How Much Do Cyber Security Certifications Cost? (2023)

Cyber Security Certifications Cost Complete 2023 Breakdown

The right cyber security certification can fast-track your career, leading to substantial salary increases. But before investing time and money, it’s important you understand the costs and value of different credentials.

This guide provides a detailed breakdown of costs for the most popular and valuable cyber security certifications in 2023. We’ll look at upfront exam fees, required further training courses, and annual renewal fees.

As you explore, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the main entry, advanced, and expert cyber security certifications, as well as their benefit for accelerating your career.  

Read on for a complete overview of what entry-level, intermediate, and advanced cyber security credentials cost so you can make an informed decision when planning your training roadmap. 

Why Get Certified?

Professional certifications validate your expertise and enhance your career prospects. Let's explore the main benefits cyber security certifications offer. First and foremost, they provide a significant boost to your earning potential. 

The right credential validates that you possess specialized technical skills that employers desperately need in this digitized era. Prestigious certifications also signal to companies that you are committed to excellence within the field.

With the right cert on your resume, you exhibit sharpness and proficiency in this complex domain: 

  • Expand your cyber security knowledge: Preparing for a certification exam requires extensive studying. You'll gain exposure to new cyber security skills, concepts, and tools.
  • Gain credibility: Certifications add credibility since they validate your skills through standardized testing. This can help you earn promotions and advance your career.
  • Meet job requirements: Cyber security certifications are commonly listed as required or preferred qualifications on job postings. They can make you eligible for more job opportunities.
Top Cyber Security Certifications Costs

General Cyber Security Certifications

Foundational certifications are ideal for starting or transitioning into cyber security. 

Here's an overview of some widely recognized entry-level options:

CompTIA Security+

The CompTIA Security+ certification is a good starting for cyber security certification programs for cyber and information security professionals. With Security+, companies know you can do key security tasks and pursue jobs like a systems administrator or security consultant.

Completing the CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 requires answering no more than 90 questions (both multiple-choice and performance-based) within 90 minutes and completing a survey. The exam covers attacks, threats and vulnerabilities, security architecture and design, implementation topics, operations and incident response, governance, risk, and compliance issues.

CompTIA Security+
  • Exam fee: $392
  • Additional expenses: None
  • Renewal fees: $50/year, due every three years

(ISC)2 Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

SSCP stands for Systems Security Certified Practitioner, a certification from (ISC)2. SSCP focuses on administrative security tasks and operations. To earn SSCP, candidates must pass a four-hour, 150-question multiple-choice exam with a score of 700 out of 1000. 

This exam covers security operations and administration, access management and controls, risk identification and analysis, incident response and recovery, cryptography, computer science and network technology, communications security, and systems and application security.

(ISC)2 Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
  • Exam fee: $249
  • Additional expenses: None
  • Renewal fees: $125/year 

GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)

The GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) certification is respected in cyber security and demonstrates proficiency in key topics. Issued by the globally respected GIAC organization, GSEC is one of 40 certifications they offer and is considered entry-level. It requires strong existing IT and networking knowledge. 

The exam covers areas such as access control, cryptography, cloud security, computing fundamentals, Linux security, and incident response procedures. Candidates must pass a multiple-choice exam containing 106-108 questions along with a few performance-based questions demonstrating practical problem-solving through real programs and code. 

  • Exam fee: $949 or $499 with a current GIAC certification 
  • Additional expenses: None 
  • Renewal fees: $469 every four years.

CompTIA CySA+

CySA+ examines skills for security roles like analysts and engineers. CySA+ content delves deeper into specific analytic tools and techniques. The current CySA+ exam is CS0-003, a 165-minute test containing up to 85 multiple-choice and performance-based questions. 

The exam covers four domains: network security and operations, vulnerability management, incident response and management, and reporting and communication. Candidates are assessed on their ability to perform tasks in each of these key cyber security analysis functions.

CompTIA CySA+
  • Exam fee: $392
  • Additional expenses: None.
  • Renewal fees: $50/year, due every three years 

EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH ANSI)

The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification is offered by the EC-Council. This exam validates skills in ethical hacking and penetration testing. The CEH (ANSI) exam is closed-book with 125 multiple-choice questions. Candidates have 4 hours to complete it. 

