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Salary Showdown: CISSP vs. CISM

  • What pays more, CISSP or CISM?
  • Published by: André Hammer on May 18, 2024

Information security certifications are valuable in the job market. Two top certifications are CISSP and CISM. They can boost your career prospects. But, how do their salaries differ? Let's look at the average salaries for CISSP and CISM holders. This info can help you choose the right certification for you.

Salary Comparison: CISSP vs. CISM

Certifications and Their Importance

Certifications in information security have many benefits for professionals. By earning certifications like CISSP or CISM, individuals validate their skills and knowledge, and they also increase their chances of getting higher paying jobs.

Employers often require CISSP or CISM for job openings, so professionals with these certifications are in demand and get higher salaries.

Job Opportunities 

Security professionals have many job opportunities. This includes roles in government contracting, consulting firms, healthcare, finance, and technology companies.

Employers often look for candidates with certifications like CISSP or CISM. These certifications are in high demand because of the need for skilled professionals in information security.

Having these certifications can result in a significantly higher salary compared to those without them.

CISSP focuses on technical aspects of information security, while CISM emphasises risk management and leadership skills.

To pass CISSP, you need a minimum of 700 out of 1000. For CISM, the passing score is 450 out of 800.

Earning these certifications involves passing a tough exam and meeting specific work experience requirements.

Training and Requirements

To get a CISSP or CISM certification, professionals need to undergo specific training and pass an exam. The exam tests their knowledge in different information security areas.

Candidates must have relevant work experience. For CISSP, you need at least 5 years, and for CISM, you need a minimum of 3 years in information security.

Certified cybersecurity professionals earn a good salary. 

Employers often seek candidates with CISSP or CISM certifications for roles in risk management, security analysis, and other cybersecurity positions.

Security Job Openings and Titles

Job titles in information security range from Security Analyst to Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). These roles may need certifications like CISSP or CISM, plus relevant work experience.

Security professionals with certifications can earn different salaries depending on location, experience, and job roles. CISSP holders usually earn more than CISM holders due to their broad security knowledge.

In North America, CISSP holders make over $130,000 on average, while CISM holders earn around $122,000. Candidates should consider job market demands, necessary qualifications, and average salaries to maximize earning potential.

What pays more, CISSP or CISM?

CISSP certified professionals generally earn a higher annual salary than those with CISM certification.

CISSP experts usually earn more in cybersecurity because of their wide-ranging knowledge across security areas.

Employers appreciate CISSP's thorough training and tough exam, leading to better pay.

On the other hand, CISM certified professionals focus more on information security and risk management, which might slightly impact their salaries compared to CISSP holders.

However, both certifications come with benefits and opportunities in the industry, depending on job requirements.

Having CISSP or CISM credentials can help secure rewarding IT positions, especially in North America, like in the DC area and along the East Coast.

Professionals with the right skills and certifications like CISSP and CISM can command higher salaries in the cybersecurity sector.

Exam and Certification Costs

When considering the exam and certification costs for CISSP and CISM, professionals in the information security field need to take into account various factors.

These include:

  • The cost of training materials,

  • Exam registration fees, and

  • Any additional study resources.

The average costs associated with obtaining and maintaining security certifications such as CISSP and CISM can vary.

This variance is based on:

  • The individual's work experience,

  • Required skills, and

  • Career goals.

Certified professionals in cybersecurity positions can expect to earn higher salaries compared to non-certified professionals.

CISSP holders generally receive a higher pay scale due to their in-depth knowledge of security domains covered in the exam.

Overall, the demand for security certifications continues to rise.

This trend offers:

  • Job openings and

  • Career opportunities for candidates with the required credentials and abilities.

Employers in North America, especially in the DC area and on the East Coast, seek IT professionals with cybersecurity certifications like CISSP and CISM.

This leads to higher average annual salaries and job roles in risk management and information systems security.

Work Experience and Job Roles

Professionals in information security may have worked as security analysts, consultants, or managers. These roles involve understanding security concepts, risk management, and meeting industry standards.

By gaining experience in security assessments, implementing measures, and handling incidents, professionals can advance in cybersecurity. A strong security knowledge base from work experience can aid in certifications like CISSP or CISM, validating skills for effective security management.

Certified CISSP or CISM professionals often earn higher salaries and have more job prospects. CISSP holders typically earn more than CISM holders, particularly in North America where there's a greater demand for CISSP-certified professionals.

Employers value candidates with security certifications, giving those with experience and credentials an advantage in the job market.

