Since its inception, the Certified Ethical Hacker certification has been at the core of information security. This certification tests your knowledge of penetration testing, system hacking, scanning networks, vulnerability assessment, enumeration, and similar, to secure information systems against modern malware threats.
As one of the most highly sought-after certifications in the cyber security industry, CEH can be obtained by passing an exam that evaluates the required skills and knowledge.
This credential is especially useful for job roles such as incident responders, intrusion analysts, security analyst roles, vulnerability assessors, social engineering specialists, and more.
CEH candidates are expected to have at least two years of experience in network security and similar information technology security fields. However, no specific course or certification is mandatory to take the exam.
This blog post explores your options for obtaining the CEH certification, including what to look for when considering different training providers.
Where can I get my CEH certification?
This ethical hacking certification is obtained once the candidate passes the CEH exam. You can only do this through the EC-Council, also known as the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants, the organization that developed the CEH certification in the first place.
There are many other organizations and instructors that provide training for the CEH exam, but only the EC-Council provides the actual certification.
Exam application process
The application process for CEH is a bit confusing since there are quite a few application fees, eligibility processes, and training costs to consider.
Here is a rough breakdown of how it works:
- Official training
If you apply (and pay for) the official ECC training, you are automatically eligible to take the CEH exam after completing that training (through the ECC online platform, an accredited training center, or an approved academic institution).
After completing the Certified Ethical Hacker training, all you need to do is to purchase an exam voucher of your choice. The voucher must be purchased from the EC-Council store website, and you cannot take the exam without it.
- Self-training/not-official training
Suppose you choose a training method other than official ECC training. In that case, you will first need to submit an exam eligibility application form so the Council can verify that you meet all the exam requirements, such as your work experience, employment history, etc. This eligibility application comes with a non-refundable fee of $100.
After your eligibility is confirmed, you can purchase any voucher from the ECC store.
CEH exam voucher types
There are two Certified Ethical Hacker exam voucher types you can choose from:
- VUE exam voucher
If you wish to take the CEH exam at a testing center, you must purchase a VUE exam voucher. A testing center provides an environment where you can take your exam in a quiet, distraction-free environment with the exam proctor physically present.
However, you may not have a Pearson VUE testing center nearby. In this case, you may want to purchase the ECC exam voucher.
- ECC exam center voucher
If you wish to take the CEH exam online, an ECC exam center voucher is what you need. The ECC exam center provides a virtual environment for you to take the exam on a computer and is remotely proctored.
In this case, you don’t need to worry about finding a local testing center to take your exam in person.
Before you purchase a voucher
Before spending money on a CEH exam voucher, it would be best to contact an ECC sales representative. They will be able to tell you what types of vouchers are available for purchase, how much they cost, and whether or not you may be eligible for discounts.
The sales representative will also inform you if there are any additional fees you must pay when purchasing a voucher or before taking the exam in general.
How much does the CEH exam cost?
If you haven’t gone through an official CEH course, you will have to pay a non-refundable eligibility application fee of $100.
A CEH VUE exam voucher costs $1,199.
A CEH ECC exam voucher costs $950.
If you opt to take any type of training, whether official or not, you will have to pay additionally for that as well. Training prices vary depending on who your training provider is and what type of training they provide. Training providers range from individuals offering “boot camps” to accredited academic institutions.
*Note: all prices and fees listed in this blog post are as of the time of publication and subject to change.
Is CEH worth it?
Given that attempting the CEH exam is not a cheap venture, the question of whether or not it’s worth it is a valid one.
Becoming CEH certified does not guarantee you a career in cyber security or pen testing, but it does make you part of an exclusive club that has met this standard.
If you’re interested in pursuing your passion professionally and having access to useful tools, as well as enjoying a whole host of benefits for your cybersecurity career, it is well worth the investment to get CEH certification.
Employers worldwide are looking for dedicated, hard-working individuals who have the knowledge to protect their companies from cyber security threats. What better way for a potential job candidate to prove that they meet these criteria other than obtaining a CEH certification?
How to choose the right training provider
Once you decide that you want to undergo training to get CEH certification, you need to choose a training provider. Given how much time and money it takes to go through the process of obtaining the CEH certification, you need to be certain you pick the right training provider for you.
There are many training providers to choose from, but which one is the best fit for you?
If you need a place to start, here are some tips that will help you find the right training provider:
1) Research, research, research!
Take the time to do your due diligence. Locate CEH training providers online and check out their websites. Look through their course descriptions and syllabi. Get a feel for what’s being taught before deciding which one is right for you. If possible, visit their location or contact them directly to see if they offer any additional services, such as career services or discounts.
2) Get information about the course curriculum.
There are all sorts of CEH certification training courses out there to choose from. Training providers tend to focus their courses on either ethical hackers/penetration tester topics or cyber security awareness topics. Some combine the two, and some don’t focus as heavily on one as they do the other. Make sure you know exactly what the training provider will cover in their course before you choose them.
3) Carefully weigh your options.
Once you have a list of potential CEH certification training providers, sit down and compare them to each other against the following criteria:
- Curriculum – If you’re looking to focus on ethical hacking and penetration testing instead of cyber security awareness, make sure the training provider’s curriculum matches your interests.
- Price – Every training provider will offer different prices for their courses. Look for a good deal, whether it’s a discount or a special promotion, but make sure you’re not compromising on the quality of the course.
- Career opportunities and services – Career opportunities and additional services such as job placement and resume reviews are an added bonus if your training provider offers them.
- Location – Is the training center’s location convenient for you, or will you have to travel far? You don’t want this factor to hinder your ability to attend classes.
- Course reviews – Take some time to check out course reviews from other students who have gone through the training to get a feel for whether or not it’s a solid choice.
After you go through all of these steps, you should be able to make an educated decision as to which CEH certification training provider is right for you. Do your homework, and the investment will pay off in the long run.
Finally, here is a shortlist of the things you should avoid when deciding on the right provider:
- Providers that claim you are certified by completing their course, passing an exam designed by them, or in any other arbitrary way. Remember, the only way to obtain the CEH cert is to pass an exam administered by the EC-Council.
- Instructors who claim they will pass the exam on your behalf or tell you how to get a free copy of the exam. The rules of obtaining the CEH certification are very strict, and it is best to follow them as closely as possible. You don’t want your reputation or job prospects compromised.
- Providers that guarantee you will pass the exam. This is a definite red flag. While it is true that a great training course will increase your chances of passing the exam, there is no way for a provider to guarantee you’ll pass if you don’t put in the necessary work.
The path to obtaining the CEH certification can be long and arduous. There are many things to look for in a training provider that will make your experience better. You’ll want to make sure the training center you choose has an effective curriculum, potentially offers career services, is located conveniently (or offers remote training), and has good reviews. Ensure you do your homework before deciding so you don’t end up with an ineffective course.
Avoid training providers claiming to guarantee your certification, making exaggerated claims about their curriculum, and instructors promising to take the exam for you. You can use this list of three things to not look for in a good training provider as you’re weighing your options.
Finally, if you have any questions about getting the CEH credential, don’t hesitate to contact us at The I4 Group. We would be happy to answer your questions and help you get the CEH training you need.