How Long Does it Take to Get an A+ Certification?
Before you take the MCSA or CCNA or any other certification for that matter, there are a series of steps you need to take. I took the A+ before the Network+ because I had close to zero experience with Information Technology. The A+ certification is good for that because it covers a breadth of IT knowledge that is useful. You’re probably wondering how long does it take to get an A+ certification so you can move on to the next one.
The A+ certification is a two part certification that can take up to 12 weeks to complete. Most of the studying time will be spent with part one of the certification followed by the second exam. It is possible to expedite the studying time given years of experience. For those who are new to IT, the 10 to 12 week time frame is an appropriate estimate.
Personally, it also took around 12 weeks or 3 months to get both parts of the A+ exam. I had other things going on at the time that I was studying on top of work. It’s possible I could have got the certification sooner, but for peace of mind a 3 month time frame is ideal.
The General Consensus
The folks at CBT Nuggets also recommend a 12 week time frame to get certified. They also mention that the bulk of the study time will be on the first part of the exam. But once that is done, the momentum can carry you forward.
If you’re looking for a coach to complete the certification, CBT Nuggets also has a coaching program catered to candidates who want accountability. Sometimes, it’s a struggle to get a certification. I remember the A+ being a struggle. Not because of the complexity of the concepts, but the newness of it all. I could see how a coach would have helped.
There are others too on Reddit and Info Sec Institute that also show there time frame to be around the 12 week mark. It’s pretty useful to get involved in these forums as that’s one way you can begin participating in the tech conversation. I know I like to provide updates of how my studies are going to the public.
First Tech Certification? No Worries
As I had mentioned, the A+ was my first technical certification. And I remember it being really hard. There were so many new concepts to learn and memorize. I felt like most of my time studying for the A+ was spent memorizing a lot of different technical ideas.
Even though it was hard, and overwhelming I was able to get this certification in the normal amount of time. I’m not particular brighter than anyone. I like to think, if I can do it, anyone can.
A lot of people entering IT are usually coming from other backgrounds and haven’t been in a traditional education system for a few years. It can be tough getting back into the groove of studying. Starting a study habit is probably one of the most difficult disciplines. But if you take it day by day, you can develop it like a muscle. In no time you’ll have watched through all of Professor Messer’s video and ready to begin taking practice exams.
Practice Practice to A+
The first step your 3 month journey is to pick up a study material like Professor Messer’s free YouTube videos and watch it in completion.
Then go and take practice exams over and over again. This test requires a lot of memorization to begin intuitively understanding it. So you’ll need to take practice exams and memorize them until you understand the material.
Here’s an example time line how your practice can look:
Month 1 – Watch Professor Messer’s A+ videos on YouTube to completion. Take notes. You need to interact with the material if you ever want the chance to retain it.
Month 2 – Memorize flash cards and practice exams. This is pretty self explanatory. At this point you’ll also want to pick up a secondary study material. Perhaps the CBT Nuggets’ training on the A+.
Month 3 – Finish up the secondary source material like CBT Nuggets. Continue memorizing and practicing those exams. At the end of the month you can finally take the test.
How to Prepare at Week 12
You should feel pretty confident about taking the exam for Week 12.
Don’t worry too much about studying. The biggest thing you might want to take a look at when it comes to studying, are maybe reviewing the notes you’ve taken from Professor Messer’s or the CBT Nuggets’ videos. But apart from that, you should be good to go.
Most of Week 12 should be focused on the logistics of the exam. How are you going to get there? Do you have your scheduled lined up in a way you’ll sleep well the night before? Did you even schedule the exam yet?
Logistics for week 12. It’s easy to get caught up like an academic that you forget the practical things. This week is mostly a mindset thing. Good luck. And don’t stress too much. Worst case scenario, is you’ll have to study a little bit longer and retake the test at a later time.
Certifications as the Pathway (My Plug)
Certifications are actually not going to by the success factor in your IT Career. Rather it will be an expression of it.
What you actually learn on the job or through the labs you do will be a greater indicator of your success. If you dedicate your 12 weeks to actually learning the A+, then the IT career will likely have a bright future for you.
It has been for me. I remember this clearly when I was able to break into six figures in five years. It was a number I didn’t think I would ever hit with a pizza delivery background. I’m glad I made the switch.
Like many of you, IT is probably a pivot point. There are some insights I can share with you that I’ve had that can increase your chances of your success. If you like my writing and would like to support me, you can get my ebook where I’ve written these insights at the price of a cup of coffee: “6-Figure Guide to Info Tech.”