CompTIA A+ first launched in 1993, and since 2001 has been refreshed every three years to ensure the topics covered keep pace with what’s happening in IT. Employers, subject matter experts (SMEs) and IT pros working in the field guide us in what they look for in help desk technicians, technical support specialists and other jobs related to CompTIA A+ to make sure we’re covering the skills that are needed in today’s world.
With the launch of the new CompTIA A+ came many questions, so we’ve set out to answer them here. Keep reading to learn more about the CompTIA A+ core series (220-1101 and 220-1102), and post any additional questions in the comments to keep the conversation going.
What's on the New CompTIA A+ Exams?
The CompTIA A+ core series (220-1101 and 220-1102) provides a foundation for a number of different IT jobs and helps entry-level IT pros prepare for the jobs of the future.
In addition to topics you might traditionally associate with tech support, the new CompTIA A+ emphasizes the technologies and skills IT pros need to support a hybrid workforce such as:
- Increased reliance on software as a service (SaaS) applications for remote work
- More focus on troubleshooting and how to remotely diagnose and correct common software, hardware or connectivity problems
- Focus on changing core technologies, from cloud virtualization and IoT device security to data management and scripting
- Major operating systems, their use cases and how to keep them running properly
- Basics of scripting so that help desk technicians and technical support specialists understand what they're looking at when they encounter code
CompTIA A+ continues to emphasize problem solving within a technology context. Employers want IT pros who can think critically and approach problems systematically to find a solution. Having CompTIA A+ shows employers that you have the hands-on skills and proves your ability to solve technology problems.
Download the exam objectives to find out everything that’s covered.
What Types of Questions Are on the CompTIA A+ Exams?
The CompTIA A+ exams cover a total of nine domains across the two exams:
Virtualization and Cloud Computing
Hardware and Network Troubleshooting
These domains relate back to job roles that are tasked with configuration of end-user devices and software, network connections, performing basic cybersecurity mitigations, troubleshooting common problems to diagnose and resolve issues and demonstrating basic knowledge of scripting, the cloud and virtualization.
Why Should I Choose CompTIA A+ Over Other IT Certifications?
CompTIA A+ is vendor neutral, meaning that the knowledge and skills you learn can be used to perform various job roles regardless of the specific programs and tools being used. Compare this to vendor-specific certifications, which equip you to work with just one platform.
How Much Does CompTIA A+ Cost?
The retail price for CompTIA A+ (220-1101 and 220-1102) is $253 USD (as of February 1, 2024) per exam, and you need to pass two exams to earn your CompTIA A+ certification. Keep reading to learn more about bundles, which can save you money.
Read about additional ways to save money on your IT certification.
How Can I Train for CompTIA A+?
CompTIA offers a full suite of training solutions for both self-study and instructor-led learning:
- eLearning: CompTIA CertMaster Learn offers 40+ hours of engaging content with 10 lessons, including interactive performance-based questions. The platform includes narrative instruction, visual aids, videos, games, flashcards and more. A personalized dashboard and countdown calendar help you track your progress and keep you on pace for your scheduled exam.
- Hands-on skills practice: CompTIA CertMaster Labs are browser-based virtual labs based on scenarios found in the workplace, including configuring operating systems, troubleshooting networks and managing users, workstations and shared resources. The labs within each course are independent of each other and can be used in any order. When integrated with CertMaster Learn, CertMaster Labs are displayed as Study Tasks within the CertMaster Learn Learning Plan. As a result, learners experience both knowledge acquisition and hands-on skills development through a single login and seamless workflow. Learn more about integrated CertMaster Learn + Labs.
- Exam prep and practice tests: CompTIA CertMaster Practice is an adaptive knowledge assessment tool that determines what you have already mastered and what you still need to learn to improve your confidence before taking the exam. The system tailors feedback to help you build knowledge in your weaker areas, keeping you engaged and focused throughout your study session.
- Books: The Official Study Guides for CompTIA A+, offered in both print and digital form, help you learn and master the material covered by CompTIA A+. It’s flexible so you can learn at your own pace and focus on exam success.
- Courses: If you prefer to learn with guidance from an instructor, CompTIA and the CompTIA Tech Career Academy offer a variety of online training and in-person courses.
How Much Time Will I Need to Prepare for CompTIA A+?
The amount of time you’ll need to prepare for CompTIA A+ depends on your background and IT experience. Whether you attend a bootcamp, take a class or study on your own, if you have no experience, you’ll want to allot at least 120 hours of study time plus additional time for hands-on practice of the skills covered by the exams. You can do this on the job, on your own or with a tool like CompTIA Labs.
If you already have IT experience, you may not need as much time to prepare as someone who is new to IT. Download the exam objectives to see what you already know and what you might need to work on, and read more about how to prepare for an IT certification exam.
Tell Me About the CompTIA A+ Bundles: What Will Be In Them, How Much Will They Cost and When Will They Be Available?
CompTIA A+ bundle options include a combination of training materials, classes vouchers and retake vouchers, depending on which bundle you select. There are also bundles for just one exam or both. Prices start at $369 USD (as of February 1, 2024).
Can I Still Take the CompTIA A+ 1000 Series?
You will have until October 20, 2022, to take the exams from the CompTIA A+ 1000 series before they retire.
I Already Passed CompTIA A+ 220-1001, But I Haven't Taken 220-1002 Yet. What Should I Do?
To earn your CompTIA A+ certification, you need to take both exams from the same series. So, if you have passed one of the 1000 series exams but not both, you will need to take and pass the other exam from the new core series to earn your CompTIA A+ certification. You cannot combine exams from different series, so if you choose to take the 1000 series, be sure to pass both exams before they retire in October.
I've Been Studying for the CompTIA A+ 1000 Series: Should I Switch Gears and Study for the Core Series Instead?
The CompTIA A+ 1000 series will still be available until October 20, 2022, so it’s up to you. If you haven’t taken either exam yet, you can choose which series is right for you. Download the new exam objectives and compare them to what you’re already studying to see which series best meets your needs.
I Bought a Voucher for the CompTIA A+ 1000 Series But Have Not Used It Yet: Can I Use it for the Core Series?
Yes, you can use your voucher for any CompTIA A+ exam. Just remember, if you already passed just one of the exams from the 1000 series but not both, you will need to take the other exam from the 1000 series before it retires in October in order to earn your CompTIA A+ certification.
I Earned CompTIA A+ by Passing the 1000 Series Exams: Will it Be Out of Date When it Retires?
As long as you keep up with your continuing education (CE) requirements, your certification will remain active for three years from the date you passed your second CompTIA A+ exam. CE also ensures that you have the skills needed for the job now – no matter when you earned your certification.
One way to renew your CompTIA certification is with CompTIA CertMaster CE. CompTIA CertMaster CE will cover the topics that were added with the core series, so if you use CertMaster CE to renew your CompTIA A+ certification, you'll efficiently keep your knowledge up-to-date.
Ready to start studying? Writing out your plan will set you up for success. Download our free training plan worksheet to help get organized and make your dream a reality.
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