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CISA Certification: A Detailed Guide (2023)

CISA, which stands for Certified Information Systems Auditor, is the most well-known credential certification for information system audit control, assurance, and security specialists.

The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is a professional certification offered by ISACA. It has been designed for those working as auditors of the information systems of organizations.

The objective of the certification is to assist in determining whether a person is qualified to have the credential. The Institute for Information Security Professionals (ISACA) establishes qualifications and determines how much experience is needed.

This is demonstrated by the ISACA, which takes into account work tasks and requirements for working in the IT profession, or other similar fields.

Basically, if you want to become a CISA, you need good experience in Information Technology and Information Systems Audit.

The CISA is the most well-known of the six ITIL® certifications, and it was developed by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA).

It offers numerous professional certificates, including the CISA, CRISC, CISM, CGEIT, CSX-P, and CDPSE.

In this post, we’ll examine the aim and value of the CISA credential, as well as explore the requirements, costs, and benefits of this professional title.

This documentation may assist you in determining the worth of obtaining a CISA and if it is the most appropriate certification for your professional path.

ISO/IEC 17024:2012 – General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons is the accreditation standard for CISA.

According to SANS Institute, over 151,000 professionals have this credential, and that the CISA is certified by ISO/IEC 17024:2012 -General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons.

In the information systems field, it’s common knowledge that a certificate signifies the holder’s understanding and capabilities.

Why is Certified Information Systems Auditor important?

Cybercrime, cyber terrorism, and information system attacks are on the rise. Big companies and small startups to are looking for professionals who can keep their information systems secure and protected against these cyber threats.

To meet this demand, ISACA has introduced the CISA certification.

CISA Certification: Exclusive Benefits

There are several advantages to earning this credential, which is one of the reasons it is so popular. Here are some of the most significant benefits-

1)     Highest Level of Experience in Your Field

The CIA or CPA credentials are more general and broad in nature. The CISA credential, on the other hand, is more technical and specialized.

CISA certification is an important credential that demonstrates your technical competence in IT auditing, as well as your commitment to the field.

In this area, there is a dearth of high-quality training options. It’s kind of like the “cream of the crop” when it comes to credentials.

2)     CISA Gets You Involved in the Game

It will set you up for some of the finest employment opportunities. CISA is an established IT auditing certification that allows you to bypass the first barrier for some careers where otherwise you would be excluded.

“I was disqualified by recruiters as soon as I mentioned that I did not have my CISA because they were afraid that I would say something else.

Others wanted to ensure that I was ‘actively pursuing’ it before we could continue speaking.”- said an anonymous CISA Aspirant.

3)     Take the IT Audit to New Heights!

The misuse of accounting standards by an organization may be hidden in the midst of other transactional activities.

Due to this, there is a growing demand for internal controls, as more accounting services are being done through information systems.

Internal control is now receiving a greater emphasis than in the previous decade, driving demand higher. You can take advantage of the demand for nurses and get into that field while still providing excellent care.

Financial institutions in both audit and non-audit roles, including IT risk management, IT compliance, and IT controls analysts, have the greatest need for CISA qualified professionals.

4)     Better Pay

Given the high demand and specialized knowledge, it’s no surprise that IT auditing pays more than a general internal audit. This credential can help you increase your income if that is what you want.

Prerequisites for CISA Certification

In order to be eligible for the CISA, candidates must not only pass the CISA exam but also have five or more years of experience in an IS/IT audit, control, assurance, or security position.

Also, they must sign a professional code of conduct. For a period of no more than three years, experience waivers are conceivable.

The following is a list of the seven points addressed by the professional code of ethics:

Support and promote the adoption of, as well as compliance with, appropriate standards and procedures for efficient governance and management of business information systems and technology, such as audit, control, security, and risk management.

Ensure that they perform their tasks with professionalism, due diligence, and care in accordance with professional standards.

Serve in the best interests of stakeholders while adhering to high ethical standards and good character and not discrediting their work or the Association.

Unless required by legal authority, keep information obtained in the course of their business activities private and secure.

Personal information that has been acquired as a result of your participation in the ABC programs and activities or from services provided by a firm that does not need it.

