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CompTIA Lets Candidates Take Certification Tests at Home

CompTIA Lets Candidates Take Certification Tests at Home
Credit: Shutterstock

CompTIA is the latest certification giant to allow candidates to take their tests from the comfort of home. CompTIA sent out a notification entitled "Take Your CompTIA Exam from Home." The announcement led to a page on ProctorU.com, which provides online exam proctoring services, where more details were available.

  • Three exams are currently available in the online format: two versions of Project+ (PK0-003 and -004), Server+ (SK0-004), and Cloud+ (CV0-001).
  • Testing times are open 24/7/365, and exams may be scheduled as long as weeks or months in advance, or as soon as "a few hours in advance" (but it's worth noting that "a small fee may be assessed for exams that are scheduled within 72 hours of test time" – presumably this means an extra charge above and beyond normal exam costs).
  • Candidates may sit for exams at home, in an office or in "another private room that meets the testing requirements" from ProctorU, as discussed in their FAQ. ProctorU requires you use a laptop or desktop running Windows Vista or higher with at least 1024 MB or RAM, or macOS X 10.4. You need an Internet connection of at least 768 Kbps/384 Kbps download/upload speeds. The company also includes checks of your system to ensure the camera and microphone are functional and that your system/browser can run Flash.
  • They'll even permit candidates to take exams in a public library (though not in other public spaces) provided that the test machine is located in a suitably private situation, as determined by a ProctorU help desk representative.

Those readers who are potentially interested in CompTIA Online Testing are advised to watch a How it Works video to determine if testing fits their needs and their circumstances. They need to comply with ProctorU's equipment and Internet bandwidth requirements for upload/download speeds to qualify to take an online exam (see CompTIA Online Testing web page at ProctorU for details).

Those who might wish to proceed must create a ProctorU account and schedule an exam, after which they must follow the prompts and purchase said exam (pricing appears the same as it does for PearsonVUE). When the scheduled data and time arrives, candidates must log into the ProctorU exam site, and get their testing underway. Pretty simple and straightforward, really. Now, if only the "Big Three" – A+, Network+ and Security+ -- were available online, this might reshape the landscape for CompTIA testing completely. As it is, the exams offered make this an obvious sort of trial run. I can only hope it produces the kind of results CompTIA is looking for, so the "Big Three" exams can make their way online as well.

The fine print for this offer also shows a pilot test mentality. These exams are currently available only in English in the US and Candada. Standard exam pricing is all that's available, no discounts or exam vouchers apply. No special test accommodations are currently available. Again: I hope this experiment proves to be a big success and leads to wholesale availability of CompTIA exams online. Now, if only Cisco will jump on this bandwagon, all three of certification's 800-lb gorillas (which also includes Microsoft, which has offered most of its exams online since 2015) will have taken their exams online. I can't but see this as a positive step for certification in general, especially for those with mobility or access issues, or who may reside far, far away from testing centers.

Ed Tittel

Ed is a 30-year-plus veteran of the computing industry, who has worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a classroom instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written for numerous publications, including Tom's IT Pro, and is the author of more than 140 computing books on information security, web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.