CISA Salary Guide

The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is the most popular cyber certification across the globe. Since cybersecurity and financial scandals have risen since the early 2000s, the demand for CISA-certified employees has also risen – and that popularity is only continuing to grow. In fact, employers are willing to pay six-figure salaries to hire such talent. Is the CISA the boost that your career needs?

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What is CISA Certification?

The CISA designation is granted by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) to information systems audit professionals around the world. The professional certification originated in 1978 and is held by over 100,000 professionals. Gaining the certification solidifies an employee’s knowledge and expertise in identifying critical issues and creating practices to increase the value of information systems.

Who Should Earn the CISA?

IT professionals who perform work in auditing, monitoring, controlling, and assessing business systems can benefit from the CISA. The certification is also better suited for more experienced professionals, since it requires at least five years of experience in information systems auditing, control, or security to complete the certification process.

Common CISA Job Titles & Average Salary Ranges

Position Low-End Salary Average Salary High-End Salary
Information Technology Auditor $49,000 $63,000 $97,000
Senior Information Security Auditor $69,000 $85,000 $116,000
Internal Audit Manager $70,000 $96,000 $134,000
Information Technology Manager $72,000 $105,000 $149,000
Internal Audit Director $86,000 $124,000 $192,000

Salary information provided by from McAfee’s Information Security Certification Salary Guide.

Information Technology (IT) Auditor

IT auditors help organizations protect their internal controls and data using technology systems. This role involves safeguarding sensitive information, identifying weaknesses in the network, and strategizing about how to prevent technological security breaches. The CISA is considered an essential certification for this role, as well as being analytical and having experience working with a variety of firewalls and IT applications.

Senior Information Security (IS) Auditor

IS Auditors work specifically on a company’s security system and reporting on the efficiency and effectiveness of the system. Certification is highly recommended and sometimes required for information security professionals. Plus, certification can help an IS auditor gain the management skills they need to be promoted to an information security manager.

Internal Audit Manager

Internal audit managers ensure compliance, conduct risk assessments, and create plans to monitor annual auditing reports. Strong analytical skills, high integrity, clear communication skills, and an ability to work independently are required to be an internal audit manager. The CISA can further an internal audit manager’s audit skillset by quantifying the manager’s IT skills.

Information Technology (IT) Manager

IT managers coordinate, plan, and lead computer-related activities in an organization, like implementing computer systems. Some IT managers also oversee a company’s telecommunications systems and other electronic support systems. This position generally requires a couple of years of experience working in IT operations, strong problem-solving skills, and project management expertise.

Internal Audit Director

To be an internal audit director, normally around 10 years of experience are required, as well as several years of managerial experience. Proficiency in audit and accounting is fundamental, as well as strong communication skills. The CISA can confirm an internal audit director’s knowledge of information systems and help the director to gain a full view of the scope of the company’s auditing.

Is a CISA a Good Career?

Earning the CISA credential is an investment in your future career path. CISAs salaries depend on a multitude of factors, including years of experience and the size of the employing firm. To gain the CISA, several years of work experience are already required, but adding the CISA further increases salary potential. Although the CISA is not required across all information systems jobs, it is highly recommended for most, and earning the CISA can boost chances for faster career advancement.

How to Become a CISA

To gain the CISA credential, candidates must:

  • Pass the CISA Examination
  • Submit an application showing that they comply with the work experience requirements
  • Adhere to the Code of Professional Ethics
  • Participate in the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Program
  • Comply with the Information Systems Auditing Standards

CISA Certification Experience Requirements

The work experience requirement to become a CISA is 5 years of work in professional information systems auditing, control, or security. However, ISACA has several potential substitutions for up to two of those years, if candidates have taken courses, taught courses, or received bachelor’s or master’s degrees that include relevant information. Candidates are allowed to sit for the CISA Exam prior to having the required five years of work experience – they simply cannot get certified until such a time that they complete the work experience requirement.


The CISA Exam is a 4-hour, 150 multiple-choice question examination covering five subject areas:

  • The Process of Auditing Information Systems
  • Governance and Management of IT
  • Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Implementation
  • Information Systems Operations and Business Resilience
  • Protection of Information Assets

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