CompTIA offers a number of membership benefits, including research, toolkits, webinars and in-person meetings focused on networking and education. In 2014, CompTIA board members voted to move to a hybrid form of open-access membership whereby "registered users" could sign up for free and access much of the organization's catalog of resources. A new membership tier called “premier member” gave dues-paying members access to exclusive tools and training, as well as priority access to industry research. The move expanded the organization's reach to engage a broader, more diverse set of members and within a year, CompTIA's membership grew from 2,050 members to more than 50,000 in 2015. By the close of 2016, the organization boasted more than 100,000 members worldwide.
CompTIA administers its certification exams through Pearson VUE testing centers. In addition to certification, CompTIA also provides corporate membership.
CompTIA's "A+", "Network+", and "Security+" certifications became accredited by the American National Standards Institute in 2008, and "Advanced Security Practioner" (CASP) in 2011. In January 2010 these ANSI/ISO approved certifications fundamentally had their conditions changed from lifetime certifications to certifications that will expire every three years. Lifetime certificates will remain valid for life, but any new certifications earned after December 31, 2010, will expire after three years.
The A+ certification demonstrates competency as a computer technician. Officially, CompTIA A+ certification is a vendor neutral certification that covers numerous technologies and operating systems from such vendors as Microsoft, Apple Inc., Novell and some of the Linux distributions.
The A+ exam is intended for information technology professionals who have the equivalent of 500 hours of hands on experience. The exams are computer based and composed of multiple choice questions, of which there may be more than one correct answer. Over one million people have earned the A+ credential worldwide, as of 2014.
In order to receive CompTIA A+ certification a candidate must pass two exams. The first exam is CompTIA A+ 220-901, which covers PC hardware and peripherals, mobile device hardware, networking, and troubleshooting hardware and network connectivity issues. Also, a candidate must pass CompTIA A+ exam 220-902, which covers installing and configuring operating systems including Windows, iOS, Android, Apple OS X and Linux. It also addresses security, cloud computing fundamentals and operational procedures.
Candidates could still get certified with the 220-801 and 220-802 before CompTIA retired them in June 2016.
Network+ is a certification that is used to measure skill as a network technician: understanding of network hardware, installation, and troubleshooting. The current exam, N10-006, launched in February, 2015.
Topics include configuration, management, and troubleshooting of common wired and wireless network devices. Also included are emerging technologies such as unified communications, mobile, cloud, and virtualization technologies.
CompTIA recommends having the A+ certification, and nine months networking experience before sitting for the exam, but this is not required. Network+ prepares one for continuing to Microsoft certifications and Cisco certifications. A combination A+/Network+, A+/Server+, or (just) Security+ certification can fulfill the elective exam requirement of the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) certification.
Security+ is a certification dealing with computer security topics such as cryptography and access control, as well as business-related topics such as disaster recovery and risk management. The current version, SY0-401, was released in 2014. According to CompTIA, there are currently more than 45,000 people around the world who have earned this certification. It is recommended, though not a requirement, that candidates have two years of security-related work experience. CompTIA Security+ passing score is 750 out of 900
Exam topics include network security, compliance and operation security, threats and vulnerabilities as well as application, data and host security. Also included are access control, identity management, and cryptography.
The Security+ exam can be applied as an elective to the MCSA: Security and the MCSE: Security specializations from Microsoft. For United States Department of Defense employees, DoD 8570, IAT Level II certification guidelines lists Security+ as one of four choices (the others being GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC), Security Certified Network Professional (SCNP), and Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)).
CompTIA released the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner certification on September 15, 2011. "The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) Certification is a vendor-neutral credential. The CASP certification is intended to follow CompTIA Security+. The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner certification was accredited by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on December 13, 2011. The CASP exam will certify that the successful candidate has the technical knowledge and skills required to conceptualize, design, and engineer secure solutions across complex enterprise environments. The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) Certification is aimed at an IT security professional who has a minimum of 10 years' experience in IT administration including at least 5 years of hands-on technical security experience. " The CASP certification is approved by the Department of Defense as an Information Assurance Technical Level III (IAT III), Information Assurance Manager Level II (IAM II) and Information Assurance System Architecture and Engineering Level II (IASAE II) professional as outlined in the DoD Directive 8570.01 Information Assurance Workforce Improvement Program. Two different books discussing this certification in depth include one from Pearson and one from Sybex.
