So, you’d like to know if getting the CompTIA A+ certification is in your best interests. Of course, it’s wise to count the cost: How long will you study? How much do you plan to spend? What is your study and practice schedule? If you’re thinking, “Is CompTIA A+ worth it?” you’re in the right place.
We’ll explain how A+ fits your educational and IT career journey. This article will show you how much time and money you need to spend if you decide to go for the A+ exams and the possibilities A+ opens up for you so that you can make an informed decision on this certification.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
CompTIA A+ Certification
CompTIA A+ comprises two certification exams:
- Core 1 focuses on hardware, cloud computing, and networking technology, and
- Core 2 is about software, operating systems, and cyber security basics.
Here is a chart on CompTIA A+ exam objectives (domains):
The CompTIA A+ is ideal for those aiming for entry-level IT help desk or technical support jobs. Consider a more challenging certification if you already have a tertiary degree in IT or a related field. Still, if you want to break into the IT industry but your foundation in IT needs to be stronger, consider taking A+.
Time and Financial Investment
It’s important to set aside time and money for A+ study materials. Moreover, owing to the evolving nature of IT, CompTIA A+ is not a one-and-done type of certification. It expires three years after you’ve passed your A+ exams, and you must take up continuing education units (CEUs) to retain your credentials, A+ or otherwise.
An excellent self-paced study course will prepare you well for the A+ exams and compensate for your lack of work or hands-on experience. If you’re looking for good A+ study resources, we’ve listed a few in the conclusion of this article. Some students pay for additional practice tests to ensure they have all their bases covered. Being part of an A+ study group online or offline is also helpful.
As of writing, the listed price of the A+ exam set is $246 (USD). You have two methods to renew your certification:
- With multiple activities: Collect at least 20 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through CompTIA-approved activities, including advanced certifications, work experience, publishing, and participating in industry events. To renew A+, you should upload sufficient proof of participation to your certification account and pay a renewal fee.
- With a single activity: Advanced CompTIA certifications such as Network+ and Security+ suffice to renew A+. You can also complete CompTIA’s online, self-paced continuing education course CertMaster CE, the A+ version of which costs $129 (USD) as of writing.
Although A+ has no hard-and-fast prerequisites, CompTIA recommends that A+ candidates have nine to 12 months of hands-on experience in technical roles in academia or industry, which helps reduce study time. Three to four months is the average time for someone new to IT to prepare for both A+ exams.
From A+ study materials, you’ll gain technical knowledge of how hardware and software work. If you’re new to IT, you can get hands-on experience with various hardware components by joining a local hackerspace. Such participation will help you gain a practical understanding of how the nitty-gritty of the hardware works and aid you in questions on technical troubleshooting.
As a technician, a solid working knowledge of hardware, software, and networking can help you identify and solve IT problems confidently. Being in control engenders trust in your non-technical employers and clients. The A+ technical troubleshooting steps (pictured below) are also the standard operating procedure for technicians, regardless of whether they’re A+ certified.
Apart from technical support jobs, those aspiring to enter IT, cyber security, cloud computing, and web/app development may want to get the A+ certification to prove their technical ability.
CompTIA boasts of A+ being the industry standard for establishing a career in IT. That’s because A+ has been available since 1993 to aspiring and current IT professionals with few comparable contenders. CompTIA keeps A+ up-to-date with current technologies, making it the go-to certification for anyone desiring to enter the IT industry.
If employment in IT is your immediate concern, your main job prospects and opportunities with A+ are the following five entry-level job types:
- Help Desk Technician
- Desktop Support Technician
- IT Support Specialist
- Field Service Technician
- Computer Repair Technician
Full-timers in these five roles can earn a salary of $33k – $60k annually.
You can find thousands of open positions that require or mention CompTIA A+ online. As of writing, LinkedIn alone returns over 33,000 results for a US-based job search on CompTIA A+.
Meanwhile, Glassdoor has more than 5,000 results for US-based jobs whose descriptions mention CompTIA A+:
For a detailed breakdown, refer to our A+ Jobs article.
We hope our brief article answering “Is CompTIA A+ worth it?” gives you a clear idea of the jobs A+ offers, foundational knowledge in A+, and investments to make if you pursue A+. If your goal is to enter a career in IT but have little experience, this is an ideal certification for you.
The knowledge and skills in A+ apply across much of the IT industry, so it’s important to consider your career goals when deciding whether to get A+ certified.
If you want to learn more about A+ and other IT certifications that may be suitable for you, check out our articles on this subject and our course offerings below: