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Computing Technology Industry Association
Abbreviation CompTIA
Motto "Advancing the Global IT Industry"
Formation January 1, 1982; 33 years ago (1982-01-01)
Type Non-profit
Headquarters 3500 Lacey Road
Suite 100
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515
Region served

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a non-profit trade association, was created in 1982 as the Association of Better Computer Dealers, Inc. (ABCD) by representatives of five microcomputer leaderships.[clarification needed] Over the course of a decade, ABCD laid the groundwork for many of CompTIA’s initiatives and member benefits.

ABCD later changed its name to the Computing Technology Industry Association to reflect the association's evolving role in the computer industry and in the U.S. business landscape at large.[citation needed] The 1990s was a period of growth as the association broadened the scope of its activities to address the needs of the expanding computer industry. Its initiatives increased to include networking, UNIX, imaging, mobile computing, and multimedia arenas. In an effort to monitor and take positions on public policy issues, the association added a full-time Director of Public Policy. In 2010, CompTIA added a new executive director for a newly named "Creating IT Futures" Foundation, its philanthropic arm that focuses on training and certifying low-income students and adults in IT, as well as returning veterans—and helping connect them with potential employers.

CompTIA is a provider of professional certifications for the information technology (IT) industry. CompTIA chairs and manages the Initiative for Software Choice.

Current certifications[edit]

CompTIA administers its certification exams through Pearson VUE testing centers. In addition to certification, CompTIA also provides corporate membership.

In April 2007, CompTIA's "A+", "Network+", and "Security+" certifications became accredited by the American National Standards Institute.

In January 2010 these ANSI/ISO approved certifications fundamentally had their conditions changed from lifetime certifications to certifications that will expire every three years. Current certificate holders will still have valid certs for life, but any new certifications earned after December 31, 2010, will expire every three years.[1]

A+ certification[edit]

The CompTIA A+ Logo

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.[2] The A+ certification exam was developed in 1993. There have been five versions of the A+ exam, the 1993, 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012 objectives, which are broken down into two separate exams. The 2003 objectives contained the A+ Core Hardware Exam and the A+ Core Operating System Technologies Exam, and were retired on June 30, 2007. The 2006 objectives require that a candidate successfully pass the A+ Essentials and one elective: IT technician, remote support technician, or depot technician. The 2009 certification requires passing two exams: Essentials and Practical Application.

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, to date.[when?][citation needed]

Topics of the Essentials/Core examination include IRQs, direct memory access, and practical computer repair, including the installation and repair of hard drives, modems, network cards, CPUs, power supplies, PDAs, and printers. The focus of the exam is not theory, but practice. Sometimes graphics are used in exam questions. Topics included in the Operating Systems Exam include memory management, configuration files, and historical operating environments rather than newer, cutting edge technologies.

In September 2006, the CompTIA A+ test was updated so that the test taker must take the CompTIA A+ Essentials (220-601) test along with one of three other tests (220-602, 220-603, or 220-604). Each of these elective exams offers candidates the opportunity to specialize their A+ certification to match their desired career path.

With the introduction of the 2006 A+ exam, candidates were offered a grace period whereby both the 2003 and 2006 versions were available. From June 2007, the 2003 version of exams was no longer available in the United States. In some countries, the grace period was extended to December 2007. The 2003 version was also extended in cases where the A+ certification exam was included in a course of study. Also, most legacy support questions have been excluded. The existing CompTIA A+ 600 series exams remain relevant and are in use by organizations and educational institutions throughout the world. The regular, non-academic English version of these exams retired in the United States and Canada on February 28, 2010. The educational versions of these exams (JK0-601, JK0-602, JK0-603 and JK0-604), as well as the German, Korean, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese translations of the 220-601 through 220-604 CompTIA A+ exams,remained in the market for use until August 31, 2010.[3]

The A+ certification along with Network+ may be used to qualify as an elective for Microsoft's MCSA and MCSE certification.[4]

In order to receive CompTIA A+ certification a candidate must pass two exams; each requiring a separate voucher doubling the price listed on the website. The first exam is CompTIA A+ Essentials, exam number 220-801. The CompTIA A+ Essentials examination measures necessary competencies for an entry-level IT professional with the equivalent knowledge of at least 500 hours of hands-on experience in the lab or field. Successful candidates will have the knowledge required to understand the fundamentals of computer technology, networking, and security, and will have the skills required to identify hardware, peripheral, networking, and security components. Successful candidates will understand the basic functionality of the operating system and basic troubleshooting methodology, practice proper safety procedures, and will effectively interact with customers and peers. CompTIA A+ is ISO 17024 Accredited (Personnel Certification Accreditation) and, as such, undergoes regular reviews and updates to the exam objectives. Also, a candidate must pass CompTIA A+ Practical Application, exam number 220-802. The CompTIA A+ Practical Application examination measures necessary competencies for an entry-level IT professional with a working knowledge of practical use of current software and Operating System interface and features.


The Network + Logo used for certified programs, repair shops, contractors, and technicians

Network+ is a certification that is used to measure skill as a network technician: understanding of network hardware, installation, and troubleshooting. Network+ was first launched in 1999, and exam updates followed in 2002, 2005, and 2009. The 2009 version was retired on August 31, 2012 and new objectives (the "2012 objectives") were started to be examined in Nov/Dec 2011.

