How to Get CISSP Certification

Cyber Security specialist

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification provides a credential that validates your knowledge and experience in security systems development and management. The certification exam is rigorous, but the credential you earn can be invaluable. It’s recognized across the industry, helps you stand out from the competition, and is prized by employers. To get the CISSP certification, you need at least five years’ experience in two or more of the CISSP CBK domains. But earning your degree can serve as credit and satisfy a full year of experience. It also sets you up with the knowledge you need to begin a career. Here is a path to that coveted CISSP Certification that can be a true differentiator:

Enroll in a Cyber Security Degree Program Before Earning Your CISSP

A cyber security degree program can train you to become a digital bodyguard. You gain knowledge and skills that prepare you for a career in cyber security and you learn about many of the domains that will appear on the CISSP certification exam. Areas like security architecture, network security, security operations, and security and risk management are important subjects in your cyber security program and the exam. You also learn the fundamentals of computer science, basic concepts of the Internet and World Wide Web, and computer regulations and compliance. And you build skills in coding, cryptography, basic computer applications, project management, and information systems design.

Gain Professional Cyber Security Experience

To sit for the CISSP exam, you need documented paid experience in two or more of the eight domains covered:

  • Domain 1. Security and Risk Management
  • Domain 2. Asset Security
  • Domain 3. Security Architecture and Engineering
  • Domain 4. Communication and Network Security
  • Domain 5. Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  • Domain 6. Security Assessment and Testing
  • Domain 7. Security Operations
  • Domain 8. Software Development Security

Earning your degree can count as one year of experience. You can also gain the requisite experience through paid internships. And if you don’t yet have enough experience and want to get ahead of the game, you can take and pass the CISSP exam for the Associate of (ISC) credential. You would then have six years to satisfy the remaining experience requirement.

Register for the CISSP Exam

You can register online through the International Information Systems Security Certification Council, or ISC2. Once you register with ISC2, you are redirected to Pearson VUE, the exam administrator, to select a date and testing center near you. The exam consists of 125 to 175 multiple choice questions that cover the eight domains. You have four hours to complete the exam and you need at least 700 points out of 1,000 to pass. The test proctor will provide unofficial results at the end of your exam, so you have an idea of where you stand. Official results will be emailed to you in six to eight weeks, along with instructions on how to complete your certification.

Complete the CISSP Certification Process  

To complete the certification process, fill out the endorsement form that verifies your work experience and formally agree to the ISC2 code of ethics:

  • Protect society, the common good, necessary public trust and confidence, and the infrastructure
  • Act honorably, honestly, justly, responsibly, and legally
  • Provide diligent and competent service to principals
  • Advance and protect the profession

You also need to pay the annual membership fee. If you choose the associate path, your fee is $50; full certification is $125.

Reapply for CISSP Certification

Your CISSP certification is valid for three years. To renew, you can complete 40 continuing professional education credits per year for the three years or retake the exam. You can earn CPEs by attending conferences, seminars, and webinars on cyber security or by completing ISC2 lab courses to brush up on your technical skills. The goal is to refresh your knowledge and sharpen your skills, so they stay relevant to the industry.

Are you interested in a cyber security career? Limestone University offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science - Cyber Security that can prepare you for an entry-level job in the field and the national CISSP exam. Click the button to learn more.

Providing network systems security
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Computer, information, and physical security are becoming more important at an exponential rate since the tragedies of September 11, 2001. Because of these events and new threats, the necessity for cyber security has moved to the forefront.