New Horizons is a school that portends to be an employer and it advertises extensively in job hunting circles, notably Careerbuilder.com. New Horizons posts ads in Careerbuilder like 'PC Helpdesk, no exp necessary,'... read further and they say that their clients ask for people of varying degrees of experience of them, leading one to believe now that New Horizons is some sort of placement firm. If you answer the ad, you'll get an email setting up an interview, wherein you are walked through their classrooms and told how much you can make if you let them instruct you with their various classes and certifications. It is a very expensive school. And like any tech school, they offer placement services when you graduate, and even say they can offer some intern positions as you make your way through their school curriculum after you have been there for such and so period of time.
If you can afford it, and want formal classroom training, or don't mind going many thousands into student loan debt for your cert, then maybe it is an avenue you could explore.
Yet in the end, whether you self instruct from the book, or you attend their school, you will have to schedule your actual test, and you will be taking the same tests for your certification as the schools graduates do, ( and probably even from the
same testers ).
I think the schools tuition also pays for ( includes the price of ) your first attempt to take and pass the test. Without the school, you'll be scheduling your own test date and paying for the test out of pocket. Which is still a lot cheaper than the schools tuition.
In my opinion, if you really know your way around computers well, and just need that paper to prove it, then your method of home study will be just fine.
The school's A+ cert is really for folks who have No computer repair knowledge and need to be taught from step one. Although they will tell you different in their sales pitch.
Also Keep in mind, though, the school can help with hands on work with hardware and software that you may not have access to otherwise.
If I were you, I'd finish your book, get your certification, and get your foot in the door somewhere that might assist you in furthering your education. I've always felt that if a company wants you to be certified in one thing or another, than they should bear at least the brunt of such a cost.
The drawback to that is that some employers may insist on formal education, and they will want the name of the school where you got your certification.
But maybe you can get away with "school of hard knocks", if you can say so with a knowing smile.
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