The New CompTIA A+: Your Questions Answered

by Debra B. McCraw | Jan 18, 2019

Heads Up - CompTIA A+ Means Proven Problem Solvers for Today's Digital WorldCompTIA A+ first launched in 1993, and since 2001 has been refreshed every three years to ensure the topics covered keep pace with what’s happening in IT. Employers, subject-matter experts and IT pros working in the field guide us in what they look for in help desk technicians, technical support specialists and other jobs related to CompTIA A+ to make sure we’re covering the skills that are needed in today’s world. With the launch of the new CompTIA A+ came many questions, so we’ve set out to answer them here. Keep reading to learn more about the CompTIA A+ Core Series (220-1001 and 220-1002), and post any additional questions in the comments to keep the conversation going.

What’s on the new CompTIA A+ exams?

The new CompTIA A+ Core Series (220-1001 and 220-1002) provides a foundation for a number of different IT jobs and helps entry-level IT pros prepare for the jobs of the future.

In addition to topics you might traditionally associate with tech support, the new CompTIA A+ has an increased emphasis on cybersecurity, including malware, as well as cloud, virtualization and internet of things (IoT) network protocols and connectivity.

It also covers scripting so that help desk technicians and technical support specialists can interpret ​code to identify if it might be malicious or if it’s supposed to be there.

CompTIA A+ continues to emphasize problem solving within a technology context. Employers want IT pros who can think critically and approach problems systematically to find a solution. Having CompTIA A+ shows employers that you have the hands-on skills and proof of your ability to solve technology problems.

Download the exam objectives to find out everything that’s covered.

How much does CompTIA A+ cost?

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The retail price for CompTIA A+ (220-1001 and 220-1002) is $219 per exam, and you need to pass two exams to earn your CompTIA A+ certification. Keep reading to learn more about bundles, which will be available soon and can save you money. You can also click on the ad on this page to get 10 percent off a voucher or training product.

Read about additional ways to save money on your IT certification.

How can I train for CompTIA A+?

Start by downloading the exam objectives and practice tests to understand what topics are covered and get examples of questions that you might see. The self-paced Official CompTIA A+ Study Guide is available for order now, as are training materials for instructors.

Over the next couple of weeks, CompTIA will release a full suite of CompTIA CertMaster training products, including CompTIA CertMaster Learn, CompTIA CertMaster Labs and CompTIA CertMaster Practice. We’ll also release an eBook version of The Official CompTIA A+ Study Guide. All of these will be available for purchase from the CompTIA Store.

How much time will I need to prepare for CompTIA A+?

The amount of time you’ll need to prepare for CompTIA A+ depends on your background and IT experience.  Whether you attend a bootcamp, take a class or study on your own, if you have no experience, you’ll want to allot at least 120 hours of study time plus additional time for hands-on practice of the skills covered by the exams. You can do this on the job, on your own or with a tool like CompTIA CertMaster Labs. If you already have IT experience, you may not need as much time to prepare as someone who is new to IT. Download the exam objectives to see what you already know and what you might need to work on, and read more about how to prepare for an IT certification exam.

Tell me about the CompTIA A+ bundles – what will be in them, how much will they cost and when will they be available?

The new CompTIA A+ bundle options will include a combination of training materials (CompTIA CertMaster Learn, Labs and Practice, and the Official CompTIA A+ Study Guide) vouchers and retake vouchers, depending on which bundle you select. Prices will start around $300 USD, and they should be available within the next few weeks.

Can I still take the CompTIA A+ 900 series?

Yes, the CompTIA A+ 900 series will be available until July 31, 2019.

I already passed CompTIA A+ (220-901), but I haven’t taken 220-902 yet. What should I do?

To earn your CompTIA A+ certification, you need to take both exams from the same series. So, if you’ve already passed CompTIA A+ (220-901), continue preparing for 220-902. Just make sure you take your exam before it expires on July 31, 2019.

I’ve been studying for the CompTIA A+ 900 series – should I switch gears and study for the Core Series instead?

