(** Updated in September, 2021)
EC-Council's CEH Certification has become the must-have accreditation if you want to become a certified ethical hacker. While you can jump right in and take the exam with limited experience, there are some necessary CEH prerequisites and some recommended ones. Here's a breakdown of what ethical hacking is and our recommended CEH prerequisites.
What is a Certified Ethical Hacker?
Ethical hackers are IT professionals who use their technical and social hacking skills to legally expose vulnerabilities in an organization's IT echo system. Armed with feedback from ethical hackers, organizations can fix vulnerabilities before cybercriminals can exploit them. The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) accreditation is a professional IT certification that proves a holder has the knowledge and skills to thoroughly investigate an organization's IT vulnerabilities. CEH is also a standard requirement for many cyber security-based job roles, particularly in the Washington DC region, where we have a large concentration of government agencies, military organizations, and corporate headquarters. It's a challenge to keep one step ahead of cybercriminals. Having CEH qualified staff makes it easier.
Necessary CEH Prerequisites
In theory, with no previous IT experience, you can take a 40-hour training class with an EC-Council partner and then take the CEH exam. However, CEH is not considered an entry-level certification, and you are very unlikely to pass.
The CEH exam will be very challenging for candidates who do not have a year or two of computer experience under their belt. EC-Council, which administers the CEH exam, requires candidates to complete a pre-test application or a CEH training course with an accredited partner before taking the test.
The pre-test application documents that candidates have at least two years of experience working in the information security (infosec) field and cost $100 each time you apply.
Necessary CEH Prerequisites
To be successful in ethical hacking, you'll need to develop a wide range of skills. There are technical skills such as understanding TCP/IP and writing code, and softer skills, such as understanding how people behave when using computers. When it comes to ethical hacking, convincing an employee to click on a link in an email is as valuable as using a brute force attack to break a system's password.
As an experienced training school based in Greenbelt, Maryland, we recommend that candidates for the CEH exam have at least one, preferably two years' experience working in an infosec field. At the very least, you should have CompTIA A+ and Network+, or equivalent experience under your belt.
An understanding of a variety of IT disciplines is not necessary for the exam but will increase your chances of passing. These include knowledge of programming, databases, TCP/IP, and social networking.
The Best Way to Get CEH Certified
Once you have the CEH prerequisites down, you can start determining how to prepare for the exam. There are different ways to do this depending on your existing knowledge of ethical hacking, your budget, and your timeline for getting certified.
Self-guided training using online videos and PDFs can work well if you have a lot of self-discipline or are on a tight budget and are happy to take your time getting the certification. This approach is cheaper and more flexible but lacks the structure of an organized class. In addition, since you won't be using an EC-Council-approved training program, you will have to complete the pre-test application and pay $100 before taking the exam.
If you have the budget and are looking for a more structured way to prepare for the exam, your best option is to use an instructor-led training program. These types of training typically give better results since the training is well structured. You can be sure you are learning the up-to-date information for the current CEH exam. You will have more opportunities to break through roadblocks with your tutor.
The TrainACE Difference
TrainACE offers in-person and online instructor-led CEH classes. We are an EC-Council-approved training partner, so you will not have to complete and pay for the pre-test application. We use experienced instructors who have spent time in the industry to be sure you will get quality training and support.
A significant difference between the TrainACE and other IT schools offering instructor-led CEH training is that if you fail your first exam but attended all the classes, we will offer you a chance to retake the class for free and give you a free exam retake voucher.
Learn more about our CEH training.