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Information Security Certifications Comparison

Information security certifications are the closest thing to a sure bet in the IT field. They’re highly respected and—particularly in the government and related industries—frequently required. InfoSec certifications are also respected because they’re difficult to acquire and usually have experience prerequisites. Find out how much InfoSec certifications cost and if you’re eligible to apply for them.

GSEC (Security Essentials Certification)

Career level: Entry to mid

Prerequisites: None

Exam: $1,699

How long the certification lasts: 4 years

Annual potential salary increase: $5,367

Learn more about the GSEC

CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)

Career level: Entry

Prerequisites: Formal training is highly recommended, but you can substitute 2 years of information security experience for this requirement.

Exam: $950

How long the certification lasts: You don’t have to recertify if you validate continuing education

Annual potential salary increase: $18,821

Notes: Mandatory training is $850 unless you can get an experience waiver; vendor-neutral

Free Skillsoft classes for TEKsystems consultants: 16 units / 23 hours of CEH training

Learn more about the CEH

CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

Career level: Mid

Prerequisites: 4 years of InfoSec experience with degree, or 5 years if you don’t have a degree

Exam: $599

How long the certification lasts: 3 years (you must complete continuing education and pay a fee)

Annual potential salary increase: $16,608

Notes: The CISSP is required for many government jobs; some may accept the CISA as a substitute

Free Skillsoft classes for TEKsystems consultants: 12 units / 20 hours of CISSP training, plus test prep and updates

Learn more about the CISSP

CompTIA Security+

Career level: Entry

Prerequisites: None

Exam: $320

How long the certification lasts: 3 years

Annual potential salary increase: $4,689

Notes: Sometimes required for government jobs

Free Skillsoft classes for TEKsystems consultants: 10 units / 12 hours of training, plus test prep

Learn more about the CompTIA Security+

Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP)

Career level: Mid

Prerequisites: 4 years of experience in related domain, or 4-year degree and 3 years of experience

Exam: $599

How long the certification lasts: 3 years

Annual potential salary increase: $22,802

Notes: Yearly maintenance fee of $100

Learn more about the CSSLP

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

Career level: Senior

Prerequisites: 5 years of InfoSec experience, incl. 3 years of management; related certifications or post-graduate degree can replace part of the experience requirement

Exam: $670

How long the certification lasts: 3 years

Annual potential salary increase: $27,500

Notes: Annual fees and continuing education credits needed to maintain certification

Learn more about the CISM