Congratulations! You passed your CompTIA certification exam and now you join those that are working to advance their careers by demonstrating and maintaining their technical skills. One of your next steps should be maintaining that certification.
Your first step should be to make sure that CompTIA knows your mailing address. They will be sending you a certification kit usually via postal mail to the shipping address you entered when you registered for the exam. This kit is important in that it includes your certificate and your activation code. Your CompTIA certification activation code is a small text string that you can provide to an employer in confidence that they can use to verify your certification.
Using that activation code any employer can use a web browser to go to the CompTIA Certmetrics site (https://www.certmetrics.com); enter the code and complete an image verification. The site will then verify an individual’s certification. If you have multiple certifications, you will be issued multiple verification codes. When a certification is achieved by passing the exam or when renewed Certmetrics will report that certification is ‘active’.
Almost all CompTIA certifications expire three years from the date the candidate passed the exam. The exceptions are ITF+ and Cloud Essentials+ which once achieved have no expiration. You should check your specific certification.
To start the process to maintain your certification you must pay your CE fees. CompTIA charges a $50 per year CE fee to maintain a candidate’s certifications. That $50 has to be paid before you can start any recertification process. The good news is that that one time $50 per year payment covers all your CompTIA certifications.
There are several ways that you can renew that certification through CompTIA’s continuing education (CE) program. They include:
• Completing a CertMaster CE training course,
• Taking a certification or recertification exam, and
• Reporting on continuing education activities.
The CertMaster CE training courses are self-paced e-learning available from CompTIA. CertMaster CE is the easiest and fastest way to recertify. You take the course on your own time and at your own pace. Each CertMaster lesson includes assessments related back to the material included in that lesson. Candidates can reset and retake assessments along the way. Once the candidate has completed the online course and assessments their certification status is renewed. The candidate doesn’t have to submit or do anything else.
Another recertification method is by completing and reporting Continuing Education Units (CEUs). To renew a Security+ certification you’ll need 50 CEUs. One CEU equals one hour of an approved activity. CompTIA provides an assessment tool candidates can use to make sure that their activity qualifies for CEUs. CEUs are submitted via a page at the Certmetrics portal.
Number of CEUs required for CompTIA recertification. (from Comptia.org)
Earning a set number of CEUs before your certification expires renews your CompTIA certification. At the time of this writing 50 CEUs were required to recertify for Security+. Each certification requires a certain number of CEUs, which you receive by completing and submitting the activities to the portal. See how many CEUs you need, how to earn CEUs and how to find out if they are valid.
If you hold multiple stackable CompTIA certifications, you can renew all of them at once by renewing your highest-level CompTIA certification from that stack. View the hierarchy of CompTIA certifications and read how to set your intent level for renewal.
CompTIA provides guidance about the number of CEUs it accepts from certification programs offered by other providers such as Amazon, Cisco, ISACA, ISC2, and Microsoft. Many of these other certifications get you close to the needed number of CEUs but based on my research of data available at the time of this writing none completely fulfills the re-certification requirement. To claim these CEUs you will need to provide proof of that other certification.
Another factor to consider is that different certification programs have different costs, recertification requirements, and may be offered via testing platforms other than Pearson Vue.
CEUS can also be earned via other activities. Developing and delivering certification related presentations as well as teaching and mentoring are acceptable. If you attend monthly professional meetings or an annual conference that might also count. When submitting CEUs remember that they will likely be audited so make sure that you have some documentation that states you were present.
Perhaps the easiest way to recertify and maintain different certifications is to get into the habit of watching webinar presentations online. If you watch just one or two vendor’s one-hour webinars on a free platform like BrightTalk.com each month for most of the year you can easily meet the 50 CEU requirement in less than 3 years. Again, just remember that you will need some certificate of attendance to submit.