CISSP Certification Requirements

CISSP Certification Requirements – Are you eligible for CISSP?

13 min. read

Let’s understand who a CISSP is before looking what are the CISSP certification requirements. Unlike a regular IT graduate, a CISSP has more and in-depth knowledge and skills on how to deal with the information security threats that an organization faces. Being a CISSP, you are able to create procedures and policies to protect businesses from security threats. Some of the specific tasks a CISSP would perform include creating disaster recovery policies, designing a secure IT network. Moreover, they would develop security management practices, create cryptographic protocols, and design network systems that are safe from cyber or local threats.

What are the CISSP certification requirements?

  • To be eligible for the CISSP exam, you should have a minimum of 5 years of work experience.
  • If you’ve been working full-time you must’ve worked at least 35 hours a week, for four weeks in one month.
  • You can obtain a one-year waiver in your work experience requirements if you hold 4-year college degree or equivalent, or an advanced degree in information security from NCAE-C, or another credential from ISC2’s approved list of credentials.

Demand for CISSPs Worldwide

CISSP is a globally renowned certification on information security. It is a vital certification for security professionals and it is aligned with the ISC (Safe and Secure Cyber World) standards. If you are an IT professional or specifically working as an information security professional, this certification is for you. Even the managers and the organization’s executives who are interested in proving their knowledge in the area of cybersecurity, this is a must-have certification for them.

After helping thousands of professionals in more than 180 countries with a 99.6% first attempt pass rate, we have prepared a seven-step CISSP study guide. Read this CISSP study guide and create your own CISSP prep plan accordingly.

If you are considering upgrading your career or looking for a promotion or a pay rise, CISSP is the certification that would help you climb the ladder. As global cyber threats have increased in recent years, the demand for information security experts has also risen very much. More and more employers are looking to hire professionals who are CISSP certified to look after their information security needs.

Now let’s see what the CISSP certification requirements are.

CISSP Certification Requirements

Once you have decided to make an effort towards the CISSP certification, make sure that you meet the CISSP certification requirements for the CISSP exam. There isn’t a very tough rule or criteria to meet the CISSP certification requirements but make sure you know these before you take your first step towards this credential.

In this post, we will explain the complete CISSP certification requirements. Go through these and if find out that you meet these CISSP certification requirements. We also recommend you also read our 7-step CISSP study guide. It will give you a track to help you easily complete your CISSP certification exam preparation.

The CISSP certification requirements are explained one by one below.

CISSP Certification Requirements

Work Experience

Like many other certifications, in the CISSP certification requirements, there is also a work experience requirement that you must fulfill. To be eligible for the CISSP exam, you should have a minimum of 5 years of work experience. And, this work experience must have been gained in two or more of the eight domains of CISSP. The eight 8 domains are mentioned below:

  • Asset Security
  • Security Operations
  • Security and Risk Management
  • Software Development Security
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Security Assessment and Testing
  • Communications and Network Security
  • Security Architecture and Engineering

Work Experience Requirement for Full-Time and Part-Time Workers

There is also another detail in the CISSP certification requirements. If you’ve been working full-time, to satisfy the work experience requirements, you must’ve worked at least 35 hours a week. Furthermore, you must also have worked for four weeks in a month to accrue 1 month of experience.

If you are working part-time, you can still satisfy the work experience requirements. Being a part-time worker, however, your part-time work cannot be less than twenty hours a week.

To make the hour calculation simpler for you, if you have worked 1040 hours part-time, it will be equivalent to 6 months of full-time experience. And, 2080 hours of part-time work will be equivalent to 12 months of full-time experience.

Educational Requirement

To meet the CISSP certification requirements and to be eligible for the CISSP exam, you do not have to meet certain educational requirements as well. However, you can obtain a one-year waiver in your work experience requirements, if you hold any of these:

  • A four-year college degree or anything equivalent
  • An advanced degree in information security. It must have been received from the U.S. National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C)
  • Another credential from ISC2’s approved list of credentials. This list includes many credentials including some of the common certifications such as MCSE, CompTIA Security+, CISA, and more.

