- Topics Mentioned
- CompTIA Certifications
CompTIA certifications are one of the most recognized IT certifications around the globe and until recently they were all permanent certifications, meaning that if you got certified in A+ you were certified for life.
Just last year CompTIA’s FAQ stated:
Question: Will I ever need to renew my certifications?
Answer: No, CompTIA certifications are lifetime certifications.
As of January 1, 2010 this is no longer true — the A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications will expire three years from the date they’re issued and you will be required to renew your credentials in order to stay current. And this applies to everyone — individuals who have obtained the certifications in the past and those who plan on completing them in the future.
So now the question is: Why has CompTIA decided now, after all these years to change their policy? And more importantly, is this a good thing or a bad thing?
According to CompTIA’s website one of the reasons behind the new certification renewal policy is to ensure that certified individuals “have the most up-to-date skills and knowledge to deal with the fast-changing IT environment”.
At first glance, this recent change might seem unreasonable or unfair and an overall bad move for CompTIA. After a closer look, I think this is will actually greatly benefit CompTIA certified individuals in many ways.
Updating your skills every three years is not such a bad idea and CompTIA offers two options to renew your certification, one that doesn’t involve taking the updated exam but rather earning continuing education credits.
Take a look at some of the activities listed below that you can do to earn your continuing education credits — getting new certifications, writing, teaching, presenting, blogging, going to conferences — what a great motivator this is to stay involved in the IT industry, to continue learning and advancing your career.
How Will CompTIA’s New Certification Renewal Program Affect You
CompTIA’s new certification renewal program will have an annual fee associated — $25 for those who are A+ certified and $49 for Network+ and Security+ certified individuals.
You will notice that a “valid through” date will start to appear on all A+, Network+ and Security+ certificates starting this year. And those who get certified in 2010 will have a renewal date of exactly three years their certification date.
For those who completed the certifications before 2010, your renewal deadline is either December 31st of 2011 or 2012 — you can refer to this chart for more details.
Additionally, for those with multiple CompTIA certifications, you only need to renew your highest level cert. So if you are A+ and Network+ certified, you will only need to renew your Net+ cert; similarly, if you hold the Security+ cert and the A+ or Net+ (or both) certs then you only need to renew your Security+ cert.
Renewing Your CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+ Certifications
As I mentioned above, you will have options in regards to renewing your certifications besides simply retaking the updated exams. Bridge exams will be an option for awhile, however CompTIA is planning on phasing them out in 2011 starting with Security+.
Another option that will become available later this year involves earning continuing education units (CEU) — 20 for A+, 30 for Network+ and 50 for Security+. The eligible activities that will earn you CEUs include:
- teaching or presenting on relevant industry topics
- attending relevant industry conferences and events
- participating in non-degree courses or computer-based training
- completing industry related college courses
- participating in CompTIA’s exam development workshops
- publishing books, articles, whitepapers and even blog posts on relevant topics
- obtaining other industry certifications
Take a look at this chart for more information and details on the continuing education unit requirements for CompTIA certification renewal.
Also, take a look at the complete Certification Renewal Policy for more information and links to FAQs and resources.
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on CompTIA’s certification renewal plan? Do you think it is a good thing or a bad thing? Do you think you will benefit from the new requirements? What do you think about the continuing education credits?
Update January 26, 2010:
The revised Certification Renewal Policy states that current A+, Net+, and Security+ certification holders and those who obtain these certs before the end of 2010 will remain certified for life. The renewal requirement applies only to those who get certified starting January 1st, 2011.