CISA Certification Overview

Certified Information Systems Auditor® (CISA®) is the global standard for auditing, monitoring, and assessing IT and business systems. It emphasizes the significance of emerging technologies and equips professionals with the ability to apply a risk-based approach to audit engagements. With a focus on addressing innovations like AI and blockchain, achieving a CISA certification ensures that IT audit professionals stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends. CISA is recognized as the preferred credential for IT auditors and offers excellent career opportunities with competitive pay.

The Impact of CISA Certification on Earning Potential and Job Competitiveness

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the demand for skilled professionals in information systems and cybersecurity is at an all-time high. Among the various certifications available, the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) credential stands out as a beacon of excellence and a powerful tool for career advancement. Obtaining a CISA certification can significantly increase your earning potential and make you a more competitive job candidate. Here’s how:

Boosting Earning Potential

Earning a CISA certification is a strategic investment in your career, directly impacting your earning potential. Professionals with CISA credentials are often seen as highly knowledgeable and competent in the fields of auditing, control, and information security. According to industry salary surveys, CISA-certified professionals tend to earn higher salaries compared to their non-certified peers. This is due to the specialized knowledge and skills they bring to the table, which are highly valued by employers seeking to protect their information systems and ensure compliance with regulatory standards. Additionally, the CISA certification is recognized globally, allowing certified individuals to command competitive salaries in various regions and sectors.

Enhancing Job Competitiveness

In a competitive job market, standing out from the crowd is crucial. The CISA certification provides a distinct advantage by validating your expertise and commitment to the field. Employers often prioritize candidates with CISA credentials because they have demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of information systems auditing, control, and security. This certification indicates that you possess the necessary skills to assess vulnerabilities, design effective control systems, and ensure compliance with international standards. As organizations face increasing threats from cyberattacks and regulatory pressures, having a CISA certification positions you as a critical asset capable of addressing these challenges effectively.

Moreover, the rigorous process of obtaining a CISA certification, which includes passing a comprehensive exam and adhering to a strict code of ethics, showcases your dedication and professionalism. This commitment is highly regarded by employers who seek reliable and trustworthy individuals to safeguard their information assets. As a result, CISA-certified professionals often find themselves with more job opportunities, career advancement prospects, and the ability to negotiate better employment terms.

In conclusion, obtaining a CISA certification is more than just an addition to your resume; it is a strategic move that can significantly enhance your earning potential and make you a more competitive job candidate. By validating your expertise and demonstrating your commitment to the field, the CISA credential opens doors to higher salaries, better job opportunities, and a successful career in information systems auditing and cybersecurity.

Steps to Qualify for and Earn the CISA Certification

Achieving the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification involves a well-defined process that ensures candidates possess the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in the field of information systems auditing. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the steps required and recommended to qualify for and earn the CISA certification:

1. Meet the Eligibility Requirements

Educational and Professional Experience:

  • Five Years of Work Experience: Candidates must have a minimum of five years of professional work experience in information systems auditing, control, or security. However, up to three years of this requirement can be substituted with the following:
    • One Year Substitution: One year of information systems experience or one year of non-IS auditing experience can be substituted for one year of the required experience.
    • Two Years Substitution: A maximum of two years of university teaching in a related field, or a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited university in a related field, can also be used to substitute two years of the required experience.

2. Prepare for the Exam

Study Resources:

  • Official CISA Review Manual: The ISACA CISA Review Manual is an essential resource, providing comprehensive coverage of the exam domains.
  • CISA Exam Practice Questions Database: This database offers practice questions that simulate the actual exam, helping candidates to test their knowledge and identify areas that need improvement.
  • Online Training and Review Courses: ISACA and other training providers offer online courses and review sessions, which can be immensely beneficial in understanding the exam material and structure.

Exam Domains: The CISA exam covers five key domains, each focusing on different aspects of information systems auditing:

  1. Information System Auditing Process: This domain covers the entire auditing process, including planning, executing, and reporting on audits.
  2. Governance and Management of IT: This domain focuses on the role of governance and management in IT, including policies, procedures, and controls.
  3. Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Implementation: This domain addresses the processes and controls involved in acquiring, developing, and implementing information systems.
  4. Information Systems Operations and Business Resilience: This domain covers the operational aspects of information systems and ensuring business continuity and resilience.
  5. Protection of Information Assets: This domain focuses on the security measures and controls needed to protect information assets.

3. Register and Take the Exam

Exam Registration:

  • Register with ISACA: Candidates need to create an account on the ISACA website and register for the CISA exam. Exam fees apply, and the registration process includes selecting a preferred exam date and location.
  • Exam Scheduling: The CISA exam is offered multiple times a year at various testing centers worldwide. Candidates should schedule their exam in advance to secure their preferred date and location.

Exam Day:

  • Exam Format: The CISA exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions to be completed in four hours. The questions are designed to test the candidate’s knowledge and application of auditing principles and practices.
  • Passing Score: To pass the exam, candidates must score at least 450 out of 800 points, which translates to roughly 75%.

