Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)
The Information Technology industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in North America and employs more than 2.3 million people. The CompTIA A+ certification could be your first step into the growing IT industry. This certification is tailored to those beginning a career in IT. It focuses primarily on the fundamentals required of IT professionals: maintenance of IT systems, installation, troubleshooting, networking and communication skills. Although this certification is tailored to those starting in IT, it is a globally recognized credential and provides universal skills for a variety of careers.
The A+ certified IT professional, averaging all career positions, will earn over $60,000 per year. The certification also provides holders with a competitive edge when entering the IT profession, or when advancing in any career with an IT component.
There are no prerequisites to begin this designation, however 6 to 12 months of practical computing experience is recommended to aid formal study.
The A+ Certification is obtained after writing only 2 exams. The exams are coded CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802. Both exams contain 90 questions with a mix of multiple choice and practical questions in a simulated environment.
1. Exam 220-801 primarily tests the basics that an non-experienced IT professional might encounter. This exam primarily covers PC Hardware, Networking, Printers and Operational Procedures.
2. Exam 220-802 covers areas related to typical customer requests that a new IT professional might encounter. This exam primarily covers Operating Systems, Security, Mobile Devices and Troubleshooting common IT problems.
All CompTIA certifications expire after 3 years. To renew a certification, the holder has the option to:
a) Pass a current version of the exam (retake exam)
b) Pass a higher level CompTIA or industry certification
c) Complete continuing education activities
The A+ Certification requires 20 Continuing Education Units (CEU) over a 3 year period. CEUs are awarded for a variety of activities, such as attending webinars or conferences, teaching courses, publishing Industry articles, and many more. A complete list of activities and awarded CEUs is provided here.
CompTIA also provides a complete list of other industry certifications eligible for CEUs.