We talk often about project manager certifications such as the PMP certification or the CAPM certification. These certifications can help you gain confidence in your work, as well as open up career opportunities where you can be more fulfilled and — hopefully — better paid. A certification in your industry shows other professionals that you are among the best, and you’ve proven it.
But project managers aren’t the only professions that have opportunities for certifications and growth. Professional certifications are quite common, and the IT industry is no exception. Many IT security certifications are offered by a non-profit association called CompTIA. One of their most reputed certifications is the CompTIA Security Plus.
Maybe you’re a project manager within the IT universe and you’ve already gained your CompTIA Security Plus certification. In this article, we’ll help you learn everything you need to know about Security Plus renewal.
The point of the Security Plus certification is to prove your practical skills on a wide scale so that you are able to handle a large range of security issues. The education required for the certification covers how to manage security risks, security incidents, cloud and hybrid cloud operations, enterprise networks, and more. The certification lasts for three years, after which point you’ll need to renew Security Plus. To do so, you will need 50 CEU hours and a $150 fee.
From there, there are three steps you’ll need to follow.
3 Steps to CompTIA Security Plus Renewal
So you’re coming up to the end of your three years and you want to renew Security Plus certification for the next three years. Fortunately, you’ll find the three steps for Security Plus renewal easier than the process of studying for the CompTIA Security Plus exam. Here are the three steps you’ll need to follow:
#1: Earn Your 50 Continuing Education Units (CEU)
First and foremost, you’ll need to earn 50 Continuing Education Units (CEU). Each unit equals one hour of activity, which is why you’ll sometimes hear people refer to it as 50 Continuing Education Hours. Some of the qualifying activities that will earn you CEUs include:
Training or Higher Education
Whether this is going back to college and earning a degree or taking part in a short training course, you can use these learning opportunities to gain your 50 CEU. You might take a self-paced course online, enjoy classroom training, or a remote class from a live instructor. You might also attend a conference for IT professionals or attend a live webinar. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you can only earn so many CEUs from each of these activities. CompTIA limits the amount that can be earned in each category, as shown below:
- Complete a course – 50 CEU limit
- Attend a conference – 10 CEU limit
- Attend a webinar – 10 CEU limit
- Attend a college course – 50 CEU limit
- Attend an American Council of Education (ACE) course – 50 CEU limit
In order to be eligible, however, at least 50% of the content of the training or course must be relevant to the Security Plus exam and certification. There are a number of training courses that can help you with this, such as an IT Service Management Certification course, an Agile Scrum Certification course, a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course, and — especially for project managers who work in IT — a Microsoft Project course. These courses will typically equip you with the credits you need to renew Security Plus.
You may be able to streamline your process of earning your CEU credits by bundling courses together. Some professional development teams will offer several courses together at a lower cost than buying each course individually. They are often self-paced courses that you can learn on your schedule and at your convenience.
When looking for a course bundle, you’ll want to search for courses that specifically focus on CompTIA certification training. You also want to make sure the bundle is offering a real value. There are often annual subscription costs as well as monthly subscription costs to choose from. Monthly is the best course of action if you plan to study quickly. An annual subscription is better if you want to take your time. Some might even offer a lifetime subscription.
A course bundle will likely allow you to knock all of your CEU out in one investment. However, they will all be mostly the same sort of educational material. If you’d like to vary things a bit, like attending a webinar or a physical classroom setting, then a course bundle may not be the best investment for your CEU journey. However, they might still be worth it in that they often offer free extra courses that allow you to improve your IT security education journey.
Other CompTIA Certifications
You might choose to earn your CEU by earning another certification from CompTIA. This will not only fulfill the education requirements but will make you an even more attractive IT professional to employers. However, in order to be eligible for Security Plus renewal, you will need to ensure that the certification you earn is a high level certification. Eligible certifications are:
- CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP Plus)
- CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA Plus)
- CompTIA PenTest Plus
One massive benefit of taking another certification, however, is that once you do so, your Security Plus certification will automatically renew. This will save you the headache and paperwork of having to renew Security Plus manually. It also waives fees, as you will likely be paying the fees for whatever certification you’re choosing to add instead.
