This guide will delve into the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) certification. We’ll look at what knowledge is needed to take the exam and what candidates should expect when taking the CASP+ test.
In this guide
Professional associations of every kind use certifications to establish proficiency in knowledge and skills relevant to work in the industries they serve. Professionals can earn credentials for nearly every conceivable type of work by passing certification exams.
Certifications fill an essential role for employers, employees wishing to earn a promotion, and job seekers. Hiring managers use certifications as an easy way to set the minimum requirements for the role they are looking to fill. Job seekers use these professional credentials to signify that they have attained a certain level of knowledge and meet the minimum requirements for the role.
In some cases, employers can only hire highly qualified job candidates on the condition that they earn a specific certification within a certain period. Companywide policies or contracts that require everyone in a particular role to have a certification often require this contingency hiring practice.
You will discover what career options CASP+ holders have available to them, and we will provide a few examples of the types of jobs that may require applicants to hold this certification and how much those jobs pay.
What is a CompTIA CASP+ certification?
The CASP+ certification is one of several offered by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)—a vendor-neutral, objective source of knowledge on a wide range of technology topics, including cybersecurity. In addition to CASP+, there are two certifications in the CompTIA cybersecurity subgroup: Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) and Pentest+. Security+, a core CompTIA certification, is their fourth security-related accreditation and is foundational for workers in the security field.
CASP+ is an advanced-level cybersecurity certification for security architects and senior security engineers who lead and improve an enterprise’s cybersecurity readiness. It is uniquely a hands-on, performance-based certification for advanced practitioners at the advanced skill level of cybersecurity. While cybersecurity managers often identify what cybersecurity policies and frameworks should be implemented, professionals holding a CASP+ certification are more likely to figure out how to implement solutions within those policies and frameworks.
CASP+ covers security architecture and engineering and qualifies technical leaders to assess cyber readiness within an enterprise. CASP+ professionals routinely design and implement the proper solutions to ensure the organization is ready for the next attack.
This accreditation is ISO 17024 compliant and approved by the US DoD to meet directive 8140/8570.01-M requirements. Compliance officers and government regulators rely on ANSI accreditation because it provides confidence and trust in the outputs of an accredited program.
What are the CompTIA CASP+ requirements?
Unlike some professional certifications requiring a specified number of years of verifiable work experience within an industry before being eligible to sit for the exam, there are no prerequisites for CompTIA CASP+. CompTIA does, however, recommend a minimum of ten years of general hands-on IT experience, with at least five years of broad hands-on security experience.
As an alternative to the recommended work experience, CompTIA suggests candidates have the knowledge required to pass the Network+, Security+, CySA+, Cloud+, and PenTest+ or equivalent certifications.
If candidates assess their current knowledge and determine that additional training would benefit them, specialized training specifically developed to teach the CASP+ exam is commercially available. CompTIA offers a variety of training options for preparing to take the CASP+ exam as well. These options include instruction-led training, online training, and self-study guides.
CompTIA CASP+ certification exam
The CompTIA CASP+ certification exam will verify the successful candidate has the knowledge and skills required to perform the following with the proficiency expected of a professional with ten years experience:
- Architect, engineer, integrate, and implement secure solutions across complex environments to support a resilient enterprise.
- Use monitoring, detection, incident response, and automation to proactively support ongoing security operations in an enterprise environment.
- Apply security practices to cloud, on-premises, endpoint, and mobile infrastructure, while considering cryptographic technologies and techniques.
- Consider the impact of governance, risk, and compliance requirements throughout the enterprise.
Understanding what information the exam covers will help a candidate prepare adequately. As an example of the types of questions you can expect, here is one of the CompTIA sample questions for the CASP+ exam:
During a security assessment, activities were divided into two phases: internal and external exploitation. The security assessment team set a hard time limit on external activities before moving to a compromised box within the enterprise perimeter. Which of the following methods is the assessment team most likely to employ NEXT?
- Pivoting from the compromised, moving laterally through the enterprise, and trying to exfiltrate data and compromise devices
- Conducting a social engineering attack attempt with the goal of accessing the compromised box physically
- Exfiltrating network scans from the compromised box as a precursor to social media reconnaissance
- Open-source intelligence gathering to identify the network perimeter and scope to enable further system compromises
CompTIA provides a series of sample practice questions to help candidates assess which knowledge domains need more study.
The version of the CompTIA CASP+ test that a candidate takes can differ slightly from other CASP+ exams given at that testing location on that day. There are several versions of the exam through which testing centers rotate.
CompTIA exams result from subject matter expert workshops and industry-wide survey results regarding the skills and knowledge required of security professionals.
At most, there will be 90 questions on the exam, and candidates are allowed up to 165 minutes to complete the test. In addition to traditional multiple-choice questions, some CompTIA certification exams include performance-based questions (PBQs). CompTIA designs PBQs to test a candidate’s ability to solve problems in a simulated environment.
It is a pass/fail exam with 750 points needed to pass. Pearson VUE testing proctors these computer-based exams, and there are remote online testing options.
Candidates need not wait between the first and second attempts to pass if they fail their first exam. However, before their third attempt or any subsequent attempt to pass, they will be required to wait at least fourteen calendar days.
