Training and Certification

Rubel Khan's Blog

Microsoft Certified Master Program

Posted by Rubel Khan on July 1, 2009

Introducing the new Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) series—exclusive, advanced training and certification on Microsoft server technologies for seasoned IT professionals. Complete the program and you can validate your skills as a technology expert who successfully designs and implements solutions that meet the most complex business requirements. Do you have what it takes to become a Microsoft Certified Master?

Exclusive, advanced training

The strength of Microsoft Master training relies on experience-based curriculums made up of expert-level classroom training and labs. The curriculums are presented by instructors from Microsoft and Microsoft partner organizations, experts in their disciplines, who draw upon real-world scenarios to ensure that students learn the most relevant, applicable skills.


Master certification enables experienced IT professionals to deepen and broaden their technical expertise on Microsoft server products and authoritatively differentiate themselves to employers and customers. It includes three weeks of highly intensive classroom training, three computer-based tests, and one lab-based exam per training rotation (training and exam series).

There are five MCM certifications:

  • Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
  • Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007
  • Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
  • Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft SQL Server 2008
  • Microsoft Certified Master: Windows Server 2008: Directory

Master certification is a prerequisite for all Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) certifications.

Apply and register

To apply and register for the Microsoft Certified Master program, follow this procedure. After each step, you will receive notification about your eligibility or acceptance into the program and your next steps.

  1. Complete the brief application. A non-refundable US$125 application fee is required.
  2. Upload your resume or curriculum vitae (CV). Applicant credentials are reviewed by the Master program leads to determine eligibility.

    Note If we are unable to determine your eligibility based on the documents you submitted, you might be contacted for a 30- to 60-minute interview.

  3. Register: Pay in full, and choose your class dates after acceptance into the program. If accepted into the program, you receive details about the training session and a recommended reading list to help you prepare. There is a high correlation of success for those candidates who have completed the recommended pre-reading or have considerable experience with the concepts covered, compared with those who have not.

Attend the training program

Each training session is held in Redmond, Washington. Candidates are responsible for all associated travel costs. It is highly recommended that candidates clear all engagements and commitments throughout the scheduled training due to the rigorous program schedule. During training, up to three computer-based tests will be administered, each of which covers subjects discussed in class. Candidates must successfully complete all lab exercises to obtain certification.

Additional policies:

  • Candidates can retake each of these tests up to two times after training is completed. There is a 45-day waiting period prior to the second attempt, and a 90-day waiting period prior to the third attempt. Retakes can be taken remotely, and only third attempts require an additional fee (see the Pricing section later on this page).
  • For candidates who do not finish the training or pass the tests after the three attempts, the only way to earn the Microsoft Certified Master credential is to retake the training session (after further developing their skill sets, based on program manager feedback). Candidates can retake the training at 50 percent of the original program cost, subject to seat availability.

Pass the qualification lab exam

The qualification lab test is administered on the final Saturday of the three weeks of training. Candidates who do not pass the lab exam the first time can schedule up to two subsequent attempts (to be taken remotely). Exam retakes may require an additional fee (see the Pricing section later on this page). The first retake is generally available within three months of the initial attempt. There is a six-month waiting period required prior to the second retake.

Note If you have a disability that may require special equipment or other accommodation in order for you to participate in the training program or complete the exams, contact prior to submitting your registration. The Microsoft Certified Master program is committed to making all reasonable efforts to accommodate candidates with disabilities.


The following rotations (training program and exams) are currently scheduled for the Microsoft Certified Master program.

Note See the program FAQ regarding upgrade costs, discounts for existing members, and benefits of attending current vs. new version offerings.

IMPORTANT! Registration deadline for a rotation is two calendar weeks prior to the indicated rotation start date.

Program Fall 2009 offerings   Spring 2010 offerings  
Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007

Note If you want to be certified on Exchange 2007, act now, as these are the last offerings available.

September 21–October 10, 2009 November 2–21, 2009    
Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010     March 1–20, 2010 May 3–22, 2010
Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 October 26–November 14, 2009   February 8–27, 2010  
Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

Note If you want to be certified on SharePoint Server 2007, act now, as these are the last offerings available.

September 14–October 2, 2009 November 2–21, 2009    
Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2010       May 3–22, 2010
Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 October 5–23, 2009   March 15–April 3, 2010 May 3–22, 2010
Microsoft Certified Master: Windows Server 2008: Directory (R2) September 14–October 2, 2009 November 2–21, 2009 March 1–20, 2010 May 3–22, 2010

Note Training dates are subject to change at the sole discretion of Microsoft.


