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A+ Certificate: Program Overview

A+ certificate programs teach students about a variety of computer service topics, including hardware, software, installations, security, maintenance, problem solving and operating systems.

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Essential Information

A+ certificate programs teach students the necessary information to acquire the certification, which is becoming an industry-wide standard for entry-level computer technicians. The certification is provided by vendor-neutral CompTIA. Prerequisites for these certificate programs include a high school diploma or its equivalent. Applicants may be required to have completed a foundational course in computers or prove relevant field experience.


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A+ Certificate Programs

Students in A+ certificate programs receive both classroom instruction and hands-on learning. They examine all the standard hardware components of computers and peripheral equipment. They may learn to construct network systems, implement effective security measures and repair problems. Communication skills and professional development are also typically included in the A+ certificate program curriculum. Course topics may include:

  • Computer assembly and disassembly
  • Wired and wireless Internet connections
  • Microsoft Windows operating systems
  • Control panel functions
  • Troubleshooting methods

Popular Career Options

Students who successfully complete this program may acquire positions with a variety of employers, such as government agencies and computer manufacturing companies. However, additional education may be required for some positions. Possible job titles include:

  • Information technology (IT) administrator
  • Field service technician
  • Computer support technician

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports 13% job growth is expected for computer user support specialists during the 2014-2024 period (www.bls.gov). The median annual pay in May 2015 was $48,620. Computer repairers, grouped with ATM and office machine repairers, are expected to have slower-than-average 2% growth over the 2014-2024 period. BLS reported that computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers earned a median annual wage of $36,840 in May 2015.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

After graduating from the certificate program, individuals should be prepared to take the CompTIA A+ certification exams. Two exams are required: the CompTIA A+ Essentials (which tests for technical comprehension of computer technology, networking, security, communication and professionalism) and the CompTIA A+ Practical Application (which requires a practical demonstration of troubleshooting skills).

Individuals who obtained A+ certification on or before December 31, 2010, are certified for life, whereas those who acquired certification after January 1, 2011, need to recertify. Recertification is granted through continuing education and participating in qualifying activities, such as teaching industry courses, attending IT conferences and publishing IT-related articles. After gaining professional experience in the field, individuals may want to obtain other CompTIA certifications, such as CompTIA Network, CompTIA Security and CompTIA Project +.

A+ certificate training programs prepare students to take the CompTIA A+ examinations, a certification considered standard for computer technicians. One certified, graduates can pursue employment as IT administrators, computer support technicians or field service technicians.

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