Recertification for CompTIA A+ Network+ and Security+
We get a fair amount of questions regarding CompTIA recertification requirements and modalities as in are there other ways to recertify than retaking the entire test? Because of the CertBlaster offerings we get mostly questions on A+, Network+ and Security+ recertification and to a lesser extent Linux+ (which does not expire). However, below is the complete list of certification that do expire. Click the link to learn more about the CompTIA exam retirement dates.
– CompTIA A+
– CompTIA Network+
– CompTIA Mobility+
– CompTIA Security+
– CompTIA Cloud+
– CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP).
A little background
CompTIA certifications took off in earnest with the launch of A+ back in 1993. After A+ came the rest. Between 1993 and 2011 it was deemed that recertification was not necessary as IT Support Tech would keep current just by being on the job. Say you certify in A+ in 2006 and work in support from 2006 till 2010 and then decide to change employer. The new recruiter would feel comfortable you are current as you have been supporting systems and products up until the year you are applying for this new job. The exception of course would be if you had been unemployed for some years. In that case, the reasoning went, the new employer could just ask you to sit for the latest version of the test. Basically according to this approach you were current in your knowledge by virtue of doing current work.
If you got certified prior to 2011, you will retain your certification for life. No renewal is required as far as CompTIA is concerned. However you may choose to or be required to enroll in the continuing education program. The Department of Defense is an example of an agency that will require you to be “current” in your certification even if you passed it before 2011.
Everything changes in 2011 with the “CE version”
Effective January 1, 2011, CompTIA certification holders are required to renew their certification status every three years. Certifications earned since 2011 contain the designation “CE” (for Continuing Education) to indicate the certification is subject to the renewal policy.
There are three ways renewal can be achieved:
- Take the most current version of the CompTIA certification exam you already have.
- Pass an approved higher level certification (CompTIA or others) in the same field.
- Earn continuing education units (CEUs) by participating in qualified activities such as classes, publishing an article or white paper or attending relevant (and CompTIA approved) conferences or events. The CompTIA certification renewal requires 30 CEUs per renewal period.
So under point one, if you passed A+ in November, 2013 you would have to retake the A+ exam in October 2016. This would then not be the exact same exam as you took in 2013. In 2013 you would have sat for A+ exams 220-801 (Hardware) and 220-802 (Software). Three years later there is a new version and you would now have to sit for A+ exams 220-801 (Hardware) and 220-802 (Software).
Under point two an example of approved higher level certification would be CASP for Security+. Say you passed Security+ SY0-401 in January 2014 and need to recertify in 2017. You would then not have to take Security+ SY0-501 in 2017 you could skip that step and sit for the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner aka CASP. CASP is considered by CompTIA a higher level security certification and so “overrides” Security+. What is neat about this solution is that now if you succeed at CASP you have two current certifications: Security+ and CASP.
From high to low, the levels as defined by CompTIA is as follows:
So according to above, if you have A+ and three years later sit for Network+ and pass, then you are still A+ certified. if you have Network+ and three years later sit for Security+ and pass, then you are still Network+ certified in addition to Security+ certified.
For point three you would have to consult the CompTIA website but know that that is the safest and possibly cheapest way to go (depending on what activities you choose). Here are the required Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for the three aforementioned certifications:
A+ Certification: 20 CEUs
Network+: 30 CEUs
Security+ 50 CEUs
CE Fees for each renewable Certification Track:
|Certification Track||Annual CE fee||Total CE fee (3-year period)|
|CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)||$50||$150|
As always for practice tests for any of above certs, we recommend you go to CertBlaster (no surprise there):