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Western Governors University (ISC)2 Certifications

What is (ISC)2?

The International Information System Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)2, is a nonprofit organization that focuses on training for cybersecurity professionals. It is described as the "world's largest IT security organization" and is widely known for valuable certification and credential options. It has been around since the mid 1980s, growing and adapting as cybersecurity has shifted in the United States.

There are many benefits to (ISC)2 certification, including:

  • Free online (ISC)2 professional development
  • Institute courses
  • Free subscription to InfoSecurity Professional Magazine
  • Member pricing for (ISC)2 events
  • 50% off official (ISC)2 textbooks
  • Deep discounts on industry conferences
  • Expert-led webinars on the latest security issues
  • The ability to join or start a local (ISC)2 chapter
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Safe and Secure Online program
  • Professional recognition through (ISC)2 awards programs
  • Digital badges to promote expertise
  • (ISC)2 Member Perks

These benefits and the specific credentials you can gain through (ISC)2 certification can help you be prepared for moving forward in your career.

WGU offers two (ISC)2 certifications, the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) and the Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP).

(ISC)2 Certifications and Degrees

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

Offered in the following degrees:

B.S. Cybersecurity and Information Assurance

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A young man and woman are sitting in a computer lab. The woman is helping with a computer project.

What is CCSP?

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) is a vendor-neutral certification that is focused on cloud security and has been in use since 2015. This certification is meant to address the challenges and issues that are faced in cloud computing and is generally geared towards candidates who already have IT and cybersecurity experience. Candidates will learn about cloud security, design, operations, access controls, systems security, and orchestration of services. CCSP is a stand-alone certification that builds on your existing knowledge and credentials.

The six areas of focus for CCSP certification are:

  • Legal risk and compliance
  • Cloud concepts architecture and design
  • Cloud data and security
  • Cloud platform and infrastructure security
  • Cloud application security
  • Cloud security operations

Jobs that use or require the the CCSP certification include:

  • Enterprise Architect
  • Security Administrator
  • Security Architect
  • Security Consultant
  • Security Engineer
  • Security Manager
  • Systems Architect
  • Systems Engineer
A middle-aged man works on a laptop in a cluttered backroom.

What is SSCP?

The Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) is an ideal certification for security professionals who have proven technical skills and hands-on knowledge in IT. It has been utilized in the cybersecurity industry since 2001. It demonstrates a candidate's ability to implement, monitor, and administer IT infrastructure in a way that meets policies and procedures. Information security is vital for organizations, and understanding incident response, security technologies, and more, are all important parts of this security certification. Candidates are able to demonstrate skills in seven areas including:

  • Access controls
  • Security operations and administration
  • Risk identification, monitoring, and analysis
  • Incident response and recovery
  • Cryptography
  • Network and communications security
  • Systems and application security

Jobs that typically use or require the SSCP:

  • Database Administrator
  • Network Security Engineer
  • Security Administrator
  • Security Analyst
  • Security Consultant/Specialist
  • Systems Administrator
  • Systems Engineer
  • Systems/Network Analyst

CCSP Certification

In order to qualify for the Certified Cloud Security Professional exam and certification, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Have at least five years of cumulative, paid work experience in information technology. Three of those years must be in information security.
  • One year of work experience in one or more of the six domains of the (ISC)2 CCSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK®). 

After passing the CCSP exam, candidates will need to complete the (ISC)2 endorsement process. Candidates must also recertify every three years, a process that involves continuing professional education credits and an annual maintenance fee. 

The CCSP exam costs $599 to take, and candidates may spend additional money on preparation materials. WGU students, however, are able to take the exam and get study materials as part of their tuition for their degree program. 

The CCSP exam is 125 questions and takes roughly three hours to complete. Study time varies based on your experience, but most professionals suggest spending 120 days studying for the certification exam.

SSCP Certification.

In order to qualify for Systems Security Certified Practitioner certification, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Pass the SSCP exam.
  • Have at least one year of cumulative, paid work experience in one or more of the seven domains of the (ISC)2 SSCP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK®).

After passing the SSCP exam, candidates will need to complete the (ISC)2 endorsement process. Candidates must also recertify over a period of three years, a process that involves continuing professional education credits and an annual maintenance fee. 

The CCSP exam costs $250 to take, and candidates may spend additional money on preparation materials. WGU students, however, are able to take the exam and get study materials as part of their tuition for their degree program. 

The CCSP exam is 125 questions and takes roughly three hours to complete. Study time varies based on your experience, but most professionals suggest spending 120 days studying for the certification exam.

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Frequently asked questions about (ISC)2 certifications.

Will my salary increase with SSCP certification?

The average salary level for professionals with SSCP certification is over $93,000 per year. IT professionals who earn an SSCP certification can sometimes see up to 15% pay increase, depending on their location and experience in the field. The SSCP certification can help qualify you for additional responsibilities, promotions, and job changes that can drastically increase your salary.

Will my salary increase with CCSP certification?

The average salary level for those with the CCSP certification is over $138,000 per year. IT professionals with the CCSP certification can sometimes see a 20% salary increase for obtaining their certification. Location, experience, and additional credentials will also impact your salary increase potential.

Which (ISC)2 certification should I get?

(ISC)2 offers many certifications that can be beneficial for cybersecurity professionals, but the CCSP and SSCP are two of the most popular for IT pros. These certifications focus on security and cloud structures that are increasingly valuable in the IT realm.

What are the benefits of SSCP and CCSP certifications?

Both the SSCP and CCSP certifications enhance your body of knowledge and are valuable credentials for your résumé in the IT world. These certifications demonstrate advanced understanding in security and cloud systems. 

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