You’re keen to enter cyber security, and getting the CompTIA Security+ certification can help you get your foot in the door. The question is, how much does the CompTIA Security+ exam cost? How might you spend your time and money prudently for this popular entry-level certification?
Look no further—we’ve got you covered. This article will address the price of getting your Security+, renewals, time commitment, costs of training materials, and the rewards as an IT professional after you’ve earned your Security+. Moreover, we discuss possible next steps for you if you have eyes on other cyber security certifications beyond Security+.
When you’re ready, let’s determine how much the CompTIA Security+ certification costs.
About CompTIA Security+
CompTIA is short for “Computing Technology Industry Association,” and it conducts certification exams so that you can gain IT expertise to meet various industry standards.
CompTIA Security+ is an entry-level cyber security certification exam focusing primarily on up-to-date best practices for risk management and risk mitigation. The certification shows employers that you’ve mastered the core skills to perform essential cyber security functions and pursue an IT security career.
Here’s the detailed breakdown of the latest Security+ exam domains:
- Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities
- Architecture and Design
- Operations and Incident Response
- Governance, Risk, and Compliance
On a scale of 100–900, the passing score is 750. Each Core examination has at most 90 questions, and you must complete each exam in 90 minutes.
For details, refer to our introductory article “What is CompTIA Security+?”.
CompTIA Security+ Certification Cost
The total cost of earning the CompTIA Security+ certification is $392 USD for first-time test takers.
Once you’ve earned it, your Security+ certification is good for three years. Each of these three years, you pay $50 USD to renew your Security+ certification, totaling $150 USD.
As a newly minted Security+ holder, you also conduct activities that earn you Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to stay relevant to tech trends. Your activities must meet the following requirements to qualify for CEUs:
- Timing: You must complete your activities during your three-year renewal cycle.
- Relevance: At least 50 percent of the activity content must relate to one or more exam objectives for the certification you’re renewing.
- Documentation: You’ll need to provide documentation for the following activities to receive CEUs:
- Earn Non-CompTIA IT industry certifications (this may incur additional costs);
- Complete training and higher education;
- Participate in IT industry activities;
- Publish a relevant article, white paper, blog post, or book;
- Gain related work experience.
- Higher CompTIA cyber security certifications, such as CySA+, PenTest+, and CASP+, automatically renew Security+.
The total cost of getting and maintaining your Security+ over the next three years is a minimum of $150 USD plus the cost of your renewal activities, or $392 USD if you go for CySA+ or PenTest+ during your three-year cycle (either of which lets you forgo the $150 fee entirely).
Although Security+ has no hard-and-fast prerequisites, CompTIA recommends that Security+ candidates have CompTIA Network+ and two years of experience in IT administration with a security focus, all of which help reduce study time. Before tackling Security+, it’s best to have gained networking knowledge, like that of Network+ or CCNA.
To prepare for the exam, if you have some IT or networking knowledge, it may take as little as 30-45 days; otherwise, it may take you several months, up to a year, before you’re ready to take the exam.
Training costs encompass study materials and practice tests. We list Security+ instructors who update their materials whenever CompTIA rolls out a revised version of their exams.
The latest CompTIA Security+ certification exam code is SY0-601. The links to the following titles we recommend apply to SY0-601:
- Amazon.com: The Official CompTIA Security+ Certification Self-Paced Study Guide (Exam SY0-601) by James Pengelly ($189.00 - $194.00 USD)
- Mike Meyers’ CompTIA Security+ Certification Guide, Third Edition (Exam SY0-601) by Mike Myers and Scott Jernigan ($37.20 USD)
- CompTIA Security+ All-in-One Exam Guide, Sixth Edition (Exam SY0-601) by Wm. Arthur Conklin and Greg White ($47.95 USD)
- CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-601 Study Guide by Darril Gibson ($29.01 USD)
Some people may opt for in-person classroom training in Security+ at local training centers, but since we generally lead busy lives and it isn’t easy to make time for extra commitments, a well-structured online self-paced training course has the following benefits:
- You can view and review your course materials whenever you have Internet access
- You’re not bound to traffic conditions
- While books cater primarily to visual learners, video courses also cater to auditory and kinaesthetic learners
- Online courses are much cheaper and sometimes only require a one-time payment
Here’s a selection of Security+ training programs on our website:
Our StationX Membership includes all the courses above (and is currently at a discount of $197 USD per year). Recall that without cyber security expertise, it’ll take up to a year to prepare for the Security+ exam, so getting our membership now gives you an edge in your Security+ studies.
In summary, expect to spend roughly $230-250 USD on the combined total of one Security+ textbook of your choice and an online Security+ training program such as ours.
Return on Investment
Immediately after getting your Security+, your next step can be applying for an entry-level cyber security job or challenging yourself to a further cyber security certification, which is a valuable stepping stone for those who want to advance in the field. These two options aren’t mutually exclusive.
CompTIA Security+ qualifies you for entry-level cyber security positions (average annual USD salary in parentheses), such as:
- Business Analyst ($50K-100K USD)
- Cyber Security Manager ($60K-$180K USD)
- Software Developer ($60K-80K USD)
- Systems Administrator ($43K-130K USD)
- MSP Personnel ($33K-100K USD)
- Security Consultant (upwards of $100K USD)
The mission to strengthen an organization’s security posture, handle security events, provide security solutions, and secure hybrid environments can be a meaningful career pursuit. For details, refer to our article on CompTIA Security+ Jobs.
Nailing Security+ has given you essential foundational knowledge, and you’re on your way to becoming a cyber security professional. You can now prepare for more advanced cyber security certifications such as PenTest+, CEH, CySA+, OSCP, and Azure Security Engineer Associate.
Let’s break down the total cost of Security+:
- The exam fee is $392 USD (assuming you pass on your first attempt);
- Maintaining Security+ over three years costs $150 USD;
- Renewal activities may incur additional costs: higher CompTIA cyber security certifications cost at least $392 USD, but renew Security+ completely;
- Study materials you’ll use within a year typically cost $179-197 USD.
Expect to spend around $590 to get your Security+ and an estimated total of $1000 USD over three years (including both exam voucher and renewal costs), but the salaries of jobs you land are far greater. It’s all worth it in the end.
We hope this article on CompTIA Security+ exam costs prepares you financially for this important entry-level certification. For more information on the CompTIA Security+ exam, check out our CompTIA Security+ cheat sheet and other articles on certifications. Last but not least, if you plan to take the Security+ exam soon, we wish you all success.