Comptia A+ Logo

Why should you get certified?

 

Why should you get certified for CompTIA A+?  First off, let’s talk about what this certification actually is.  The CompTIA A+ certification is an entry-level certification that validates a person’s understanding of hardware and software of computers.  The certification consists of many aspects of a computer that include PC installation, troubleshooting, networking, PC hardware, mobile device hardware, and much more. The A+ certification consists of two separate series, the 800 series and the 900 series, that cover different fundamentals of PCs, software, and operating systems.  The series number does not make a difference in certification.  This will be touched on later.  

The importance of the A+ certification is that it essentially proves that a person understands the basic components of a computer that involve troubleshooting, proper computer safety procedures, and other skills to maintain and configure a computer. The A+ certification could provide many benefits to a person when it comes to their future career or even current career.  For example, the certification is likely to enhance your chances at getting employed.  Having that A+ on your resume and character boosts your credibility and shows that you have the required knowledge to perform the job.  According to CompTIA.org, employers tend to look for IT certifications, such as the A+, for five reasons:  

  1. Certifications provide employers a reason to fill open positions.
  2. Many companies’ IT staff are capable to holding certifications.
  3. Employees that are IT certified are said to be great employees.
  4. The importance of IT certifications are increasing.
  5. Training is important, but not enough.

 

The difference between 800 series and 900 series?

 

Is there a difference between the 800 series and the 900 series?  Regardless of which series a person decides to take, the outcome will be the same.  A person will receive the A+ certification with either series.  The difference, however, between the series is the content that each provides.  The 800 series is split up into two exams, CompTIA A+ 220-801 and CompTIA A+ 220-802.  The first exam, 220-801, covers PC hardware, networking, laptops, printers and operational procedures.  The second exam, 220-802, covers operating systems, security, Android and iOS mobile devices, and troubleshooting.  

The 900 series is the updated version of the A+ exam.  The A+ exam is updated every three years in order to keep up with current trends and new technology.  The 900 series is also split up into two exams.  The first exam, 220-901 covers PC hardware, mobile device hardware, networking, and troubleshooting hardware.  The second exam, 220-902 covers operating systems such as Windows, iOS, Apple OS X, and Linux.

Depending on which exam you take, you will receive the A+ certification.  However, you must pass either both 220-801 and 220-802, or 220-901 and 220-902.  A person is not able to mix and match exams.  For example, you will not be certified if you pass 220-801, then pass 220-902.  If one decides to take the 800 series, one must complete both exams by June 30, 2016, which is when the 800 series will retire.  After that date, the 900 series will be only exam available.  Keep in mind that the exam must be retaken every three years in order to keep one's certification.

 

The tasks/activities?

These tasks and activities were created in courtesy of Professor Messor, a website that provides those looking to get certified with free content to aid them in their journey.

ComTIA-Certification-Project-Plan-Tasks

 

How to get prepared for the exam?

There are several way to get prepared to the A+ exam.  It all depends on a person's learning style, time, effort, preference, and/or even budget.

One way to get prepared to the exam could be through certification.comptia.org, with their program called the CompTIA CertMaster A+.  The CertMaster A+ is an online tool that aids in preparing a person for the A+ exam.  The tool provides a person with sets of questions that test whether or not they understand the material.  The tests will adapt t0 a person's learning as they progress.  For example, the test will remove certain images or descriptions on questions it feels a person is capable of answering.  This test could be useful for those who want to learn with moderate effort.  The cost of this tool varies in bundles.  The first bundle includes either the CertMaster for CompTIA A+ 220-801 or CertMaster for CompTIA A+ for $139 each.  The next bundle includes the set of the CertMaster for both CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 for $249.  Finally, the last bundle includes a CompTIA A+ exam voucher, a free exam retake, and a Certmaster for either the 220-801 or the 220-802.  The license of the Certmaster lasts for one year, so depending on a person's effort and time, they will be able to get certified in that time frame.

The next way to prepare for the exam is to pay for an instructor-led course.  During the course, you will be able to learn all that you need about the A+ exam in a classroom setting.  One will learn how to handle computers with hands-on training.  When taking these classes, the course will last for five days, and will go over various lessons to prepare one for the exam.  The costs for these classes will cost about $2,495 through $2,745 depending when you register for the class.  The class will include hands-on learning, exam preparation, and one exam voucher.

The final way one could prepare for the exam is through self-study.  If one is motivated enough, he/she could pass the A+ exam all on his/her own.  This method of preparing for the exam probably requires the most effort because one must learn the materials on their own.  The costs for self-study vary depending on the materials one decides to use. There are many books and guides that one could purchase, which most cost roughly around $30-$50.  There are also free material online such as Professor Messor, 4Tests, and even Certification.CompTIA.org.  These sources provide free tests and practice exams, as well as videos on learning the material for the exam.  Depending on the person, one could be prepared to take the exam in as little as three months, depending on one's experience.

Where to take the exam?

There are many locations to take the A+ exam in Milwaukee.  Here are three locations that I found were great locations.

UMOS, Inc.
2701 S. Chase Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53207

Milwaukee Area Technical College
700 West State Street
Room S215
Milwaukee, WI 53233

YWCA Southeast Wisconsin
334 W. Brown St.
Milwaukee, WI 53212

How much does the exam cost?

The CompTIA Marketplace provides various options to pay for the A+ exam.

  • Basic Package
    • 1 Exam voucher
      • Cost – $199
  • Deluxe Package
    • 1 Exam voucher
    • 1 Free exam retake voucher
    • CertMaster Tool
      • Cost – $297
  • Premier Package
    • 1 Exam voucher
    • 1 Free exam retake voucher
    • CertMaster Tool
    • $100 E-gift card
      • Cost – $382

 

Summary
Article Name
CompTIA A+ Certification Preparation and Overview
Description
Brief article on the CompTIA A+ exam. How to prepare for the exam, the costs, and description on the materials involved.
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