The A+ Certification is provided by CompTIA, which is a non-profit trade association and provides various professional certifications for the IT industry, all over the world. CompTIA’s certifications including the A+ certification are recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) which increases their significance in the IT industry.
The A+ certification is basically designed to be vendor neutral and covers various technologies from different vendors, including Microsoft, Apple, HP, Novell, Cisco and Linux Distributions. Professionals having the A+ certification are recognized as competent entry level computer technicians, having knowledge which is the equivalent of 500 hours of field experience.
Candidates who have acquired the A+ certification possess the required knowledge to understand the fundamentals of and identify the different components of computer technology, networking and security.
Since its development back in 1993, the A+ certification has gone through four revisions the latest version which was introduced in 2009, requires the candidates to pass two exams to achieve the certification these include the A+ Essentials and A+ Practical Application exams.
Because the A+ certification is ISO 17024 accredited, it goes through updates to the exam, on a regular basis. Due to changes in certification conditions that were announced in 2010 the A+ certifications will now expire after 3 years. Previously these certifications had a lifetime validity status. People who are current certificate holders will retain the validity for life but the candidates attempting the certification after December 31, 2010 will have a expiry period of 3 years on their certifications. To date there are more than 700,000 people worldwide, who have earned the A+ certification.
Each exam consists of 100 questions and the duration for each exam is 90 minutes. The passing score on a scale of 100 – 900 is 675 for the A+ Essentials exam and 700 for the A+ Practical Application.
The exams are currently available in 8 different languages worldwide. The cost of the exams is $168 for each of the two exams, although CompTIA members are eligible for discounts.
The A+ certification combined with CompTIA’s Network+ certification can be used to qualify as an elective exam for Microsoft’s MCSA and MCSE certification
The exam objectives are reviewed and revised at regular intervals to ensure that the contents of the certification are current. Due to this reason the following information is not necessarily an exhaustive list of test objectives.
Troubleshooting, Repair & Maintenance
Operating System and Software
Sub topics under these main exam objectives include knowledge about IRQs, direct memory access, and practical skills regarding computer repair, which includes the installation and repair of various devices i.e. hard drives, modems, network cards, CPUs, power supplies along with PDAs and printers. The main emphasis of the exam is not theory, but developing practical skills.