The CompTIA A+ certification is the granddaddy and best-known of all hardware credentials. For anyone serious about working with PCs, laptops, mobile devices, printers or operating systems, the A+ should at least be on their radar if not in their game plan.
Since the first A+ credential was awarded in March 1993, the program has become one of the best-known and most recognized of all hardware credentials, and continues to draw lots of active interest and participation. With over 900,000 IT professionals possessing the A+ credential, it is something of a checkbox item for PC technicians and support professionals, and is mentioned in a great many job postings or advertisements for such position, as you can see in Table 1.
A+ is also accredited by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute), and must be renewed every three years in keeping with those organizations’ requirements for continuing education or regular examinations to maintain certification currency. Twenty continuing education units (CEUs) are required for renewal.
Earning an A+ from CompTIA involves passing two exams: one called the fundamentals exam (220-801), and the other the practical application exam (220-802).
Candidates who earn the A+ often find themselves in job roles that include technical support specialist, field service technician, IT support technician, IT support administrator or IT support specialist. The A+ is recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense (as part of DoD Directive 8570.1), and technology companies like Dell, Intel and Lenovo make A+ certification mandatory for their own service technicians. Other certification programs, such as Cisco, incorporate A+ training into their training programs.
The A+ certification encompasses broad coverage of PC hardware and software, networking, and security in its overall technical scope. See Table 2 for details on earning the A+.
Certification Name : CompTIA A+
Six to 12 months of experience recommended
Number of Exams
Two exams (maximum of 90 questions, 90 minutes): 220-801 and 220-802 (JK0-801 and JK0-802 for CompTIA Academy Partners)
Cost per Exam
$194 USD per exam; Exams offered by Pearson VUE: www.pearsonvue.com/comptia
Exam vouchers available at CompTIA
Self-Study Materials CompTIA Study Materials: CompTIA offers a number of self-study materials including exam objectives, sample questions, study guides (nominal fee of $50 USD), as well
as classroom and e-learning training opportunities. Credential seekers may also want to check out the CertMaster online learning tool.