Aspiring IT professionals often wonder whether their A+ certification will expire. The short answer is yes, the A+ certification, like most professional credentials, has a validity period. However, the specifics depend on several factors. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about the A+ certification and its expiration.
Understanding the A+ Certification
The A+ certification is a professional credential that validates foundational knowledge and skills in computer hardware, software, networking, and security. It is widely recognized and respected in the IT industry and serves as a benchmark for entry-level IT job roles, such as technical support specialists, help desk technicians, and field service technicians. The A+ certification is offered by CompTIA, a non-profit association that specializes in producing vendor-neutral IT certifications.
To obtain the A+ certification, candidates must pass two exams: the Core 1 exam and the Core 2 exam. The Core 1 exam covers topics such as mobile devices, networking technology, hardware, and virtualization and cloud computing. The Core 2 exam covers topics such as operating systems, security, software troubleshooting, and operational procedures.
Once certified, A+ professionals have a wide range of career opportunities available to them. They can work in various IT roles, such as technical support, help desk support, network administration, and cybersecurity. Additionally, A+ certification holders can earn higher salaries and have more opportunities for career advancement compared to non-certified professionals.
The Importance of A+ Certification
Getting an A+ certification can open up various career opportunities and help you differentiate yourself from other job seekers in a crowded market. According to the CompTIA IT Industry Outlook 2021 report, 96% of HR professionals rate IT certifications as valuable in validating essential skills and knowledge. Moreover, the report indicates that individuals with certifications, on average, perform better in their job roles and earn higher salaries than those without.
Additionally, having an A+ certification can also provide you with a sense of accomplishment and confidence in your abilities. It demonstrates to potential employers that you have a strong foundation in IT skills, including hardware, software, networking, and security. This certification can also serve as a stepping stone to more advanced certifications and career paths within the IT industry. Overall, investing in an A+ certification can be a valuable asset to your career growth and development.
How to get an A+ Certification?
To obtain an A+ certification, you need to pass two exams: CompTIA A+ Core 1 (220-1001) and CompTIA A+ Core 2 (220-1002). The exams test your proficiency in various IT domains, such as hardware, software, networking, cybersecurity, and troubleshooting. The exams contain multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, and performance-based questions and have a passing score of 675 (out of 900). You can register for the exams through the CompTIA website or authorized testing centers.
It is recommended that you prepare for the exams by studying the official CompTIA A+ certification guide, taking practice tests, and gaining hands-on experience with computer hardware and software. There are also various online courses and training programs available to help you prepare for the exams. Once you pass both exams, you will receive your A+ certification, which is recognized globally and can lead to various job opportunities in the IT industry.
Exploring the A+ Certification exam
The A+ certification exams are rigorous and require a thorough understanding of core IT concepts and practices. The exams cover a broad range of topics, such as computer hardware components, mobile devices, operating systems, virtualization, network protocols, cloud computing, cybersecurity threats, and data recovery techniques. To prepare for the exams, you can enroll in online courses, read study guides, watch video tutorials, and take practice exams.
It is important to note that the A+ certification is recognized globally as a standard for entry-level IT professionals. Achieving this certification can open up many job opportunities in the IT industry, including roles such as technical support specialist, help desk technician, and field service technician. Additionally, the certification is vendor-neutral, meaning that it is not tied to any specific technology or product, making it a valuable asset for professionals seeking to work with a variety of systems and devices.
The Value of an A+ Certification for Your Career
Employers value the A+ certification because it demonstrates that you possess the essential skills and knowledge required to perform entry-level IT job roles proficiently. The certification can give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs, negotiating salaries, and pursuing career advancement opportunities. Moreover, the A+ certification can be a stepping stone to other CompTIA certifications, such as Network+, Security+, and Cloud+.
Another benefit of obtaining an A+ certification is that it can lead to higher earning potential. According to CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2021 report, individuals with A+ certification earn an average salary of $59,000 per year. This figure can increase significantly with experience and additional certifications.
Additionally, the A+ certification is recognized globally, making it a valuable asset for individuals seeking employment opportunities abroad. Many multinational companies require their IT staff to hold industry-standard certifications, and the A+ certification is often a prerequisite for such roles.
Can You Renew Your A+ Certification?
Yes, you can renew your A+ certification by passing the latest version of the A+ exams before the expiration date. The current version of the A+ exams is 220-1001 and 220-1002. The validity period of the A+ certification is three years from the date of attainment. Renewing your A+ certification ensures that your knowledge and skills remain relevant and up-to-date in a rapidly evolving IT landscape.
It is important to note that there are other ways to renew your A+ certification besides passing the latest version of the A+ exams. You can also earn continuing education units (CEUs) by participating in professional development activities such as attending conferences, completing online courses, or publishing articles related to IT. By earning CEUs, you can renew your A+ certification without having to retake the exams. However, it is important to make sure that the activities you choose to earn CEUs are approved by CompTIA, the organization that administers the A+ certification.
The Validity Period of the A+ Certification
The A+ certification is valid for three years from the date of attainment. The validity period ensures that certified individuals keep up with the latest IT trends and technologies. After the expiration date, your A+ certification becomes inactive, and you must renew it to regain its active status.
