Microsoft IT Academy membership allows online university to offer key certifications and hands-on online learning resources at no additional cost For career-minded information technology (IT) professionals, attaining well-established industry certifications can be almost as important as earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree. To address both of these needs and to better prepare graduates for the competitive job market, Western Governors University, www.wgu.edu today announced its membership in the Microsoft IT Academy program. WGU has incorporated Microsoft training curriculum and courseware and certifications in its challenging, competency-based IT degree programs. All of WGU’s bachelor’s degree programs in IT include at least one Microsoft Certification. For example, students graduating with a B.S. in IT security will also earn nine IT certifications; including the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS).The cost of certification exams is included in WGU tuition, which is roughly equivalent to that of a state college or university. “Preparing students with the skills they need for 21st century jobs connects learning to workforce needs and helps the students earn credentials that validate real-world skills,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Education, Microsoft Corp and WGU National Advisory Board Member. “By making Microsoft training and certification an integral part of its competency- and technology-based IT degrees, WGU is creating programs that will produce highly qualified IT professionals who are better prepared to drive innovation, new industry, and economic benefit for the community at large.” As a Microsoft IT Academy program member, WGU is able to offer students a world-class technology curriculum and courseware provided by Microsoft. These rich online learning resources, including virtual labs, provide hands-on experience with Microsoft software. “Our students come to us for high-quality education that will enhance their career opportunities,” said Dr. Robert Mendenhall, WGU President. “By working with Microsoft, we feel confident that learners will benefit from a roadmap to technology proficiency and Microsoft certification that makes them highly employable in the rapidly changing 21st century workforce.” WGU’s eight bachelor’s degree programs in IT include the opportunity to earn the following Microsoft credentials: Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) For more information regarding WGU’s online IT degrees and Microsoft certifications, go to http://www.wgu.edu/ITCertifications or call 866-225-5948.