PenTest+ vs CEH Certifications: What's the Difference?

PenTest+ vs CEH certification

There are 20 million IT professionals worldwide, many of them with aspirations of becoming an ethical hacker.

In order to be marketable, or keep up with your company's demands, it is necessary to continue your training. This can be in the form of classes or studying for and taking tests.

The CEH Certification, or Certified Ethical Hacker Certification, is a certification that objectively tells employers you know how to hack computers, especially if you take the CEH Practical Exam. This is important for companies who are unaware of their vulnerabilities. After passing this exam, you will often get hired to find and fix security issues. Consider Alpine Security’s CEH Training to help you get CEH certified.

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CompTIA's PenTest+ is also an exam that certifies you have the necessary skills to work as an ethical hacker. This exam, however, is newer and aims to make up for what the CEH certification lacks. It was launched in the summer of 2018. Thus, many IT professionals are wondering if they, or their staff, should take this test instead. The CEHv10 Practical makes the CEH a “practical” certification now though, but the Practical is not required to become CEH certified. Like Alpine’s CEH course, Alpine Security’s PenTest+ course is taught by real-world, expert penetration testers.

Read on to find out how the tests differ and which one is right for you.

Who Can Take the Exams?

Both exams have a recommended prerequisite for test takers.

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The CEH certificate requires that you either prepare for the exam with a certified online training course or in person. If you would like to bypass this requirement, you must submit an employer letter stating that you have worked in information security for at least two years.

If you lack this experience, you can contact E-Council who supplies the test. You can submit your educational background, and they can assess your eligibility individually. Many individuals who have recently graduated with degrees in information security or technology will be eligible to take the test immediately.

The CompTIA PenTest+ does not have any required prerequisites to take the test, but they do recommend a few things.

Firstly, they recommend that you have 3-4 years of experience in information security. You do not have to take any tests before this one, but they do recommend you take the CompTIA Security+ test before the PenTest+.

You should also have knowledge of Network+ and Security+.

How Much Does PenTest+ and CEH Certification Cost?

A CEH Certification costs $950, unless you take an official EC-Council CEH course. We recommend that you enroll in a course that will help prepare you for the exam that costs extra. If you decide to self-study, you will pay a one time $100 fee in addition to the $950.

The CompTIA PenTest+ costs $346, independent of any extra training that you may require to pass the test. A preparation course is not included with the exam price.

What Does the CompTIA PenTest+ Show I Can Do?

The CompTIA PenTest+ shows future employers, or your current employer, that you have a broad range of skills. In addition to showing you can "ethically hack" (or find and exploit IT vulnerabilities), it also shows you know how to assess weaknesses and manage them.

A CEH certification can prepare you for penetration testing, but not a job in vulnerability assessment and management.

CompTIA PenTest+ prepares you for more job roles than the CEH certification alone. However, you may want only to become certified for specific positions.

According to CompTIA, those who have taken their PenTest+ are eligible for the following roles: security consultant, auditor, security analyst (II), vulnerability assessment analyst, application security vulnerability analyst, vulnerability tester, network security operations, penetration tester and security consultant.

The PenTest+ shows off a wider range of skill than the CEH certification, but that doesn't make it the best choice for everyone. Although the CEH certification offers fewer job role potentials, this may be fine for individuals who only want to work in that field.

What Am I Qualified to Do After Taking the CEH Certification Exam?

After taking the CEH certification exam, you will be eligible to work in several roles, most of which involve penetration testing.

Once you pass the exam, you can work as an ethical hacker, site administrator, auditor, security consultant, network security specialist and a penetration tester.

What Do the Tests Consist Of?

The CEH certification consists of 150 multiple choice questions. Test takers have four hours to complete the exam. You must take the test at an accredited testing location or online after you've taken a certified online course. In order to pass, you must score at least 70%.

The CompTIA PenTest+ consists of both hands-on simulations and a multiple choice portion.

Test takers will answer 85 multiple choice questions during the testing process.

They will also participate in performance-based simulations. These simulations will be similar to what they may experience working with a company to identify vulnerabilities in software.

The complete PenTest+ certification takes a little bit less than three hours. Candidates are scored on a scale between 100 and 900. They must score 750 to pass the exam.

One of the significant differences is that the CEH certification can be studied for and passed without much hands-on experience. While you do need hands-on experience to qualify as a self-study student, no experience is required for simply enrolling in any of the courses.

The CompTIA PenTest+ ensures that the test-taker actually has the applied ability to perform the job. The CEH certification lets the future employer know that you can take a test and pass a multiple choice exam on the topic.

Which One is Right For Me?

Whether you take the CEH certification exam or the CompTIA PenTest+ exam depends on your goals. You should speak to those employed in the field you are interested in to find out which one carries more weight in your desired field.

Keep in mind that the CompTIA PenTest+ is also relatively new, which might impact some employers currently preferring the CEH certification exam.

Instead, focus on which exam might help you in the long-term.

Either way, you will gain valuable resources and tools for your career in cybersecurity.

For more information on all things IT certification, visit our blog.