4. Submit the Application for Certification

Application Submission:

  • Complete the Application: After passing the exam, candidates must submit the CISA certification application, providing evidence of their work experience and compliance with ISACA’s Code of Professional Ethics.
  • Application Fee: There is a fee associated with the application, which varies depending on the candidate’s ISACA membership status.

5. Maintain the Certification

Continuing Professional Education (CPE):

  • CPE Requirements: CISA-certified professionals must earn and report a minimum of 20 CPE hours annually and 120 CPE hours over a three-year reporting period to maintain their certification.
  • CPE Activities: Acceptable CPE activities include attending relevant conferences, webinars, training courses, and participating in professional organizations.

Adherence to ISACA’s Code of Professional Ethics:

  • Ethical Conduct: CISA holders must adhere to ISACA’s Code of Professional Ethics, which requires maintaining high standards of integrity, objectivity, and confidentiality.

Earning the CISA certification involves meeting specific educational and professional experience requirements, preparing for and passing a comprehensive exam, and submitting an application demonstrating compliance with ISACA’s standards. Maintaining the certification requires ongoing professional education and adherence to ethical guidelines, ensuring that CISA-certified professionals remain current and competent in their field.

Ready to Get Started?

cisa certification requirements

If your work experience and education meet the qualifications and requirements, we’d love to help you get started on your application and on the way to passing your exam by enrolling in one of our public CISA Boot Camp classes. We offer classes usually once a month.  Our instructor led courses cover all aspects of the examination as well as extremely helpful test taking strategies and exam simulators to make sure you are fully ready.

Frequently Asked Questions About CISA Certification

1. What is CISA certification?

Answer: CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor) certification is a globally recognized credential awarded by ISACA. It validates an individual’s expertise in information systems auditing, control, and security.

2. What are the eligibility requirements for the CISA certification?

Answer: To qualify for the CISA certification, candidates must have five years of professional work experience in information systems auditing, control, or security. Certain educational and professional experience can substitute up to three years of the required experience.

3. Can I take the CISA exam before meeting the work experience requirement?

Answer: Yes, you can take the CISA exam before meeting the work experience requirement. However, you must complete the experience requirement and submit the certification application within five years of passing the exam.

4. How do I prepare for the CISA exam?

Answer: Preparation for the CISA exam involves studying the ISACA CISA Review Manual, practicing with the CISA Exam Practice Questions Database, and attending online training or review courses offered by ISACA or other training providers.

5. What topics are covered in the CISA exam?

Answer: The CISA exam covers five key domains:

  1. Information System Auditing Process
  2. Governance and Management of IT
  3. Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Implementation
  4. Information Systems Operations and Business Resilience
  5. Protection of Information Assets

6. How is the CISA exam structured?

Answer: The CISA exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions to be completed in four hours. It assesses the candidate’s knowledge and ability to apply auditing principles and practices.

7. What is the passing score for the CISA exam?

Answer: To pass the CISA exam, candidates must score at least 450 out of 800 points, which is approximately 75%.

8. How do I register for the CISA exam?

Answer: You can register for the CISA exam on the ISACA website by creating an account, selecting an exam date and location, and paying the exam fee.

9. What is the cost of the CISA exam?

Answer: The cost of the CISA exam varies depending on whether you are an ISACA member or non-member. It’s best to check the latest fee structure on the ISACA website.

10. What should I bring to the exam center on the exam day?

Answer: On exam day, you should bring a valid government-issued photo ID and any other documents required by the testing center. Check the exam confirmation details for specific instructions.

11. How long does it take to receive my exam results?

Answer: Exam results are typically available within four to six weeks after the exam date. Results are posted to your ISACA account, and you will receive an email notification when they are available.

12. How do I apply for the CISA certification after passing the exam?

Answer: After passing the exam, you need to submit the CISA certification application, including proof of your work experience and compliance with ISACA’s Code of Professional Ethics, along with the application fee.

13. How do I maintain my CISA certification?

Answer: To maintain your CISA certification, you must earn and report a minimum of 20 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours annually and 120 CPE hours over a three-year period. You must also adhere to ISACA’s Code of Professional Ethics.

14. What are acceptable CPE activities for maintaining CISA certification?

Answer: Acceptable CPE activities include attending relevant conferences, webinars, and training courses, participating in professional organizations, teaching, publishing articles, and engaging in self-study.

15. What happens if I do not meet the CPE requirements?

Answer: If you do not meet the CPE requirements, your CISA certification may be revoked. You would then need to reapply and potentially retake the exam to regain the certification.

16. Can the CISA certification help in career advancement?

Answer: Yes, the CISA certification is highly regarded in the industry and can lead to higher earning potential, better job opportunities, and career advancement in the fields of information systems auditing, control, and security.

These FAQs provide a comprehensive overview of what candidates need to know about earning and maintaining the CISA certification, helping them navigate the process with confidence.