The Top 7 Highest-Paying IT Certifications

Try one of these 7 highest paying IT certifications and get yourself a megabucks job

After reading our articles on ethical hacking courses, several of our readers requested us to make a post on IT certifications. For those who have not read the old posts, launching a career in information technology (IT) requires some kind of certification preferably from the best in the class.

If you are intent on making IT your career choice, then there are a host of certifications available that you should consider pursuing. These certifications are for various fields in IT like networking, security and hacking, or systems administration and can help launch or enhance your career.

At the end of the day, everything depends on the $$$ you aspire to earn by opting for a career in IT. With that in mind, this article lists the top seven highest-paying IT certifications, what each job pays, and what the work entails.

The list has been prepared based on the salary data by Global Knowledge, a learning services, and professional development solutions provider. You can zero down on the certification program you like and visit Global Knowledge website for more details.

1. Certification in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT)

The CGEIT certification, by ISACA, recognizes IT professionals with deep knowledge of enterprise IT governance principles and practices, as well as the ability to enhance value to the organization through governance and risk optimization measures, and align IT with business strategies and goals. Since the program started, more than 6,000 individuals have achieved the CGEIT credential through ISACA.

The CGEIT exam covers five domains: Framework for the Governance of Enterprise IT (Domain 1), Strategic Management (Domain 2), Benefits Realization (Domain 3), Risk Optimization (Domain 4) and Resource Optimization (Domain 5).

Requirements: Pass one exam (150 questions, four hours); prove a minimum of five years of cumulative work experience in IT enterprise governance including at least one year defining, implementing and managing a governance framework; adhere to the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics and comply with the CGEIT Continuing Education Policy.

Exam cost: $440 to $675, depending on whether you are an ISACA member and when you register.

2. ITIL Expert

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certifications are tied to the ITIL framework, which describes best practices for designing, implementing and managing a wide variety of IT service projects. In ITIL-speak, certifications are referred to as “qualifications,” which create a classic certification ladder beginning with the basic-level ITIL Foundation and culminating with the pinnacle ITIL Master. One rung below the Master level is the popular ITIL Expert.

A professional with the ITIL Expert qualification has a deep understanding of ITIL service best practices as they apply across an IT environment, not just to one service area. In other words, the Expert is able to support an organization by bridging service lifecycle stages, seeing the big picture as a sum of the parts.

Requirements: Achieve the ITIL Foundation certificate or a Bridge qualification equivalent, acquire at least 17 credits per the ITIL Credit System and pass the Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC) exam at the end of an approved training course.

Exam cost: $799 (online) to $2,800 (classroom), which includes training and exam.

3. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

One of the most sought-after GRC certifications by candidates and employers alike is the CRISC from ISACA, which identifies IT professionals who are responsible for managing IT and enterprise risk and ensuring that risk management goals are met. A CRISC is often heavily involved with overseeing the development, implementation and maintenance of information system (IS) controls designed to secure systems and manage risk. Since 2010, ISACA has issued over 18,000 CRISC credentials, which is a relatively high number in the GRC certification field.

The CRISC exam covers four domains: Risk Identification (Domain 1), Risk Assessment (Domain 2), Risk Response and Mitigation (Domain 3) and Risk and Control Monitoring and Reporting (Domain 4).

Requirements: Pass one exam (150 questions, four hours), prove a minimum of three years of cumulative work experience in IT risk and information systems associated with at least two of the four domains, adhere to the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics and comply with the CRISC Continuing Education Policy.

Exam cost: $440 to $675, depending on whether you are an ISACA member and when you register.

4. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is a seasoned employee or consultant, usually with a title like Security Manager, Security Analyst or Chief Information Security Officer, to name a few. This person has been on the job for 5 or more years and has a thorough knowledge of the IT threat landscape, including emerging and advanced persistent threats, as well as controls and technology that minimize the attack surface. A CISSP also creates policies that help set the framework for proper controls, and can perform or oversee risk management and software development security.

Requirements : You must be able to show proof of 5 paid full-time years of work experience in at least 2 of the 8 CISSP CBK domains, such as Identity and Access Management, Security Engineering, Security and Risk Management, Security Operations and more. On the job experience is crucial for both the exam and the certification process.

5. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

This certification course is also a must have for ethical hackers and security researchers. However, unlike the CISSP, the CISM certification is focused primarily on information security management. If you intend to look for the post of CSO or CIO, you should take this certification.

The test will cost approximately $415 excluding prep materials and tutions and consists of 200 multiple choice questions. The only issue with this test is that you need 5 years of hands on experience in the relevant field. Passing the CISM certification will land you a $121,177 per year (average) job with good career opportunities.

6. Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA)

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) is a global professional association that provides information, networking opportunities, and education to auditors in business, government and the financial services industry. One of the IIA’s certifications is the CRMA, which recognizes individuals who are involved with risk management and assurance, governance, quality assurance and control self-assessment. A CRMA is considered a trusted advisor to senior management and members of audit committees in large organizations.

Requirements: One exam in two parts: CIA Exam Part 1 – Internal Audit Basics (125 questions, 2.5 hours) and CIA Exam Part 2 – Internal Audit Practice (100 questions, 2 hours). In addition, prove achievement of a 3- or 4-year post-secondary degree (or higher), or two years of post-secondary education and five years of internal auditing experience (or equivalent) or seven years of internal auditing experience. Prove at least two years of auditing experience or control-related business experience in risk management or quality assurance. Finally, provide a character reference signed by a person holding an IIA certification or a supervisor, provide proof of identification and agree to abide by the Code of Ethics established by The IIA.

Exam costs: $350 (members), $450 (non-members).

7. Project Management Institute-Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)

Anyone who has pursued a project management certification is familiar with the Project Management Institute (PMI), either through research or by picking up the coveted Project Management Professional (PMP) credential. However, PMI also offers the Risk Management Profession (PMI-RMP) certification, as well as several others that focus on business management, processes, analysis and scheduling.

The PMI-RMP identifies IT professionals involved with large projects or working in complex environments who assess and identify project-based risks. They are also competent in designing and implementing mitigation plans that counter the risks from system vulnerabilities, natural disasters and the like.

The PMI-RMP exam covers five knowledge domains: Risk Strategy and Planning (Domain 1), Stakeholder Engagement (Domain 2), Risk Process Facilitation (Domain 3), Risk Monitoring and Reporting (Domain 4) and Perform Specialized Risk Analyses (Domain 5).

Requirements: Pass one exam (170 questions, 3.5 hours), prove achievement of a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent), and prove at least 4,500 hours of project risk management experience and 40 hours of project risk management education. The experience and education requirement can be substituted with a four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent), at least 3,000 hours of project risk management experience and 30 hours of project risk management education.

Exam cost: $520 (member), $670 (non-member).

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  1. Hey bro,

    I have completed my 12th in arts and right now um pursuing graduation. Want to make my career in IT. Can you please suggest me which course should I do.

    Please reply.

    • After completing your graduation ? you can go for M.C.A(Master in computers Application) which is almost equivalent to computer ? engineering

    • this is a time intensive field and you’ll have the realization that you will be constantly learning something new; with a learning curve that can, at times, be very steep. if you’re up to the challenge, it’s rewarding.

      for those who are just starting, i usually suggest to them to start learning the networking aspect; less competition, higher pay, tech stays more constant. if you like doing computer repair and upgrading (good with communicating/helping others), help desk and computer administration might fit, or if you have a very creative/artistic side that loves gaming you may want to learn more about coding and becoming a programmer (possibly a database administration).

      Network (starting) – this is what i tell my friends
      CompTIA Network+, CCENT (Cisco), CCNA Routing and Switching (Cisco) — you’ll get a good idea by completing this, if this is the direction you want to move towards.

    • I’ve been in IT for 25+ years. What I recommend to anyone wanting to get their foot in the door is to obtain their Network+ and Server+ certifications. They are great entry level certifications to help you get your first IT job.

  2. I have access to all these IT certifications and the pricing is 1/3 of what the usual cost is. If you’re interested let me know and we can exchange emails.

  3. I ve just complited my 10th..what should i choose next so that i ll get a job as soon as possible in IT

    Plzz suggest me

  4. I have done my MCA 3 yrs back with Java as my specialization ………… which certification should i go for ?
    Can anyone help…..??????

  5. Pls I did Cpism here in Africa can I get a job with with it in America and still want to up grade .which course do it I take in other to complete my IT professionally.

  6. I want to do a certification course in data science (specifically machine learning).
    Please suggest some reputed certification courses.

  7. Sir, I’ve completed my MCA in 2016 along with Hardware,Network,Linux,CCNA but haven’t tried for certification . I am recently working as system admin handling Network and Linux , Now I am preparring for RHCSA and RHCE and trying my best to apply for certification in March,16 .Pls guide me what I am doing is right or should I try singing else along with your valuable suggestions.
    Ive got 2 years of experience one year in network management and other yr as system admin.

  8. One other thing I would like to say is that as an alternative to trying to match all your online degree courses on days and nights that you end work (as most people are worn out when they return home), try to obtain most of your sessions on the weekends and only a couple courses on weekdays, even if it means a little time off your saturdays. This pays off because on the weekends, you will be extra rested along with concentrated with school work. Thanks a lot for the different ideas I have realized from your blog site.


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