According to CompTIA, over 1 million IT professionals currently have A+ certification. While it is not required, A+ certification is one way to prove technical prowess when competing for employment as a computer technician or other IT-related position. Certification requires passing two exams and and keeping up with continuing education requirements for renewal.
Earning A+ certification can provide the knowledge, skills and customer relation abilities needed to be a successful computer service technician. This certification confirms a computer technician's ability to perform basic tasks, including installation, configuration and basic networking. Six to twelve months of experience in the field or a laboratory is recommended before obtaining this certification.
|Training||6 to 12 months experience recommended|
|Education||Option of taking an A+ Certification course, completing a self-study program or online training|
|Examinations||Must pass two 90-minute tests|
|Continuing Education||Required every three years to maintain certification|
|Median Salary (2018)||$53,470 for computer support specialists|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||10% growth for computer support specialists|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Computer Technician Programs Overview
Computer support specialists help set up computer systems and keep them in good working order. According to O*Net Online, most computer user support specialists, including computer technicians, have either completed some college or received an undergraduate degree. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that job openings for computer support specialists were expected to increase by 10% between 2018 and 2028.
Education for these professionals can include certificate programs in computer and network technology, computer technologies or computer hardware support, as well as degree programs like the Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Technology and Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.
These programs can train students to perform hands-on maintenance and repairs, as well as provide services via email, chat or a telephone through what is typically known as a 'help desk.' Common topics covered in programs that prepare computer technicians for A+ certification include:
- Computer support fundamentals
- Web page design
- Service skills
- Information systems basics
- Software development
A+ Certification is an entry-level credential that establishes the knowledge and competence of computer support specialists. Unlike some IT certification programs, A+ Certification is vendor-neutral, which means that it is not sponsored by a manufacturer or seller of computer products. Instead, CompTIA issues A+ Certification, as well as numerous other IT certification programs.
CompTIA's website notes that the A+ Certification program is accredited by the American Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It also notes that some federal agencies, such as the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, recognize or make use of A+ Certification in their operations.
To complete A+ Certification, candidates must pass the CompTIA A+ Essentials and CompTIA A+ Practical Application exams. The first exam focuses on technical knowledge, while the second exam tests practical skills and troubleshooting ability. Those who wish to become A+ Certified have the option of taking an A+ Certification course or completing a self-study program before taking the exams.
Certification is valid for three years. Those who wish to retain the credential after three years must complete approved continuing education activities, such as writing articles, teaching and participating in conferences.
CompTIA A+ certification can be obtained by completing two 90-minute exams. Online and teacher-led training programs are available and highly recommended, but not required for certification. CompTIA also offers continuing education programs for renewing certification every three years.