Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) training is for those who want to become certified information technology auditors. This exam offered by ISACA is highly valuable for those already working in information security who want to get into auditing.
To earn your CISA certificate, you will need to follow the guidelines, take an exam, then apply for the ISACA certification. The exam is challenging and you will also need to regularly update your certificate.
In this guide, we will get you up to speed with everything you need to know about the CISA certification and related courses that will prepare you to perform audits.
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What Is a CISA Certification?
CISA is the most widely accepted security auditor certification. This accreditation will show that you have expertise in assessing the vulnerabilities within an organization’s IT system.
It is globally accepted and even required for certain roles such as IT auditor, security information manager, and audit manager, as well as consultants in these areas.
What Are the Benefits of the CISA Certification?
A CISA certificate will improve your security skills, make you more credible, give you a competitive edge over other job applicants, and can lead to a higher salary. Let’s take a look at all of the advantages in more detail.
- Competitive advantage. In the field of auditing and IT security, it is often required that you have this certification. It will give you an advantage when searching for jobs in this field.
- Credibility. When working in cybersecurity and infrastructure, credibility is extremely important. Employers want to know that their business is in good hands. The CISA certificate will give businesses confidence in your abilities.
- Meet high professional standards. Due to ISACA’s requirements, you will need to keep up with your profession’s ongoing standards by attending an accredited Continuing Professional Education program.
- Increase your value. By protecting a company’s data, you will become more valuable to the organization.
- Higher salary potential. You will also benefit financially. Those who have a CISA certification make between $52,459 and $122,326 per year.
CISA vs CRISC
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) accreditation validates a different skill set than the CISA certificate. It can give you access to roles at the executive level of risk management and information systems control.
The CISA certificate holds a similar value to the CRISC but is more focused on audit-related roles, while CRISC handles risk and information systems control.
Earning Your CISA Certificate
The CISA exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions set around five subjects. Anyone who has several years of work experience in information systems auditing, network security, or IT security, can take the test.
The exam is very challenging, so completing an online training program, using online resources, and taking practice exams will increase your chances of passing. To find some of the best training and practice exams, keep reading.
How Long Does It Take to Earn the CISA Certificate?
The exam takes four hours to finish, but earning the CISA certificate will take longer if you take studying time and work experience into account. You will need five years of experience in one of the aforementioned IT certified security roles to apply. You also need to take a course to help you prepare, which can take around 22 hours total.
How Much Does a CISA Certification Cost?
The CISA certification exam costs between $575 and $760, depending on whether you are an ISACA member. If you add in the training course and book fees, the total is between $1,600 and $4,266. The certification is then valid for three years, as long as you are consistent with certification maintenance.
CISA Certification Requirements
The requirement to pass the exam is a score of at least 450 out of 800. The test is offered in June, September, and December at testing locations across the United States and beyond.
What Questions Are on the CISA Certification Exam?
The exam is separated into five sections. Below are the five domains you should study, as well as what percentage of questions on the test under each category.
- Protection of information assets – 27 percent
- The process of auditing information systems – 21 percent
- Governance and management of IT – 17 percent
- Information systems, acquisition, development, and implementation – 12 percent
- Information systems operations, maintenance, and business management – 23 percent
How to Prepare for and Earn Your CISA Certificate: Step-by-Step
The certification does not require that you possess any specific degree. But it does require years of work experience, and that you have the right knowledge to pass the exam. Then, you must keep up your CPE credit hours. Below are the steps you should follow to get your CISA.
- Relevant work experience. Begin by gaining the right work experience, keeping in mind that you will need to be employed in the field for five years.
- Training course. Once you have learned about cybersecurity, try out one of the CISA training programs below, which are all accredited by ISACA.
- CISA exam. There are plenty of practice exams and online training that can help you pass the four-hour exam.
- CISA certification application. Within five years of the exam, you will need to submit the CISA Certification Application, including a processing fee.
- Continuing professional education. Earn CPE credit hours to ensure that you maintain an adequate level of proficiency in CISA information.
The Best CISA Certificate Training Programs
If you have already met the work experience prerequisites and are now looking for a training program to help you pass the certification exam, we have listed our top picks below.
Whether you are searching for courses with extensive practice exams, online certification programs, or free beginner courses, we have collected the very best.
Best CISA Certificate Practice Exams
These three courses will help you practice for the exam. The first comes highly recommended, as it is offered directly by ISACA. The others are at a more affordable price point if the ISACA review course doesn’t fit your budget.
