Top of Page

Associate LogoAssociate of (ISC)²


Take the Entry-Level Path to Cybersecurity Certification

You want to prove yourself and impress employers... But you don’t have the experience to earn a cybersecurity certification yet.

Start your career strong with the Associate of (ISC)²!

The Associate of (ISC)² is an alternative to normal certification processes. It isn’t an entry-level cybersecurity certification in the traditional sense. You don’t need years of work experience to take any of our certification exams.

The Associate of (ISC)² is a designation. It proves your knowledge in cybersecurity right away. You can take a certification exam without the work experience. If you pass, you simply work to get the experience needed for certification. 

The Associate of (ISC)² designation:

  • Makes you much more desirable to employers. Immediately stand out from other job seekers! You show employers you’ve passed a tough exam based on internationally recognized standards. You prove your competence and commitment to the industry.
  • Gives you exclusive access to (ISC)² membership — the leading community of information security professionals in the world. And you get amazing benefits: career resources, networking in this elite group of industry leaders and so much more.

To earn our Associate of (ISC)² designation, you need to:

  • Pass a tough (ISC)² certification exam, proving your cybersecurity knowledge.
  • Pay the dues to become a member of (ISC)².
  • Meet continuing professional education (CPE) requirements.
  • Get the work experience needed to become a CISSP or one of our other cybersecurity certifications.

Your next move matters. Make it the Associate of (ISC)²!


Choose the Best Certification for Your Career Goals

Your first step is to look to the future. Identify which certification you want to achieve based on your career goals.

Your options include the:

  • CISSP - Leadership & Operations
  • SSCP - IT Administration
  • CCSP - Cloud Security
  • CAP - Authorization
  • CSSLP - Software Security
  • HCISPP - Healthcare Security & Privacy

To become an Associate of (ISC)², you need to take and pass one of the certification exams above.

Learn more about the certifications.

Create an Account at Pearson VUE and Schedule Your Exam

Ready to schedule the exam? You need to create an account at Pearson VUE first.

Pearson VUE is the leading provider of global, computer-based testing for certification and licensure exams. You can find details on testing locations, policies, accommodations and more on their website.

Once you’ve set up your account and are ready to register, you’ll need to:

Pass the Exam

This is the day to rise to the challenge!

Your exam length will vary, depending on which certification you’re pursuing.

Want more information? Read our exam scoring FAQs.

Pay Your Dues to Become an (ISC)² Member

Let’s say you successfully pass the exam.

There’s one last step.

To finish becoming an Associate of (ISC)², you need to pay USD$35 to join (ISC)².

You must do so within nine months of your exam date. Otherwise, you’ll need to retake the exam.

Once you pay your dues, you become a member of the (ISC)² community. You gain access to incredible member benefits, including continuing education and a community of peers.

A final note... Be sure to inform your employer that you’ve achieved Associate of (ISC)² status!

Get to Know the Associate of (ISC)²

  • Why Become an Associate Why Become an Associate of (ISC)²

    When you become an Associate of (ISC)², you:

    • Enhance your credibility and attract better career opportunities.
    • Differentiate yourself from your peers with top employers.
    • Earn an elite digital badge to share online. It instantly validates your accomplishment with employers. It shows you understand and use security best practices.
    • Become a member of (ISC)². You join a leading community of thought leaders in cybersecurity. You can grow and thrive.
    • Gain access to amazing career resources, professional development and networking. With a partner like (ISC)², you have unlimited career possibilities in information security.
    • Have potential for a salary increase. On average, (ISC)² members report having 35 percent higher salaries than non-members. It depends on your country and employer. (Source: “2015 Global Information Security Workforce Study”)
    • Get discounts on conferences, textbooks and more.
  • Should You Pursue This Designation? Should You Pursue This Designation?

    We’ll share upfront, pursuing the Associate of (ISC)² designation is a big challenge. It isn’t for everyone.

