CompTIA Network+ is a widely recognized entry-level IT networking certification that can serve as a stepping stone to various other networking credentials. While it’s vendor-neutral, some other vendor-specific credentials also require it as a prerequisite.

Based on factors like salary surveys and job postings, Business News Daily named Network+ as one of the five best networking certifications in 2018. Besides proving your skills as a network technician, the certification works well in other IT tracks, such as security and network administration.

Renewing Your Network+ Cert

Once you receive your Network+ certification, you have to renew it through CompTIA’s Continuing Education (CE) program. Like all other CompTIA credentials, renewal is required every three years to maintain your certification current. Renewing your cert ensures that you’re staying abreast of new technology and best practices in the industry, since your expertise and knowledge needs to evolve to keep up with the rapid technology changes.

You don’t need to do anything to enroll in the CE program. Once you earn your credential, you are automatically in the program, and the three-year clock starts ticking.

CompTIA offers two ways of renewing credentials: through a single activity such as earning another, higher-level credential, or through multiple activities that include earning certs, receiving training and participating in industry activities. Prior to submitting your qualifying activities for Network+ certification renewal, you need to pay an annual fee. Fees for some of the activities are waived (noted below with an asterisk*).

Renewal Through One Activity

If you want to renew your Network+ credential through one activity, you have the following four choices:

  • Take the CompTIA CertMaster CE course*: A self-paced e-course that takes about four to six hours to complete and does not require a new exam. The course is designed to bridge the gap in your knowledge between the exam that you passed and the most current version. Your Network+ certification renews automatically once you complete the course
  • Acquire an additional, higher-level CompTIA certification*: Options that count toward Network+ renewal are Security+, CySA+, PenTest+ and CASP+.
  • Earn a non-CompTIA industry certification: This could be from a vendor such as Cisco, Amazon, CheckPoint, Citrix, Microsoft and others, as well as other vendor-neutral certs from organizations such as ISACA and (ISC)2
  • Pass the latest Network+ exam* if you certified based on an older version: CompTIA introduced the most recent version of Network+ in spring 2018 to include best practices in security and cloud computing, as well as disaster recovery, network resiliency and virtualization

Renewal by Earning Continuing Education Units

Another way to renew your credential is through a combination of activities that are assigned continuing education units (CEUs). For Network+, you need to earn 30 CEUs over the three-year renewal cycle.

These activities need to be documented, and at least half of their content must relate to the Network+ exam objectives.

Activities that are included in CEUs include:

  • Earning another CompTIA certification: Get Network+ credits by taking the CompTIA Cloud+ exam within your three-year qualification period
  • Earning another industry certification from vendors and organizations such as Apple, Cisco, Microsoft, Symantec and (ISC)2: You can earn 15-26 CEUs, depending on which cert you choose.
  • Completing training and higher education: Training ranges from taking CompTIA courses for certification exams to attending an industry conference
  • Participating in IT industry activities: Examples include mentoring, teaching and creating instruction materials
  • Publishing: CEUs could be earned by publishing a blog, whitepaper, article or book
  • Gaining related work experience: You can earn 9 CEUs for work activities related to your certification

How to Earn CEUs

If you’re not sure what qualifies toward your continuing education, use CompTIA’s step-by-step online assessment app to figure out if your activity counts and what documentation you’ll need. To get credit for the CEUs, you simply upload them to your CompTIA certification account. Although activities are automatically accepted when you upload them, CompTIA does conduct random audits.

Points are calculated differently for activities — some of the CEUs are based on physical hours and some use other criteria. Here are examples of how many credits you can earn:

  • Creating instruction materials: 2 CEU for each hour of materials creation, up to 15 CEUs
  • Teaching or mentoring: 1 CEU for each hour of participation, up to 15 CEUs
  • Participating as a subject-matter expert in a CompTIA exam development workshop: 1 CEU for every workshop hour, up to 30 CEUs
  • Gaining work experience: Receive 3 CEUs per year if you submit a letter from your employer, on letterhead, describing the activity
  • Publishing a whitepaper or article: 4 CEUs if each article or paper is at least four pages long; up to 12 CEUs over three years
  • Publishing a blog post: 1 CEU for a minimum of 500 words; up to 12 CEUs total over three years
  • Publishing a book: 20 CEUs
  • Attending a live webinar or conference: 1 CEU for every hour attended; up to 6 CEUs
  • Attending a training course: 1 CEU for every hour attended; up to 30 CEUs (CompTIA has a list of pre-approved trainings from across the industry, but you can also get credit for training not on the list)
  • Completing a college course: 10 CEUs for every three- to four-credit-hour class; up to 20 CEUs

Each activity has slightly different type of documentation that needs to be submitted, so check the CompTIA website before you undertake a specific activity. You may need proof such as session descriptions, signatures and so on.

Getting the Most Out of Your CE

What option you should choose may depend largely on the time and money you want to spend. But also consider your long-term career objectives.

For example, are you still early in your career and wanting to climb the ladder? Then you may want to renew your Network+ credential by obtaining a higher-level cert like Security+, because that will give you an additional advantage as you work your way up. Are you trying to establish yourself as an industry expert? Then perhaps publishing a book gives you the most CE leverage. Do you want to renew your credential quickly and easily? The CertMaster CE may be your best option, as it’s both low cost and takes just a few hours.

Whatever certification-renewal path you decide to take, make sure you familiarize yourself with all the CE program details, so you don’t miss any requirements.

 

Sources

  1. Best Computer Networking Certifications 2018, Business News Daily
  2. Network+ certification: Where does CompTIA Network+ take you?, TechTarget
  3. Continuing Education Program FAQ, CompTIA
  4. CEU Assessment, CompTIA
  5. 10 things to watch for from CompTIA in 2018, CompTIA
  6. How to renew your CompTIA certification, CompTIA

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