IT Career JumpStart

Jan 13 2010   10:25PM GMT

CompTIA Certs Finally Get an Expiration Date

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

In a press release entitled “CompTIA Announces Plan to Help IT Professionals Keep Skills Up-To-Date” dated 1/11/2010, CompTIA finally backed away from its lifetime credentialing stance to impose a 3 year renewal cycle on its most popular credentials — namely, A+, Network+ and Security+.

The good news is that this doesn’t mean it’s necessary to repeat the exams on a three-year schedule. Here’s what the press release says about renewal qualifications:

Among activities that will qualify for continuing education credits are passing a “bridge” exam or the most current exam for their CompTIA certification; teaching, lecturing or presenting on relevant industry topics; participating in non-degree courses or computer-based training; attending relevant industry conferences and events; participating in a CompTIA exam development workshop; publishing articles, whitepapers, blogs or books on relevant topics; obtaining other industry certifications; or completing industry-related college courses from degree-granting institutions.

Frankly, I say “hooray!” Given the ongoing change and ferment in PC technology (A+), networking and security (the other two), it’s entirely appropriate for these credentials to come with a timestamp so employers can tell how current the credential holder’s knowledge base might or might not be.

And of course, there’s a very good reason why CompTIA had to change its tune on renewal and recertification, too:

The renewal policy also is required for these three certifications to maintain their accreditation and compliance with internationally accepted standards for assessing personnel certification programs (ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024). CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ certifications earned the ISO 17024 accreditation from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 2008. ISO requires that individuals have a way to renew the currency of their certification on a regular basis. In CompTIA’s case, renewal will occur every three years.

If you want to play in the big, internationally standardized leagues you also have to play by their rules. Good for ISO, and good for CompTIA, too.

