If you’ve passed the CompTIA Network+ exam or are currently researching how best to go about it, perhaps you’ve run into a series of familiar questions:

  • How long does the Network+ certification last?
  • When does the CompTIA Network+ expire?
  • What happens when it does? Do you have to retake it?
  • What is the process for updating your certification to a newer version of the Network+?

Unfortunately, an IT certification exam that does not expire (a lifetime certification) is incredibly rare. The fast-paced, constantly innovating nature of the IT industry makes it almost impossible to predict how long a new certificate will last before being updated or replaced. Many factors can affect this, including the job market and regional demands for specific skill sets.

MyComputerCareer can answer how CompTIA approaches this problem and how it affects your certs.

Does CompTIA Network+ Expire?

The short answer is yes. The Network+ certification expires three years after it was earned. To continue being certified, you will need to renew your Network+ credential.

Here are the two primary reasons why it expires within three years:

  • Evolution of IT

As mentioned above, the information technology industry advances at a breakneck pace. What is on-trend and in-demand today may very well not be in only a couple of years. How successful your career will depend on your ability to stay ahead of the curve and evolve alongside the industry.

This is why CompTIA continually updates its exams. With newer versions of the Network+, it provides you with an opportunity to stay up-to-date and competitive and strengthen your networking knowledge. To climb the career ladder, you will need to renew your CompTIA credentials regularly.

  • ISO/ANSI

ISO/ANSI refers to the accreditation status of the Network+ exam. To maintain this status, CompTIA is obligated to introduce new exam questions after a certain time.

The ISO/ANSI accreditation standard is one of the main reasons why the US Department of Defense recognizes the Network+ (and some other higher-level CompTIA certifications). These are certs that are globally accepted and can be a valuable addition to your resume.

How Do I Renew my CompTIA Network+?

The renewal process in CompTIA includes three options for those who want to keep their Network+ certification up-to-date before it can expire.

Training

CompTIA offers a specific course called the CertMaster CE Network+ training course that you can take to renew your certification. The course is six hours long and teaches you the latest exam objectives for Network+. This certification training is a relatively simple option because you can take it online and don’t have to pass an exam at the end.

Recertification Exams

Aside from the CertMaster CE, you can also take or pass one (or more) of the following:

  • An advanced certification from CompTIA (such as the Server+, Security+, Linux+, Cloud+, CySA+, PenTest+, and CASP+)
  • An additional certification from vendors with a course similar to the Network+ (such as the Cisco CCNA Microsoft MTA/Networking, or RedHat RHCE)
  • The current version (latest release) of the Network+ exam

In the recertification process, if you want to take more exams, such as additional, higher-level CompTIA certification, you should look at your career path and what you want to achieve. Consider which IT field you’d like to excel in before taking on an advanced-level certification. For example, a network security specialist, a network technician, and a network administrator might all require different additional credentials.

Renewal Activities

Finally, if you aren’t keen on taking a new course or passing a new exam, you can perform a variety of industry activities to collect continuing education units (CEUs). The Network+ exam requires 30 CEUs for renewal.

Examples of these CEU-collecting activities include:

  • Participating in a CompTIA exam development workshop as a Subject Matter Expert
  • Teaching a course or mentoring in such a workshop
  • Authoring a white paper, blog post, or article
  • Publishing a book on relevant topics
  • Complete training or a higher education program (attend a conference session, live webinar, complete a college course, or similar)
  • If you work in the computer networking sector, then your job can also help you gather CEUs

Admittedly, this renewal method is the most difficult because all of these listed activities typically don’t provide many CEUs on their own. You could instead complete a combination of activities to meet the renewal requirements for the Network+.

Network+ N10-008

Each CompTIA exam has its own code. The code depends on the type of exam, as well as the exam version. For example, the current Network+ exam has the code N10-007.

Even though there is no official word yet, the industry believes that the new N10-008 version of the Network+ will be released sometime in September 2021. CompTIA has a “six month grace period,” meaning that for six months following the release of the N10-008, both the N10-008 and the 007 will be available for taking.

Then, in 2022, the N10-007 will be removed from test centers, and only the 008 will remain for the next three years.

Does this mean that if you pass the Network+ N10-007 now, your cert will no longer be valid next year?

No, it does not. Remember that the Network+ has a three-year cycle. Even if you pass the 007 exam now, months before it is retired, it will still be good for another three years.

Taking or Waiting

You might be facing a conundrum of whether to prepare for and take the N10-007 now or wait for the 008 to be released.

Word of advice: don’t wait to get certified. This is especially true if you are looking at an exam version that will retire soon.

The new version will likely include new content and exam objectives for which there isn’t much study material available yet (if any at all). It will take a while before training centers, and instructors develop new courses around the additional objectives. If you’re aiming to self-study, you will only have the exam blueprint to go off of until there is more resource material released online.

You won’t gain or lose anything – whichever one you pass (the 007 or the 008) will be valid for the next three years.

Conclusion

It comes as no surprise that the Network+ CompTIA certification will expire. Most IT industry certifications do.

The Network+ certification expires after three years from the moment you passed it. To maintain your certification and keep the credentials on your resume, you need to renew the cert.

The three main ways to do this include earning a higher-level credential from CompTIA, a cert from another vendor that is accepted by the CompTIA, or performing a range of activities that will bring you CEUs (continuing education units) for renewal. Which one you will choose depends on what your goals are and what type of study environments you’re comfortable with.

Finally, don’t wait to become Network+ certified, regardless of which cycle the exam currently is in. Find the required study material or choose an instructor-led training course, and polish your computer networking skills!

If you need any help with that, MyComputerCareer will be glad to lend you a hand. Contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!