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There are many information technology certifications that are provided by software development giants. Such certifications may differ depending upon the competency and proficiency of IT professionals. They show how much knowledge and understanding a person has regarding software languages, web servers, databases, troubleshooting skills, and several other skills needed to excel in the IT field.

Getting an A+ certification is fast becoming a necessity in today's competitive world. An A+ certification can help you with employment opportunities, and can also get you better benefits from your employer. Getting certified is no easy task though, as there are various exams that have to be given, that too only after you are considered eligible for the certification. The certification is carried out by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a trade association that helps in 'advancing the global IT industry'.

The exams that you need to give to get A+ certified have changed over the years, and since December 2010, the certification is valid only for a period of 3 years, after which you have to retake the test. Those certified before December 2010 need not give the test again, and their certification still holds valid. There are 2 exams you need to give for getting A+ credited, and these are the CompTIA A+ Essentials and the CompTIA A+ Practical Application exams.

A+ Certification

Before we move on to the cost of giving these exams, and how much the certifications actually cost, let us get to know a little more about the A+ certification.

What is A+ Certification?
A+ is a certification that is related to PC repair, and maintenance techniques and skills. It is provided by an IT company known as CompTIA. This certification is very well-known in the computing industry all over the globe. It demands thorough knowledge in diverged sectors of information technology. After obtaining this certification, a candidate is able and equipped to appear for and pass several other certification exams offered by CompTIA. However, appearing for the A+ certification exam is not a prerequisite for appearing for other exams.

Obtaining the A+ Certification
Getting this certification shows that the candidate is well versed in, and up-to-date with the latest Information Technology (IT) concepts. It most significantly involves knowing computer systems inside out. When it comes to the A+ certification exam, the candidate is necessarily required to be competent enough to successfully open up a computer and identify the components, before re-assembling it again. This certification enables the achievers not only to understand the PC and its operation, but also the functioning of different operating systems like Linux and Windows.

A+ Certification Eligibility Criteria
There is a specific criteria for eligibility, and that consists of around 500 hours of hands-on working experience and understanding of software on operating systems as well as PC hardware. The criteria also includes knowledge of how system files work, hardware configuration, functionalities of antivirus software, anti-spyware software, data backup, and data storage.

A+ Certification Cost and Training

As mentioned above, there are two exams that you need to give to get an A+ certification. Each exam cost or exam fee is $168, so that makes it a total of $336 for the two exams. However, this is far from the final cost that you will incur to get an A+ certification, as you will have to spend a fair bit on study material as well. Then again, if you do not pass in any one of the exams, you will have to give it again, and will have to pay the exam fee again as well.

There are different ways in which you can prepare for these exams, and this will also be a direct determinant of the cost that you will incur. There are courses that you can join that will help you score well in these exams, and such courses typically cost anywhere between $300 to $500 per day. Courses generally last for 5 days, so that is an additional $1500-$2500 that you will be spending on the certification. Remember that such courses do not have set fees, and depending on the agency, and the facilities, this price can change.

Besides the above, you will have to spend a fair bit on training supplies and materials to help you crack the A+ certification exams. Training materials can come in the form of books or CDs/DVDs. Some offer a mix of both, with reference books and a CD with notes pictures and videos. Some CDs will also have practice tests which can give you a fair idea of how well prepared for te exam you are. Depending on what you need, and how competent you are, the cost of these materials will change. If you are very comfortable with the subject, then you might not need much help and vice-versa. All in all, the cost of the training material can range from anywhere between $40-$175.

If you are looking to save some money giving these exams, there are a few options that you can consider. Volume orders of over 50 exams will get some discounts, so you can check if there is any agency or training class you can join where you can avail of such discounts. However, most likely the agency or class will have fees of its own, so this kinda beats the purpose. Another way to save money on these tests is if you are working for a CompTIA member company. Such companies can get you $50 off on the exams, in the form of discount coupons.

The cost of the A+ certification is no more than the value and demand that you get after obtaining the certification. It is miniscule compared to the increase in the salary package after being certified. If you in any way want to save on the cost, you need to be habitual in dismantling and re-assembling a PC. As CompTIA continually revises its exam, you need to get in touch with the appropriate training provider regarding the A+ certification cost, eligibility, requirements, or any updates regarding the exam.