If you’ve been studying for the CompTIA A+ 900 series, we would encourage you to stick with it. If you have not yet started studying or have not invested much time or money into your preparation, take a look at the Core Series exam objectives and see if it makes sense for you to change course. Just keep in mind that if you choose to pursue the 900 series, you must take both 900 series exams by July 31, 2019, in order to get your CompTIA A+ certification.

I bought a voucher for the CompTIA A+ 900 series but have not used it yet – can I use it for the Core Series?

Yes, you can use your voucher for any CompTIA A+ exam. Just remember, if you have already passed one of the exams from the 900 series, you must pass the other 900 series exam to earn your certification. You cannot take one 900 test and one Core Series test. If you choose to take the 900 series, make sure to take both exams by July 31, 2019.

I just earned CompTIA A+ by passing the 900 series exams – is it now out of date?

Have no fear – your certification is not already out of date! As long as you keep up with your continuing education (CE) requirements, your certification will remain active. One way to renew your CompTIA certification is with CompTIA CertMaster CE. CompTIA CertMaster CE will cover the topics that were added with the Core Series, so if you use CertMaster CE to renew your CompTIA A+, you'll efficiently keep your knowledge up to date. Watch for a new version of CertMaster CE for CompTIA A+ this spring.

Read more about the new CompTIA A+ Core Series or download the exam objectives to get started.

19 Comments

  • Thamara Millan

    Friday, January 25, 2019

    What if you do not have IT in depth knowledge. Even when I received a M.Ed. in Technology, I feel that all I got was technology Kool-aid. I have been able to get any benefits. Most of what I now know is because of looking at what is out there and trying to learn. I do lack direction of what would be most effective for me other than an entity trying to push the most expensive course they can sell rather than looking at my knowledge base and interests.

  • Friday, January 25, 2019

    Hi, Thamara! CompTIA A+ is designed for people who are new to IT and need to start with the basics. There's a wide variety of ways to study, ranging from instructor-led courses to online study tools to even free resources. I'd recommend downloading our free exam objectives to get a sense of what you already know and what you need to work on. Then you can determine what type of exam prep will be best for you. Good luck!

  • Attila Kuczora

    Sunday, January 27, 2019

    Hi, I'm learning for taking CompTIA A+ 220-901, 220-902 exams. Since I don't have professional experiences in IT, I need to practice my knowledge somehow in order to solve performance-based questions. So, I'm interested in online Labs. Do you have available Labs for these particular exams? If yes, where can I find it? I found only for 902.

  • Monday, January 28, 2019

    Hi, Attila! Thanks for your question. We will be releasing CompTIA CertMaster Labs in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. Here are some additional ways you can get hands-on practice to prepare for your A+ exam: https://certification.comptia.org/it-career-news/post/view/2018/01/26/4-low-key-ways-to-test-drive-it-how-to-get-started Good luck!

  • Attila Kuczora

    Monday, January 28, 2019

    Hi, Thanks for your advice, I had exactly the same idea. I'm just looking for a second hand computer and a router.

  • Darrelle Alexander

    Friday, February 8, 2019

    Hi, If I have the CompTIA A+ Certification (2010), would I need to take this new one for my certification to remain valid? I was told that the 2010 certification is lifetime and just needs the bridge certs to remain current. Please let me know if this is the case and if not, what would I need to do. Thanks.

  • Friday, February 8, 2019

    Hi, Darrelle! You are correct - those who earned CompTIA A+ before 2011 have a Good for Life (GFL) certification, which means you do not need to renew it. If you would like to upgrade to a CE certification, you would need to take another set of exams.

  • Howard Weinraub COMP001020022164

    Friday, February 22, 2019

    Will there be a publication that focuses on the new material that has been added to the test? Thanks Howard Weinraub

