Monday, July 3, 2023

Is Comptia A Worth It? How to Weigh Your Options

So, you’d like to know if getting the CompTIA A+ certification is in your best interests. Of course, it’s wise to count the cost: How long will you study? How much do you plan to spend? What is your study and practice schedule? If you’re thinking, “Is CompTIA A+ worth it?” you’re in the right place.

We’ll explain how A+ fits your educational and IT career journey. This article will show you how much time and money you need to spend if you decide to go for the A+ exams and the possibilities A+ opens up for you so that you can make an informed decision on this certification.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

CompTIA A+ Certification

CompTIA A+ comprises two certification exams:

  • Core 1 focuses on hardware, cloud computing, and networking technology, and
  • Core 2 is about software, operating systems, and cyber security basics.

Here is a chart on CompTIA A+ exam objectives (domains):

CompTIA A+ Domains: Core 1 220-1101: 1.0 Mobile Devices 14% 2.0 Networking 20% 3.0 Hardware 27% 4.0 Virtualization and Cloud Computing 12% 5.0 Hardware and Network Troubleshooting 27%; Core 2 220-1102: 1.0 Operating Systems 27% 2.0 Security 24% 3.0 Software Troubleshooting 26% 4.0 Operational Procedures 23%
CompTIA A+ Exam Domains

For details, refer to our A+ cheat sheet. We also have articles explaining what CompTIA A+ is and the relevant jobs open to you once you get your A+.

The CompTIA A+ is ideal for those aiming for entry-level IT help desk or technical support jobs. Consider a more challenging certification if you already have a tertiary degree in IT or a related field. Still, if you want to break into the IT industry but your foundation in IT needs to be stronger, consider taking A+.

Top 5 Reasons to Get Your CompTIA A+ Certification

Time and Financial Investment

It’s important to set aside time and money for A+ study materials. Moreover, owing to the evolving nature of IT, CompTIA A+ is not a one-and-done type of certification. It expires three years after you’ve passed your A+ exams, and you must take up continuing education units (CEUs) to retain your credentials, A+ or otherwise.

An excellent self-paced study course will prepare you well for the A+ exams and compensate for your lack of work or hands-on experience. If you’re looking for good A+ study resources, we’ve listed a few in the conclusion of this article. Some students pay for additional practice tests to ensure they have all their bases covered. Being part of an A+ study group online or offline is also helpful.

As of writing, the listed price of the A+ exam set is $246 (USD). You have two methods to renew your certification:

  • With multiple activities: Collect at least 20 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through CompTIA-approved activities, including advanced certifications, work experience, publishing, and participating in industry events. To renew A+, you should upload sufficient proof of participation to your certification account and pay a renewal fee.
  • With a single activity: Advanced CompTIA certifications such as Network+ and Security+ suffice to renew A+. You can also complete CompTIA’s online, self-paced continuing education course CertMaster CE, the A+ version of which costs $129 (USD) as of writing.

Although A+ has no hard-and-fast prerequisites, CompTIA recommends that A+ candidates have nine to 12 months of hands-on experience in technical roles in academia or industry, which helps reduce study time. Three to four months is the average time for someone new to IT to prepare for both A+ exams.

Knowledge Gained

From A+ study materials, you’ll gain technical knowledge of how hardware and software work. If you’re new to IT, you can get hands-on experience with various hardware components by joining a local hackerspace. Such participation will help you gain a practical understanding of how the nitty-gritty of the hardware works and aid you in questions on technical troubleshooting.

As a technician, a solid working knowledge of hardware, software, and networking can help you identify and solve IT problems confidently. Being in control engenders trust in your non-technical employers and clients. The A+ technical troubleshooting steps (pictured below) are also the standard operating procedure for technicians, regardless of whether they’re A+ certified.

CompTIA A+ Technical Troubleshooting—Best Practice Methodology: Given a scenario, apply the best practice methodology to resolve problems. - Always consider corporate policies, procedures, and impacts before implementing changes 1. Identify the problem - Gather information from the user, identify user changes, and, if applicable, perform backups before making changes - Inquire regarding environmental or infrastructure changes 2. Establish a theory of probable cause (question the obvious) - If necessary, conduct external or internal research based on symptoms 3. Test the theory to determine the cause - Once the theory is confirmed, determine the next steps to resolve the problem - If the theory is not confirmed, re-establish a new theory or escalate 4. Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution - Refer to the vendor’s instructions for guidance 5. Verify full system functionality and, if applicable, implement preventive measures 6. Document the findings, actions, and outcomes
Technical Troubleshooting—Best Practice Methodology

Apart from technical support jobs, those aspiring to enter IT, cyber security, cloud computing, and web/app development may want to get the A+ certification to prove their technical ability.

CompTIA A+ in StationX's Cyber Security Certification Roadmap: A+ belongs to Essential IT
Location of A+ in the StationX Cyber Security Certification Roadmap


CompTIA boasts of A+ being the industry standard for establishing a career in IT. That’s because A+ has been available since 1993 to aspiring and current IT professionals with few comparable contenders. CompTIA keeps A+ up-to-date with current technologies, making it the go-to certification for anyone desiring to enter the IT industry.

If employment in IT is your immediate concern, your main job prospects and opportunities with A+ are the following five entry-level job types:

  • Help Desk Technician
  • Desktop Support Technician
  • IT Support Specialist
  • Field Service Technician
  • Computer Repair Technician

Full-timers in these five roles can earn a salary of $33k – $60k annually.

You can find thousands of open positions that require or mention CompTIA A+ online. As of writing, LinkedIn alone returns over 33,000 results for a US-based job search on CompTIA A+.

LinkedIn CompTIA A+ search results (US)

Meanwhile, Glassdoor has more than 5,000 results for US-based jobs whose descriptions mention CompTIA A+:

Glassdoor CompTIA A+ search results (US)

If you have plans for further study beyond A+, you may consider taking up Network+ and Security+ next: the former builds a solid foundation in networking and overlaps much with the latter’s syllabus.

For a detailed breakdown, refer to our A+ Jobs article.


We hope our brief article answering “Is CompTIA A+ worth it?” gives you a clear idea of the jobs A+ offers, foundational knowledge in A+, and investments to make if you pursue A+. If your goal is to enter a career in IT but have little experience, this is an ideal certification for you.

The knowledge and skills in A+ apply across much of the IT industry, so it’s important to consider your career goals when deciding whether to get A+ certified.

If you want to learn more about A+ and other IT certifications that may be suitable for you, check out our articles on this subject and our course offerings below:

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need CompTIA A+ for cyber security?

Technically, no: not all cyber security professionals are A+ certified.
Practically, yes: you need the knowledge contained in the A+ syllabus to understand networking, which underlies everything in cyber security.

Do I need CompTIA A+ before Security+?

No, you don’t need to take A+ before you take Security+, but we advise you to master the fundamentals of hardware, software, and networking (the combined A+ and Network+ syllabus) if you want to pass the Security+ exam.

How many times can you take CompTIA A+?

Countless times. The caveat is: please don’t cheat. Cheating disqualifies candidates from future CompTIA exams. Read more about CompTIA’s policy on cheating here.

Is CompTIA A+ hard to get?

A+ comprises two exams, not one, presenting some challenges. All it takes to get certified is putting in the effort and passing the two A+ exams. We have self-paced A+ study courses and practice tests to help you get started.

from StationX

No comments:

Post a Comment