Budgeting for Certification

When budgeting for certification, candidates should consider different costs. These may include training, exam fees, study materials, and any extra resources needed. To save money, individuals can use free online resources, study groups, and practice exams for additional help without spending more. Seeking scholarships, discounts, or employer sponsorship can also reduce expenses. Using study guides, online forums, and professional networks can offer valuable insights and support.

By planning carefully and strategizing, candidates can save money and improve their chances of success in gaining certifications such as CISSP or CISM in information security.

Key Differences Between CISSP and CISM

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certifications have different job roles and responsibilities.

CISSP focuses on a wide range of security domains like cybersecurity and risk management. CISM, on the other hand, focuses on information security and privacy with an emphasis on skills related to risk management.

Professional training and exam content for CISSP cover security policy development and management. Meanwhile, CISM focuses more on information risk management and compliance.

CISSP certified professionals often earn higher salaries due to their broader knowledge and skills in cybersecurity. Employers in North America, particularly in the East Coast and DC area, often require CISSP certification for higher-level security roles.

Focus on Security and Privacy

Certifications like CISSP and CISM are important in information security. Professionals with these certifications show expertise in security through training and exams. Experience in risk management and security work is necessary to get these certifications.

CISSP-certified professionals tend to earn higher salaries compared to CISM-certified professionals, especially in the DC area and the East Coast. Employers look for these certifications for security positions due to the demand for cybersecurity experts.

Getting CISSP and CISM certifications is beneficial for a career and ensures personal information security in today's digital world.

Job Roles and Responsibilities

Professionals with CISSP or CISM certifications work in information security, risk management, and cybersecurity roles.

The CISSP certification covers various security domains, such as security and risk management. CISM focuses on information risk management.

In North America, CISSP-certified professionals generally earn higher salaries than CISM-certified ones.

Individuals with CISM qualifications may find more job opportunities in risk management.

On the East Coast, there are many job openings for CISSP-certified professionals, especially in the DC area.

Employers often require CISSP certification for important security roles.

CISSP certification provides a wide range of security knowledge, while CISM certification focuses on information risk management skills.

Both certifications offer benefits for career growth and higher salaries in the cybersecurity field for experienced IT professionals.

Job Opportunities on the East Coast

When looking at job options on the East Coast for cybersecurity experts, it's important to think about getting certifications like CISSP or CISM. Both certifications are valuable, but CISSP holders usually earn a higher average salary than CISM holders. In North America, CISSP-certified professionals make around £85,000 per year. This shows a high demand for people with this certification.

CISM, on the other hand, focuses more on risk management and information security, giving professionals different skills and knowledge. The job market for cybersecurity professionals on the East Coast is strong, with many job opportunities in various industries. Employers in the DC area and other East Coast locations often look for candidates with CISSP or CISM certifications.

Key takeaways

The salary showdown between CISSP and CISM certifications shows differences in earning potential.

CISSP holders usually earn more than CISM holders because CISSP requires a wider range of skills and experience.

CISM holders can still earn competitive salaries in specific industries or positions.

Both certifications help information security professionals advance their careers and earn more money.

Readynez offers a 4-day CISM Course and Certification Program, providing you with all the learning and support you need to successfully prepare for the exam and certification. The CISM course, and all our other ISACA courses, are also included in our unique Unlimited Security Training offer, where you can attend the CISM and 60+ other Security courses for just €249 per month, the most flexible and affordable way to get your Security Certifications.

Please reach out to us with any questions or if you would like a chat about your opportunity with the CISM certification and how you best achieve it.


What is the salary difference between CISSP and CISM holders?

The average salary for CISSP holders is around £65,000 per year, while CISM holders earn an average of £70,000 per year.

Are there any other factors besides certification that affect salary?

Yes, factors such as level of experience, area of specialization, location, and negotiation skills can also impact salary. For example, someone with more years of experience in a high-demand field may command a higher salary compared to a beginner in a less sought-after area.

Which certification, CISSP or CISM, typically leads to higher salaries?

CISSP typically leads to higher salaries due to its focus on technical security knowledge, while CISM is more focused on management and governance. E.g. CISSP holders can earn up to £87,000, whereas CISM holders may earn around £80,000.

Do CISSP holders generally earn more than CISM holders?

Yes, CISSP holders generally earn more than CISM holders. For example, CISSP certification holders in the UK have an average salary of £65,000, while CISM holders have an average salary of £55,000.

What is the average salary for CISSP and CISM professionals?

The average salary for CISSP professionals is around £65,000 to £85,000 per year, while CISM professionals can expect to earn around £70,000 to £95,000 per year. These figures can vary based on location, experience, and industry.

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