In today’s IT market, most of the professionals hover over one question while choosing a career path. Which is the most paid certification in today’s market? What is the next upcoming certification?

This article will answer both the questions and put light on different certification programs helpful for you to build a spectacular career. As the outcomes are based on the research statistics of the US, this would be useful for those who are planning for a career in the US or are already settled there.

Let’s discuss the top 7 most paid certifications in the IT industry:

  1. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
    Average Median Salary(In the US): $1,31,298.
    IT professionals, Project Managers and others whose job it is to identify and manage IT and business risks through appropriate Information Systems (IS) controls are eligible to go for this certification. As a product of the ISACA, the CRISC certification was introduced in 2010, and it covers the entire life cycle starting from design, it covers implementation and ends up with ongoing maintenance.
    Challenges: Over 20,000 people are certified in this category and 96% still keep it current. As there is a huge demand for the professionals and very low supply, CRISC certified professionals get paid well.
    Eligibility: To obtain this certification, one must have at least 3 years of experience in at least two areas out of four that the certification covers and they need to clear the exam.
  2. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM):
    Average Median Salary(In the US): $1,28,156.
    This is another product by ISACA. Basically, it is designed for management and concentrates on security strategy and assessing the related systems and policies.
    Challenges: As of late, there are over 32,000 certified people in the world, and the same reason as the CRISC certification applies to this too. Thus, CISM certified professionals are highly paid as well.
    Eligibility: Prospective attendees need at least 5 years of experience in Information Security. Out of the five, three years must be as a security manager. Their overall experience must not be more than 10 years before taking the exams or five years post clearance.
    However, unlike in the case of CRISC certification, there are few alternatives to the experience requirements of this certification. The maintenance of this certification depends on continuing education every year.
  3. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Level
    Average Median Salary(In the US): $1,25,091.
    The market requirements for adept and certified AWS Solutions Architects has raised this certification program to the top 15 highly paid certifications this year. This exam exhibits a candidate’s competence in designing and deploying scalable systems in the Amazon Web Services.
    According to a recent survey, professionals certified with each of the 5 AWS certifications reported an average salary of over $100,000.
    Challenges: According to Quora, there are over 10,000 certified professionals, which is a very small figure as compared to the popularity of AWS.
    Eligibility: For AWS certification, one needs to have at least 6 months of experience. The exams are conducted at Kryterion testing centers.
  4. Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP):
    Average Median Salary(In the US): $1,21,729.
    The CISSP is offered by International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2 as vendor-neutral credentials. This certification demonstrates security expertise.
    Just like the other security-related certifications, this is also high on demand. This is one of the most sought after security-related course because the candidates who are working on the required experience can still earn an associate credential.
    Challenges: There are almost 111,000 certified professionals around the globe, out of which 2/3rd are currently in the US.
    Eligibility: Prospective attendees need at least 5 years of experience in Information Security. Out of the five, three years must be as a security manager. Their overall experience must not be more than 10 years before taking the exams or five years post clearance.
    However, unlike in the case of CRISC certification, there are few alternatives to the experience requirements of this certification. The maintenance of this certification depends on continuing education every year.
  5. Project Management Professional (PMP)
    Average Median Salary(In the US): $1,19,349.
    The PMP certification stands at No. 5. It was created and managed by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is one of the most acknowledged project management certification.
    The PMP certification authenticates one’s skillfulness in running any kind of projects related to five areas of project life cycle, namely initiation, planning, execution, monitor and control, and closure of project.
    Challenges: There are around 730,000 PMPs in about 210 countries and territories around the globe.
    Eligibility: For certification, a candidate must show 35 hours of PMP-related training. In case you are a bachelor degree holder, you need 7,500 hours of project management experience and in the case of bachelor degree holders, they need 4,500 hours of the same.
    You need to apply on the PMI website, and upon the acceptance of the application, they need to appear the program via Prometric.
  6. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
    Average Median Salary(In the US): $1,15,471.
    This certification program is usually taken by those who work on auditing, monitoring, controlling, and/or assessment of IT and/or business systems. It tests the candidate’s ability to handle vulnerabilities and enact controls, processes, and updates to a company’s multiple policies to ensure that it is compliant with the approved IT and business standards.
    Challenges: This is ISACA’s oldest certification, released in 1978, with more than 126,000 people certified since its inception.
    Eligibility: It requires a minimum of five years experience in IS auditing/control/security and clearing an exam that is only offered during three 8-week windows every year, just like other ISACA exams. Handling CISA certification also signifies professional who are earning and pursuing education credits each year.
  7. Citrix Certified Professional – Virtualization (CCP-V)
    Average Median Salary(In the US): $1,05,086.
    This certification demonstrates a candidate’s ability to deploy a variety of applications and virtual desktops using different Citrix Technologies, especially XenDesktop  7. This is an upgraded version of Citrix Certified Enterprise Engineer Certification.
    Challenges: As this is considered a rarely opted certification, there is a considerable gap between supply and demand, helping professionals command a decent salary.
    Eligibility: This certification expects the prospective certified professionals to have cleared the CCA-V certification. The CCP-V certification has a validity period of 3 years and this certification doesn’t renew the validity of CCA-V.

Other Worthy Mentions
As per the results of the survey, few other certifications came forward that stood out due to their popularity. The ITIL foundation got a considerable position among the most popular highly paid certifications around the globe but there were other worthy mentions in this category.
The CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CCNA Routing and Switching by Cisco, and CompTIA Security+ were some of the top rank-holders in this category.

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