The A+ Certification was created by a non-profit, vendor-neutral organization called CompTIA. This certification tests one’s competency as a computer technician, primarily focusing on the Windows operating system, however, questions regarding the Apple and Android operating systems have been added in recent years. The A+ test is a natural gateway toward other CompTIA certifications, although it is not required. Earning this certification is typically necessary to be considered for an entry-level IT position. The A+ Certification tests a broad range of topics and is divided into two parts.
The first part of the A+ Certification tests knowledge of networking, assembling, and configuring PCs, laptops, and related hardware, and the fundamentals of computer technology.
The second part of the test determines if the applicant is capable of installing and configuring operating systems and configuring standard features such as email, printers, scanners, etc. The exam also covers configuring standard settings such as email and networking on mobile operating systems such as the Android or Apple iOS.
Jobs that require the A+ Certification
According to CompTIA, an A+ Certification is a standard requirement for those seeking employment in positions such as technical support specialist, field service technician, and IT support technician, administrator, or specialist. It shows employers that the applicant has a solid understanding of assembling computers, configuring software, operating systems, and hardware. Government IT jobs usually have stricter requirements regarding certificates and education than the public sector, which only adds to the value that an A+ certification can provide.
How Much Value Does the A+ Certification Provide?
A recent survey conducted by Certification Magazine states that the average salary of someone that holds an A+ Certification is about $65K. This figure includes many people who have worked their way up from an entry-level position and have years of experience; someone just starting off should expect to make somewhere around half of that. The A+ Certification is also a starting point to numerous other certifications offered by CompTIA that can lead to an increase in earning power.
The A+ Certification by itself may not be enough to secure employment. Employers will often want to see experience and other educational credentials on an applicant’s resume. However, the certification can mean the difference between whether an applicant is even called in for an interview. Many employers will screen résumés looking for people with particular certificates. As previously mentioned, government jobs place a high emphasis on their employees being certified.
The A+ Certification exam is a 90-minute test and requires a score of 75% to pass. It tests basic computer understanding, regarding hardware and software, which means that it will show employers that you have a good understanding of basic computer skills. The A+ Certifications used to be good for life once an applicant passed and received the certification. As of January 2010, CompTIA made a change and added a 3-year expiration policy on A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications. Certificate holders are required to retest every 3 years. Technology is rapidly changing and it is necessary to ensure that one’s knowledge remains current, which is the purpose of requiring retesting. If one holds more than one certificate, they are only required to retest for the highest level certificate held.