CompTIA Security+ certification

Obtaining the CompTIA Security+ certification can boost your career prospects. It validates your ability to perform core security functions and pursue a career in cybersecurity. However, navigating the path to certification may appear somewhat daunting. With various steps to follow, from understanding eligibility requirements to preparing for the exam, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

This guide aims to provide clarity regarding the process, offering a clear and concise roadmap to obtaining your Security+ certification. We’ll cover everything you need to know to get started on your certification journey. This includes an overview of Security+, prerequisites and eligibility criteria, insights into the exam structure and content, and study tips and resources. This should equip you with the knowledge you need to prepare for and pass the Security+ exam.

About the CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ is a globally recognized certification that validates baseline cybersecurity skills. It’s designed for IT professionals aiming to specialize in security, covering essential topics such as threat detection, risk management, and data protection. The certification ensures you’re equipped with practical knowledge to secure networks, manage security incidents, and adhere to legal regulations in the process.

Prerequisites and eligibility

The CompTIA Security+ certification is designed to be accessible to IT professionals with foundational knowledge and experience in IT security. Although there are no strict prerequisites to take the Security+ exam, CompTIA recommends you have at least two years of experience in IT administration with a security focus or two years in a security systems administrator job role. It also recommends that you first consider the CompTIA Network+ certification.

Find out more about how difficult the Security+ certification is.

Exam overview

The CompTIA Security+ is a comprehensive assessment of your knowledge and skills in various cybersecurity domains. Here’s an overview of what you can expect when taking the Security+ exam:

  • Format: The exam consists of a mix of multiple-choice and performance-based questions designed to test your knowledge and ability to apply it to practical scenarios.
  • Duration: You’ll be given 90 minutes to complete the exam.
  • Number of questions: The exam contains a maximum of 90 questions.
  • Passing score: The passing score for the Security+ exam is 750 on a scale of 100-900.
  • Languages: You can take the Security+ exam in the following languages: English, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Portuguese.

Domains covered

The Security+ exam covers the following major domains, each of which contribute a certain percentage to the overall exam:

  • Threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities: This domain focuses on understanding various types of cyber threats and attacks, including the ability to identify and mitigate them effectively.
  • Technologies and tools: You’ll be tested on your knowledge of security technologies and tools that are used to secure networks, systems, and applications.
  • Architecture and design: This covers principles of secure network design and architecture, with an emphasis on cloud, mobile, and IoT considerations.
  • Identity and access management: This domain covers managing access control and identity verification to protect against unauthorized access and ensure the security of data.
  • Risk management: You’ll need to understand risk management strategies, including the impact on business, and implementing best practices to mitigate risks.
  • Cryptography and PKI: This area tests knowledge on the basics of cryptography and the use of PKI to secure communications and data.

How to purchase a CompTIA Security+ exam voucher

Purchasing the CompTIA Security+ Exam Voucher is required in order to take the exam and ultimately obtain your certification. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to go about this:

  1. Before you can purchase a voucher, you’ll need to create a free account on the CompTIA website (unless you already have one in which case you can sign in).
  2. CompTIA offers the option of taking the exam either in a Pearson VUE test center or online.
  3. Once logged into your CompTIA account, go to the CompTIA store. Select the Security+ exam voucher. Add it to your cart and proceed to the checkout to make payment.
  4. After completing your purchase, you’ll receive a voucher code. You’ll need this code to schedule your exam with Pearson VUE.

The cost of the CompTIA Security+ exam voucher varies by country due to exchange rates and local taxes. Exam vouchers have an expiration date, typically one year from the purchase date.


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Study and preparation tips

Passing the Security+ exam requires dedicated study as well as practical experience. Here are some essential tips to help you prepare effectively:

  • Understand the exam objectives: Look at the latest exam objectives on the CompTIA website. Familiarize yourself with each domain covered by the exam to help guide your study plan.
  • Create a study plan: Develop a study plan that allocates time to each domain covered in the exam. Be sure to allow some flexibility for spending extra time on areas where you’re less confident.
  • Make use of official CompTIA resources: CompTIA provides plenty of resources tailored to the exam objectives and offers comprehensive coverage of the topics. This includes the CompTIA Security+ Study Guide.
  • Supplement with third-party materials: There’s no shortage of third-party study guides, online courses, and practice exams. Different perspectives and explanations can help reinforce your understanding of complex topics.
  • Practice with real-world scenarios: Hands-on experience is invaluable for understanding how theoretical concepts apply in real-world situations. CompTIA provides a platform for hands-on experience called CertMaster Labs.
  • Take practice exams: Regularly taking practice exams can help determine your readiness and familiarize you with the exam format. Analyze your results to identify areas that require improvement and adjust your study plan accordingly.
  • Stay updated on current trends: The field of cybersecurity is constantly evolving so it’s important to stay informed about the latest security threats, trends, and technologies. This helps you prepare for the exam but is also important for a career in cybersecurity.

Training resources

Preparing for the CompTIA Security+ exam requires a strategic approach to study, making use of a variety of resources to cover both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Below are key training resources that can help you effectively prepare for the exam.



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Official CompTIA Study Materials

  • CompTIA CertMaster LearnAn interactive and comprehensive e-learning solution that prepares you for the Security+ exam through lessons, videos, practice questions, and performance-based questions.
  • CompTIA CertMaster LabsProvides hands-on experience in a virtual lab environment, allowing you to apply what you’ve learned in real-world scenarios. This is important for the performance-based questions of the exam.
  • CompTIA CertMaster PracticeAn online companion tool that helps reinforce learning through practice questions and simulated exams. This mimics the format and difficulty of the actual Security+ exam.
  • CompTIA Security* Study GuideThe official study guide covers all exam objectives and includes review questions at the end of each chapter to test your comprehension.

Third-party study materials

  • Study guides: Third-party study guides such as CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead by Darril Gibson offer concise, in-depth coverage of Security+ topics.
  • Online platforms: Websites like UdemyLinkedIn LearningCybrary, and Coursera offer a range of Security+ preparation courses, providing flexibility to learn at your own pace.
  • Practice exams: Practice exams help measure your readiness and to familiarize yourself with the exam format. ExamCompass and CrucialExams are two free options.
  • YouTube channels: Several experienced IT professionals and educators share insights, study tips, and lessons on YouTube. Professor Messer is a particularly popular choice.

Security+ certification: FAQs

Can I retake the Security+ exam if I fail?

Yes, you can retake the CompTIA Security+ exam if you fail. CompTIA has a retake policy and it’s important to be aware of the conditions. If you don’t pass the exam on your first attempt, there’s no waiting period required before you can take the exam again. However, there is a 14-day waiting period for any subsequent retakes. Note that for each exam retake, you have to purchase a new exam voucher.

How long is the Security+ certification valid for?

The CompTIA Security+ certification is valid for three years from the date you pass your exam. To maintain the certification without having to retake the exam, CompTIA offers a Continuing Education (CE) program. This allows you to extend your certification in three-year increments through cybersecurity-related activities and training.

Are there any free study resources for Security+?

Fortunately, there are plenty of free study resources to help you prepare for the CompTIA Security+ certification. In particular, Cybrary offers a free Security+ training course which includes video lessons. You can also find free practice exams on sites such as ExamCompass and CrucialExams. Another excellent free resource is Professor Messer on YouTube, who offers free video courses covering all topics in the Security+ syllabus.