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.


  • 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: 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.

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