Do you remember what it felt like to get your driver’s license? No matter how old you were, that feeling of accomplishment and elation was downright contagious; and it meant a new chapter of life was just beginning. Getting your CompTIA A+ certification evokes similar feelings. And just like a driver’s license, CompTIA A+ puts you in the driver’s seat on the road to your IT career.
What Is the CompTIA A+ Certification?
CompTIA A+ is the starting point for a career in IT. It validates foundational skills across a variety of devices and operating systems. It’s kind of like getting your information technology driver’s license.
CompTIA A+ equips learners to troubleshoot and problem solve a variety of issues, qualifying you for an entry-level IT job. Widely recognized by technology employers, it’s the industry standard for launching IT careers.
But it’s not the final destination. Much like learning how to drive, getting your license provides more independence and opportunity, but you still need hands-on practice. CompTIA A+ can help you get a job as a help desk technician, technical support specialist, field service technician and more, which are great launching points for an IT career.
As you gain years of experience in the IT industry, you’ll have a better idea of where you want to go next. You may find your passion is in cybersecurity, cloud computing, IT support, network security or even software and web development. The road is wide open.
CompTIA A+ Exam Details
When you get CompTIA A+ certified, you know that you have the knowledge employers look for today. How can we be so sure? Well, CompTIA certifications are built and continuously updated by technology industry experts in various industries and professions.
To earn your CompTIA A+ certification, you’ll need to pass two certification exams:
- Core 1 (220-1001)
- Core 2 (220-1002)
Each exam has no more than 90 questions, including a combination of multiple-choice questions, drag-and-drop activities and performance-based items.
It’s important to note that all CompTIA certifications are vendor-neutral. Essentially, this means that CompTIA certification holders have skills that can be applied to products and solutions from any vendor, not just a specific one like Microsoft, Apple or Cisco. It’s kind of like being able to drive any car, not just a Toyota.
How Hard Is It to Get CompTIA A+ Certified?
A lot of that depends on what you already know and what you have to learn. If you already have experience working with computer hardware and operating systems, the CompTIA A+ exam may not be too challenging. But, if you’re brand new to IT, you’re going to have to put in some study hours.
While there aren’t official prerequisites for CompTIA A+, we recommend having at least 9 to 12 months of hands-on experience in the lab or field.
You’ll want to be able to do the following before sitting for your certification exams:
- Configure device operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, Android and iOS and administer client-based as well as cloud-based (SaaS) software
- Engage in troubleshooting and problem solve core service and support challenges while applying best practices for documentation, change management and scripting
- Support basic IT infrastructure and networking
- Demonstrate baseline IT security skills for support professionals
- Configure and support PC, IoT and mobile device hardware
- Implement basic data backup and recovery methods and apply data storage and management best practices
Once you’ve earned CompTIA A+, you can add all of these skills to your resume and validate your competency to potential employers. No longer a student driver, it’s time to take off on your own!
How Much Does It Cost to Get CompTIA A+ Certified?
First, you’ll have to purchase your exam vouchers. Think of this as your admission to the exam. If your employer, school or training facility does not provide you with one, you can purchase exam vouchers from the CompTIA Store. In the United States, CompTIA A+ exam vouchers cost $232 each.
Remember, you’ll need to take and pass two exams to earn CompTIA A+, so you’ll need two exam vouchers. But don’t worry, there are lots of ways to save money on your exam vouchers. (More on that below.)
Of course, the cost of the exam vouchers isn’t the only monetary investment you have to consider. You also need to think about how you’ll study and prepare. CompTIA offers two free resources that will get you started on the right foot: exam objectives and practice tests. You can download both of these for free from our website.
Whether you prefer self-study or guidance from an instructor, CompTIA offers a slew of certification training options to help you succeed.
- CertMaster Learn for A+ includes a customizable eLearning plan and performance-based test questions that take you on a path of consistent learning toward your certification exam.
- CompTIA Labs for A+ provides hands-on skills that reinforce the practical aspects of the A+ certification exam objectives.
- CertMaster Practice for A+ is an adaptive online companion tool that assesses your knowledge and exam readiness via practice exams.
- The Official CompTIA A+ Study Guides are packed with informative and accessible content that covers all A+ exam objectives.
- CompTIA live online training gives you the traditional classroom experience from the comfort of home.
How Can I Get CompTIA A+ Certification for Free?
Although it’s not always free, there are ways to save money on your CompTIA exam voucher. Some discounts are available to anyone and some are only available to students or as part of a training program. Here’s a quick breakdown of the main types of voucher discounts.
Type of Voucher Discount
How Much Can You Save?
Who Is Eligible?
Up to 42%*
Anyone in North America
IT Career News Subscribers
Split up the total cost into smaller payments
Based on financing approval
40 to 65%
Up to 100%
*Bundles and pricing are subject to change. Discounts varies based on product.
Purchasing training and exam vouchers together, whether through CompTIA bundles or a class, are a great way to save money and set yourself up for success. Many certification courses include at least one exam voucher.
And some people do qualify for free exam vouchers from their employer, the military or nonprofit training programs like IT-Ready.
How Long Does It Take to Get a CompTIA A+ Certification?
Believe it or not, you can train and become certified in as little as 8 weeks! Again, this will depend on a number of factors, including your prior knowledge and experience, but getting the planning and logistics nailed down first so you can dedicate your time to learning is a great start.
Start making a plan by downloading the exam objectives so you can focus your energy on exactly what you need to learn and identify what you need to spend more time on. Putting a plan in place holds you accountable to a timeline and helps ensure you’ll reach your goal of certification.
It doesn’t matter if you are straight out of high school or college and pursuing your first career in technology or if you’re changing careers decades after your last class ended. CompTIA A+ is the first step toward a rewarding career in technology.
Let’s get this show on the road. Download the exam objectives for CompTIA A+ to get started.