The exam covers nine domains related to cyber security. These include topics like information security threats, attack detection, attack prevention, and security procedures and methodologies.

EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH ANSI)

Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals

The Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals certification is intended for those familiar with networking, cloud computing, general IT, cloud security, Microsoft Azure, and 365 who want a cyber security certification to highlight their understanding of Microsoft's holistic cyber security approach.

The exam measures candidates' ability to describe key security, compliance, and identity concepts. It tests understanding of capabilities in Microsoft Azure Active Directory, Microsoft Security solutions, and Microsoft compliance solutions.

The Microsoft SC-900 exam lasts two hours and contains 40 to 60 multiple-choice questions.

Microsoft Certified Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals
  • Exam fee: $99
  • Additional expenses: None. 
  • Renewal fees: Certifications do not expire.

Advanced Cyber Security Certifications

How much do advanced cyber security certifications cost? While the costs vary, advanced cyber security credentials are one of the best ways to advance your career. 

EC-Council Certified Network Defender (CND)

CND is a network security certification program focused on security administrators helping organizations build strong network defenses. It is an ANSI-accredited program mapped to the NICE framework and approved by the U.S. Department of Defense according to their 8570 standards.

The EC-Council CND certification exam takes 4 hours to complete and contains 100 multiple-choice questions on topics like network security, protocols, infrastructure, and defenses.

EC-Council Certified Network Defender (CND)
  • Exam fee: $650
  • Additional expenses: $2,199 - $3,499 for required partnered training (these include exam fees). $499 for optional live training upgrade. 
  • Renewal fees: $80/year

EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)

The CHFI certification from the EC-Council covers computer hacking forensic investigation. This involves the processes of detecting hacking attacks, properly extracting evidence from computers, and conducting audits to prevent future attacks. 

CHFI v10 takes four hours to complete and consists of 150 questions. The ANSI 17024 certification is an accredited program mapped to the NICE framework and approved by the U.S. Department of Defense under Directive 8570.

EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)
  • Exam fee: $650
  • Additional expenses: $2,199 - $3,499 for required partnered training (these include exam fees). $499 for optional live training upgrade.
  • Renewal fees: $80/year

GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)

The GIAC Incident Handler (GCIH) certification validates a practitioner's skills in detecting, responding to, and resolving computer security incidents. GCIH-certified individuals are equipped to defend against attacks and respond appropriately when security breaches occur by comprehending typical attack tactics. 

The GIAC Incident Handler (GCIH) certification ensures skills in incident handling, investigation, and responding to hacker exploits. The GCIH certification involves passing a 4-hour, proctored exam consisting of 106 questions, with a minimum passing score of 70%.

  • Exam fee: $949 or $499 with a current GIAC certification
  • Additional expenses: None. 
  • Renewal fees: $469 every four years 

EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH Practical)

The CEH Practical exam tests your ability to apply ethical hacking techniques like finding threats, scanning networks, detecting operating systems, analyzing security vulnerabilities, using ethical hacking systems, attacking web apps, and more to solve a security audit challenge.

The CEH Practical exam probes mastery of the five crucial ethical hacking phases: reconnaissance, gaining access, enumeration, maintaining access, and covering your tracks. This practical penetration testing exam takes 6 hours to complete 20 practical cyber security challenges that must be passed with a 70% score.

  • Exam fee: $550
  • Additional expenses: $0
  • Renewal fees: $80/year

The OffSec Certified Professional (OSCP)

Earn the premier OSCP certification through Offensive Security's PEN-200: Penetration Testing with Kali Linux course. This hands-on, self-paced course teaches penetration testing methodologies, tools, and techniques using the industry-standard Kali Linux platform. 

The OSCP exam is a 24-hour hacking challenge, made up of three individual vulnerable machines and a three-machine Active Directory network. Students are expected to successfully hack into and gain root/administrator/domain admin on these systems. They then have an additional 24-hours to write a detailed report walking through their methods. Passing score is 70 out of 100.

