Aug 10, 2022

What Is the CompTIA A+ Certification?

 The CompTIA A+ certification is an entry-level qualification in the information technology (IT) industry. Issued by IT association CompTIA, the A+ certification is widely accepted as an industry standard certification often used to start a career in IT.

Here's a quick look at the basics [1]:

  • The CompTIA A+ is composed of two exams in the Core Series—the 220-1101 and 220-1102.

  • Each exam costs $246 in the US, as of November 2022, with a total cost of $492.

  • The exams will test your knowledge of operating systems, mobile devices, security, networking, hardware, and virtualization and cloud computing.

What jobs can I get with the CompTIA A+ certification?

The CompTIA A+ certification is widely recognized as the go-to certification for an entry-level position in IT. Here are a few entry-level jobs that often call for the CompTIA A+ certification, and their average US base salaries (according to November 2022 data from Glassdoor).

  • Help desk analyst: $49,307

  • IT technician: $46,083

  • Help desk specialist: $48,473

  • Technical support specialist: $50,130

  • Desktop support administrator: $50,422

  • System support specialist: $58,567

  • Associate network engineer: $71,713

Keep in mind that this number might change depending on where you’re located—IT jobs in large cities might pay more than those in smaller towns to adjust for cost of living, for example. Other factors, like your education level and previous experience, can also influence your salary.

What’s on the CompTIA A+ exam?

The exam for the certification combines multiple-choice questions and performance-based questions. The exam broadly tests your knowledge of various IT basics in categories including hardware, software, networking, operating systems, and security. Expect questions to cover the following domains:

Domains for exam 220-1101

  • Mobile devices: Installing and configuring laptops and mobile devices

  • Networking: Types of networks and connections (TCP/IP, wifi, SOHO, etc.)

  • Hardware: Identifying, using, and connecting devices and hardware components

  • Virtualization and cloud computing: Comparing cloud concepts and setting up client-side virtualization

  • Hardware and network troubleshooting: Solving issues with devices and networks

Domains for exam 220-1102

  • Operating systems: Installing and configuring Windows OS, and understanding Mac OS, Linux, and mobile OS

  • Security: Identifying and protecting against vulnerabilities in both devices and networks

  • Software troubleshooting: Resolving issues with applications on PC and mobile devices, including security support

  • Operational procedures: Best practices for safety, sustainability, communication, and professionalism

How to get a CompTIA A+ certification

There are several ways you can prepare for the CompTIA A+ exam: 

  • Online, instructor led-courses can prepare you for the exam. 

  • Community colleges in your area might offer preparatory courses.

  • Self-study—learning through online videos or books without an instructor—can also work. 

Whatever method you choose, CompTIA recommends nine to 12 months hands-on experience in the lab or field and dedicating 120 hours to prepare for the test.

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