What IT Certifications Will Make You the Most Money?

by Emily Matzelle | Aug 06, 2018
Bring Home the Bacon with these IT Certifications

We know that IT certifications matter. But, it’s always nice to have some third-party validation. The recently released 2018 IT Skills and Salary Report by Global Knowledge serves that validation up on a silver platter with its ranking of the top 20 highest-paying certifications.

The survey finds that in North America, the average salary difference between certified and non-certified IT staff is $15,913, or 22 percent. That said, it’s no surprise that 89 percent of IT professionals worldwide hold at least one certification. Do you hold one or more of the top 20 highest-paying IT certifications?

The Top 20 Highest-Paying Certifications

  1. (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  2. ISACA Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
  3. ISACA Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT):
  4. AWS Certified Developer – Associate
  5. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  6. ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  7. Project Management Institute Project Management Professional (PMP®)
  8. Six Sigma Green Belt
  11. ISACA COBIT 5 Foundation
  12. EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  13. ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
  14. Citrix Certified Expert – Virtualization (CCE-V)
  15. VMware Certified Professional 5 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP5-DCV)
  16. Scrum Alliance Certified ScrumMaster
  17. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Server Infrastructure
  19. ITIL® v3 Foundation
  20. Citrix Certified Professional – Networking (CCP-N)

Source: 2018 IT Skills and Salary Report, Global Knowledge

Read more about what Global Knowledge has to say about CompTIA certifications.

Project Management Pays

Certified project managers in North America have a leg up on their non-certified peers with average salaries above the norm. Ranking #9 on the list, those holding CompTIA Project+ earn an average salary of $87,416 in North America and successfully demonstrate expertise in managing the project life cycle, ensuring appropriate communication, managing resources and stakeholders, and maintaining project documentation.

Cybersecurity Scores Big

In the past three years of the Global Knowledge survey, certifications in cybersecurity hold the top spots for IT salaries. Of the top 20 highest-paying IT certifications, 6 are security certifications, including CompTIA Security+, ranking 10th on the list. In North America IT pros who hold CompTIA Security+ make, on average, $84,011. Since everyone in IT needs at least some exposure to cybersecurity these days, CompTIA Security+ prepares IT pros to problem solve a wide variety of issues.

Foundational Skills Fortune

Three foundational certifications round out the top 20, including CompTIA Network+. With an average salary in North America of $73,785, CompTIA Network+ certainly gives you some bang for your buck. Ranking #18 on the list, CompTIA Network+ validates skills in IT infrastructure covering troubleshooting, configuring and managing networks.

Cloud Is Climbing

While CompTIA Cloud+ did not show up in the top 20 this year, Global Knowledge did highlight this certification as “new and emerging” of particular interest to early adopters and those who need to demonstrate cutting-edge expertise. The industry is recognizing the growing demand to validate one’s expertise in more than one cloud environment to give certification holders the ability to stay ahead of the competition and widen opportunities.

The Value of IT Certifications

Overall, decision makers reported that certified team members troubleshoot issues and complete projects more quickly and have fewer skills gaps – especially notable among U.S. respondents. Like we said, this is no surprise to us, but in an industry where validation creates value, it’s something to be excited about!

Thinking about getting CompTIA certified? Take our quiz to see which certification is right for you. 


  • Kealeboga Desiree Mattaka

    Friday, August 17, 2018

    I was wondering, where can I get my A+ certificate done. And how much does it cost.

  • Noor

    Friday, August 24, 2018

    What about web design?

  • Friday, August 24, 2018

    Hi, Noor! Web design certifications did not rank in the top 20 from Global Knowledge. But that doesn't mean it's not a good career option if it's what inspires you! Good luck!

  • Friday, August 24, 2018

    Hi, Kealeboga! Thanks for your question. CompTIA A+ consists of two exams, and the list price for each exam is $211. You can save money by purchasing a bundle, and some schools include the cost of certification in their tuition. You can find a testing center here: https://certification.comptia.org/testing/schedule-exam Good luck!

  • OldGeezer

    Monday, August 27, 2018

    Notable by their absence - Where are the Cisco CCNA, CCNP, etc. exams?

  • Monday, August 27, 2018

    Hi, OldGeezer! Thanks for your comment. The Global Knowledge survey did not list those Cisco exams in their top 20. Read more about the survey here: https://www.globalknowledge.com/us-en/content/salary-report/it-skills-and-salary-report/

  • melusi moyo

    Friday, September 28, 2018

    where is Cisco CCIE.

  • Monday, October 1, 2018

    Hi, Melusi! The Global Knowledge survey did not list CCIE in its top 20, however, the full report notes that CCIE Routing and Switching has an average salary of $70,437, which is 44 percent above the global norm.

  • Kathleen Brown

    Monday, October 1, 2018

    I think it's important to not these certifications don't do everyone a lot of good. I refreshed my A+ and Network+ then obtained the Security+ not too long ago, interest has only been tepid so far. Others have looked at my resume and experience and said I should be in good shape. Not sure what the issue is but They haven't done me much good!

  • Monday, October 1, 2018

    Hi, Kathleen! Thanks for your comment. I'm sorry to hear you don't feel like your certifications have helped. While certifications offer a lot of benefits, there are many parts of the puzzle to landing a job in IT. What they can do is prove that you have the skills employers are looking for. Global Knowledge surveyed more than 16,000 IT professionals from around the world, and this article is based on their survey findings.

  • Enrique Padron

    Sunday, April 14, 2019

    Hi. I am interested on Cloud+ but before i do th test, do i have to take first the A+ cert? I have some knowledge of computers and some programing that i have learn by reading and some internet courses, but nothing on papper.So, can i do it or do i have to do A+, network+ and all the basic courses before? Thanks

  • Monday, April 15, 2019

    Hi, Enrique! Thanks for your question. You do not have to take CompTIA A+ before CompTIA Cloud+, but it will help you learn the foundational IT knowledge needed to work in the cloud. We do recommend having 24 to 36 months of work experience in networking, storage or IT data center administration and being familiar with major hypervisor technologies for server virtualization, but you can take the exam whenever you feel ready. Good luck!

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