Maintain expertise in their areas and agree to perform only those activities they can reasonably anticipate completing with the required skills, knowledge, and competence.

Ensure that the information ABC organizations to you are not used for personal gain. It should not be given to a person who is disclosed to all parties who have a role in reporting the results, including any mitigating circumstances known to them that if not shared might distort the reporting of those results.

Promote enhancements in the professional education of stakeholders to expand their knowledge of governance and management of business information systems and technology, including audit, control, security, and cyber-risk management.

CISA Training Program

The ISACA provides several CISA study options. Visual instructor-led training, online or on-demand review courses, print downloadable review manuals, and review questions are among the many choices.

With a 12-month ISACA membership subscription, you may use the answers and explanation database to get help with your homework.

You may also choose to attend a four-day in-person course provided by the ISACA in several cities across the United States.

Alternatively, if your organization wishes to certify a group of workers all at once, IT executives can deliver the training right to the workplace.

ISACA members can also participate in external training programs provided by third-party organizations such as Infosec Institute, Learning Tree, Cybrary, Secure Ninja, Career Academy, BSI, and others.

Taking the CISA Exam

The CISA test is scored on a scale of 200 to 800 points. To pass, you’ll need to earn a score of 450 or more. You must complete a 150-question multiple-choice exam in five major job practice areas in IS auditing, control, and security:

  • The Information System Audit (21%) is the first step in a four-step auditing process.
  • The IT Governance and Management domain is the second level in the Information Technology Foundation’s framework. It comprises of 17% of the overall mark.
  • The third domain, Domain 3: Information systems acquisition, development, and implementation (12%), is the most complicated.
  • Information systems operations, maintenance, and service management (23%) are the fourth domain’s topics.
  • The fifth domain is the protection of information assets. (27%)

The first domain, “Basics of IT Auditing and How to Deliver Audit Services That Fit With Recommended Best Practices for Information Security,” covers the fundamentals.

This domain assesses your capacity to assess how secure an organization’s IS and IT infrastructure is, as well as any possible hazards.

This exam tests your knowledge of IS audit standards, risk-based audit planning, data analytics, sampling technique, and other skills that are relevant to IT or IS auditing.

To successfully handle an increasing number of personnel, IT governance and IT management are two crucial aspects that must be addressed.

Validating your capacity to recognize critical problems and give recommendations for safeguarding data and related technologies is a major focus of this domain.

The topics include business architecture, maturity models, IT resource management, quality assurance, and IT management.

The third level of the ITIL framework, known as “Domain 3,” entails the procurement, design, testing, and implementation of technological solutions to fulfill organizational objectives.

You’ll be tested on your understanding of topics such as project governance, system development techniques, control identification, and design, testing methods, configuration management, and release management.

Knowledge of IS operations and business resilience is assessed in Domain 4, which validates your understanding of how IT interacts with the organization as a whole.

Exam questions are concerned with topics such as

  • IT asset management,
  • System interfaces,
  • Data governance,
  • Systems performance management,
  • Problem and incident handling,
  • Business impact analysis,
  • Business continuity planning,
  • Disaster recovery planning, and
  • Other relevant subjects.

The fifth level of the Cybersecurity Competency Model addresses the concepts, best practices, and traps of cybersecurity. Questions cover issues such as information asset security and control as well as event management.

You’ll also be quizzed on privacy concepts, network and end-point security, public key infrastructure (PKI), virtualized environments, security testing tools and approaches, and incident response management.

CISA Certification Cost Structure

Of course, the overall cost of studying for a CISA certification would differ based on the candidate’s expertise and experience.

An instructor-led course can help a candidate with a minimum of practical knowledge and expertise prepare for the test.

A more experienced applicant, on the other hand, may just need to brush up on utilizing the ISACA self-paced test study option.

Although there are no costs to join, it’s possible that you might incur further expenses if you pass the exam.

Members of ISACA get a discount on certification exams and renewals, but they must pay higher fees for certification tests and renewals if they want to leave the organization.

An application fee of $50 is required. ISACA members pay $575 for exam registration upon acceptance, while non-members must shell out $760.

An online review course is also offered, which includes video training sessions on-demand, interactive modules and workbooks, case study exercises, and evaluations.

