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Among the certifications available for computer professionals, A+ is probably the one cited most often as a starting point for careers in information technology (IT).

More than 260,000 people have received A+ certification, viewing it as a way to find jobs as computer service technicians or to gain enough skills to move on to further training.


Earn IT Certifications that Launch your Career with College of Marin

The information technology field offers plenty of opportunity, especially for the Bay Area. But how can you start or change career — and fast?

Not every career needs years to launch. In the IT field, an education is important — but there are some starter certifications that will help you jump-start your career. A handful of entry-level positions in the burgeoning field simply require a certification.

Here are some of the most important certifications to start your career:

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#1 CompTIA A+ Technician

What is it? CompTIA A+ is an entry-level certification and is a basic starting point for an IT career. Certified A+ technicians handle the maintenance of PCs, printers, operating systems, mobile devices and laptops.

A+ certification programs typically focus on the skills required for entry-level PC technicians. Students learn about installing, configuring, upgrading and repairing PCs. At College of Marin, this happens within class CIS 120, which prepares you for CompTIA A+ certification.

Certification process: You must pass two exams in order to receive the CompTIA A+ certification — one multiple choice and one performance-based. The exam costs approximately $200.

Available entry-level jobs in past year: 6,640

Most common job titles:

  • In-home support specialist
  • Desktop support technician
  • Help desk technician

CIS 120 IT Essentials is the class you need to start your CompTIA Certification. After successfully completing CIS 120, you will be ready to take the CompTIA certification (available at College of Marin!)

#2 Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

What is it? The CCNA is a lower-level certification that assures employers you are able to install, operate and configure enterprise level switches and routers. CCNA certified individuals can also detect and solve common network problems and have the option of specializing in security, voice or wireless networking.

Certification process: You can become CCNA certified by passing a single 90-minute written exam consisting of about 50-60 questions. The test costs around $295.

Available entry-level jobs in past year: 6,757

Most common job titles:

  • Network engineer
  • Network administrator
  • Systems administrator