7 Ways to Earn ISC2 CPE Credits – Free CPE Credits Included

ISC2 requires certification holders to earn ISC2 CPE credits every three years. There are certain requirements and categories to earn ISC2 CPE credits. We’ve explored how to earn ISC2 CPE credits in this article.


📌 Hint: Do not skip this article, you will find FREE ISC2 CPE resources throughout the article.


Before diving into the best ways to earn ISC2 CPE credits, you need to know the CPE requirements and which activities can earn you CPE hours to renew your ISC2 certification. If you have a CISSP certification, you can read the CISSP Renewal article. If you have other certifications, keep on reading this article.

ISC2 CPE Requirements

CPE is the abbreviation of Continuing Professional Education. Typically, an hour spent on an activity equals one CPE credit. You can report CPE credits in 0.25, 0.50, and 0.75 increments. For instance, if you attended a 30-minute webinar, you can earn 0.5 CPE credits.

ISC2 requires certification holders to earn CPE credits in a three-year period and pay an Annual Management Fee (AMF) of 125 USD every year. CPE requirement for each certification track differs. You can see the required CPEs for each Certification in the following table.

Certification Type Suggested Annual 3-year Total
CC
Group A 15 45
Group A or B
Total Required 15 45
CISSP
Group A 30 90
Group A or B 10 30
Total Required 40 120
CCSP, CSSLP
Group A 20 60
Group A or B 10 30
Total Required 30 90
CGRC, HCISPP, SSCP
Group A 15 45
Group A or B 5 15
Total Required 20 60
CISSP-ISSAP, ISSEP, ISSMP
Group A 20
Total Required 20 20

There are two groups of CPE categories to earn CPE credits. Group A activities are domain-related activities, and Group B activities are non-domain-related activities.

If you have a CISSP certification, you can read more in the 7 Ways to Get CISSP CPE Credits article.

Group A credits: domain-related activities

Group A credits relate directly to activities in the areas covered by the specific domains of the respective credential. These activities should be related to information security, information management, business management, etc.

You can earn Group A ISC2 CPE Credits through the following example activities:

  • Education: Taking an online course such as ISC2 CPE Courses (*Most Popular)
  • Reading a cybersecurity white paper
  • Publishing an article on cybersecurity
  • Attending ISC2 Security Congress
  • Preparing for a presentation or teaching information related to cybersecurity
  • Performing a unique work-related project that is not part of your normal work duties
  • Self-study related to research for a project or preparing for a certification examination
  • Volunteering for government, public sector, and other charitable organizations
  • Taking a higher education course

We will go through each of these ways to earn ISC2 CPE credits in detail throughout this article.

Note that, your day-to-day work activities do not count for CPE credits even if your job includes information security activities.

Watch 7 Ways to Earn ISC2 CPE Credits Video

We’ve listed the 7 ways to earn CPE credits in our following YouTube video.

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Group B credits: professional development

Group B credits are earned for completion of general professional development activities that enhance your overall professional skills, education, knowledge, or competency outside the domains associated with your respective certifications. This can include programs such as professional speaking or general management courses. While these do not apply directly to the domains, ISC2 recognizes that these skills are vital in the growth of all professionals.

You can earn Group B ISC2 CPE Credits through the following example activities:

  • Attending non-security events, such as leadership conferences
  • Participating in non-security education courses such as Business Strategy Training.
  • Preparing for non-security presentations/lectures/trainings
  • Non-security government/private sector/charitable organization committees

Now, Let’s go through each CPE Credit earning way one by one.

1st Way – The Best Way to Earn ISC2 CPE Credits – Education

As we’ve highlighted in the previous section, earning ISC2 CPE credits through the Education category is the most popular way for professionals.