  • Zachary Salazar

    Friday, February 22, 2019

    Thamara Millan --- When it comes to IT the landscape is broad and the opportunities are endless. I feel it is best to 1) find out where you want to go, or better said your destination. This comes through picking a business you are interested in perhaps education, banking, logistics, or military. After picking the your preferred career area, focus in on specifically what you would like to do. For example, if education where in education, leadership or being a teacher? Once you become specific, then you can begin to study about how technology can help your en devour. Again, for example education as a teacher; how can I implement I-Pads into my curriculum, or as a senior staff member how can I use technology to enable my teachers to perform their tasks more efficiently, think of Google Docs, and Google Sheets, combined with Google Drive to drop documents to students across the class room instead of spending time printing out each document. Once you have picked where you specifically want to be, then you need to know where you are. Can you immediately become senior staff and guide teachers or do you need experience being a class room teacher first? Where are you, and where are you going. Once you have the locations of where you are and where you want to be, that is when you can begin to learn about what technology will be effective to you. You can learn more by reading on forums where other teachers post, or read blogs that pertain to education and technology in the class room. If you want to learn about cloud computing, networking, programming, security, scripting, app building, you may certainly do so. However, I would caution you as the IT world is an OCEAN of information, it is better to find out what your passion is FIRST, then pursue that dream and apply technology to it through reading, research, and volunteer work.

  • Monday, February 25, 2019

    Hi, Howard! Thanks for your question. CertMaster Learn, CertMaster Practice and the Official CompTIA A+ Study Guide (print and eBook editions) are currently available for the new CompTIA A+ Core Series. CertMaster Labs and bundles are coming soon. Go to store.comptia.org > Training > A+ to find all of your options. Good luck!

  • W

    Tuesday, February 26, 2019

    Hola, acabe de comprar el Comptia A+ en ingles, de la serie 900, para ser exacto el 901, es claro que debo realizar el examen antes del 31 de Julio, teniendo en cuenta que hablo español, puedo tomarlo en español y tendría la misma fecha de vencimiento?. Gracias por la ayuda.

  • Wednesday, February 27, 2019

    Estimado Las pruebas de español para 901 y 902 se retirarán el 1 de octubre. Así que tienes un poco más de tiempo.

  • Paul O Connor

    Friday, March 15, 2019

    hi, I have just signed up for comptia a+ ,and i was just wondering since i was give the 900 series and the core series ,which one should i do . i have read your outline above and it states that i need to have the core done by july 31 /19 and i was not intending to do any exam before sept19 at the earliest , so would just download the core and start with that

  • Monday, March 18, 2019

    Hi, Paul! If you have not started studying or taken an exam yet, I'd recommend going with the Core Series (220-1001 and 220-1002). The 900 series will expire in July, so if you aren't looking to test until September, the Core Series will be your only option. Please note that in order to get your A+ certification, both exams that you take must be from the same series. So, if you have already taken 901, you'll want to take 902. If you haven't taken either, you'll want to take 1001 and 1002. Good luck!

  • Karl Scheel

    Wednesday, April 3, 2019

    Why on Earth don't the 220-1001 & 1002 exams cover Windows 10? After all, it has only been out for *4 years! "

  • Thursday, April 4, 2019

    Hi, Karl! Thanks for your comment. Windows 10 is covered in objective 1.2 on the Core 2 exam. Please download the exam objectives to see everything that is included - this article just hits the highlights: https://certification.comptia.org/training/exam-objectives

  • Bryan Black

    Sunday, April 14, 2019

    Hi , so is that 219 or 1001 and 219 for 1002 ? So i can pass 1001 one week and later do the 1002? please dont telpl me i need to do two exams on the same day and have to pass both this seems extremly unfair since the the previous was one exam

  • Monday, April 15, 2019

    Hi, Bryan! No, you do not have to pass two exams on the same day. In fact, we recommend giving yourself ample time in between to prepare. That said, if you are going for the expiring series, you will have to take both exams before the expiration date of July 31. If you have not taken either exam yet and you do not want to feel pressured by the expiration date, work toward taking the new versions of the exams. Good luck!

  • Angel Bogart

    Saturday, April 20, 2019

    Thank you for explaining that applicants can use any of their CompTIA A+ exam vouchers but would have to remember to pass all the 900 series exams first before earning their certification. This is just the kind of question that my nephew Mark would ask given that he's planning on getting himself certified before the end of July this year. Since he's really bent on becoming a computer service technician to serve the Carnelian Hills community, he ought to pass as much practice tests as possible to increase his chances of passing the exam at first try.

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