  • Exam fee: $1,599 (Exam, course, and 90 days lab access) or $2,499 (Exam, course, 1 year lab access)
  • Additional expenses: None.
  • Renewal fees: Certification does not expire. 

(ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is universally acknowledged as the premier certification in the information security field. CISSP demonstrates mastery of project management, risk management, compliance, legal considerations, business continuity, auditing, and comprehensive security plan development and implementation. 

The 4-hour CISSP exam tests your knowledge of key security domains through multiple-choice and advanced innovative questions. The domains covered are software development security, security operations, security assessment, and testing, identity and access management, communication and network security operations, asset security assessment, cloud security, architecture and engineering, and security and risk management.

(ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Exam fee: $749
  • Additional expenses: None.
  • Renewal fees: $125/year

ISACA Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA)

The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification is the globally recognized standard for IT and business-certified information systems security, auditing, control, monitoring, and risk assessment. The CISA designation demonstrates expertise in applying risk-based auditing approaches and validates capabilities in audit engagement planning, execution, and reporting.

The CISA exam consists of 150 questions covering information systems auditing processes, IT governance and management, systems acquisition/development/implementation, operations and business resilience, and protection of information assets.

ISACA Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA)
  • Exam fee: $575 for ISACA members, $760 for non-members
  • Additional expenses: $50 application processing fee
  • Renewal fees: $45 annually for members, $85 for non-members

Cisco CCNP Security

The CCNP Security certification validates a professional's skills in securing enterprise networks, emphasizing core technologies and understanding of security solutions. Through theoretical knowledge and hands-on testing, it confirms one's ability to implement and manage security in Cisco network devices.

Though no prerequisites are required (including the CCNA), Cisco recommends 3-5 years of hands-on experience with Cisco networks before attempting CCNP Security certification exams.

To earn CCNP Security, you must pass two exams - first, the 350-701 SCOR (Implementing and Operating Cisco Security Core Technologies) core exam, then one of concentration exam of your choosing (such as VPN, Firewall, WebApp, etc.). 

Cisco CCNP Security
  • Exam fee: $400 for SCOR exam and $300 for a concentration exam.
  • Additional expenses: None
  • Renewal fees: There are no renewal fees, though renewal activities may have their own costs.

Expert Cyber Security Certifications

Finally, let's cover expert-level cyber security certifications for highly-experienced professionals looking to prove their expertise.

ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is an advanced certification from ISACA for experienced cyber security professionals. It validates expertise in deploying and managing security programs - including controls, risk analysis, and incident response. 

The 4-hour CISM exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions, with a passing score of 450 out of 800. The exam covers four content domains: information security governance, risk management, program development, and incident management.

ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Exam fee: $575 for ISACA members, $760 for non-members
  • Additional expenses: $50 application processing fee. 
  • Renewal fees: $45 annually for members, $85 for non-members

ISACA CRISC - Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control

Earning the CRISC certification positions you at the forefront of risk management strategy and optimization. This prestigious credential from ISACA helps professionals master a proactive, agile-based approach to enhancing organizational resilience, creating stakeholder value, and driving effective risk management across the entire enterprise.

The CRISC certification exam consists of 150 questions testing four core risk management and cyber security domains such as governance, IT risk assessment, risk response and reporting, and information technology and network security. Together these domains encompass critical real-world risk management knowledge and skills CRISC-certified professionals must possess.

ISACA CRISC - Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control
  • Exam fee: $575 for ISACA members, $760 for non-members. 
  • Additional expenses: $50 application processing fee. 
  • Renewal fees: $45 annually for members, $85 for non-members.

Conclusion 

Choosing the right certification can involve multiple factors - what are your goals, what are your career aspirations, what is in demand for your location or field, and how much are you prepared to invest.

We hope this guide has provided some insight that will prove useful in your decision-making.

If you are looking for more advice on certifications, personalized career roadmaps, dedicated mentorship, and courses to build skills and prepare for exams, consider the StationX Accelerator program. We will provide you with everything you need to attain a profitable and satisfying career.

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