What is CompTIA A+? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Taylor Karl
/ Categories: Resources, Modern Workplace
What is CompTIA A+? Here’s Everything You Need to Know 1495 0

What is CompTIA A+? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Digital transformation, advancing cybersecurity threats, and increasingly remote work environments are driving demand for information technology (IT) professionals. Despite the serious need for technology in business today, there is a serious shortage of skilled tech workers in the job market. The lack of experienced, certified IT experts is so severe that more than half of HR professionals consider filling those roles to be their greatest challenge. his problem isn't going to change anytime soon. As business technology continues evolving,  IT professionals are sure to remain in demand indefinitely.

When you look at the state of the IT industry and the significant need for workers, it’s clear there’s never been a better time to move into the field[KC1] . Whether you're just starting out in IT or have some experience in technology, enrolling in certification programs is an essential first step to taking your career to the next level. These credentials demonstrate your expertise in specific areas of IT, such as security, networking, and infrastructure.

One popular certification professionals consider is CompTIA A+, a great option for those who want to get into the field quickly because it provides the foundation for future classes.. CompTIA, short for the Computing Technology Industry Association, is a leading association representing the international technology community. The resources, support, and certifications it offers IT professionals and organizations are widely respected throughout the industry and world.

The A+ certification is an entry-level professional credential that is the industry standard for those wishing to launch their IT career. Getting CompTIA A+ certified signals to potential employers you are a problem solver capable of supporting the core technologies essential for business IT operations, including security, cloud, data management, and more.

What is CompTIA A+ Certification?

This certificate prepares individuals by offering a foundational understanding of computers and computing technologies. It covers fundamental computer and networking knowledge, focusing on the practical, hands-on skills required for IT operational roles and technical support. The certification recognizes the importance of not only understanding theoretical concepts but also being able to apply that knowledge in real-world scenarios.

A+ often gets compared to other introductory certifications, such as IT Fundamentals. IT Fundamentals is designed for complete novices to the IT world and gives a foundational understanding, whereas A+ is a bit more than that. A+ introduces other concepts around IT Service Management, coding practices, scripting, and is geared toward those with some experience in working with computers and networks. It’s the right choice for you if your goal is to work in roles that diagnose and solve hardware and software issues daily.

Why Choose CompTIA A+?

CompTIA A+ is unique in the IT industry for a number of reasons. First of all, employers worldwide use A+ as a way to identify qualified personnel in end-point management and technical support roles. IT experts regularly update the certification to ensure it teaches the current, in-demand core skills and abilities for the workplace. CompTIA A+ is geared toward people who have experience with working with computers, networks, and things of that nature, but they don't have years of experience.

Another aspect of A+ that is so important to the IT industry is the troubleshooting model. The A+ troubleshooting model is vital as it brings us back to the basics of how to approach issues. It's about working your way through the issue in a logical manner. This model is very important and learned early on while studying for the A+ test.

The A+ certification is also essential for setting IT pros up on a career path in the field. IT typically starts with entry-level IT roles such as help desk technician, where you put the troubleshooting model to work resolving software and hardware issues. Another role is as a break/fix technician, focusing on repairing and replacing faulty computer equipment. Overall, securing CompTIA IT certifications opens you up to a wide range of information technology jobs crucial to employers.

Here are some common IT roles held by those with the A+ certification and their median salaries according to data provided by ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, and Indeed:


CompTIA A+ Certification Details

Those who wish to earn the A+ certification must complete two exams: Core 1 (220-1001) and Core 2 (220-1002). The Core 1 exam covers fundamental topics such as hardware, networking, mobile devices, and hardware troubleshooting. The Core 2 test delves into operating systems, security, software troubleshooting, and operational procedures. Passing both exams demonstrates candidates’ proficiency in the essential skills required for IT support roles.



Preparing for the CompTIA A+ Exams

There is no better resource for learning the principles of A+ than the official CompTIA study guides and practice tests. Third-party materials can also be beneficial, but the focus should be on understanding core concepts and terms found on the tests.



Here are some other valuable resources that can help you prepare for the CompTIA A+ exams:


Hands-On Experience: CompTIA does not require specific experience before taking the A+ exams, but having nine to 12 months of on-the-job training is the best way to prepare.


