What is CISSP Certification: Salary, Requirements, and Exam

Taylor Karl
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What is CISSP Certification: Salary, Requirements, and Exam

International Information System Security Certification Consortium, Inc. (ISC) manages the global information security certification: Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Earning CISSP status not only signals (ISC)membership, but also can propel your cybersecurity career forward, expand your professional network, and open salary opportunities.

What is (ISC)2 and CISSP?

(ISC)² was founded in 1989, as the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, Inc., an international, nonprofit membership association for information security leaders. That same year, (ISC)² published the first Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) to document best practices, skills, and techniques for security professionals. Then in 1994, (ISC)² launched its first exam-based credential, the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Today the CISSP certification and CISSP CBK are internationally recognized and respected as the premier cybersecurity professional credential and standards.

CISSP certification maintains a unique standing among IT certifications due to its requirement of a demonstrated fundamental understanding of the eight domains of cybersecurity and documented proof of experience in the information security and architecture field.

(ISC)² Code of Ethics for All Certifications

All (ISC)² members must commit to and fully support the (ISC)² 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 principles.
  • Advance and protect the profession.

Cybersecurity Training Solutions

What is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) Certification Exam?

The CISSP exam is one component of CISSP certification. A CISSP exam prep course is recommended as the CISSP certification exam encompasses the full breadth of knowledge of the information security field, including all aspects of security, not just the administration of it. CISSP certification can be part of the job requirements for a security analyst role. Having this certification can open career options in areas such as cybersecurity, architecture, risk management, security analyst, and management.

CISSP Exam Domains

The CISSP exam encompasses all aspects of cybersecurity and to pass you must demonstrate your deep knowledge of the CISSP CBK domains:

  1. Security and Risk Management
  2. Asset Security
  3. Security Architecture and Design
  4. Communications and Network Security
  5. Identity and Access Management
  6. Security Assessment and Testing
  7. Security Operations
  8. Software Development Security

Process and Requirements for CISSP Exam and Certification

Passing the CISSP exam is only one step to achieving CISSP certification. To be considered CISSP certified, you must meet all requirements as outlined by (ISC)2:

After achieving a passing CISSP exam score, the certification process continues with the submission of your relevant work experience for confirmation. Additionally, your overall CISSP certification application "must be endorsed and digitally signed by an (ISC)² certified professional, but if you do not know an (ISC)² certified professional in good standing, (ISC)² can act as an endorser for you."

CISSP Exam Format and Exam Duration

The English language CISSP exam uses Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT). For other languages, the CISSP test is in a linear, fixed form. As of June 2, 2022, the number of required submitted answers became 125 minimum to 175 maximum, within the allotted four-hour exam time. Additional CISSP exam information, including domain scoring weights, is available in the CISSP Exam Outline on ISC2.org.

  • Length of exam | 4 hours
  • Number of items | 125 - 175
  • Item format | Multiple choice and advanced innovative items
  • Passing grade | 700 out of 1000 points
  • Exam language availability | English
  • Testing center | (ISC)2 authorized PPC and PVTC Select Pearson VUE Testing Centers

CISSP Exam Location

Access the Pearson VUE website’s (ISC)2 section for the most current listing of authorized testing sites and test date availability.

CISSP Exam Cost

Exam costs are subject to change, so always get the most current pricing directly from the (ISC)² exam registration and pricing page. As of this writing, the standard US exam fee is $ 749.

Organizations and companies seeking to support the professional development of teams or groups should review the (ISC)² Voucher Program, Official (ISC)² CBK Training Seminars, and examination bulk pricing options.

Additionally, some candidates may be eligible for exam discounts via the Veteran Benefits.

CISSP Exam Cancellation Fee and Refund Policy

Cancellation policies and fees are subject to change, so always have the most current information before you start the exam scheduling process.

  • To reschedule or cancel your exam appointment, contact Pearson VUE directly
    • online at least 48 hours before your exam or
    • by phone at least 24 hours before your exam
  • cancellation fee | U.S. $100
    • failure to sit for your exam within 365 days of your initial scheduled exam date forfeits any refund
  • reschedule fee | U.S. $ 50
    • once scheduled, you have up to 365 days to reschedule and sit for your exam

CISSP Exam and Certification Resources

Use (ISC)² resources as part of planning for the CISSP exam and the full CISSP certification process:

CISSP Certification Salary and Career

The (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study from 2022 reports the largest global cybersecurity workforce yet recorded by (ISC)² at 4.7 million! The same study found a "worldwide gap of 3.4 million cybersecurity workers." The demand for CISSP certification and related skills are evident in the survey data from the global career site Indeed.com, in which 1,043 job seekers shared:

  • 71% said "help my career progression" was the biggest reason for earning CISSP Certification
  • 72% said earning CISSP Certification helped them make more money
  • 95% said they would recommend earning CISSP Certification

Those with CISSP certification consistently have higher salaries than peers without it, and Certification Magazine reported in 2022 for workers with CISSP certification:

  • Average reported salary, U.S.: $ 135, 560
  • Average reported salary, non-U.S.: $ 82,290
  • Average reported salary overall: $ 111,140


Cybersecurity is a dynamic career field encompassing eight skill domains. Therefore, common advice in CISSP training is to think like a project manager, not a SME. As a security analyst, consider how to incorporate risk management, cost, and cybersecurity domains in the effort to find a needed security outcome. Achieving CISSP certification shows current and prospective employers your depth of experience and skills.