From a Regis Degree to Certifications

Stuart Gentry, Alumnus


After earning your degree in today’s cyber industry, it seems the only thing better than experience is certifications. Depending on what a person wants to do, those certifications can range from the ever- popular Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) to your basic Security+. One thing to be prepared for is the cost associated with taking the exams AND passing the exams the first time. After attending Regis University, an NSA Seal of Excellence program, you will have an excellent foundation for passing the exams the first time.  There are also some ways around exam cost…

When I passed Security+ and CISSP, I was fortunate to have the Government Issue Bill or GI Bill. Utilizing this valuable asset, whether you’re currently in the military or not, you can get reimbursed for the cost of the exam. The nice thing is, as long as there is benefit left over, you can fail the test and get reimbursed. Now, once you pass, you are on your own if the certification lapses and you need to test again.

Some employers will pay for the exam too, which is a nice benefit because it doesn’t come out of your pocket! The two potential catches to this:

  1. At times, if the employer pays, you must pass the first time and show proof that you passed with your score sheet.
  2. The employer can apply a one year timeline to the certification. This means, if you resign prior to the one year commitment, you may need to reimburse the company for the costs incurred and that could mean without pro-ration.

There are other programs that can help pay for certifications if you are unemployed, click here to read more. Let’s face it, when you are out of work, you can use a hand to get you back on your feet.

Now, if you want additional education outside of your Regis degree, it can cost more. Boot camps can run $3,000 and up and they are typically intense. However, today, there are cheaper and some free (yes, free) alternatives. For example, I am currently taking the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) exam prep on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm for free - it only costs me a one hour drive to Denver and $5-$10 for parking. This is sponsored by ISACA and they claim around a 90% pass rate for CISA and 100% pass rate for CISM. The Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) Colorado Springs Chapter will put on CISSP and Security+ for a small fee of $125 and $25, respectively. ISSA also boasts around a 90% pass rate for both exams.

Another free alternative is called cybrary.it. This is an online lecture version and they appear to have just started up with Advanced Penetration Testing, Python scripting, and CISA, among others. This may catch on and they would like a donation to keep things going.

The last fairly cheap alternative is being self-motivated and getting some books. Yes, the books can be pricey, but if a person wants the certification and has the passion, go for it! It is possible to do it on your own. I will admit, I did CISSP doing self-study and read the CISSP CBK and passed. Again, if it’s what you want; where there’s a will, there’s a way.

In conclusion, yes, certifications are what employers want outside of experience.  Regis University’s online Master of Science in Information Assurance degree shows you have the education to back up those certifications. Certifications can be expensive, but there are affordable ways to do them out there, you just need to ask.

Interested in learning more about Regis University’s MS in Information Assurance? Request more information online or call an admissions counselor at 877-820-0581.