Professional development

Want to make more money? Here are the top 5 highest-paying infosec certifications [2022 update]

Daniel Brecht
April 19, 2022 by
Daniel Brecht

Earning a certification is a great way for professionals to stand out in today’s job market, advance a career, get promoted, be competitive and earn more money. The 2021 ISC2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study noted that those who hold a certification make $33,000 more in annual salary than those who hold none. Certified professionals earn on average $91,727 versus the $58,775 earned by non-certified professionals.

Not only does getting certified help to prove you have the knowledge, skills and abilities for a role, but it also shows your will as a professional to keep updated in a fast-moving field in which remaining behind can have disastrous consequences for a business.

Employers value professionals that while earning and maintaining certifications, demonstrate they have the motivation to spend time, effort and money into improving their job performance; credentials can assure hiring companies that candidates have the particular skill sets for the positions they post and, therefore, they are willing to offer higher salaries to those who are certified.

It is not surprising that IT skilled infosec professionals strive to pursue one or more of the credentials most commonly requested by employers in job listings and consider certifications a critical part of their professional development.

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Potential cybersecurity career paths

So, if you are interested in a career in infosec or want to advance your already-established one, this might be a great time to explore your options and pick the right role or job for your interests and salary needs.

A high-paying career ought to start with a professional certification. So, which one should you attempt? And which will help you get a shot at a higher-paying position?

Aside from executives, the higher-paying salaried positions in North America are in the cloud ($144,533), risk management ($136,586), cybersecurity/IT security ($132,163) and IT architecture and design ($132,941), according to Skillsoft’s Global Knowledge 2021 IT Skills and Salary Report.

Furthermore, according to the report, some of the highest paying information security certifications in the U.S. are:

  • CISM: $146,880
  • CRISC: $148,336
  • CISSP: $147,885
  • CISA: $132,026

Note: Three of the four mentioned are among the 7 top security certifications you should have in 2022.

These credentials are also listed within the higher-paying top 11 credentials in the 2022 Salary Survey by the Certification Magazine when considering over 900 available IT certifications.  

These credentials can be a crucial stepping stone toward landing a great job in the infosec sector, commanding some of the highest salaries. Each offers specialization in different aspects of IT in areas categorized by security.

What follows is a summary of vendor-neutral certifications that might help impress prospective employers, increase your salary potential and help you land a higher-paying, senior position.

1. Certified information security manager (CISM)

CISM certification by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) suits those who supervise enterprise information security. Professionals looking to be CISM certified can take the leap from purely technical to managerial positions by proving their ability to control information security programs.

CISM holders are information security managers, ISSOs or fill the job of an information and privacy risk consultant. This certification, then, gives professionals access to various positions that range from managerial ones to technical roles, as well as systems auditing, information security risk assessment and systems development. Certified professionals can prove knowledge of governance, program development and management and risk and incident management.

According to PayScale, the median salary of CISM holders is $129,000 a year.

2. Certified in risk and information systems control (CRISC)

CRISC certification is for those with current knowledge and proficiency in information systems audit, control and security. Those who are CRISC certified can prove their IT management competence, expertise in risk identification, assessment, response, monitoring and reporting.

CRISC holders are CIOs, CISOs, risk officers, privacy officers or chief compliance officers. They are also professionals who are capable of designing, implementing, monitoring and maintaining effective and risk-based information system controls in enterprises.

According to PayScale, the median salary of CRISC holders is $128,000 per year.

3. Certified information systems security professional (CISSP)

The CISSP is one of the most highly sought-after security certifications in the IT industry. The credential is very useful for those seeking a higher-level security job and salary.

The CISSP certification may be your best option. It is required for plenty of job openings with an information security focus, such as security analysts, security engineers, IT security architects and the like. It has a broad spectrum and requires specific knowledge in various core topics, including risk management, asset security, access management, testing, software development security, and communication and network security.

Thanks to the various CISSP concentrations in the functional areas of architecture (ISSAP), engineering (ISSEP) and management (ISSMP), professionals can choose the option that brings greater depth, knowledge and expertise in their preferred area.

According to ISC2, the ISSAP concentration is ideal for system architects, chief technology officers, system designers, network designers, business analysts and chief security officers. ISSEP is designed for senior systems engineers, information assurance systems engineers, information assurance officers, information assurance analysts and senior security analysts. ISSMP suits chief information officers, chief information security officers, senior security executives, chief technology officers etc.

According to PayScale, the salary for CISSP certification is $119,000. CISSP-ISSAPs have an average yearly salary of $133,000. CISSP-ISSEPs earn $152,000. And CISSP-ISSMPs make about $120,000 per year.

4. Certified information systems auditor (CISA)

CISA certification by ISACA “is world-renowned as the standard of achievement for those who audit, control, monitor and assess an organization’s information technology and business systems.”

According to the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report, the CISA is one of the most widely-held certifications worldwide.

CISA holders are IS/IT auditors or internal audit directors and can prove expertise in auditing processes, business resilience, information assets security, governance and information systems acquisition and development.

According to PayScale, the median salary of CISA holders is $106,000 per year with the six-figure salary especially likely for those with 10 or more years of experience. 

5. Certified chief information security officer (CCISO)

CCISO certification by EC-Council is a program developed with current and aspiring CCISOs in mind. It aims to produce top-level executives with the requisite information security management experience. CCISO-certified professionals have technical knowledge and familiarity with applying information security management principles from an executive management point of view.

CCISO holders can demonstrate mastery of topics that, in addition to core security competencies, include governance, risk management, compliance and auditing, security operations, procurement and vendor management.

According to PayScale, the average salary for a Chief Information Security Officer is $166,357, while reports the pay in the United States being $229,010, but the range typically falls between $199,972 and $264,487.

Which cybersecurity certification is right for me?

In sifting through a large offer of competing for certifying bodies, it is important to have a clear idea of where you stand in your career, what you are trying to achieve and whether you want to progress in your field or find a niche that better fits your abilities, preferences and expectations. Ensure that the credential you pursue best validates your knowledge, skills, and abilities in a subject and can provide professional development and career growth opportunities. See if it is listed as a requirement for the position you want to fill or the employer you want to work for. 

Organizations are taking a hard look at skills gaps. With the shortage of qualified professionals continuing to worsen, unfilled jobs are often obliging organizations to pay higher salaries to attract and retain talent in critical areas such as cloud, security and data. This is then a perfect time to acquire credentials like ISC2 CCSP with an average salary of $121,000, or pursue a CompTIA Security+ certificate with a median salary of $78,000.

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Acquiring a better cybersecurity salary

By acquiring a certification that enhances your skills and experience and is well-aligned with the requirements of today’s jobs in information security, professionals in various industries and roles can directly impact their earning potential and aspire to higher-level positions. As you plan for your next information security career move, the certifications mentioned in this article might allow you to identify the best path to pursue in today’s tight job market.



Daniel Brecht
Daniel Brecht

Daniel Brecht has been writing for the Web since 2007. His interests include computers, mobile devices and cyber security standards. He has enjoyed writing on a variety of topics ranging from cloud computing to application development, web development and e-commerce. Brecht has several years of experience as an Information Technician in the military and as an education counselor. He holds a graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and a Master of Science in Information Technology.