The Basics

Congratulations on earning your CompTIA A+ certification! You’re now a recognized expert in the skills needed to be a computer service technologist. To get the best mileage out of your credential over the course of your career, you’ll want to keep it updated and active. Luckily, CompTIA has a convenient system in place for renewing your certificate, so you don’t need to take the exam over again (unless you want to!). This article will cover the why, when and how of renewing your A+ certificate.

Why Renew?

Why is it important to renew your CompTIA A+ certification? Information technology is a fast-moving and ever-evolving field. As a result, the skills, knowledge and expertise you need to stay informed is also changing. By updating your certification, you can be confident you’re using the most cutting-edge tools to stay ahead of your competition. Your skills will be a great asset to your career, your employer and the millions of Web and mobile users you’re helping each and every day.

Renewal Cycle: What to Know

Once you successfully pass the (A+ exam) for the first time, your credential will be valid for three years from that date. In other words, if you pass the test on January 1st, 2019, it will be valid until January 1st, 2022. In order to keep it valid, you must renew it prior to that date; otherwise, you’ll have to go through the exam process all over again.

There are two ways you can renew your A+ certification: retaking the exam and earning Continuing Education Units (CEUs). We’ll explore each option in depth in the next section.

In addition to your renewal date, keep in mind you’ll have to pay an annual Continuing Education fee to keep your certification active. For the CompTIA A+, that fee amounts to $25 per year (or $75 for the full three-year cycle).

Renewal Requirements: CEUs vs. Retaking Exam

Your CompTIA A+ credential can be renewed through earning Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or by retaking the current version of the exam.

CEUs are credits earned by completing qualified activities. To qualify, your activities need to meet three requirements: timing, relevance and documentation.

  1. Timing: You’ll need to complete 20 hours of CEUs in the three-year window between the date you earned the certificate and the date it expires. Note that CEU hours vary for each certification; if you have more than one certification through CompTIA, you can check the CEU hour requirements here.
  2. Relevance: 50% of your activities need to overlap with core competencies covered by the A+ exam.
  3. Documentation: Each of your activities has to be documented to ensure they meet CompTIA’s definition of continuing education.

Now that we’ve looked at the basics, let’s dive into some specific activities that count as CEUs.

CEUs: Work Experience, Training and Industry Activities

  • Earn another CompTIA certification: If you were planning on earning another credential through CompTIA, like Security+ or Network+, this will count towards a portion of the credits you need to renew your A+. Depending on the program, you may earn all the necessary credits. That’s a great deal, but there’s more: From now on, renewing your highest-level certification will automatically renew any lower-level certifications you have as well!
  • Work experience: Working in the IT sector? Great news, because your daily work tasks could count towards renewing your certification.
  • Training: Training consists of updating your skills through classes and industry courses as opposed to experience gained in the field. CompTIA will accept CEU credit for activities such as college classes, industry training courses, webinars, and conferences. CompTIA has a list of pre-approved training courses you can choose from.
  • Industry Activities: Outside of the realm of education and work experience, there are a variety of other industry activities that qualify towards your CEUs. These activities include teaching, mentoring and joining a CompTIA exam workshop as a Subject-Matter Expert.
  • Publications: Are you an IT expert who loves an old-fashioned ink pen as much as pentesting? You’ll be happy to learn that you can earn CEU credits by putting your expertise onto paper (or website) by publishing relevant articles, blogs, whitepapers and books.

What Happens If You Don’t Renew In Time?

If your certification expires before you can fulfil the renewal requirements, you’ll have to retake the exam. To avoid running into any snags, CompTIA recommends taking a proactive approach and spacing your renewal activities out during the three-year renewal window so you don’t suddenly find yourself unable to complete them at the last minute. Instead, familiarize yourself with the list of qualifying activities. identify which ones you’d like to pursue and add them to your calendar with plenty of time to successfully complete each one.

What If You Already Have Other CompTIA Certifications?

If so, keep in mind that you only need to renew your highest=level certification. For example, if you hold both the CompTIA A+ and Security+, renewing your Security+ will automatically take care of your A+ as well.

Keep your expiration dates in mind as well. If your A+ credential expires before you renew your highest-level certification, you’ll need to retake the exam. You can save yourself the hassle of repeating the training by planning your recertification around the credential with the earliest expiration date.

Learn About Security+

If you’re interested in pursuing other programs through CompTIA and are wondering where to begin, Security+ would be an excellent way to expand upon your A+ skills in addition to breaking into the security field. Picking up a security credential is great for your career trajectory: 62% of IT managers agree that security skills are an absolute must for incoming hires. You can also look forward to earning a competitive salary in the cybersecurity field.

InfoSec Institute offers an award-winning Security+ bootcamp with an exam pass guarantee and over 10,000+ 5-star reviews from its students. Plus, InfoSec’s students have the highest Security+ pass rates in the industry. Learn more today!

 

Sources

  1. CompTIA Continuing Education Overview, CompTIA
  2. CompTIA Continuing Education Program and Certification Renewal Policy, CompTIA
  3. Earn Continuing Education Credits (CEUs), CompTIA