Renewing your A+ certification involves taking a recertification exam. The recertification exam is designed to test your knowledge of the latest IT trends and technologies. It is essential to keep your certification active to maintain your credibility as an IT professional. Employers often prefer to hire individuals with active certifications, as it demonstrates their commitment to staying up-to-date in their field.
Additionally, maintaining an active A+ certification can lead to career advancement opportunities. As you gain more experience and knowledge in the IT field, you may be eligible for higher-level certifications, such as the Network+ or Security+ certifications. These certifications can open up new job opportunities and increase your earning potential.
What Happens If Your A+ Certification Expires?
If your A+ certification expires, it becomes inactive, and you lose the benefits and recognition associated with it. You must renew your A+ certification to maintain its active status. However, if your A+ certification has been expired for more than three years, you must retake and pass the A+ exams to regain your certification.
Renewing your A+ certification involves completing continuing education units (CEUs) or passing the current version of the A+ exams. CEUs can be earned through various activities, such as attending training courses, participating in webinars, or publishing articles related to the IT industry. The number of CEUs required for renewal depends on the certification level and the certification organization.
It is important to keep your A+ certification active to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in the IT field. Employers often prefer or require employees to have active certifications, and it can also lead to career advancement opportunities. Additionally, staying up-to-date with the latest technology and industry trends through continuing education can enhance your professional development and job performance.
How to Renew Your Expired A+ Certification?
If your A+ certification has expired, you can renew it by passing the current version of the A+ exams (220-1001 and 220-1002). You can register for the exams through the CompTIA website or authorized testing centers. The exam fees for the A+ exams vary by country and range from $211 to $439. To prepare for the exams, you can use the same resources recommended for the initial A+ certification exams, such as online courses, study guides, practice exams, and video tutorials.
It is important to note that if your A+ certification has been expired for more than three years, you will need to retake both the 220-1001 and 220-1002 exams to regain your certification. Additionally, CompTIA offers a Continuing Education (CE) program that allows you to renew your certification by earning CE credits through various activities, such as attending industry events, completing online courses, or publishing relevant articles. The CE program is a great option for those who want to maintain their certification without retaking the exams every three years.
The Latest Updates to the A+ Certification Exam
The A+ certification exams undergo updates periodically to reflect the latest IT trends and technologies. The current version of the A+ exams (220-1001 and 220-1002) was launched in January 2019 and features several updates, such as enhanced security concepts, virtualization and cloud computing technologies, mobile devices, and advanced troubleshooting techniques.
Tips for Passing the A+ Certification Exam
To pass the A+ certification exam, you need to have a solid understanding of core IT concepts and practices, as well as the ability to apply them in real-world scenarios. Here are some tips to help you pass the exam:
- Read the exam objectives thoroughly and understand the weighting assigned to each domain.
- Use a variety of study resources, such as books, online courses, video tutorials, and practice tests.
- Practice hands-on exercises and virtual labs to reinforce your knowledge and skills.
- Join online study groups and forums to discuss exam-related topics and exchange ideas with peers.
- Take regular breaks and rest well before the exam day to reduce stress and fatigue.
How to Use Your A+ certification for career growth?
Your A+ certification can be a valuable asset in your career growth and development. Here are some ways to leverage your A+ certification:
- Apply for entry-level IT job roles that require A+ certification.
- Seek promotions and salary increases based on your A+ certification and related job performance.
- Network with other IT professionals who hold A+ certification and learn from their experiences and insights.
- Pursue other CompTIA certifications, such as Network+, Security+, and Cloud+, to expand your knowledge and skills in advanced IT domains.
Comparing the A+ certification to other IT certifications.
The A+ certification is one of the most popular and recognized IT certifications worldwide. However, it is not the only certification available for IT professionals. Here is a comparison between the A+ certification and other popular IT certifications:
|Certification||Vendor||Domains||Validity Period||Exam Fees|
|A+||CompTIA||Hardware, software, networking, security, and troubleshooting||3 years||$211 to $439|
|Network+||CompTIA||Networking, wireless, cloud computing, and IoT||3 years||$319 to $338|
|Security+||CompTIA||Cybersecurity, risk management, and incident response||3 years||$349 to $370|
|CCNA||Cisco||Routing and switching, network security, wireless, and TCP/IP||3 years||$325 to $600|
|MCSE||Microsoft||Windows Server, Azure, PowerShell, and virtualization||Lifetime (subject to technology retirements)||$165 per exam|
Should you get an A+ certification in 2021?
Whether you should get an A+ certification in 2021 or not depends on your career goals and aspirations. If you want to pursue an entry-level IT job role that requires A+ certification or if you want to enhance your foundational IT knowledge and skills, then getting an A+ certification can be a viable option. Moreover, if you plan to pursue other CompTIA certifications, such as Network+, Security+, and Cloud+, then having an A+ certification can be a prerequisite or a stepping stone. However, if your career path does not require A+ certification or if you already possess sufficient IT knowledge and skills, then pursuing other IT certifications or training programs may be more beneficial.
In conclusion, the A+ certification is a valuable professional credential that can help you start or advance your IT career. While the A+ certification does expire, you can renew it by passing the latest version of the A+ exams. By keeping your A+ certification active, you can gain recognition, credibility, and competitive advantage in the dynamic and challenging IT industry.