MPN 101: Training and accreditation resources


Chinmayi Bhavanishankar - US Partner Experience Lead

Staying current and up-to-date with the latest Microsoft products and technologies, and demonstrating your company’s expertise to customers through technical accreditations held by members of your team, is critical for your partner business. Microsoft offers a variety of training resources for technical professionals, and Microsoft Partner Network members have access to additional training opportunities as a benefit of program membership. Individuals who want to showcase their excellence can pass exams and earn certifications, and some exams and certifications may apply to a partner organization earning a Microsoft competency.

Find and take the training you need

Whether you need an introduction to or an in-depth look at a product or technology, and whether your preferred method of learning is through in-person or virtual live courses, self-paced courses like MOOCs (massive open online courses), on-demand courses and videos, technical books/eBooks, or a mix of these, we have something for you. In addition to our popular technical content and training sites like Channel 9, Microsoft Virtual Academy (tip: see their free eBooks page), and free Microsoft Azure online training, MPN members have access to Partner University and to learning paths. Learning paths are curated lists of on-demand training courses and materials, aligned by product, role, and competency.

For US partners, we publish the Hot Sheet, a comprehensive, regularly updated schedule of in-person and virtual courses and calls. While on the Hot Sheet, check out the other topics we cover on the US Partner Enablement blog. You can subscribe to the blog by email or RSS.

Achieve certifications that demonstrate your knowledge and expertise

Microsoft has recently launched new cloud-focused certification paths, and the Microsoft Learning website has been revamped to better help you identify the right certification and prepare for and pass certification exams. When you pass a certification exam, you become a member of the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) community, and have access to benefits provided through the Microsoft Certification Program and the MCP member site. Achieving certain certifications or passing select exams provides you with a digital badge – web-enabled representations of your Microsoft certification that can be embedded in an email or shared on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

There are three certification levels:

MTA – Microsoft Technology Associate

Microsoft Technology Associate is a certification intended for aspiring technologists, and people seeking knowledge of fundamental technology concepts. MTA certification addresses a wide spectrum of fundamental technical concepts, assesses and validates your core technical knowledge, and enhances your technical credibility.

MCSA – Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate is intended for people who seek entry-level jobs in an information technology environment. MCSA is a prerequisite for more advanced Microsoft certifications.

MCSE – Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert is a certification intended for IT professionals seeking to demonstrate their ability to build innovative solutions across multiple technologies, both on-premises and in the cloud.

On the Microsoft Learning website, you can get an overview of the certification categories and levels, and find information about the requirements for each certification and the associated exam prep resources. You may want to find your nearest Microsoft Learning Partner to take classroom and virtual training led by Microsoft Certified Trainers. On the Born to Learn site, check out the Certification Study Groups. For self-paced study, consider the Microsoft Official Courses On-Demand, follow the partner learning paths for MPN competency or by role (tip: try a search by exam number), and consider purchasing Microsoft Press books.

You will need to register to take a Microsoft Certification exam, and you may be eligible to take an online proctored (OP) exam. There are special offers from Microsoft Learning available, like Exam Replay and Exam Replay with Practice Test.

Certification exams are technical requirements for some Microsoft competencies. Associating to your company’s MPN membership and entering your MCP ID there will help fulfill those technical requirements for competency attainment.

Meet the technical requirements for a Microsoft competency

Microsoft competencies are aligned to customer needs, and allow partner organizations to demonstrate proven expertise in delivering quality solutions in a specialized area of business. Partners with a silver or gold competency have access to deployment and support benefits and to internal use rights for Microsoft cloud services and software.

Each competency has technical requirements that include passing certification exams and/or technical assessments. Assessments are free to take, predominantly online, and hosted on Partner University. If you’re ready to take the assessment, you can go to it in Partner University directly from the requirements tab of the competency’s page. If you want to find training to help you prepare for the assessment, you can find your competency on the partner learning paths page and follow those recommendations.

If an exam or certification is required, follow the guidance above, in the “Achieve certifications” section, to prepare for your exam. You will need to register to take a Microsoft Certification exam, and you may be eligible to take an online proctored (OP) exam. There are special offers from Microsoft Learning available, like Exam Replay and Exam Replay with Practice Test. Once you’ve passed the required exam or achieved the required certification, you will need to associate to your company’s MPN membership and enter your MCP ID so that your company fulfills the requirement.

If you’re pursuing one of the cloud competencies, nominate your company for assistance from the Cloud Enablement Desk.

Not yet ready for a competency?

Even if you are not planning to attain a silver or gold competency, preparing for and passing the technical exams and assessments for a competency can be a good way to gauge your proficiency in a technology area. The resources mentioned above for training and certification are accessible to you. To get hands-on experience with current Microsoft products like Azure, Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Visual Studio, you can subscribe to the Microsoft Action Pack, an MPN membership option.

Which training content is right for you?

The table below will help you consider the different factors in determining the training that meets your needs and is right for you.

MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) Microsoft Official Courses Microsoft Official Courses
Platform Channel 9 Microsoft Virtual Academy Azure Training On Demand Classroom
(In-person or virtual)
Primary purpose Awareness, big picture Exploration, readiness Committed learning Flexible committed learning Critical committed learning
Time required 0.25–8+ hours
Anytime, anywhere
1–8+ hours
Anytime, anywhere
20–30 hours Structured
4–5 weeks
Anytime, anywhere
30–40 hours Structured
3 months access
Anytime, anywhere
30–40 hours Structured
3–5 days
Primary content levels 99–100 100–150 100–200 200–300 200–300
Skills gained Awareness Product (remedial) Conceptual Product Product
Credential None Printable certificate
MVA transcript
Validated certificate of course completion Transcript
Certificate of completion
Certificate of completion
Primary instructors Technical evangelists Technical evangelists Microsoft subject-matter experts
Microsoft Certified Trainers
Microsoft Certified Trainers
Learning Partners
Microsoft Certified Trainers
Learning Partners


MPN 101:  Partner training and accreditation

Watch online

MPN 101 Community