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How Best to Prepare for the CompTIA RFID+ Exam

Training comes in many flavors, from semester-long courses to self-study books and boot camps. Get ready for the test by first reviewing all of the available programs.
By Marc Cantor
Feb 09, 2009Those seeking CompTIA RFID+ certification have many choices available to them when it comes to training and education. They can pursue semester-long programs, offered by some universities and community colleges. They can attend four-day courses, taught by the top names in the commercial RFID training space, RFID4U and OTA Training. They can sign up for two-day courses, sometimes referred to as "boot camps," instructed by college staff, as well as by RFID experts or vendors in conjunction with universities or commercial providers. Or they can study on their own, attending no classes, but reading RFID manuals, taking CD-based practice examinations and utilizing the recently introduced interactive Web-based instruction. So which is best, and which should you choose?

Semester-long programs, available through universities and community colleges, are still in their infancy, and are as varied as the colleges offering them. Many programs are sponsored by industry, such as those provided by the University of Arkansas' RFID Research Center. RFID programs are traditionally part of engineering or information technology departments, and do not lead to an RFID degree, but rather to a minor or area of concentration.

Marc Cantor
While CompTIA's RFID+ preparatory courses are normally part of a university's curriculum, college courses tend to follow hot industry segments, such as supply chain, pharmaceutical and transportation. The main advantages in a semester-long program are the ties to industry, the reduced pace, the effects of cumulative learning over an extended period of time and the on-site RFID labs. The disadvantages are time and cost. College pricing is currently all over the map, and most existing professionals would have difficulty allocating a semester's worth of time to complete such a program.

Commercial four-day courses are, in theory, the most comprehensive (outside of semester-long programs) available today. They are also the most expensive for short-term preparation, coming in at around $4,000—not including travel, lodging and some meals. The advantage to this type of program is the slower pace and detailed instruction afforded for each of the nine domains covered on the CompTIA RFID+ examination. Additionally, most providers of these commercial courses assisted in the exam's development, and maintain close relationships with vendors and professionals in the RFID industry.

Assuming your goal, upon attaining certification, is to pursue RFID-related employment, commercial providers may offer the greatest network of available opportunities. Each provider has a large database of certified professionals, making it a logical resource for RFID organizations looking to augment their staff. The main disadvantage is cost. For $4,000, you could purchase 40 RFID training manuals to prepare yourself for the exam—as opposed to attending a four-day course—and you would certainly learn enough to pass the exam.

Two-day courses, or boot camps, are offered by just about every segment in the RFID industry. Commercial providers, college instructors and RFID vendors—working in conjunction with college instructors and commercial providers—offer fast-paced CompTIA RFID+ preparation. Such courses tend to be taught over a weekend, or coupled with trade shows, vendor demonstrations or other major events.

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