CompTIA announced earlier this month that its certification programs would undergo a huge overhaul in order to maintain their accreditation from the International Organization for Standardization in a press release titled ‘CompTIA Announces Plan to Help IT Professionals Keep Skills Up-To-Date’. Instead of CompTIA’s certifications being good for life as they traditionally have, they are now set to expire in 3 years. As someone holding CompTIA’s A+ and Network+ certifications and studying for the Security+ certification test, this was very relevant to me.
Today, Ars Technica threw a little fuel into the flame with its story Thought that A+ cert was good for life? Think again that broadened awareness quite a bit around the IT industry. A number of people got vocal protesting that the agreements they made when taking their certification were broken by this change of policy. While I can agree with some of the points that CompTIA is trying to achieve and I understand that (in the case where certifications would expire after 3 years) if I keep my certifications up to date, they’ll be more valuable in the job hunt, it’s hard to see this as anything but a cash cow. Having to renew your certification every 3 years would require more testing, hopefully the cost for the tests or at least the renewal tests will be cheaper than the original tests.
After a lot of angry feedback, CompTIA has clarified the new policy.
All individuals currently certified in CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and/or CompTIA Security+ will retain their “certified for life” status with no requirement to recertify or retest.
Individuals who become certified in CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ or CompTIA Security+ by December 31, 2010 also will be considered certified for life.
Effective January 1, 2011, all new CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ certifications will be valid for three years from the date the candidate becomes certified.
A re-examination may not be necessary to keep your certification after the three year mark, but full details on CompTIA’s proposed Continuing Education program aren’t fully fleshed out yet. The opportunity to help shape the program may arise in the future, as apparently CompTIA is listening.
CompTIA also said that the new date for the launch of its continuing education program will be January 1, 2011. The program will offer CompTIA certified professionals a range of ways to keep their certifications earned on or after January 1, 2011 current without necessarily having to take a new exam. Certification holders and candidates are encouraged to visit www.comptia.org/renewal for the latest updates.
Ars Technica did its job and followed up on the matter and happily reported the compromise so hopefully the fires are quelled for a bit and folks are hard at work studying to complete their certifications before 2010 ends.
If you’re looking for resources to help you study, I highly recommend the All-in-One Series. They’re up-to-date, comprehensive, and reasonably priced. I’ve unfortunately tried other books and been disappointed.
CompTIA All-in-One Exam Guides
Of course, don’t forget to use vouchers for purchasing your certification tests as they can save you some serious money.