Server+ is CompTIA's certification that focuses on server-specific hardware and operating systems, and certifies technical knowledge in areas such as RAID, SCSI, and multiple CPUs, as well as capabilities with server issues, including disaster recovery. It was developed in 2001, with updates that followed in 2005 and 2009. The eight domains of the Server+ exam are General Server Hardware Knowledge, Installation, Configuration, Upgrading, Proactive Maintenance, Environment Troubleshooting and Problem Determination, and Disaster Recovery. A combination A+/Network+, A+/Server+ or Security+ certifications can fulfill the elective exam requirement for the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) certification.
The Certified Technical Trainer or CTT+ certification is a vendor-neutral certification that is applicable to training professionals in all industries. It proves the mastery of core instructor skills, including preparation, presentation, communication, facilitation, and evaluation in a classroom environment. The challenging CTT+ exam consists of two parts: a computer-based exam (CBT) and a video-based exam (VBT).
CTT+ certification can be used as proof of instructional expertise for the following industry certifications: ACI (Adobe Certified Instructor), MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer), and CNI (Certified Novell Instructor).
Certified Document Imaging Architect, or CDIA+, is a certification for competency in document imaging, document management, and enterprise content management. It certifies that one has the skills necessary to develop a system for scanning, storing, and retrieving digital versions of documents and is currently the only industry recognized certification in this area.
In the original designation Architect was spelled ArchiTech to refer to the more technical nature of the word.
Linux+ is a certification of knowledge of Linux operating systems, from their installation and use to the basics of applicable free software and open source licenses.
The Linux+ exam is intended for information technology professionals who have between six and twelve months of practical experience using Linux. The exam is broken down into several areas of Linux expertise: installation, management, configuration, security, documentation, and hardware.
The test is a computer-based exam, many questions of which are multiple-choice with a question followed by four possible answers, at least one (but possibly more) of which must be correct. Common subject matter for exam topics include installation methods, boot loader configuration, managing packages (Debian and RPM management systems are covered), navigating directories via the command line, using the bash shell, security considerations, network administration (including TCP/IP configuration), mounting file systems (such as NFS, SMB or ext3) and managing configuration files for the more common applications that Linux servers are expected to run. Although configuring and running the X Window system is included in the formal exam objectives, there are rarely any questions pertaining to this as the exam focuses on Linux as a server and network operating system rather than for use as a desktop platform.
The Linux+ exam has undergone some criticism since its inception, due to the excessive amount of hardware-related questions that were on the exam initially, many of which were covered on the A+ exam. The newest version of the exam, available as of February 2005, does away with this problem.
CompTIA began the process of updating the Linux+ certification in July, 2008. The update process began with a Job Task Analysis (JTA), in which Linux subject matter experts evaluate the job roles and tasks for IT professionals who work with open source operating systems. The information was used to update the exam objectives and items. The exam was 90 minutes in duration and consisted of 98 questions with a passing score of 675 out of 900.
The new LPI (Linux Professional Institute) powered Linux+ replaced the old CompTIA Linux+ on October 31, 2010, it consists of two exams (LX0-101, and LX0-102), 60 questions each. The exam is 90 minutes long, and requires a 500 on a scale of 200-800 to pass.
Project+ is a certification showing that one has the knowledge needed to manage projects. CompTIA claims that Project+ is a globally recognized project management certification that provides validation of fundamental project management skills. Curriculum covers the entire project life cycle from initiation and planning through execution, acceptance, support and closure. The exam is 90 minutes in duration and consists of 100 questions with a passing score of 710 out of 900 according to the CompTIA website.
This certification was previously named IT Project+.
Convergence Technologies Professional or CTP+ replaces the Convergence+ exam.
CompTIA CTP+ is an international, vendor-neutral exam that validates the core knowledge and skills IT professionals need to sell and service convergent technologies. CompTIA offers this exam in conjunction with Certification Partners, LLC, who created the original CTP exam. CTP+ covers basic requirements analysis, implementation and management of basic data components and voice and multimedia applications, as well as basic problem analysis and resolution for convergent technologies. Although not a prerequisite for CompTIA CTP+ certification, it is recommended that candidates are CompTIA Network+ certified or have equivalent knowledge, as well as roughly 24 months of work experience in areas that include data networking, telephony and convergence-related technologies.
Printing and Document Imaging or PDI+ was an entry-level, vendor-neutral certification proving competence in basic maintenance of printers, scanners, copiers and fax machines. CompTIA retired the Printing and Document Imaging (PDI+) exam on January 31, 2014.