Non-CompTIA IT Industry Certifications
CompTIA isn’t alone in offering IT industry certifications. In fact, CompTIA even includes a list of certifications on their website that are compatible with the Security Plus certification. When you earn these certifications, you will also automatically renew Security Plus.
CompTIA allows certifications to be eligible when they come from the following companies.
- Cloud Security Alliance
- ISC (2)
However, it’s important to understand that not all certifications by these companies will renew your Security Plus certification. That’s why, before you sign up for an exam, you should check the CompTIA website to get an exhaustive list.
IT Industry Activities
Another way to earn CEU is to get involved in the IT community. The CompTIA Security Plus renewal allows you to earn CEU by teaching, mentoring, creating instructional IT material, or participating in a CompTIA exam development workshop. These activities allow you to share your knowledge with others and improve the IT community as a whole.
However, you will need to submit documentation that proves you took part in these activities. This may not be as necessary for an exam development workshop, where your attendance serves as proof. For teachers and mentors, however, you will need to submit a lesson plan or syllabus, date of the lesson, and a description of what was taught. For creators of instructional material, a lesson plan or syllabus, copy of the material, and creation date will serve.
Mentors also need to submit documentation to specify the objectives of their mentoring and how it related to the CompTIA Security Plus exam. For instance, did you mentor a younger IT professional preparing to take the Security Plus exam? The document includes the date of the mentorship and the length of time it lasted. It needs to be signed by the mentee, as well.
A Published Article, Blog Post, Book, or Document
Publishing a written work about IT security can also help you earn CEUs. Written works might include an article, blog post, book, or a whitepaper. Just like many of the above qualifications, there is a limit to the amount of CEUs you can learn per piece.
- 16 CEU limit for an article, blog, or whitepaper
- 40 CEU limit for a book
Online pieces — such as an article, blog post, or whitepaper — require a copy of the URL and a description of the written content. In the case of blog posts, you can also send a copy of the post instead of the URL. For a book, you can submit a URL to where the book can be purchased as proof for this CEU.
Related Work Experience
Over the course of three years, you can earn 9 CEUs from work experience. That breaks down to no more than 3 CEUs each year. At least 50% of the work experience must be relevant to the CompTIA Security Plus exam. Still, it’s a way to earn CEUs doing something you would likely be doing anyway.
In order to earn these points, your employer needs to submit a letter to CompTIA on company letterhead. They will need to write your name, job title, the year, a list of activities that you performed earning these CEUs, and a signature from your manager or supervisor. This is the only proof that CompTIA will accept. Work orders, performance reports, and similar records do not qualify.
Keep in mind that if you have more than one CompTIA certification, you can just focus on renewing that highest level certification. Once that’s done, the lower-level certifications will automatically renew.
#2: Pay the Security Plus Renewal Fee
Once you’ve earned your CEUs, you will need to pay the Security Plus renewal fee. The exception for this is when you’re renewing the Security Plus certification by earning another, higher level certification. If you do so, you will only need to pay the fee for the new certification. If not, the fee for Security Plus renewal is $150.
#3: Submit Your CEUs for Security Plus Renewal
Once you’ve paid your renewal fee, you must submit your earned CEUs. This will keep your Security Plus certification valid for the next three years.
The economy has created an intensely competitive job market. Often, it’s no longer enough to have a college degree. You must also have certifications that make you stand out as truly knowledgeable and competent in your field. These certifications must be maintained to ensure you’re still learning and working on your expertise in the field. When your Security Plus certification is maintained, it not only shows that you’re knowledgeable, but that you’re dedicated and committed to learning more in your field.
Fortunately, renewing your CompTIA Security Plus certification is easy to do. Just stay on top of your continued education and pay the fee to show your employer that your skills are fresh and sharp.
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