    The Associate of (ISC)² designation may be ideal for you if you:

    • Are a high achiever who wants to stay one step ahead in this ever-changing industry. You set high standards for yourself, are intentional in your career choices and are willing to push yourself. The Associate of (ISC)² is a way for you to take command of your career.
    • Are knowledgeable in IT and cybersecurity, but don’t have the experience yet to become certified as a CISSP, SSCP, CCSP, CAP, CSSLP, or HCISPP. You may be just starting your career in cybersecurity, or you may be currently employed in the field.  
    • Want more respect, as well as a competitive advantage. You don’t want your lack of experience to be a barrier in this ultra-competitive industry. The Associate of (ISC)² will validate your skills and help you better market yourself. It proves you take initiative.
    • Want to meet and learn from the best. When you earn the Associate of (ISC)² designation, you join a group of industry thought leaders. This community can be the source of immense learning, as well as jobs around the world.
  • Understanding the Different Certifications Understanding the Different Certifications

    (ISC)² certifications are the globally recognized standards in cybersecurity.

    We draw from a comprehensive, up-to-date, global Common Body of Knowledge (CBK). This ensures you have deep knowledge and understanding in information security.

    Choose the certification that’s right for you.

    Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) Information security leaders who have the knowledge and experience to design, develop and manage the overall security posture of an organization.
    Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) Information security practitioners who have the skills to manage and support the overall security posture and policies of an organization.
    Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) Knowledge and competency in applying best practices to cloud security architecture, design, operations and service orchestration.
    Certified Authorization Professional (CAP) Personnel responsible for formalizing processes used to assess risk and establish security requirements and documentation.
    Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP) The key qualifications of developers building secure software applications.
    HealthCare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPP) The key qualifications of healthcare information security and privacy practitioners. They have the knowledge required to successfully implement, manage, or assess security and privacy controls for healthcare and patient information.
  • How to Prepare for Your Exam How to Prepare for Your Exam

    So, let’s say you’ve chosen the best certification for your career goals. You’re ready to pursue the Associate of (ISC)² designation.

    You face a big exam. It’s time to rise to the occasion!

    There are two powerful ways to get ready: training courses and individual study. (ISC)2 has just what you need for both.

    You can take Official (ISC)² CBK Training Seminars.

    We know how busy you are. That’s why our award-winning training is available in many formats — from onsite classroom learning, to online learning on the go. You choose the style that works best for your schedule and learning style.

    For individual study, our online resources include:

    • Official (ISC)2 CBK Textbooks
    • Official (ISC)2 Study Guides
    • Exam Outlines
    • Practice Tests
    • Study Apps
    • Interactive Flashcards

    We’ll get you ready to take your exam with confidence.

  • Maintaining Your Associate Designation Maintaining Your Associate Designation

    To remain an Associate of (ISC)², you need to:

    • Pay our Annual Maintenance Fee of USD$35.
    • Earn 15 Continuing Professional Education credits each year.

    Of course, the bigger goal here is to gain the years of experience you need for full certification.

  • Working Toward Certification Working Toward Certification

    As you can see below, the amount of cumulative, paid, full-time work experience you need varies by certification.

    Certification Years to Gain Experience
    CISSP Up to six years to gain the five years of CISSP experience required
    SSCP Up to two years to gain the one year of SSCP experience required
    CCSP Up to six years to gain the five years of  CCSP experience required
    CAP Up to three years to gain the two years of CAP experience required 
    CSSLP     Up to five years to gain the four years of CSSLP experience required
    HCISPP Up to three years to gain the two years of HCISPP experience required

    Once you’ve reached your experience requirement, the next step is to start the endorsement process.

    This will convert your status from Associate of (ISC)² to CISSP, SSCP, CCSP, CAP, CSSLP, or HCISPP status.

Learn More About Becoming an Associate of (ISC)²

By clicking the button to continue, you agree to our Terms and that you have read our Data Use Policy, including our Cookie Use.