A Little About the CISSP Exam

The CISSP exam is based on Computer Adaptive Test (CAT). CAT tests are designed to adjust the level of the exam difficulty, based on the already provided answers, to match the ability and knowledge of the test-taker. Hence, during the exam, as you will be answering the questions, the difficulty level for the remaining questions will keep changing. The next questions will be either more difficult or easier than the previous ones.

The CISSP exam comprises 250 multi-choice questions and you are provided with 6 hours to answer these. To pass the CISSP certification exam, you must score 700 or more out of 1000. The CISSP exam currently costs $549 or $699. These two different prices depending on whether you do early registration or the standard registration. There is also a US$ 50 fee to reschedule your exam.

CISSP Certification Course

When you take the CISSP certification course, you will learn the key elements of the cybersecurity field. At the end of the CISSP certification course, you will have learned how you can protect an organization’s assets from the threats of the outside world. The CISSP course teaches you the standards, the principles, and the concepts that you need to implement, secure, and monitor not just the IT networks but also the software applications, the equipment, and the operating system. So, basically, you will learn A-Z of how to enforce the required level of confidentiality, security, availability, and integrity on your IT infrastructure as well as the software applications.

Learn more in our Free CISSP Training.

The CISSP course is highly beneficial if you want to excel in the information security field. The course does not just teach you how to work on the IT assets, it also teaches how you will define a perfect IT security design. It also teaches you how to design a secure IT architecture and prepare security procedures, before you implement the information security measures at your organization.

At the end of the CISSP certification course, you would have developed a working knowledge in the 8 domains recommended by the CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK). Apart from gaining technical knowledge and skills, when you will complete the CISSP certification course and also have completed your CISSP exam preparation, you will have acquired the knowledge and the skills needed to become a qualified CISSP certificated professional.

CISSP Certification Requirements

Can You Still Take the CISSP Exam Without the Required Experience?

You may be very much keen on taking the CISSP certification exam at your earliest but maybe you are short of the required work experience of the CISSP certification requirements. So, you might ask the question of whether you can still be eligible for the CISSP certification? Well, the short answer is yes. You can still take the CISSP certification exam, without first fulfilling the CISSP certification exam requirements.

However, when you will take the exam and successfully pass it, you will not receive the CISSP certification. You won’t receive it until you fulfill the CISSP certification requirements and report that to CS2. And while you will not fulfill those CISSP certification requirements, you will be classified as an Associate. You will be awarded the Associate of CISSP certification instead. Once you have earned your associate-level credential, you will have up to 6 six years of required experience for the CISSP.

So, in case you do not currently have adequate years of experience, we would recommend you to make a little more effort and wait a few more years until you meet the CISSP certification requirements and then take the CISSP certification exam. By acquiring some more years of experience and skills, you will then be able to receive the proper CISSP certification and not just the associate of CISSP certification.

Can You Take the CISSP Certification Exam Without Taking a CISSP Course?

Taking a CISSP course is not one of the CISSP certification requirements. Many people often think of this and many even bypass the certification training, thinking they will still pass the exam. However, without proper knowledge and skills, how can you crack the CISSP exam? Earning the CISSP certification is not a small thing, so we recommend you must take the course first. It is in fact very common that many professionals these days like to skip the certification course. They skip it and jump directly to the certification exam. However, although it is not one of the CISSP certification requirements and you may be confident that you will pass the CISSP certification exam without taking the course, remember that many have failed the exam also. Some people have even reported that they failed the exam miserably.

So, why not invest a little more money and time into the CISSP certification course. When you do this, you will secure your investment in achieving the CISSP certification.

How Should You Study for the CISSP Certification Exam?

Studying for the CISSP certification exam correctly would be one of your best investments that you will ever make. However, remember that the CISSP content is resource-intensive and is not a game for beginners or casual-takers. At the same time, it is definitely not impossible to pass the CISSP exam.

