How to Earn CompTIA Security+ Continuing Education (CE) Units
[This post was originally published on 7/18/2014 and updated on 3/25/2019.]
Here is the breakdown of what it takes to maintain your CompTIA Security+ certification.
CompTIA requires Security+ certificate holders to submit 50 qualifying Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every three years to renew the certification.
There are a number of ways you can go about attaining these credits, but remember that at least 50% of the content must relate back to the CompTIA Security+ exam objectives in order to be considered a qualifying activity.
For a quick rundown of the accepted activities, view the video below or skip ahead to see the specifics of what it takes to maintain your Security+ certification.
Total Number of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for Activities
As mentioned in the video, most of the approved activities will have a max number of CEUs associated with it.
|CE Activity||Max CEUs per 3 Year Cycle|
|Earn a non CompTIA Certification||No Max – full credits earned may be used|
|Complete a CompTIA Certification Training Course||50 CEUs Max|
|Complete a non CompTIA Training Course||50 CEUs Max|
|Complete a College Course||40 CEUs Max|
|Teach a Course||20 CEUs Max|
|Complete an American Council on Education (ACE) Accredited Course||40 CEUs Max|
|Create Instructional Materials||20 CEUs Max|
|Attend a Live Webinar||10 CEUs Max|
|Attend a Conference||10 CEUs Max|
|Complete a CompTIA Exam Development Workshop||30 CEUs Max|
|Active IT Board/Chapter Participant||9 CEUs Max|
|Active Member of an IT Association||6 CEUs Max|
|Work Experience||9 CEUs Max|
|Publish a Relevant Industry Article, White Paper or Blog Post||16 CEUs Max|
|Publish a Relevant Industry Book||40 CEUs Max|
Earn a non-CompTIA certification
The quickest and most practical way to renew your Security+ certification would be to earn another security-related certification that meets the full CEU requirements within a three year period. Think about renewal in this way. This process, although seemingly cumbersome, you can use it as a catalyst to continue education, earn higher-level certification, and progress in your career. It is easy to become stagnant and complacent. However, a successful career in cyber security requires constant learning. Given the adaptability and growth required for your career, renewing a CompTIA Security+ certification shouldn’t be a big obstacle if you’re staying on top of your game. There are several certifications that earn 50 CEUs, thus meeting all renewal requirements for CompTIA Security+. These certifications include:
Other certifications that earn CEUs
Numerous non-CompTIA certifications can earn CEUs for Security+, but not the full 50 required for full renewal. The full list is available here. You may immediately recognize a few certifications that may make sense as you progress in your cyber security career, such as:
- (RHCE) Red Hat Certified Engineer – 40 CEUs
- (RHCSA) Red Hat Certified Systems Administrator – 38 CEUs
- (OCSP) Offensive Security Certified Professional – 40 CEUs
- (CCSP) Certified Cloud Security Professional – 37 CEUs
Cost-effective ways to renew Security+
Preparing for a certification exam can be a time-consuming and expensive process, especially if your company isn’t picking up the tab. If you need to renew your Security+ certification but can’t afford to take off for a week of training or commit the time to prepare for another exam, here is my suggestion for an inexpensive list of renewal activities.
Put your keyboard to work by Blogging
You can easily earn 1 CEU for every blog post you write and keep writing til you hit the 16 CEU max! For the sake of keeping things simple, I suggest going the blog post route over an article or white paper because blog posts are much shorter in length and you don’t need to take the time finding a place to post it, we’ll do it for you. We’ve worked with excellent cyber security professional, who published very intriguing articles, such as:
- What are Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)?
- Artifical Immune System Threat Detection and DTNs
- Incentive-Centered Design and Access Control
- Enhanced Information Security through Biomimicry
If you achieve the max CEUs for this category, you are at 16/50 for CEUs needed and at a $0 investment.
Do you like happy hour? Attend a free happy hour social and tech discussion!
Every quarter we offer a free Social that is open to the public. Come to enjoy a wide assortment of beer, wine, and various appetizers while learning in an hour long tech session. Past topics have included “Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: How to Keep Your Business Running” and “Nmap for Network Mapping.”
As long as the sessions match the Security+ exam objectives, you earn 1 CEU per hour spent in a conference session. Over a three year period you can attend 12 Socials and use 10 of those CEUs in this category.
If you attend all 12 sessions and record the max of 10 CEUs for this category, you now at 26/50; half way there and still at a $0 investment!
Sit back, relax and watch a live webinar
Make your hour lunch even more productive by watching a live webinar. ISACA offers a number of live webinars every month and they are already approved as CE bearing. If you can’t find the content you need with them, check out EC-Council, Cisco, (ISC)² and AFCEA’s websites as they are all identified as valid live webinar sites by CompTIA. You can earn up to 10 CEUs for this category.
You are still at $0 invested but closer to your goal with 36/50 CEUs!
You already do it, so start recording it – your work experience counts
All you have to do is submit, on company letterhead, your current job title, the year work experience is being submitted for, the specific tasks performed during the year which qualifies this experience as CEUs with your supervisor’s signature. You can do this each year and earn 3 CEUs per year.
3 years at 3 CEUs each, you’re now at 45/50 and $0 down.
Take advantage of free training opportunities
I know it doesn’t happen often, but when you can take advantage of a free training session. You can earn up to 50 CEUs in this category. I recommend starting at meetup.com to find the tech communities near you and if an upcoming topic is geared towards IT Security training, ask the moderator if it’s CE bearing. We will run the occasional training meetup near our Columbia, MD headquarters and it will be topics such as “Active and Passive Wireless Hacking using the Aircrack – ng Suite”. These are convenient and inexpensive ways to not only learn something new content and make new connections, but also gain the CEs you need.
The best part is you only need 5 hours of training in order to meet your 50/50 CEU requirement for Security+ and if you planned it right, you didn’t spend anything to earn these 50 CEs!
For the official list of activities and methods for renewing your CompTIA certifications refer to this CompTIA web page.