The 7 Highest-Paying IT Certifications

By Features PCmag

If you're thinking of launching a career in information technology (IT) or of getting certified for something you're already doing in IT, then there are a host of certifications available that you should consider pursuing. Whether you're interested in networking, security, or systems administration, you'll be able to find an IT certification that can help launch or enhance your career.

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But let's be honest: You're after the big bucks. With that in mind, this article lists the top seven highest-paying IT certifications, what each job pays, and what the work entails. The salary data in this piece was provided by Global Knowledge, a learning services and professional development solutions provider. If you're interested in any of the jobs listed below, then head over to Global Knowledge's website to see if they can provide you with resources or courses designed to improve your likelihood of getting certified.

7. Project Management Professional (PMP)
IT professionals love the PMP certification because it allows them to apply their skills across a wide variety of industries. Most companies, regardless of focus, have a digital footprint. The ability to apply project management (PM) principles to that footprint gives you a solid foot in the door across almost any industry. You'll be responsible for ensuring that IT-focused tasks get done on time and under budget.

Let's get to what you're really interested in: the money. The average PMP certificate holder makes $112,153 per year. That's not bad work if you can get it. Here's how you can: you'll need at least a high school diploma; 7,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of PM education. The test, which costs $405, is comprised of 200 multiple choice questions.

6. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
For those of you who want to prove yourselves in the areas of IT security, IT audit, risk management, and governance, the CISA exam is a great benchmark.

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The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions. If you pass it, you must also prove five years of related professional experience and 20 hours of training. If you're able to do all of that, you'll be among a group of professionals whose average yearly salary is $112,931.

5. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
If you're a security consultant, manager, auditor, analyst, or systems engineer, the CISSP might be the right certification for you. It's a chance for you to prove that you're capable of designing and engineering a company's security protocol.

The test, which consists of 250 multiple choice and drag-and-drop questions, gives you access to a career that pays, on average, $120,933 per year. You'll need to score a 700 or better to pass the test, which you'll definitely want to do because you will pay $599 for the chance to take it.

4. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
Unlike the CISSP, the CISM certification is focused primarily on information security management. While you'll still be involved in designing and engineering security protocol, you'll be more involved in managing a company's security. This kind of position will give you access to lines of business outside of IT as you'll be required to work with other stakeholders to achieve the company's overall business goals.

If this sounds like something in which you're interested, you'll absolutely love the pay, which is, on average, $121,177 per year. Before you can reap your rewards, you'll have to pass the test, which consists of 200 multiple choice questions, and you'll have to prove you've had five years of relevant work experience. The test will cost approximately $415, but it will likely cost a lot more if you're buying the relevant exam preparation materials and taking preparation courses.

3. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

The CRISC exam covers four major risk subject areas: Identification, Assessment, Response and Mitigation, and Control Monitoring and Reporting. If you're interested in working in this field, or if you have experience in the field and wish to be certified, you should look into the CRISC certification.

The exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions. It will cost you a minimum of $420 but it will probably cost a bit more once you factor in test materials and preparation costs. If you pass the exam, you're looking at a career that will earn the average employee $121,424 per year.

2. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
The highest-paying certification from 2015 is designed for people who design and manage applications on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. The exam covers everything from designing and deploying AWS systems to AWS best practices. Eligible candidates need to have one year of AWS experience, expertise in one major programming language, among other qualifications.

The exam consists of 60 multiple choice questions, which you'll have to complete in less than 80 minutes. The tests costs $150, but the certification enters you into a career where the average person makes $123,801 per year.

1. Certification in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT)
The most lucrative IT certification covers a wide range of responsibilities, including those employees responsible for managing the framework for the governance of enterprise IT, strategic management of IT and the business, benefits realization, risk optimization, and resource optimization.

This exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions that must be answered in less than four hours. The test will cost you a minimum of $415 before test prep materials, but it could certify you for a career in which the average person makes $131,443 per year.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.