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CompTIA Recertification Policies

Posted January 14, 2009

Topics: Certification

I earned my CompTIA A+ credential in early 1997. At that time, once you received your A+ certification, you were A+ certified for life. However, times change, and many IT certification vendors have begun attaching "lifetimes" to their titles. What's the deal with CompTIA as of January 2009?

Well, as it turns out, truth is stranger than fiction in this regard. For instance, check out this forum post by veteran A+ instructor and author Mike Meyers:

Hi All-

My name is Mike Meyers - I write a number of books for the CompTIA exams for McGraw-Hill.

Over the last few months, I've received a number of complaints from readers telling me that at the bottom of their certificates - the actual paper ones you get in the mail - it says "This certification exam will be current through <some date>".

I have a screenshot of this at my website: http://www.totalsem.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2686

The dates for A+ say December 2009 and the Network+ say December 2008. I don't know about any others.

I made a few casual inquiries to a few contacts at CompTIA and the answer I got wasn't good. I was told that "very soon" CompTIA will change the text at the bottom of the certificates to read: "This certification will be current through <some date>".

Here's the funny part - the folks at CompTIA still insist on saying that CompTIA exams are "for life". Yeah right.

Hmm-interesting, to say the least. Why is it that so many IT certification vendors are lazy, or seemingly so, about updating the online copy that supports their titles? If you examine question #1 on the CompTIA FAQ page, you will find the following nugget of "truth":

Question: Will I ever need to renew my certifications?

Answer: No, CompTIA certifications are lifetime certifications.

On one hand, CompTIA has been pretty good about updating the competencies that are tested on their exams in order to remain current with the state of information technology. On the other hand, it ain't cool, in my humble or not-so-humble opinion, for CompTIA candidates to be "surprised" with a certification that includes an expiration date with no other notification thereof!

According to Mr. Meyers' post, the CompTIA certificates in question state an expiration date for the associated exam, not necessarily (it is hoped) for the credential itself.

At the end of the proverbial day, I would recommend that those of you who, like myself, possess one or more CompTIA titles perform the following two actions:

1. Periodically check your CompTIA candidate information profile to verify the status of your credentials.

2. Consider contacting CompTIA directly and inquiring as to the truth behind this needless perfusion of confusion.

Happy studying!

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