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A+ Certification

The A+ certification, offered by CompTIA, is an international industry credential that validates the knowledge of computer service technicians with the equivalent of 500 hours of hands-on experience.

Major hardware and software vendors, distributors and resellers accept CompTIA A+ as the standard in foundation-level, vendor-neutral certification for service technicians.

To date, more than thousands of individuals have obtained CompTIA A+ certification. Many top technology companies, including IBM and CompUSA, have made this certification mandatory for their service technicians.

The Computing Technology Industry Association more commonly known as CompTIA, created A+ certification in 1993 as a standard to test the proficiency of entry-level service technicians in the computer industry. A+ certification evaluates ones aptitude of 6 months of computer support and repair experience. Most computer repair businesses and technical support companies regularly call for prospective employees to be A+ certified.

CompTIA created the A+ certification exam to place an industry wide proficiency standard that is recognized nation wide. With this set standard, many organizations can more efficiently recruit and hire the qualified employees to work in their organizations. This certification standard helps to fill the existing need for an IT workforce by providing people with the proper skills.

With a national standard in place, job seekers can define their career paths by having skills that are transferable, and industry-recognized credentials. As well, educators and trainers have a competency standard so they can better prepare potential employees to meet present IT job requirements.

IBM, Microsoft, Lotus, and Novell are among 7500 businesses and organizations that are CompTIA members and support A+ certification. And, many of these businesses are A+ Authorized Service Centers. Being an A+ Authorized Service Center means that at least half of their technical professionals are A+ certified. There are A+ Authorized Service Centers in over forty countries worldwide. The United States alone has approximately 1200 service centers.

For certification, you need to pass two exams - the A+ Core Hardware exam and the A+ Operating Systems Technologies (OST) exam. Since A+ demonstrates basic competence in supporting microcomputers, both exams require hands-on expertise as they test your ability with PC Hardware, Operating systems and basic networking. The exams are extremely practical in nature. CompTIA plans to revise the exams every 2 years to keep up with new trends and technology

The Core Hardware examination measures basic knowledge of installing, configuring, upgrading, troubleshooting, and repairing microcomputer systems. The Core exam's Customer Satisfaction domain comprises 10 percent of the exam's questions. However, answers to these questions don't affect your pass/fail score.

CompTIA's members discussed the value of customer service skills and determined that those skills were important enough to test, but not important enough to cause one pass or fail the exam. CompTIA has recently updated the Core exam, but the exam still focuses on desktop PCs, portable systems, and printers.

The Operating System Technologies exam measures basic knowledge of Command Line Prompt, Operating Systems for installing, configuring, upgrading, troubleshooting and repairing microcomputer systems. These essentials of A+ are based on standards defined by CompTIA's test specification.

The Core exam includes 69 questions, and candidates have 1 hour to complete it. To pass the Core exam, you must score at least 65 percent. The DOS/Windows exam requires a score of 66 percent to pass, and candidates have 1.25 hours to answer 70 questions.

You must pass the Core and DOS/Windows exams within 90 days of each other to achieve A+ certification. You can take the exams as many times as you need to pass, and A+ certification is good for life. CompTIA members had debated the need to require re-certification from time to time, but decided that technicians who attain this entry-level certification will most likely sustain or augment their technical abilities.

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