CISA career advice

Is the CISA credential right for me?

If you’re in the information systems sector of accounting, obtaining a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) credential can be a great career move; however, the credential is challenging to earn. In fact, the five-domain exam can be a mammoth to complete, and while the right study materials will help, it is important to know whether the credential is right for you before beginning your studies.

What does a CISA actually do?

As a CISA, you will be responsible for auditing, controlling and providing the security for information systems for a range of industries throughout the business and IT sectors.

Common job titles for those with a CISA certification include:

  • Internal auditor
  • Public accounting auditor
  • IS analyst
  • IT audit manager
  • IT project manager
  • IT security officer
  • Network operation security engineer
  • Cyber security professional

Salary benefits of a CISA

Becoming a CISA means you may expect to see a nice bump in your salary. Many CISAs earn six figures. 


Read more about CISA salary boosts in our CISA salary guide.

What experience do I need to become a CISA?

CISA certification requires a minimum of five years of professional work experience in information systems auditing, control or security; however, candidates may substitute up to three of the five years of work experience with one or more of the following:

  • A maximum of one year of information systems experience or one year of non-IS auditing experience may be substituted for one year of experience.
  • 60 or 120 completed university semester credit hours may be substituted for one or two years, respectively, of experience.
  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree from a university that enforces the ISACA-sponsored Model Curricula may be substituted for one year of experience.
  • A master’s degree in information security or information technology from an accredited university may be substituted for one year of experience.
  • Two years as a full-time university instructor in a related field (e.g., computer science, accounting, information systems auditing) may be substituted for one year of experience.

Though candidates may sit for the CISA exam at any time, they may not become certified until completion of the appropriate amount of experience.

How to Earn a CISA Certification

To become CISA certified, you need to pass the exam with a score of at least 450. Here’s how to get started.

  • Find a CISA review course that fits with your personal learning style — this is crucial to ensuring your study sessions are efficient. We recommend you get started with as many free trials as possible to learn exactly what works for you.
  • Register for the CISA exam — for this you’ll need to create an account with ISACA.
  • Sit for and pass the CISA exam

Ready to begin?

Surgent gives students studying for the CISA an upper hand in their preparation. Learn more about Surgent’s adaptive A.S.A.P.® Technology that measures what you know and what you have left to learn. Prepare and then measure your growth using our one-of-a-kind ReadySCORE™ Technology to know exactly when you’re ready to sit for the exam.