CompTIA Security+ Prerequisites & Requirements: Your Questions Answered

Taylor Karl
CompTIA Security+ Prerequisites & Requirements: Your Questions Answered 2348 0

CompTIA Security+ is the first, entry-level security credential someone should earn if they want to pursue a career in IT security. To earn the CompTIA Security+ certification, you must pass an exam demonstrating that you understand how to identify and address security incidents.

Passing the exam proves you have the comprehensive knowledge required for many cybersecurity roles. The CompTIA Security+ exam puts your understanding of IT security fundamentals and ability to perform core security functions to the test.

What does the CompTIA Security+ exam cover?

The CompTIA Security+ exam contains 90 multiple-choice and performance-based questions (PBQs). PBQs test your ability to solve problems in a simulated environment. Overall, the questions on the exam cover a range of information security topics, including how to secure applications, networks and devices, threat analysis and response, and risk management. You are allotted 90 minutes to complete the test, scored on a scale of 100 to 900 points. To pass, you must earn a minimum of 750 points.

CompTIA Security+ is the most popular certification for cybersecurity professionals because it helps students build hands-on, practical security skills in six major domains. The CompTIA Security+ exam includes the subject matter areas:

  • Threats, attacks and vulnerabilities: How to analyze indicators of compromise and determine types of malware or compare and contrast types of attacks, including social engineering attacks, newer denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and vulnerabilities found in the Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded devices.
  • Identity and Access Management: Implement identity and access management controls or differentiate standard account management practices.
  • Technologies and Tools: Troubleshoot common security issues or deploy mobile devices securely.
  • Risk Management: Explain the importance of policies, plans and procedures related to organizational security. Questions will test your knowledge of incident response procedures, including threat detection, security controls, risk mitigation, and digital forensics.
  • Architecture and Design: Summarize secure application development, deployment, cloud, and virtualization concepts focusing on enterprise, cloud, and hybrid environments.
  • Cryptography and PKI: Compare and contrast basic concepts of cryptography or implement public key infrastructure.
  • Governance, risk, and compliance: Questions will demonstrate your understanding of major risk and compliance regulations, including HIPAA, GDPR, SOC, NIST, CCPA, FISMA, and PCI-DSS.

Preparation for the exam can be tough, but training, experience, and studying will help you acquire a broad base of practical knowledge and skills that teach you to manage real-world security situations. The exam is designed to ensure you have obtained the necessary expertise to handle security incidents as they arise.

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Are there prerequisites for the CompTIA Security+ exam?

While there are no prerequisites for CompTIA Security+, it is recommended that students have at least two years of IT administration experience with a security focus and hold the CompTIA Network+ certification. Those who have worked as network administrators, network engineers, data center support technicians, and system administrators typically have the appropriate professional networking experience to take the CompTIA Security+ exam.

Can I take the CompTIA Security+ exam as a beginner?

Yes, the CompTIA Security+ exam is open to anyone who wishes to take it. However, the test is challenging even for experienced IT professionals. It's designed to test your cybersecurity expertise and prove you can succeed in on-the-job situations. For that reason, we recommend having at least two years of professional experience working in IT, particularly in a specialty such as security administration, network administration, system administration, and cybersecurity.

Work experience is also a great way to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare for and pass the exam. We also strongly recommend pursuing the CompTIA Network+ certification or have equivalent knowledge before taking the CompTIA Security+ exam.

If you're interested in taking the exam but are unsure whether you have the required experience, skills, and knowledge, you can take practice tests which you can get directly from CompTIA itself. You can also complete United Training's CompTIA Security+ training course, which will help you learn the fundamentals of security, networks, and organizational security. It's an excellent way to acquire the skills required to implement basic security services on any computer network.

If you fail, you are allowed to retake the test, but because there is no test-pass guarantee, you will have to pay for any retakes. You can retake the test immediately if you fail, as there is no required wait time between the first and second attempt. Upon failing twice, you will have to wait a minimum of fourteen days before retaking the exam a third time.

What experience should you have before taking the CompTIA Security+ exam?

The exam tests a candidate's knowledge with best practice and knowledge-based questions in the areas of network security, secure application development, compliance and operational security, threats and vulnerabilities, application, data and host security, access control and identity management, risk management, cryptography and PKI, disaster recovery, and business continuity planning.


Passing the CompTIA Security+ certification exam demonstrates that you have the necessary knowledge about security controls and how to implement them at the enterprise level. This internationally recognized entry-level cybersecurity credential confirms that you have the baseline skills to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career.

While passing the exam typically requires professional experience and adequate training and studying, the certification can also be used as a stepping-stone to other certifications like CISSP or CASP. After passing the exam, candidates are eligible for jobs in government agencies, IT security consulting firms, or any company that needs to enforce IT security policies.

Overall, obtaining a CompTIA Security+ certification can help you stand out from other candidates and make you more attractive to employers recruiting IT personnel with technical skills and practical experience.