The certification was recognized by several industry leaders, including Canon, Sharp and Xerox, as a benchmark certification for professionals that service and support document imaging devices. PDI+ covered a technician's understanding of basic electromechanical components and tools, print engine and scan processes and components, color theory, connectivity and networking. The exam also covered soft skills such as customer service, professionalism, safety and environment. While there were no prerequisites for the CompTIA PDI+ certification exam, it was recommended that entry-level candidates have foundation-level knowledge or hands-on experience working with printing and document imaging devices.
The Storage+ Powered by SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) certification exam focuses on the skills needed to configure basic networks to include archive, backup, and restoration technologies. Also, the candidate should be able to understand the fundamentals of business continuity, application workload, system integration, and storage/system administration, while performing basic troubleshooting on connectivity issues and referencing documentation. This certification was retired on January 15, 2016.
The Cloud Essentials specialty certification demonstrates an individual knows what cloud computing means from a business and technical perspective, as well as what is involved in moving to and governing the cloud.
CompTIA certificates include fundamental and advanced credentials that validate an understanding of basic to specialized technology in the workplace.
The CompTIA IT Fundamentals exam (FC0-U51) had replaced the CompTIA Strata IT Fundamentals exam (FC0-U41), which had been retired August 30, 2015.
The CompTIA IT Fundamentals exam covers foundational IT concepts including identifying and explaining computer components, installing software, establishing network connectivity and preventing security risks.
The exam covers solid grounding in technology concepts and practices, and no previous IT experience is required. It is meant for students preparing to enter the IT workforce and professionals changing careers to IT or technology-related fields.
The CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician certificate covers the knowledge and skills required to implement, deploy, and support healthcare IT systems in various clinical settings.
The certification exam covers:Regulatory requirements
Medical business operations
The CompTIA IT for Sales certificate served to verify a professional knowledge in technology basics necessary to complete sales activities with customers in technical fields.
The exam covered proper communication skills to engage a customer, identify types of technology users, provide appropriate solutions based on needs and requirements—including green IT and preventative maintenance—and coordinate with technical staff throughout the sales process. The test also assessed the candidate's knowledge in ongoing customer case and engagement and proper customer satisfaction techniques. Testing for the Strata IT for Sales certification was discontinued by CompTIA as of December 31, 2013
The CompTIA Green IT certificate ensures knowledge and skills necessary to implement environmentally sound techniques within an organization's IT infrastructure. The certificate enhances existing IT credentials to incorporate emerging technologies that shape the global green IT industry. This certificate has been discontinued by CompTIA as of December 31, 2013
The DHTI+ was a vendor-neutral certification that demonstrated a technician's ability to configure, integrate, maintain, troubleshoot, and comprehend the basic design concepts of electronic and digital home systems. The DHTI+ was retired on December 31, 2009. No replacement certification has been announced.
The e-Biz+ certification covers basic knowledge about e-commerce. The e-Biz+ certification was discontinued in English on December 31, 2005, but it can still be taken in Japanese or Korean.
The HTI+ certification for home technology integrators was retired in 2007 and replaced by the CEA-CompTIA DHTI+ certification.
The i-Net+ certification deals with basic knowledge of Internet, intranet, extranet, and electronic commerce technologies. Topics on the exam include distinguishing between server-side and client-side scripting, basic networking via command line, e-commerce, and e-business, security via digital signatures, copyright licenses (including the GPL), and basic HTML coding. The i-Net+ certification was retired on December 31, 2007. Those who currently have the i-Net+ certification continue to be certified.
The CTP+ certification replaces Convergence+ as CompTIA's convergent technologies exam. CompTIA Convergence+ was available through October 31, 2010.
Radio Frequency Identification or RFID+ tests the knowledge and skills necessary for working with radio-frequency identification technology.
From the CompTIA Customer Support Center: The RFID market has been much slower to take off than the industry expected. Companies are still doing pilots, waiting to confirm return on investment. As a result, while there is still need for training and education in RFID, the need for certification has lagged the training need. The certification was launched 5 years ago, but there is not enough demand for RFID certification to justify of the cost of updating the exam.
The RFID+ Certification was retired on December 31, 2011.
For over ten years, CompTIA marketed its flagship A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications as being valid for a lifetime. In January 2011, however, CompTIA changed the status of these certifications so that they would expire every three years. Under this proposal, certified individuals would have to re-cert for the exams or pay a yearly maintenance fee for a CEU (Continuing Education Units) system. Some certified members felt that this action breached the conditions of the original contract with CompTIA, and that the change effectively showed CompTIA reneging on a deal. Less than a month after making this announcement, CompTIA reversed its decision. Under the new policy, only certificates received after January 1, 2011, will need to be renewed every three years; however, a certain amount of documented hours geared towards use of the certification will automatically renew the certification.