Topics include network hardware, connections, software, the OSI Reference model, and different protocols used in local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs). 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.[5]


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. It was developed in 2002 to address the rise of security issues. A new and updated version, SY0-401, was released in 2014.[6] According to CompTIA, there are currently more than 45,000 people around the world who have earned this certification.[7] It is recommended that candidates have two years of security-related work experience (although not a requirement) and pass the 90-question multiple choice exam.

Exam topics includes; network security, compliance and operational security, threats and vulnerabilities, application, data and host security, access control and identity management as well as 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)).[8][9]


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. "[10]


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.[11]


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 to 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,[12] 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.[13]

This certification was previously named IT Project+.[14]


Convergence Technologies Professional or CTP+ replaces the Convergence+ exam.[15]

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.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18][19][20]

Cloud Essentials[edit]

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 [21][22]


CompTIA certificates include fundamental and advanced credentials that validate an understanding of basic to specialized technology in the workplace.[23]

Current certificates[edit]

Strata IT Fundamentals[edit]

The CompTIA Strata IT Fundamentals certificate ensures a knowledge of PC components, functionality, compatibility and related technology topics.

The exam covers the explanation of technology and computer hardware basics, compatibility issues and common errors, software installation and functions, security risks and prevention. The exam will also assess the candidate's knowledge of green IT and preventative maintenance of computers.[24]

The CompTIA IT Fundamentals exam (FC0-U51) replaces the CompTIA Strata IT Fundamentals exam (FC0-U41), which retires August 30, 2015.[25]

Healthcare IT Technician[edit]

The CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician certificate covers the knowledge and skills required to implement, deploy, and support healthcare IT systems in various clinical settings.[26]

The certification exam covers:

  • Regulatory requirements
  • Organizational behavior
  • IT operations
  • Medical business operations
  • Security

Discontinued certifications[edit]

Strata IT for Sales[edit]

The CompTIA IT for Sales certificate demonstrates a professional knowledge in technology basics necessary to complete sales activities with customers in technical fields.

The exam covers 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 will also assess the candidate's knowledge in ongoing customer case and engagement and proper customer satisfaction techniques.[27] This certificate has been discontinued by CompTIA as of December 31, 2013

Strata Green IT[edit]

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.[28][29] This certificate has been discontinued by CompTIA as of December 31, 2013

CEA-CompTIA DHTI+[edit]

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.[30] 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[31] 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.[15]


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.[32][33]


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.[34] 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.[35] 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.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CompTIA - Page Not Found". 
  2. ^ "Technology Certifications". 
  3. ^ "CompTIA A+ 2006 Edition". CompTIA. 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Certification Overview". Microsoft. January 18, 2010. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Apply Your Credentials to Microsoft Certifications". Microsoft. Retrieved February 10, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Comptia Security+". Comptia. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  7. ^ "About CompTIA Security+ Certification". CompTIA. Retrieved February 10, 2008. 
  8. ^ "DoDD Directive 8570.1". College of Southern Maryland. Retrieved December 1, 2010. 
  9. ^ "DoD 8570.01-M Information Assurance Workforce Improvement Program" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. January 24, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  10. ^ "CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner". CompTIA. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  11. ^ "CDIA - Certified Document Imaging Architech". Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  12. ^ Neilson, Greg (October 2, 2001). "Linux+ vs. LPI Level 1". Retrieved April 2, 2008. 
  13. ^ "CompTIA Project+". CompTIA. Retrieved July 6, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Project+ - combining the technical world and the business world: An Interview with Ayana Nickerson, project+ Certification Program Manager for CompTIA (the Computing Technology Industry Association) CompTIA Project+, project management, project design, gartner institute, IT project management, critical business skills, interpersonal techniques, project management methods, project scope, project budget, it project, Project Management Institute, PMI, CompTIA, CompTIA project+, project+, PMP, Project Management Professional". 
  15. ^ a b "CompTIA to Retire CTP+ Certification Exam". 
  16. ^ "CompTIA PDI+ Certification". CompTIA. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  17. ^ "CompTIA PDI+". CompTIA. Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. 
  18. ^ "CompTIA Storage+ certification, SNIA certification". 
  19. ^ "CompTIA Storage+ validates the skills of IT storage pros". 
  20. ^ "CompTIA + Storage Networking Industry Association = a New Storage+ Certification Program". 
  21. ^ "CompTIA Cloud Essentials certification". 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "CompTIA Certificates". 
  24. ^ "Strata IT Fundamentals". 
  25. ^ "CompTIA IT Fundamentals". 
  26. ^ "CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician". 
  27. ^ "CompTIA Website Error". 
  28. ^ "CompTIA Website Error". 
  29. ^ "Green IT Trends Up as Organizational Priority: CompTIA Study". 
  30. ^ "CEA-CompTIA DHTI+". 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  31. ^ Dulaney, Emmett (October 10, 2007). "Goodbye HTI+, Hello DHTI+". Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  32. ^ RFID Journal. "RFID Journal Online Training". 
  33. ^ "RFID4U Asset tracking solution - Asset tracking - RFID4U". RFID4U. 
  34. ^ Swanston, Matt (January 12, 2010). "Cert Shelf Life". CompTIA. Retrieved January 25, 2010. 
  35. ^ Swanston, Matt (January 14, 2010). "Addressing Certification Concerns". CompTIA. Retrieved January 25, 2010. 
  36. ^ Anderson, Nate (January 26, 2010). "CompTIA backs down; past certs remain valid for life". Ars Technica. Retrieved January 26, 2010. 

External links[edit]