support, and disaster prevention and recovery strategies. This IT certification training program also introduces the principles and core elements of IT service management (ITSM) based on the ITIL® framework. Students will get a start of their IT education preparing them for support roles with a typical starting salary of $32,830


None! Well, almost. This program is perfect for anybody who has basic computer literacy. If you can turn on a computer and run a web browser, you know enough to take this program. 

Jobs this program prepares you for: 

  • Help Desk Technician

  • Technical Support Specialist

  • IT Support Specialist 

This program is ideal for: 

  • Those with little to no IT experience

  • Those seeking entry-level IT positions 

  • Those who want to get started in IT as quickly as possible 

If you’re looking to change careers quickly, this may be the perfect program for you. CompTIA A+ and ITIL® certifications will prepare you for a wide range of entry-level IT positions. After getting your foot in the door, you’ll most likely be able to learn more advanced concepts on the job and start your IT career on an upward trajectory.  

Learn more about the Technical Support Specialist program.  

Computer User Support Specialist 

This 50-day training program is designed to offer a comprehensive education when it comes to IT fundamentals. Students will be prepared for the CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, and ITIL® certification exams. Students will get a truly well-rounded IT education preparing them for virtually any entry-level role in the industry, with a median average salary of $52,690 and a high average salary of $88,940. Security skills are increasingly in demand, and such a student would be well positioned to advance towards a career in cyber security. 

 If you’re interested in working with the Department of Defense (DoD), it’s important to note that CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, and CompTIA Security+ training/certifications combined fulfill levels 1 and 2 of the security requirements for DoD Directive 8570See more information about the ACI Learning programs for veterans


Candidates for this CompTIA and ITIL® training and certification prep program should understand the fundamentals of computers. No industry experience is required for this entry-level program. 

Jobs this program prepares you for: 

  • Computer Support Specialist 

  • Technical Help Desk 

  • Technical Support Specialist

  • Network Technician

  • Security Specialist 

This program is deal for: 

  • Those with around a year of IT experience

  • Those seeking above-entry-level IT positions 

  • Those wishing to start a career in cyber security 

  • Those who want to validate the experience they have and move up in the IT world 

  • Those who want to achieve DoD Directive 8570 compliance and be eligible for DoD jobs 

This program is best suited towards individuals who would like to take a huge step forward in their career. Because of the huge breadth of knowledge these certifications cover, they can qualify the holder for nearly any lower-level IT position. They can also help to significantly increase your salary in a short time, taking you from entry-level to experienced in weeks. 

Learn more about the Computer User Support Specialist program

Network Support Specialist 

This 30-day program focuses on networking skills and will prepare students to take the Cisco CCNA, CompTIA Security+, and CompTIA Network+ certification exams. Together, these certifications will teach you to configure, manage, and defend networks. Computer Network Support Specialists have a median average salary of $65,450 and a high salary of $110,450

As a Network Support Specialist, you’ll be ready to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot medium-size routed and switched networks and resolve connectivity issues. You’ll also be prepared to anticipate, identify, and prevent threats to the network, ensuring maximum privacy and uptime for the users of your network. 


A typical student taking the CompTIA Network+ course should have a minimum of nine months professional computer support experience as a PC or help desk technician. Networking experience is helpful but not mandatory. A+ certification or equivalent skills and knowledge are also helpful but not required. 

Jobs this program prepares you for: 

  • Network Technician

  • Junior Network Engineer

  • Network Operations Center Engineer

  • Network Administrator 

This program is deal for: 

  • Those with around a year of IT experience 

  • Those seeking above-entry-level IT positions

  • Those who want to validate the experience they have and move up in the IT world 

If you’re interested in pursuing entry-level Cisco CCNA jobs such as Network Support Specialist, Network Technician, Network Administrator, and similar IT job roles, this is the perfect program for you. These certifications will also prepare you to advance into roles like network administration and management as you gain more experience in the field. 

Learn more about the Network Support Specialist program

Which program is right for you? 

Technical Support Specialist is ACI Learning’s fastest entry-level program and is designed for those who want to quickly get IT certified and get a job. If you’d like to have a stronger knowledge base and a higher earning potential, the 50-day Computer User Support Specialist IT training program is perfect for you. Finally, the Network Support Specialist IT certification program takes 30 days and is ideal for those who want to go into network administration. 

If you have any questions about the programs offered at ACI Learning it's a good time to talk to a Career Training Consultant. Contact ACI Learning today

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