- Course: CISA Online Review Course
- Where: Online
- Time: 22 hours
- Price: $795 to $895
This course will fully prepare you for the CISA certification and is the world’s most reputable training course in this field. The CISA Online Review Course offers on-demand instruction and is ideal for preparing for the exam.
As this course is offered by ISACA, you can be sure that all of the information provided will be very accurate.
Certified Information Security
- Course: 2021 CISA SuperReview
- Where: Online
- Time: Over 650 slides
- Price: $666.60
This course will prepare you for the exam with 650 slides of content and 62 practice exams. It will also teach you the best practices of systems auditing as outlined by ISACA.
The primary objective of this course is to help you pass your certification exam, with over 900 practice questions.
- Course: Become a Certified Information Systems Auditor
- Where: Online
- Time: 9 hours
- Price: Varies (First month free)
This LinkedIn course maps out the five domains that make up the CISA exam. It also gives students an overview of the basics in nine hours of video content. At the end of the course, you will receive a LinkedIn certification that you can put on your professional profile.
This is a nice additional certificate to have when you receive your CISA certification.
Best CISA Certificate Online Programs
Below are some rigorous online training programs that will fully prepare you for the CISA exam. In cases like Simplilearn, you will also receive extra perks to help you pass the test.
- Course: CISA Certification Training Course
- Where: Online
- Time: Self-paced or 90 day Bootcamp
- Price: Self-paced $3,353.68 / Bootcamp $4,024.69
This CISA course will help you become an expert in acquiring, developing, testing, and implementing information systems and learning the guidelines, standards, and best practices to protect them.
This course includes the official review manual from ISACA, which normally costs $139. It also covers the five domains, with 69 hours of blended learning, and simulation exams offered by ISACA accredited teachers.
- Course: Certified Information System Auditor (CISA)
- Where: Online
- Time: 13 hours
- Price: 7-day free trial
This Cybrary course teaches you everything you will need to know to face the dynamic requirements of meeting vulnerability management challenges. It thoroughly covers the auditing process to give you the ability to analyze an organization’s security and implement necessary changes.
Best Free Online CISA Training
If you are unsure about whether you should take the CISA exam, then the free options below are a great place to start. These free online training courses are perfect for getting an overview of broad topics before you sign up for a certified course.
Master of Project Academy
- Course: CISA Training
- Where: Online
- Time: 30 minutes
- Price: Free
This training includes sample video lectures, handouts, and practice questions for CISA. It is a practical introduction to the CISA certification, including how you should study, the exam structure, and types of external audits.
- Course: CISA Certified Information Systems Auditor Test
- Where: Online
- Time: Varies
- Price: Free (Certificate: $69)
In this Brainmeasures course, students will receive a free CISA introductory lesson and an e-book for test preparation. This is another excellent option for those who are just starting to learn about CISA.
The Best Online CISA Certificate Resources and Study Guides
Here are the top CISA resources to aid your studies. The ISACA website itself is full of course information, so be sure to check out their podcast, and news updates.
Alongside all the basic exam information on ISACA’s website, you will also find a resources page. ISACA created the Information Technology Audit Sampling guidelines along with its Information Technology Audit Framework. These guidelines will help you learn the techniques of becoming an IT audit and assurance practitioner.
You will also find great blog posts, articles, and audit program information. For example, you may want to check out the Azure Audit Program and Audit Oversight for Onboarding Vendors.
Why Should I Get CISA Certification?
Getting a CISA certification is ideal if you want to become an auditor and work in the professions stated below. It will increase your value within an organization, help you beat the competition, and get a better salary.
CISA Certificate Job Possibilities
The career paths available to you once you complete the CISA certification are numerous. Below is a list of some jobs that will open once you have finished the exam.
- Internal audit director
- IT audit manager
- Public accounting auditor
- IS analyst
- IT project manager
- Network operation security engineer
- IT security officer
- Cybersecurity professional
- IT consultant
- Privacy officer
- Chief information officer
CISA Certification Salary
You can expect an estimated 22 percent salary increase after you get your CISA certification. As mentioned above, with a CISA accreditation, you can make between $52,459 and $122,326 per year. If you decide to become an internal audit director, you could be looking at making about $136,082 annually.
So, if a career in auditing is your goal, then CISA is the perfect solution for you. If you are still interested in learning more, head to the Career Karma community for some tips or to the blog to learn more about IT skills, cloud computing, and other cybersecurity certification articles.
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