January 1, 2011 marked a new era for three of the most popular CompTIA certifications. Falling in line with many other major IT certification vendors, CompTIA has put an expiration date on their A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications. Effective January 1, 2011 all CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications will be valid for three years from the date the candidate is certified. After three years, the certification must be renewed. Gone are the days of being “certified for life”…at least for those IT pros certified after January 1, 2011.
If you are one of the many techies who earned a “lifetime” CompTIA certification prior to January 1, 2011, you have not been bamboozled. The new renewal policy does not affect those individuals who were certified prior to 2011. All individuals certified on or before December 31, 2010 will retain their “certified for life” status. So what’s the catch? There is no catch…per say. But there is a difference between a person’s certificate who certified before 2011 and a person who certifies now, in 2011.
Anyone certified before 2011 will have no valid through date on their certificate or certificate holder CompTIA ID card. Anyone certified on or after January 1, 2011 will receive a certificate and certificate holder CompTIA ID card with an expiration date, along with a “ce” notation. The ce notation denotes the new CompTIA Continuing Education (CE) Program associated with the renewal program and signifies that the certification will expire three years from the date certified.
If you are planning on getting CompTIA A+, Network+ or Security+ certified, there is an alternative to taking a new exam every three years. The certification renewal policy includes the continuing education component that allows certified individuals to renew their certifications by earning continuing education units, opposed to retaking the most current version of the CompTIA A+, Network+ or Security+ every three years. CompTIA.org reports, “The CompTIA Continuing Education (CE) Program has been designed to allow individuals a cost-effective method for keeping certifications current through the completion of variety of activities that demonstrate relevant industry knowledge.” (Look for more on CompTIA’s Continuing Education Program in a future blog).
What’s the reason for this policy change? Why are CompTIA certifications no longer “good for life?” CompTIA’s Continuing Education Program and Certification Renewal Policy cites:
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), an international body which standardizes the procedures used by personnel certification bodies, requires that individuals have a way to renew the currency of their certification on a regular basis. In CompTIA’s case, that renewal will occur every three years.
This change in policy is in line with the practice of other major providers of certifications for IT professionals. In today’s IT environment it’s important for IT professionals to demonstrate that their knowledge and skills are current. CompTIA’s new renewal program is a way to assist those individuals who would like to take advantage of it. Our certification renewal program includes a continuing education component that gives eligible certification holders a range of ways to keep their CompTIA certifications current without necessarily having to take a new exam.
As we all know, technology is ever-evolving and constantly changing. And in order for your certifications to stay relevant in this fast-paced technological world, those certs must reflect that your IT skills have evolved along with technology. And with CompTIA’s A+, Network+ and Security+ continually being updated with new content developed in conjunction with the latest must-know subject matter, having to renew your certifications will demonstrate to employers that your IT knowledge is up-to-date and pertinent.