CompTIA Network+: earning CPEs [2022 update]
CompTIA Network+ is a widely-recognized entry-level IT networking certification that can serve as a great addition to any resume to access various positions, including Junior Network Administrator, Network Engineer, System Administrator and Telecommunications Technician. As well, it can be a stepping stone for other networking credentials.
Certified professionals are sought after by employers, as they can prove they are at the forefront of the most rapidly evolving industry and have the passion and will to keep their knowledge up-to-date. Being vendor-neutral, CompTIA ISO/ANSI-accredited exam validates the technical skills needed to maintain the networks that businesses rely on today, regardless of the platforms.
To ensure they keep their knowledge current, CompTIA requires certified professionals to maintain their status by participating in continuing education activities year after year.
Renewing your Network+ cert
Once you receive your Network+ certification, you have to renew it through CompTIA’s Continuing Education (CE) program that ensures the continued validation of your expertise and allows you to add to your skillset.
Like all other CompTIA credentials, renewal is required every three years to maintain your current certification. This ensures that you’re staying abreast of new technology and best practices in the industry since your expertise and knowledge need 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. At least 50 percent of the activity content must relate to one or more of the exam objectives for the certification you’re renewing.
Before submitting your qualifying activities for Network+ certification renewal, you need to pay an annual fee of $50 for a three-year total of $150; this is a small investment to show your commitment to your career. Some CE activities require no fee: passing the latest version of your CompTIA exam, earning a higher-level CompTIA certification, the self-paced e-learning course CompTIA CertMaster CE.
Note that the terms CPE and CE are used interchangeably, referring to the points certified holders receive for participating in professional development activities to count toward the required number.
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 for Network+ course. This self-paced e-course takes about four to six hours to complete and does not require a new exam. The course is designed to bridge your knowledge gap between the exam 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+, Cloud+ (CV0-003), CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+ and Server+.
- Earn a non-CompTIA industry certification. A selected number of credentials can be chosen from vendors such as Cisco, Amazon, CheckPoint, Citrix, Microsoft, and more and other vendor-neutral certs from organizations such as ISACA and (ISC)2. Note: CE fees apply when renewing your CompTIA certification with a non-CompTIA IT industry certification.
- Pass the latest Network+ exam if you were certified based on an older version. CompTIA introduced the most recent version of Network+ (N10-008), which was released on Sept. 15, 2021, to include deeper coverage of technologies that have lately gained more importance in the lives of businesses, including virtualization, cloud-based services, Internet of Things (IoT) or new technologies such as 5G cellular. New content like software-defined networking (SDN) and IPv6 address structures are covered in detail together with tools like intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) for security. The updated exam also contains additional network media (cabling or wireless) and defensive security and risk management concepts to reflect changes in job roles.
Renewal by earning continuing education units
Another way to renew your credential is by combining activities that are assigned continuing education units (CEUs). For Network+, you need to earn 30 CEUs over the three-year renewal cycle.
These activities must 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. Achieving a higher-level CompTIA certification, such as taking the CompTIA Security+ exam, will automatically renew your Network+ certification.
- Earning another industry certification from vendors and organizations such as Cisco, Microsoft, Symantec and (ISC)2. You can earn up to 30 CEUs, depending on which cert you choose. Submit the completed IT industry certification by selecting the “Earned a Non-CompTIA Certification” activity to receive CEUs.
- 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 instructional materials.
- Publishing. CEUs could be earned by publishing a blog, whitepaper, article or book; you can earn 12 or 20 CEUs.
- Gaining related work experience. You can earn nine CEUs for work activities at least 50 percent related to one or more of the exam objectives.
How to earn CEUs
If you’re unsure what qualifies toward your continuing education, use CompTIA’s step-by-step online assessment app to determine if your activity counts and what documentation you’ll need. To get credit for the CEUs, you 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 which CE activities you can complete to renew your certification:
- Creating instruction materials: two CEU for each hour of materials creation, up to 15 CEUs
- Teaching or mentoring: one CEU for each hour of participation, up to 15 CEUs
- Participating as a subject-matter expert in a CompTIA exam development workshop: one CEU for every workshop hour, up to 30 CEUs
- Gaining work experience: Receive three CEUs per year, and up to nine CEUs over the renewal cycle, if you submit a letter from your employer, on letterhead, describing the activity
- Publishing a whitepaper or article: four CEUs for each article or paper that is at least four pages long; up to 12 CEUs over three years
- Publishing a blog post: one CEU for a minimum of 500 words; up to 12 CEUs total over three years
- Publishing a book: 20 CEUs; it must be written and published during your three-year renewal cycle
- Attending a live webinar or conference: one CEU for every hour attended; up to six CEUs
- Attending a training course: one CEU for every hour attended; up to 30 CEUs (CompTIA has a list of pre-approved training from across the industry, but you can also get credit for training, not on the list)
- Completing a college course: 10 CEUs for each three to four credit-hour class; up to 30 CEUs
Each activity has a slightly different type of documentation that needs to be submitted, so check the CompTIA website before you undertake a specific activity. You may need to provide proof of registration or completion certificates to earn and receive CEUs.
Getting the most out of your CE
Many CE activities can be considered in renewing your Network+ certification. What option you should choose depends largely on the time and money you want to spend and 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 certification 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 to avoid missing any of the requirements set by CompTIA.
- CompTIA Network+ Certification Exam Objectives EXAM NUMBER: N10-008, CompTIA
- What Renewal Options Are Available to You?, CompTIA
- 4 Reasons Employers Look for Certified Staff, CompTIA
- How to Renew Your CompTIA Certification, CompTIA
- Continuing Education Renewal Fees, CompTIA
- Renew with a Single Activity, CompTIA
- CEU Assessment, CompTIA
- Network+, CompTIA
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