In a move sure to catapult it to the very top of the testing and certification business, Pearson VUE announced on Wednesday that it was acquiring foundational level testing, certification, and content company Certiport. The terms of the acquisition have not yet been disclosed. But in a move obviously calculated to calm potentially nervous testing center partners, the press release states that “The terms and conditions of all Certiport partner contracts will remain in place. Certiport will continue to operate independently and deliver on the company’s partner-focused business plan, with oversight from Pearson VUE.”
With over 12,000 independent testing centers in 153 countries, and exams and materials in 27 languages, Certiport is already an established global player in the testing and certification market. Certiport’s programs include the CompTIA Strata credentials, as well as the Microsoft Office Specialist program (among the biggest of all certification programs in the world, if not the biggest), along with Microsoft Technology Specialist, HP Accredited Technical Associate, Adobe Certified Associate, and certified user programs for both Adobe and Intuit. Thus, Certiport has a HUGE footprint at the bottom of the IT and technical certification pyramid (where the numbers of candidates and certified individuals is always greatest, by a wide margin).
Now, add all that to Pearson VUE’s presence in 160 countries with at least 4,400 of its own testing centers (the latest numbers I can find are dated 3/3/2012). Likewise, factor in coverage for a vast majority of the major IT certification programs including those from Adobe, Brocade, Check Point, Cisco, Citrix, EC-Council, EMC, HP, IEEE, (ISC)2, LPI, Novell, Oracle, RSA Security, VMware, and Zend, among several dozen other sponsor organizations. Put it all together, and you’ve got a “killer combination” already. And, of course, Pearson VUE also does substantial business outside the IT umbrella as well, with a presence in academia, construction and inspection trades, driving tests, employment and HR examinations, financial services, insurance, legal services, and health, medicine, nursing and pharmacy exams.
It should be very interesting to see how the two organizations meld over time, and what kinds of additional stakes Pearson publishing operations will take in the Certiport credentials and offerings. I expect to see a great many more study guides, Exam Crams, practice tests, interactive labs, and other learning tools emerge from this new partnership.