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IT trade association CompTIA has signed a deal with Thomson Course Technology to publish textbooks related to the organization’s certification curriculum.

CompTIA is supplying the materials that Thomson Course Technology, a division of Stamford, Conn.-based Thomson Corp., is turning into textbooks, study guides and other training-related publications, said William Vanderbilt, vice president for education and training at CompTIA, based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.

News of the partnership came during the CompTIA Strategies 2005 North America, the association’s annual conference taking place this week in Atlanta.

Books will be published under the “CompTIA Press” brand name, and the first titles should come out of the presses in two to three months, he said. Those initial publications will focus on three CompTIA certifications—CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+.

A+ certification is vendor-neutral and validates an IT professional’s foundation knowledge of hardware and software technology. Network+ and Security+ certifications do the same for networking and security technologies, respectively.

Many VARs and integrators rely on the CompTIA certifications to show vendors and customers that their IT service professionals have the requisite knowledge to handle a variety of IT deployments and maintenance projects. CompTIA’s membership has grown to 20,000 in its 23 years of existence and includes IT vendors, VARs, integrators, and solution and service providers.

In teaming with Thomson, CompTIA has chosen a partner that already has more than 1,600 print and technology-based titles on business and technology training.

“Working with CompTIA to launch CompTIA Press is a terrific opportunity to bring together leaders in the certification industry,” said Mike Springer, vice president and general manager for training at Thomson Course Technology. “Our certification training content is rated the highest in the industry and is a natural fit for CompTIA certification candidates.”

The partnership has strategic value in that it allows CompTIA to have materials ready for publication when it needs to revise parts of its curriculum, Vanderbilt said. “We can improve the availability of quality training materials for CompTIA certification candidates, ” he said.

In the past, he said, when the association updated one of its certification programs, it was hard to get publishers to update their corresponding materials because they wanted to gauge interest first. But interest was hard to spark in the absence of study materials for certification candidates.

Thomson was one of several candidates for the publishing partnership, Vanderbilt said. The process of looking for a partner started in December 2004 when CompTIA issued requests for proposal to a dozen companies.

“Thomson offered clearly a very compelling story. They did deliver a very strong response,” Vanderbilt said.

The training books will be sold through CompTIA’s Web site as well as in retail and online bookstores that already carry some CompTIA course materials. CompTIA also hopes the partnership with Thomson will open new outlets for the publications.

Initially, the titles will be available only in English and in North American markets. Long term, publications also may become available in other languages and geographies.

Vanderbilt said CompTIA is working with Thomson to convert existing materials into books, and he expects that titles on all of the association’s certification curriculum will be available by year’s end.