SSCP vs. CISSP: Which Certification Is Better?

SSCP vs. CISSP: Which Certification Is Better?

The demand for the security professionals in the IT field has continued to grow over the years. To increase your chance of landing your dream cybersecurity job, you should consider earning a certificate.

Different organizations offer the security certifications, but the most popular provider is the International Information System Security Certification Consortium. When it comes to the certificates offered by this company, CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) has been judged to be one of the most valuable security options. This is also among the most difficult paths in the IT industry. For those professionals who are not ready to go through the CISSP certification process, SSCP (Systems Security Certified Practitioner) is the next option to consider.

If you are at a crossroads and don’t know which of these two certificates is the best choice, this post will help you make up your mind. In this article, we will look at each certification in detail and compare both of them.

(ISC)2 SSCP: Key Details

SSCP is an associate-level certificate, which is aimed at the professionals with at least one year of relevant experience in the cybersecurity realm. It focuses on technical and practical components of security and is ideal for the specialists in the administrative and engineering roles. CISSP, on the other hand, focuses on the process and is intended for the senior IT professionals, including auditors, consultants, architects, and IT executives. The SSCP certification is comparable to CompTIA Security+, but it is not as popular as the latter.

The interested candidates are required to pass a 125-question exam covering a variety of security domains. They include the following:

  • Access Controls;
  • Cryptography;
  • Security Operations and Administration;
  • Network and Communications Security;
  • Risk Identification, Monitoring, and Analysis;
  • Systems and Application Security;
  • Incident Response & Recovery.

The time allocated for the completion of the test is 3 hours. To take it, you must have a minimum of one year of relevant and verifiable experience in at least one of the SSCP security domains. The professionals with a cybersecurity degree may not be required to provide proof of their experience.

(ISC)2 CISSP: Main Features

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification is aimed at the experienced cybersecurity managers, technicians, and executives. To get this certificate, the applicants are required to pass a 3-hour exam, consisting of 100-150 questions. It is available in the format of computer adaptive testing (CAT). The potential candidates must submit verifiable proof of at least five years of work experience in a minimum of two of the security domains of the CISSP certificate. These domains are as follows:

  • Asset Security;
  • Security and Risk Management;
  • Communications and Network Security;
  • Security Architecture and Engineering;
  • Security Operations;
  • Software Development Security;
  • Security Assessment and Testing;
  • Identity and Access Management.

The CISSP exam cost is $125, which applies to a single delivery of the test. If you don’t pass it on the first try, you will be required to pay another fee. In addition, the students must be certified by an active (ISC)2 certificate holder to obtain their certification.

You can find a lot of materials for your preparation. For example, you can use various study guides, training courses, and practice tests. You can also visit some communities and forums to look for some resources. Thus, CISSP Reddit is full of different recommendations, resources, and stories of those individuals who have already passed the certification exam.

SSCP vs. CISSP: Which Is Better?

The truth is that it is impossible to compare SSCP and CISSP, because they are not at the same level of cybersecurity experience and expertise. For the new cybersecurity professionals who want to validate their knowledge and credibility, SSCP is an ideal option to start. CISSP, on the other hand, is designed for the specialists with the relevant and verifiable work experience looking to take up the leadership roles.

Both SSCP and CISSP are approved as the U.S. DoD baseline certifications. This means that you can take up the positions, such as an IT Manager, an IT Technician, an IT Engineer, or an IT Architect in the federal government. The SSCP certificate is recognized for the Levels I and II IAT (Information Assurance Technician) jobs, while (ISC)2 CISSP is approved for the Level III IAT roles. The professionals with the CISSP certification can also pursue the Level II or III IAM (Information Assurance Manager) and Level I and II IASAE (AI System Architects and Engineers) positions. The salary potentials for both options also differ. Those who have CISSP can get a higher salary. According to (ISC)2, the average salary for these certificate holders is $131,030 per annum, while the specialists with SSCP can earn $93,240 per year.


To sum it all up, both SSCP and CISSP are valuable cybersecurity certificates and your level of experience will determine the right choice for you. In most cases, CISSP is a long-term certification goal for many professionals, while SSCP is an immediate option. This doesn’t mean that you cannot pursue CISSP if you want, even without the necessary experience. The only thing is that you will be awarded the Associate badge until you can provide proof of five years of work experience in the domains of the certification exam. Therefore, it all depends completely on you and your experience.