The following list shows the knowledge domains covered by the CASP+ test and what exam percentage each area represents.
- Security Architecture (29%)
- Security Operations (30%)
- Security Engineering and Cryptography (26%)
- Governance, Risk, and Compliance (15%)
CompTIA CASP+ exam cost
The cost for taking the CompTIA CASP+ exam is $466. Candidates can purchase the test as part of various bundled packages, including online or instructor-led exam preparation training.
There are always additional costs associated with achieving a professional credential. Unless highly experienced in all exam knowledge areas, candidates should spend time and money preparing for the exam.
There will also be additional costs associated with keeping your CASP+ certification current. To renew your CASP+ certification, you will be required to collect at least 75 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) in three years. Certification holders can earn CEUs by taking courses and attending qualifying industry events.
CompTIA CASP+ course
CompTIA has a well-developed curriculum for the CASP+ exam that they deliver in any of five ways; eLearning, virtual labs, exam practice tools, study guides, and instructor-led training.
Unless you are exceptionally qualified to take the exam, you will likely want to take a CompTIA CASP+ Course to prepare for the test.
CompTIA’s eLearning solution is called CertMaster Learn. It is an interactive and self-paced program and features a customizable learning plan and performance-based questions that take the student on a consistent learning path toward their certification exam.
To cultivate the necessary hands-on skills, CompTIA offers CertMaster Labs for CASP+. They have designed this program to reinforce the practical aspects of the CASP+ certification exam objectives and provide the candidate with a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
Their exam practice tool, CertMaster Practice, assesses the student’s knowledge relative to the CompTIA CASP+ test. This online tool confirms strong areas and fills in gaps for weak areas, helping the candidate feel more prepared and confident when taking the exam.
CompTIA offers a fully illustrated study guide covering all CASP+ exam objectives for candidates who prefer traditional learning.
Lastly, CompTIA offers instructor-led training for individuals or teams. They have designed the instructor-led classes to replicate a classroom experience with an online course’s convenience and flexibility. Students attend virtually while the instructor leads the class in real-time.
You can also find training from CompTIA’s expansive network of Authorized Training Partners.
CompTIA CASP+ Job Role and Salary Information
The advanced cybersecurity skills confirmed by the CASP+ certification are applicable across a broad spectrum of security roles. The following list highlights a few recent job listings found on popular job boards that require or prefer a CASP+ certification. We have listed the wage offered in the job advertisement along with the wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more and half earned less, according to the closest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) role description.
Cyber Security Analyst: The candidate will provide cybersecurity analysis and support required for Risk Management Framework (RMF) Assessment and Authorization (A&A) packages supporting Integrated Command and Control and Intelligence (IC2I). The candidate will plan, implement, upgrade, or monitor security measures to protect tactical systems and information. In addition, they will: Assess system vulnerabilities for security risks and propose and implement risk mitigation strategies. Ensure appropriate security controls that will safeguard digital files and vital electronic infrastructure are in place. Able to perform all functional duties independently and must have at least 3 to 10 years of Information Assurance (IA) or Cyber Security experience and RMF experience.
The job advertisement offers $75,000
The BLS median pay for this role in 2020 was $103,590.
System Security Specialist: The candidate will support the security of the organization’s information systems and network infrastructure by implementing and monitoring security defenses and countermeasures to minimize vulnerabilities. They will use their technical expertise and apply industry best practices to intercept or prevent internal and external attacks and attempts to infiltrate company information assets, including network devices, servers, endpoints, email, data, and web-based systems.
The job advertisement offers $93,600
The BLS median pay for this role in 2020 was $84,810.
Incident Response and Security Analyst: Working with the technical vulnerability team, this position’s primary focus is implementing and leading Incident Response for CyberSecOp clients. They will perform pen testing, vulnerability scanning and reporting, incident response, and threat hunting. Collaborate with all team members daily to ensure the security of CyberSecOp and all of our clients are protected against the latest vulnerabilities and threats.
The job advertisement offers $110,000
The BLS median pay for this role in 2020 was $103,590.
Payscale lists the salary for CASP+ certified workers at $91,000.
The BLS projects the Information Security Analysts role to grow 33% between now and 2030, much faster than the average growth forecast for all positions. That makes Information Security Analysts one of the Bureau’s fastest-growing career areas.
Cybersecurity Analysts, SOC Analysts, and Incident Response team members are among the IT industry’s most in-demand positions. For security practitioners who want a certification to validate their competencies in cybersecurity, the CASP+ certification from CompTIA offers unequaled value and industry recognition.
In a competitive labor market, holding a CASP+ certification will help a job candidate stand out from the crowd and, all other things being equal, might be just what’s needed to land a high-level practitioner role in the security field.
In addition to helping candidates find a new job, CompTIA claims that 32% of its employed credential holders receive pay increases, promotions, or other rewards from their employers because they completed their certification.
Cybersecurity threats are rising exponentially. Companies and government agencies are increasingly concerned over the lack of adequately trained senior IT security staff. Organizations across the globe demand professionals to effectively lead and manage their overall cybersecurity resilience against cyber attacks. The CompTIA CASP+ certification confirms the advanced skills required of security architects and senior security engineers to effectively design, implement, and manage cybersecurity solutions on complex enterprise networks.