Candidates who choose this option will have access to an online discussion board where they may ask questions. The subscription price for this 22-hour, 365-day course is $795.00 for members and $895.00 for nonmembers.

Other expenses related to studying for the CISA test include study materials. The official CISA Review Manual, as well as other materials hand-picked for their efficacy in helping CISA candidates prepare for exam day.

The printed or eBook versions will set you back about $110. To keep your CISA certification, you must earn at least 20 hours of professional education credits each year and 120 hours every three years.

You’ll also be required to pay an annual maintenance fee of $45 for ISACA members or $85 for non-members.

There’s also the possibility that if you’ve chosen, you’ll be required to satisfy the CPE audit once a year and that you will be expected to follow ISACA’s professional ethics and abide by ISACA’s IT auditing standards.

How hard is the CISA Certification Exam?

The CISA exam is challenging, with just 50% of test-takers passing on average and considerably lower percentages for first-timers. As a result, it is critical to prepare for the test by studying and learning.

With practice questions, facts, question and answer breakdowns, and course information, a CISA Review Manual provides all you need for self-study. At least one preparation exam is usually included.

Study guides, CISA practice questions, the CISA Review Manual, and various additional materials, including a CD Rom, are all available through ISACA.

Is CISA Certification Worth it?

So, what are your thoughts? Do you believe certification is worthwhile? In all honesty, only you can decide that for yourself. Let’s get down to business. In our expert opinion, yes, it is well worth it.

I have the opportunity to share with you what other individuals think of your progress and how it has aided them in their businesses.

However, you are the one who must decide if it is appropriate for you and your professional journey. To pass the exam and receive fully certified, you must first invest a significant amount of time and money.

It’s only natural to follow your passion and pursue a career in CISA if you know what you want.


CISA is a highly sought-after credential in the IT and cybersecurity industries. CISA holders work at all levels of Information Technology and Information Security, including as CEOs.

Among CISA’s largest employment categories are information technology audit managers, directors, and consultants (nearly 39,000 individuals). Information security directors, managers, and consultants are additional career prospects for CISA holders.

Another set of standards post COVID-19 for CISA, is required by auditors and compliance professionals. CISA designation is also necessary for audit executives.

CISA designation can help you to achieve success in the information technology or information security field and may be necessary for the desired job.

However, with only a small percentage of first-time test takers earning a passing grade, it is important that you take the time to study for the exam before you take it.

CISA Certified Professionals’ Salary in the US?

CISA is one of the most popular and well-paying IT certifications. It’s frequently one of the most sought-after and highly compensated IT credentials.

The outlook for future employment is bright, as the majority of job applicants believe that they will have a good chance of getting hired.

The average annual salary of a government accounting and auditing specialist is $70,500 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The employment rate for accountants and auditors is about 4 percent.

They demand a bachelor’s degree in information technology or computer science and begin at around $65,400 per year. Managers with these skills may make anywhere from about $150,075 to over $225,050 per year.

The market for IT project managers is expected to grow by 28 percent between 2016 and 2021.

According to the USITC, a CISA certification should result in an average salary of $110,500. This is far greater than the typical pay for accountants and auditors.

CISA Aspirants’ Future Scope: The Road Ahead

The ISACA CISA certification is highly likely to be beneficial for you if you are currently or want to become an IT auditor. It is recognized to be a reliable indicator of the skills required to succeed in the Information Systems/IT profession.

The CBPIT is a professional certification that requires time and money investment for both of those, but the return on these investments is well worth it.

There is a significant demand for experts with the expertise to manage IS/IT audit and assurance initiatives.

Employers value the CISA professional certification and give it a high priority when hiring for open positions. Obtaining this accreditation has been shown to aid in the advancement of IT and information security professionals. 

Kevin James

Kevin James

I'm Kevin James, and I'm passionate about writing on Security and cybersecurity topics. Here, I'd like to share a bit more about myself. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity from Utica College, New York, which has been the foundation of my career in cybersecurity. As a writer, I have the privilege of sharing my insights and knowledge on a wide range of cybersecurity topics. You'll find my articles here at, covering the latest trends, threats, and solutions in the field.