A Comprehensive Guide for CompTIA A+ Certification

comptia cert

The CompTIA A+ certification has been described as an “entry-level rite of passage for IT technicians,” and for a good reason. This certification is designed for folks seeking a career as a help desk, support, service center, or networking technician. It covers PC and laptop hardware, software installation, and configuration of computer and mobile operating systems. A+ also tests a candidate’s understanding of basic networking, troubleshooting, and security skills, which serve as a springboard for CompTIA networking or security certifications or those offered by other organizations.

According to CompTIA(1), more than one million IT professionals hold the A+ certification. The A+ is required for Dell, Intel, and HP service technicians and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense. CompTIA released new “Core” exams for the CompTIA A+ credential on January 15, 2019.

About the Certification

CompTIA A+ certified professionals are proven problem-solvers. They support today’s core technologies, from security to cloud to data management and more. CompTIA A+ is the industry standard for launching IT careers into today’s digital world. It is the only credential with performance-based items to prove the pros can think on their feet to perform critical IT support tasks at the moment.

According to CompTIA, “The CompTIA A+ Core Series requires candidates to pass two exams: Core 1 (220-1001) and Core 2 (220-1002) covering the following new content:

  • Demonstrate baseline security skills for IT support professionals
  • Configure device operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, and iOS and administer client-based as well as cloud-based (SaaS) software
  • Troubleshoot, and problem solve core service and support challenges while applying best practices for documentation, change management, and scripting
  • Support basic IT infrastructure and networking
  • Configure and support PC, mobile and IoT device hardware
  • Implement basic data backup and recovery methods and apply data storage and management best practices

Skills Needed for CompTIA A+ Certification

Nine skills that you master and validate with CompTIA A+


Identifying, using, and connecting hardware components and devices


Install and support Windows OS, including command line & client support. Understand Mac OS, Linux, and mobile OS 


Troubleshoot PC and mobile device issues including application security support


Explain types of networks and connections including TCP/IP, WIFI and SOHO


Troubleshoot device and network issues


Identify and protect against security vulnerabilities for devices and their network connections.


Install & configure laptops and other mobile devices


Compare & contrast cloud computing concepts &set up client-side virtualization 


Follow best practices for safety, environmental impacts, and communication and professionalism 

Jobs That Use CompTIA A+ Certification

  1. Service Desk Analyst

  2. Data Support Technician

  3. Help Desk Tech

  4. Desktop Support Administrator

  5. Technical Support Specialist

  6. End-User Computing Technician

  7. Field Service Technician

  8. Help Desk Technician

  9. Associate Network Engineer 

  10. System Support Specialist

About the Exam

CompTIA A+ 220-1001 (Core 1) and 220-1002 (Core 2). Candidates must complete both 1001 and 1002 to earn certification. Exams cannot be combined across the series. CompTIA A+ 220-1001 covers mobile devices, networking technology, hardware, virtualization, and cloud computing, and network troubleshooting. CompTIA A+ 220-1002 covers installing and configuring operating systems, expanded security, software troubleshooting, and operational procedures. There will be a maximum of 90 questions per exam.

The exam would include Multiple choice questions (single and multiple response), drag and drops, and performance-based. The exam lasts for 90 Minutes per exam. According to CompTIA, the passing scores are 220-1001: 675 (on a scale of 100-900) and 220-1002: 700 (on a scale of 100-900). CompTIA recommends 9 to 12 months of hands-on experience in the lab or field. The exam is offered in English, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Thai, and Spanish. 

The test can be taken from any Pearson VUE online testing center or at any testing center. It costs 226 USD to write the exam and each time you write the exam you will have to pay the exam fee. 

The new CompTIA A+ Core Series includes expanded content on these growing parts of the IT support role:

  • A general expansion of baseline security topics core to the IT support role, including physical versus logical security concepts and measures, malware and more
  • A dramatically different approach in defining competency in operational procedures including basic disaster prevention and recovery and scripting basics
  • Greater dependency on networking and device connectivity

The Core 1 exam targets virtualization, cloud computing, mobile devices, hardware, networking technology, and troubleshooting. The Core 2 exams focus on installation and configuring operating systems, troubleshooting software, operational procedures, and security.

[ Read: 15 Top Paying IT Certifications in 2020 ]

Salary and Job Prospects

IT Support Specialists install software, set up computer workspaces, and solve technical issues that arise on a day-to-day basis. Median National Salary is $50,981, and the annual job postings are upwards of 230,000+. The expected job growth is 13%. The source for this information is the CompTIA analysis of data from Burning Glass Technologies Labor Insights, EMSI, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The annual salaries can vary greatly by location, experience, and other factors. Job postings are a proxy for employer demand for the occupation. Projected job growth covers the period 2018 to 2028. 

Where to Get Online Resources for CompTIA Certification?

CompTIA’s website offers practice questions, exam objectives, and resources for writing the exam. Apart from that, there are several other providers such as Udemy, CertBolt, IT Career Finder that provide the required resources for the exam.