Training Course: If working in IT before taking the exams isn’t an option, completing an A+ training course is the best way to ensure you pass these tests. Training seminars that follow a structured curriculum based on the CompTIA A+ principles can provide the background knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful IT technician.


IT Communities: Engage with online resources, such as Reddit or CompTIA forums, social media groups, or local meetups where IT professionals and aspiring candidates share experiences and knowledge. Networking can open up opportunities and provide valuable insights.


Practice Exams: CompTIA offers  official practice tests  so you can familiarize yourself with the test format and identify areas needing more attention. These mock exams reinforce the information you've studied, help you get comfortable with different question formats, and can provide a much-needed confidence boost before the day of the test.


Study Plan: Consistent, focused study sessions and hands-on practice will enhance your chances of success in the CompTIA A+ certification exams. Establish a study schedule, allocate regular study hours, and maintain consistency. Also, be sure to incorporate varied learning methods such as reading, video tutorials, training courses, and practice questions. Practice active recall and spaced repetition techniques, which can help you retain essential information.


You can adjust your study strategy based on your performance on practice tests. If you consistently struggle with specific topics, you can allocate more study time to those areas. For example, one of the most challenging aspects is the networking portion, which includes IP addresses, binary and decimal number conversion, and hexadecimal. Preparation involves practicing these concepts, especially converting binary to decimal and vice versa. If this is an area you find yourself struggling to master, you may need to refine your preparation plan and spend more time studying networking. Overall, it’s essential to schedule periodic reviews for previously covered material to ensure maximum retention.


Exam Day: What to Expect

Once exam day arrives, there are some best practices you can follow to give yourself the best chance of success. Here is some advice from our instructors for advice to help you prepare for and pass the certification exams:



You can take the CompTIA A+ exams online or in person. Pearson OnVUE is a remote exam proctoring service that provides a secure and easy way to complete your CompTIA certification exam. When you are ready to take the exam, visit CompTIA’s website, set up an account, prepare your testing environment, and schedule your exams. Both exams are 90 minutes long and cost $246.


Regardless of how you choose to take the exam, you will be required to agree with the CompTIA Candidate Agreement. Beyond that, there are different requirements for online testing vs. in-person.



There are online testing policies and procedures related to system requirements, your exam workspace, and testing for candidates under 17. You will have to run a system test on the same computer and network you will use to take your exam. You must also take photos of yourself and your exam workspace to confirm it meets CompTIA's requirements. That includes moving all books and writing objects out of arm's reach, unplugging additional monitors and computers, and clearing your walls of any writing.


Testing Center

On the day of your exam, you should arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled exam time. You will need to complete the sign-in procedures, which require you to present two forms of identification. Please note that you cannot bring personal items into the testing room, including bags, books, notes, computers, tablets, smartphones and smartwatches.


To pass the 220-1001 exam, test takers need a minimum passing score of 675 out of 900. To pass the 220-1002 exam, test takers need a minimum passing score of 700 out of 900. If you fail to pass the A+ exams, CompTIA does not require any waiting period between the first and second attempts. Please note that if you fail the exam, you must pay the exam price each time you attempt the exam. CompTIA does not offer any free re-tests or discounts on retakes.


If you encounter challenges or fail on your first attempt, don't be discouraged. Learn from the experience, identify areas for improvement, and use it as motivation to succeed in the next attempt.


Beyond CompTIA A+: Advanced Certifications

After achieving the CompTIA A+ certification, IT professionals often pursue more advanced certifications to further specialize in specific information technology areas or enhance their overall skill set. Your path can depend on your career goals, interests, and the particular IT roles you aspire to. Here are some certification options that individuals pursue after CompTIA A+:



As technology and cybersecurity threats continue to evolve, IT professionals must evolve along with them. Continuous learning to acquire knowledge about best practices, methodologies, and tools will ensure you can contribute to the efficient operation of IT infrastructures.



CompTIA A+ certified professionals are proven problem solvers capable of supporting the core technologies essential for business IT operations, including security, cloud, data management, and more. It provides a solid foundation in technology skills and serves as a stepping stone for further certifications and career advancement within the IT field. Every successful IT professional started somewhere. With dedication, continuous learning, and a positive mindset, you can confidently navigate the journey toward CompTIA A+ certification and lay the groundwork for a fulfilling career in IT.