CompTIA Security+ is a global certification that validates the baseline skills you need to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career.

Why is it different?

  • No other certification that assesses baseline cybersecurity skills has performance-based questions on the exam. Security+ emphasizes hands-on practical skills, ensuring the security professional is better prepared to problem solve a wider variety of issues.
  • More choose Security+ for DoD 8570 compliance than any other certification.
  • Security+ focuses on the latest trends and techniques in risk management, risk mitigation, threat management and intrusion detection.
  • The new Security+ certification covers the Junior IT Auditor/Penetration Tester job role, in addition to the previous job roles for Systems Administrator, Network Administrator, and Security Administrator.

About the exam

CompTIA Security+ is the first security certification IT professionals should earn. It establishes the core knowledge required of any cybersecurity role and provides a springboard to intermediate-level cybersecurity jobs. Security+ incorporates best practices in hands-on trouble-shooting to ensure security professionals have practical security problem-solving skills. Cybersecurity professionals with Security+ know how to address security incidents – not just identify them.

Security+ is compliant with ISO 17024 standards and approved by the US DoD to meet directive 8140/8570.01-M requirements.

The new CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 exam is available as of October 4, 2017. More information on both versions of the exam is available in the Exam Details below.

​Career Resources

Get Certified in 4 Steps
stepsLearn how to get CompTIA certified

View Certification Pathways
pathwayBuild skills with CompTIA certifications

Explore CompTIA Security+ Training
learnTrain with CompTIA for your exam

See all training options

What Skills Will You Learn?



Detect various types of compromise and have an understanding of penetration testing and vulnerability scanning concepts



Install, configure, and deploy network components while assessing and troubleshooting issues to support organizational security



Implement secure network architecture concepts and systems design



Install and configure identity and access services, as well as management controls



Implement and summarize risk management best practices and the business impact



Install and configure wireless security settings and implement public key infrastructure

Organizations that have contributed to the development of Security+


Jobs that use CompTIA Security+

Systems Administrator

Network Administrator

Security Administrator

Junior IT Auditor/ Penetration Tester

Security Specialist

Security Consultant

Security Engineer

Exam Details

Exam Codes SY0-401  SY0-501
Launch Date May 1, 2014  October ​4, 2017
Exam Description The CompTIA Security+ exam will certify the successful candidate has the knowledge and skills required to install and configure systems to secure applications, networks, and devices; perform threat analysis and respond with appropriate mitigation techniques; participate in risk mitigation activities; and operate with an awareness of applicable policies, laws, and regulations. The successful candidate will perform these tasks to support the principles of confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
Number of Questions Maximum of 90 questions
Type of Questions Multiple choice and performance-based
Length of Test 90 minutes
Passing Score 750 (on a scale of 100-900)
Recommended Experience CompTIA Network+ and two years of experience in IT administration with a security focus
Languages English, Japanese, Portuguese and Simplified Chinese.  English (Japanese, Portuguese and Simplified Chinese estimated Q2 2018)

English retirement: July 31, 2018;
Japanese, Portuguese and Simplified Chinese: December 15, 2018

Usually three years after launch 
Price $330 USD (See all pricing)
Get Practice Questions and Exam Objectives
I'm interested in receiving:

CompTIA Security+ SY0-501:
What’s in this version

The new exam has been updated to better reflect today’s best practices for risk management and risk mitigation including the following:

  • More emphasis on the practical and hands-on ability to both identify and address security threats, attacks and vulnerabilities.
  • Skills covered in Security+ have become a baseline for all cybersecurity jobs and the new version has been updated to reflect how cybersecurity jobs are becoming more specialized, like security analytics. Because of this, the importance of and demand for Security+ has increased for a broader variety of job roles.

How does CompTIA Security+ Compare?

CCNA Security EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)
Performance Based Questions

Experience Level Entry-level cybersecurity Intermediate Intermediate Entry-level cybersecurity
Exam Focus Core cybersecurity skills required by security and network administrators  Operating Cisco technology devices such as routing and switching devices Penetration Testing Fundamental cybersecurity skills 
Vendor Neutral Yes No Yes Yes

Exam Preparation


CertMaster is CompTIA’s intelligent online learning tool to help you learn for your Security+ exam. It can verify what you already know and fill in knowledge where you need it. It’s a great addition to your learning prep and will be your guide on your path to master the Security+ curriculum.

Learn more and get started today

Sign Up for a Free Trial Now

Learn and Train with CompTIA

CompTIA offers printed and digitally delivered courseware and learning support materials. They are developed by industry-leading experts and are created to give learners the knowledge they need to pass their CompTIA certification exam.

View Training

Find Study Materials

Search for study materials offered by CompTIA’s training partners.

Instructor-Led Training

Instructor-led training provides a comfortable teaching environment with instructors that are familiar with the certification process and can help you master your certification exam. Find your instructor now.

For all training options, visit our training overview.

Find a CompTIA Authorized Training Provider Partner

Ready for the Test?

When you’ve completed your training and you know you can take your certification exam with confidence, head over to the CompTIA Marketplace and purchase your exam voucher that you will need to sign up for the test.

Once you’ve purchased your voucher, you can find a testing location and schedule your test.



Keep your certification up to date with CompTIA’s Continuing Education (CE) program. It’s designed to be a continued validation of your expertise and a tool to expand your skillset. It’s also the ace up your sleeve when you’re ready to take the next step in your career.

Get the most out of your certification
Information technology is an incredibly dynamic field, creating new opportunities and challenges every day. Participating in our Continuing Education program will enable you to stay current with new and evolving technologies and remain a sought-after IT and security expert.

The CompTIA Continuing Education program
Your CompTIA Security+ certification is good for three years from the day of your exam. The CE program allows you to extend your certification in three-year intervals through activities and training that relate to the content of your certification. Like Security+ itself, CompTIA Security+ ce also carries globally-recognized ISO/ANSI accreditation status.

It’s easy to renew
You can participate in a number of activities and training programs, including higher certifications, to renew your CompTIA Security+ certification. Collect at least 50 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) in three years, upload them to your certification account, and Security+ will automatically renew.

Want more details? Learn more about the CompTIA Continuing Education program.

Good for Life Certifications Security+ can be renewed.


CEUs needed for renewal

Renew Now

CompTIA Security+ Purchase Options

CompTIA Security+ Voucher


CompTIA Security+ Deluxe Bundle


CompTIA Security+ Premier Bundle


CompTIA Security+ Exam Voucher
CompTIA Security+ Exam Voucher Retake
CompTIA CertMaster for Security+
​CompTIA Security+ eBook
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now

Earning the Security+ certification was the ace to set me apart from my peers. I wouldn't be where I am today without it.

N. Peter Caro,
Senior Information Assurance Architect, KEYW Corporation

Security+ is proof to employers you can get the job done.

Craig Pearce,
Security Assurance Manager, e-Secure - Australia & International

Next Steps

Sample Questions

Wondering what it’s like to take a CompTIA exam?

See examples of question structure

Sample Questions

Still need convincing why you should be CompTIA certified?

Learn more about the benefits of certifications