11  Comments on this Post

 
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  • SRMcEvoy
    I think this is both good and bad. Good in that you now need to stay current, bad in that CompTIA Exam are much more expensive than some of the others ie. Microsoft. Also it will make them a lot more money if you need to re-cert every few years. Steven
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  • Ed Tittel
    Dear Steven: I agree with your posting, but wish to observe (again) that you can subsitute continuing education and/or other activities for exam re-takes to keep current. That may or may not cost as much (or more) than the exams themselves. But I do think it's a good thing that these credentials be kept current because of the rate of change in all of these IT subject areas. Thanks for sharing your perspective: it's much appreciated. --Ed--
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  • Ringo
    Ed has your brain gone soft ? What possible use is it to recert an entry level qualification ? This breaks the 'certs are for life' promise that CompTIA made and shows no integrity. ISO does not mandate recertification. Whats wrong with an employer assessing a candidates CPD on a CV and in an interview ? Do we really need to pay for what will likely be an ineffectual CEU system ? All these exams cover vendor neutral technology [B]fundamentals[/B], and fundamentals don't change that fast ! For a million more reasons why this is bad visit :- http://www.proprofs.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=26234 http://www.certforums.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=37612 http://www.techexams.net/forums/general-certification/49994-comptia-certification-renewal-policy.html I can't beleive you fell for CompTIA's DoD cashcow milking propaganda.
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  • Ed Tittel
    Dear Ringo: Absolutely, my brain *has* gone soft. I'm astounded at your perspicacious diagnostic skills! Seriously, I have three things to say about your post: 1. Why bother flaming me? I own this blog, and I don't take kindly to insults or derogatory remarks about my mental capacity or recent changes thereto. 2. Everybody's entitled to their opinion, including you, no matter how baldly (and if you'll look at my picture, you'll see I have a direct personal understanding of the term ;-) it is expressed. 3. You're forgetting that some people never advance beyond the entry-level stage, and stage in PC or network technician jobs for their entire careers. I have to believe that people of that ilk are those at whom this renewal is aimed (obviously, as you point out, if you move beyond a job role where renewal doesn't signify, there's not benefit in renewing or updating). 4. Indeed, the ANSI/ISO/IEC 17204 accreditation process for professional certifications *DOES* require some kind of ongoing re-certification process and/or a continuing education process to keep credentials current. Thanks for sharing your opinion. You certainly helped me wake up this morning! Best wishes, --Ed--
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  • RAlexGolden
    It has been 2 years and 11 months since I passed my Network +. After reading the CompTIA press release I logged into the CompTIA Certification management area. To my surprise all of my exams say expire "never". I was told by a friend they will not expire unless I were to take them later this year. Although the news release seems to suggest otherwise... "[I]The new certification renewal policy is applicable to all individuals who hold CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ or CompTIA Security+ certifications, regardless of the date they were certified.[/I]" If my 3 certifications (A+, Network+ and Security+) expire I feel like CompTIA has gone back on their word and we were in agreement at the time that these certifications would NEVER expire. CompTIA should give a huge [B]DISCOUNT[/B] to current certification holders. Otherwise I also see this as a CompTIA cash grab!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really feel like the certifications are irrelevant (for this example the Security+) once you have years of experience in the field of I.T. Security. In that regards I do not care if they expire after 3 years. The real problem occurs when the H.R. department of the company you are applying for throws your resume in the trash because your Security+ certification has expired. Even if you have 5 years of experience in the field. I know this will happen to someone because it is implied on so many job postings. "A+ required, Network+ required, Security+ required." I've even seen A+ and MCSE required on a job posting. The A+ is grade school easy in comparison to the MCSE...The Security+ test objectives will not change much at all in comparison to the A+. The certifications should only imply expiration in their titles or the year you took them. For example "A+ 2007 certified professional", "Network+ 2007 certified professional", "Security+ 2009 certified professional". H.R. at the company you are applying for would realize you've been continuing your education and obtaining better certifications. Lastly if someone obtains their Security+ it should credit towards their A+ not expiring... Although once you have your Security+ your A+ means little... How do we show credit as suggest in the press release? I don't see how CompTIA will manage this.............
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  • RAlexGolden
    It looks like CompTIA updated the policy. One of my friends sent me the new post. http://www.comptia.org/certifications/listed/renewal.aspx CompTIA wouldn't have went back on their decision but apparently tons of people complained. Also the renewal wording changed. Apparently if your certification is about to expire you'll have to go take a class sponsored or sold by CompTIA... It no longer mentions blog posting, or other types of ways to show you are still in the industry. Blog posting is way over rated... [B]Someone should be able to show they work in the industry and their certification should not expire.[/B] On the job training is worth more than a class any day of the week. Although if you have exited the industry then yes you should be held to higher standards... I actually work with a guy who went to I.T. tech and graduated years ago with a computer information systems degree... He never got a job in I.T. because he would have had to start lower than what he was currently making at the time. Now, years later he is taking classes for the A+, Network+ and Security+.
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  • Ed Tittel
    Dear Alex: Thanks for sharing your perspectives, and the results of your more recent research, with us. I completely understand and sympathize with your viwepoints. I still believe that only those who stay at or near the entry level will really be affected by this, and that the majority of IT professionals who move on to bigger and presumably better things won't be affected by this overmuch. IMO, I'm not fond of lifetime credentials, because they become increasingly irrelevant as technology changes and advances. I understand why CompTIA opted for this approach, particularly in light of seeking ANSI/ISO/IEC accreditation for their "big three" credentials. I do understand that many folks won't care for this change, but in fact, that's they way the vast majority of cert programs work: they either come with a built-in freshness date, or they expire when the platform to which they're tied becomes obsolete. Best wishes, and thanks again for posting, --Ed--
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  • Clara
    I am not happy to read this news, as it will increase [A href="http://www.examsheets.net/e-biz-plus-certification-training.htm"]Comptia[/A] price which is already higher than other courses like Microsoft. So it will increase burden on students.
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  • Ed Tittel
    Dear Clara: I hear and sympathize with your cost concerns. If you're interested in CompTIA stuff, though, you have until the end of this year to get the old, permanent cert(s). If you wait till next year, you will then have to renew every three years thereafter in perpetuity. Thanks for posting, --Ed--
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  • Rslemmer
    I know this is an older blog but i do have to completely agree with CompTIAs view, even though I already have lifetime A+ and Network+, renewing the certifications for anybody is a good thing, I know someone who takes the certs every few years and he doesnt have to but he does it for the giggles, his students, and for his education.
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  • Ed Tittel
    Dear RSlemmer: Thanks for observing that even someone who's "grandfathered" in with a lifetime cert elects to keep renewing reguarly. It really is the only way to make sure the credential you hold and the information domains it covers right now remain tied to each other. Best wishes, --Ed--
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