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Preparing for the CPP Exam

As with most of the other organizations that offer certification, ASIS offers plenty of materials to help you get ready for the CPP exam, including these:

If you take advantage of these materials and other well-known books and resources on security certification, you should be well on your way to passing this exam.

CPPs on the Job

OK, so let's assume you've read over the preceding materials with care and attention, and you'd like to weigh your interest in this certification in light of the cold, hard facts of employment opportunities that it might provide. To be more specific, you'd probably like to see some answers to the following questions that are no doubt percolating somewhere near the top of your list of job-related concerns:

  • What kind of work can a CPP do?
  • What are the employment prospects like for CPPs?
  • How well recognized is the CPP credential?
  • What is a CPP worth?

Because the CPP is the result of completing a successful and well-known security certification program, and because it requires 7 to 9 years of relevant, provable work experience to obtain, this credential must be regarded as senior-level security certification. In fact, because its experience requirements are far more stringent than any of the other senior-level security certifications we cover in this series of articles—namely, CISSP and SANS GIAC—some might consider it the apex of a security certification ladder of sorts. If you qualify for a CPP, in other words, it will definitely open some doors for you.

That said, here are specific answers to the questions raised above:

  • What kind of work can a CPP do?
    The CPP has a decided management focus and flavor, and incorporates manifold security topics and concerns that fall outside more IT-focused credentials. Thus, CPPs are likely to work as chief security officers, senior security officers, or security managers (or some officer/manager combination) than they are to work as security specialists. Thus, although some CPPs do indeed make good livings as consultants, many more others do so within the ranks of a specific organization rather than as professionals who handle security consulting or security services outsourcing needs.
  • What are the employment prospects like for CPPs?
    According to TruSecure, there is a 14-1 ratio of jobs available to trained security professionals. The need is even more acute for senior-level security professionals who are in even scarcer supply. Thus, employment prospects are extremely good, as are compensation prospects.
  • How well recognized is the CPP credential?
    For those companies and organizations seeking qualified, senior or management-level security professionals, the CPP is probably the best-recognized credential available today. It's hard to make a claim along the lines that "a CPP is a guarantee of employment" (remember, anyone who wants to work in security must be able to stand extremely close and detailed scrutiny and background checks—a former felon with a CPP may find guaranteed employment something of a joke), but it certainly increases one's prospects tremendously.
  • What is such a credential worth?
    According to the ASIS Web site, typical compensation for CPPs starts in the $70-80K range, and goes upward from there, sometimes stratospherically so. Again, because the experience requirement of 7-9 years is so demanding, the high value of a CPP is as much a consequence of an individual's history in the field as it is of passing the CPP exam. As an added bonus, job satisfaction among CPPs working as security professionals is also extremely high!

I hope you find this program interesting enough to investigate further, despite the high bar on experience. Good luck in your certification pursuits!

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