Nonrefundable program application fee: US$125

Program fee: US$18,500 (includes the price of first and second attempts of all required tests, including the final lab exam)

Computer-based test retakes for the third attempt: US$250

Final lab exam retakes for third attempt: US$1,500

Special offers

  • Save up to US$3,550 on the Microsoft Certified Master program of your choice!

    Today, Microsoft provides additional support to its customers and partners by offering a limited-time discount of up to US$3,550 on Microsoft Certified Master programs, allowing you to save on your training investment.

    Apply now, and upon acceptance, save up to US$3,550 on the Microsoft Certified Master program of your choice!

    Note This offer applies to select Master programs completed by January 1, 2010. No other offers can be combined with this offer.


A. No, we do not recommend you wait. In fact, it can be very likely you will in a better position than most if you attend and certify now. Here’s why: once new versions of Master tracks debut, the previous versions are no longer offered. This means that there will never be a chance to become a 2007 Exchange Master (for example) once the 2010 offering goes live. Yet, customers will likely look for individuals who are certified on 2007 to assist in their projects for years to come. When combined with the fact that existing certified individuals can upgrade their certifications at a discount, and that upgrades may consist of just an exam, or a short training, not always an entirely new 3 weeks of training, it makes financial sense to sign up for rotations (training) on the existing product version while you can. This way, individuals have the opportunity to show that they are certified on both versions vs. just one. For a more detailed answer, please see this blog entry from Per Farny, the MCM/MCA program owner.


A. Absolutely. Although the upfront costs are higher than other training and certification programs, the value of the certification can show itself quickly. The best sources to speak to this are individuals who have gone through the program and have already seen the ROI. Please see two examples of this here (a partner was awarded an engagement based on having an MCM on staff) and here (a Certified Master offers a mathematical calculation on ROI).


A. Results vary, based on many factors. However, it is not unlikely that your billable rate could increase, based on the prestige and skill validation associated with Microsoft Master Certification, and the accomplishments of other MCMs. As noted above, Master certification is already the reason for some partners winning business, and the Microsoft Certified Architects (MCA) program has reports of partners who have successfully raised their billable rates by as much as 33 percent for their MCAs.


A. No. The program is targeted to highly experienced professionals. Candidates must bring real-world experience to the training session. Most have designed and deployed enterprise-level solutions at least two times. To date, only seasoned IT professionals and consultants have achieved the credential.


A. No. You must complete the prerequisite exams and certifications in order to participate in the program.


A. “Ranger” was the original name for the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) Technology Architect program. This program included four to five consecutive weeks of training delivered by Microsoft experts, followed by a Review Board (business acumen) test, which was required of candidates in order to earn certification. Due to the high demand for this level of advanced training and corresponding certification, Microsoft has changed the training portion of the MCA Technology Architect (Ranger) program into a stand-alone, three-week training, during which experts from both inside and outside of Microsoft deliver expert-level content to an audience of highly experienced IT professionals. Individuals can now choose to pursue the Architect certification after receiving their Master certification.


A. At this time, the training is offered only in Redmond. Microsoft is evaluating options for additional training sites within and outside of the United States.


A. Currently and in the foreseeable future, the program is offered only in English. For this reason, candidates must be able to effectively communicate in English.


A. No, the program’s integrity is based on training and certification; thus, the training portion of the program is mandatory. Consistent feedback from those who have taken the training highlights the invaluable experience and community building gained during the training.


A. Results may vary and are not guaranteed. To date, the program has seen approximately 70 percent of candidates pass the written, in-class exams on their first attempt. Approximately 60 percent of candidates have passed the final, lab-based exam on their first attempt. For the lab based exam, 80% have passed their second attempts.


A. The average experience level for Master candidates is 10 years. Some candidates have as many as 20 or more years of industry experience.


A. Laptops or workstations with Internet access are provided to external candidates. Internal Microsoft candidates must use their Microsoft-issued laptops. 


A. Candidates have access to state-of-the-art hardware. Each candidate will receive a dedicated server with which to build their own lab environment, using Microsoft Hypervisor Technology (Hyper-V) or Microsoft Virtual Server technology


A. Typical class size per training rotation is 10 to 24 students.


One Response to “Microsoft Certified Master Program”

  1. Cristine said

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