So, what you need to do first in order to prepare for the CISSP exam is prepare a study plan. Have a road map, a set of tasks to do. Prepare a schedule also on how you will start and then continue your journey towards the CISSP certification.

You should make use of multiple study resources. For instance, you can look for online video tutorials, reference guides, practice exams, etc. There are plenty of materials available on the internet, free and paid. Access the material and try to be equipped with the maximum knowledge about the eight domains from the Common Body of Knowledge (CBK). Once, you have a good grasp of these eight CISSP domains, go for as many CISSP practice exams as you can. Practice making the man perfect! You have heard this many times and this is a fact. When you practice with the CISSP Exam Simulator, you will know your strengths and weaknesses. Then, you will know where you have to focus more and put more effort on.

We have written a 7-step CISSP study guide about exam preparation, it will give you more guidelines and help you prepare for the CISSP certification exam.

Benefits of Earning the CISSP Credential

There are many benefits of becoming a CISSP. These include:

You become more hirable

With the CISSP credential, you can become a more hirable candidate for jobs. Especially, in organizations, where it is critical to secure their IT infrastructure, the CISSPs have quite a lot of worth. If you are holding the CISSP certification, the organizations will consider it to be sufficient proof that you have adequate knowledge to meet their information security requirements.

Since you need quite a lot of experience to become a CISSP, organizations know that you are not only a certified information security professional but also have enough work experience in this field. Hence, the CISSP certification would become a job getting magnet for you. And, it will be easier and quicker for you to get jobs in the information security field.

You stay updated on the cybersecurity trend

After becoming a CISSP you must earn CPE credits each year in order to maintain your certification.  So you will be going through courses, conferences, and technical materials to stay current with the latest developments and information security protection requirements. By getting involved in these tasks, you will keep yourself up to date with the latest developments. This will also help you learn many new things every passing year.

You will gain credibility as a security expert

Holding just a bachelor’s or master’s degree is something many people do. But when you have a CISSP credential, organizations will know that you have the extra skills, which have been approved and are adequate to meet their information security requirements.

CISSP Certification Requirements

You will earn a better salary

Anyone with a few years of experience in information security and cybersecurity can attract attractive jobs and high salaries. Once you have earned your CISSP credential, you can get on the roles of a security analyst, IT security engineer, IT security consultant, chief information security office, etc. All such roles are the demand of many industries today and these roles attract very high salaries. An information security professional can earn up to 25% more by holding the CISSP certification. Talking about the average salary for a CISSP, well, they could get around $130,000 per annum. And, if you are lucky enough in securing a job in a company where managing IT security is one of the primary concerns, you can then ask for a much higher salary.


As cyber threats have increased in recent years, this has turned the organizations’ attention to security experts to help them secure their information systems. Those who hold the CISSP certification have easily secured good jobs in such organizations. They are enjoying high salary packages, too.

A usual IT degree holder is not skilled enough in information security who can deal with the increased and intensified cyber threats. They wouldn’t know how to make strong mechanisms to avoid these threats. That is why a need was felt in the industries worldwide to have certified information security professionals who can ensure they have the adequate level of skills to deal with their information security concerns.

The CISSP certification was developed to certify professionals that they possess the adequate knowledge and the skills required to manage the information security needs of the organizations. However, to become a CISSP, you must possess a few years of experience and also need to make effort.

In this post, we have explained thoroughly the CISSP certification requirements. In a summary, you need to have five years of work experience. If you have that much experience, you meet the CISSP certification requirements and hence you are then eligible for the CISSP certification exam. And, remember that this work experience must have been gained in at least two of the eight CISSP domains. Fortunately, there are no educational requirements to meet the CISSP certification requirements. However, if you have a degree or another certification from ISC2, or an advanced degree in information security received from NCAE-C, you will get a one-year waiver in your work experience requirements.