BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Northeast State Community College (NESCC) opened a new testing center that allows computer information technology (IT) students to take certification exams, making earning an IT certification one step easier.

According to a release from NESCC, the Pearson VUE center provides a testing site for IT students seeking certifications from top-tier tech companies. The center will house exams for companies like Cisco, CompTIA, EC-Council and more leading companies in computer technology.

“It is an excellent demonstration of skill, as an IT job candidate has taken the time to learn the content to the level to be able to sit down and take that exam,” said Jim Holbrook, instructor and chair of the College’s Computer and Information Sciences department. “Certifications are vital for people in computer science, as it is a testament to a skill.”

Holbrook said industry certifications are often a determining factor that employers use to gauge the experience and skill level of applicants seeking an IT job. He said students that have subject-specific certifications, a technical certificate or an associate degree stand out among candidates upon entering the workforce.

“I have lost jobs because I didn’t have specific certifications during the interview process,” said Holbrook. “I have gotten jobs by having specific certifications because it set me apart.”

The new center is located on the second floor of the Technical Education Complex building of the college’s Blountville campus. Northeast State offers courses of study in many aspects of computer science, including cyber defense, networking, programming and systems administration.

For more information on Northeast State Community College’s computer information technology programs, visit the college’s website.