ISC2 CPE Credits

While there are several benefits of earning ISC2 CPE credits through CPE courses, here are the top five reasons:

  1. No Caps: There is no maximum limit for the Education category, so, you can earn all ISC2 CPE needs in one program, and renew your certification. You do not need to go elsewhere to find additional CPEs to renew ISC2 certification.
  2. Self-Paced: You do not need to attend an event, conference, or seminar. You can follow the courses at your place, at your pace.
  3. Affordable: Depending on the program content, you can enroll in a self-paced ISC2 CPE Online Training for ~$200-300. However, seminars or conferences start from $1,000, not only that, you may not earn all CPE needs in one event.
  4. Requires less effort: When you enroll in CPE Courses, all you have to do is follow the curriculum, earn CPEs, and renew your ISC2 certification. However, other CPE credits earning ways require significant effort from the ISC2 certification holder such as creating content, sharing a presentation, authoring, etc.
  5. Less prone to ISC2® audit: Since the ISC2 CPE training programs are used by many certified professionals, ISC2 already has a track and record of the activities. However, for other categories, CPE submissions are more unique and may be more likely to hit an audit.

60 ISC2 CPE Credits Program

60 CPE Credits Course Online

San Francisco Business School offers a 60 ISC2 CPE Course program. The program offers three self-paced business training programs: Executive Leadership, Strategy Creation & Execution, and Marketing Strategy. For each course in the program, SFBS awards a certificate of graduation. While earning CPEs, you will earn reputable business merits to highlight in your resume and LinkedIn.

60 CPE Course Online Diploma and Certificate

There is a CPE rule for Education CPE credits. You can submit a maximum of 40 CPE credits per entry. While you can earn all required CPEs through the education category, you need to submit at least three different entries.

Watch How Kathy Renewed Her CISSP Certification

Kathy Buckley is a CISSP-certified Professional. Kathy enrolled in the 60 ISC2 CPE Course Program from SFBS and renewed her CISSP. Watch now her CISSP renewal journey.

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2nd Way to Earn ISC2 CPE Credits – Reading

ISC2 accepts CPE credits by reading cybersecurity white papers, books, magazines, or white papers. For instance, reading a cyber security blog, a business education blog, or a book can count CPEs toward renewing your ISC2 certification. 1 hour of reading counts as 1 CPE, however, everyone’s reading pace is different. So, earning ISC2 CPE credits through reading resources is not a crystal clear way to go.

There are further requirements for earning CPEs through reading as well. A maximum number of CPE credits applies to the following activities:

  • Books – 5 CPE credits per book with a 250-word description
  • Magazines – 5 CPE credits per magazine issue with a 250-word description
  • White papers – 1 CPE credit per paper with a 250-word description

So, there is a limit to earning CPEs through reading.

3rd Way to Get ISC2 CPEs – Events

Several cybersecurity conferences, events, and activities are organized throughout the year. Some of the events that can earn you CPE credits are as follows:

  • Attending ISC2 Security Congress
  • Industry conferences (in-person or virtual) and seminars
  • Online webinars, podcasts, and other virtual offerings
  • Professional cybersecurity chapter meetings
  • Attending non-security events, such as leadership conferences

You can attend these events and earn ISC2 CPE credits. Typically, a one-day activity earns 6 CPEs. So, if you attended a two-day event, you will earn around 12 CPE credits.

Attending global events has benefits like expanding your professional network and learning the changing trends in your domain. However, there are some pitfalls to these events.

  • Typically organized in big cities. If you are living in a relatively smaller city, you might not see any events to earn CPEs.
  • Requires in-person attendance. Many of the events take a few days, and you have to take days off from your work to attend these events.
  • Expensive. Typically, these events are charged $1,000/day. So, for a two-day event, you need to pay around $2,000. Travel and accommodation, if needed, are not included in these fees.
  • Does not earn CPE credits at once. Although it requires a significant amount of time and money, you cannot earn all the required CPE credits you need through one event.

Considering you are a full-time working professional and looking to earn ISC2 CPE credits in one step, we do not recommend this way for earning CPEs.

Free ISC2 CPE Course

San Francisco Business School offers a self-paced Free ISC2 CPE Course Online Program as well. If you attend this program, you can earn 3 Free ISC2 CPE credits and submit them in the education category.

You can read more about earning Free CISSP CPE credits.

4th Way to Earn ISC2 CPE Credits – Authoring

If you are authoring business or cybersecurity-related content, ISC2 accepts your activity as a source of CPE credits. Some of the activities you can earn ISC2 CPE credits are as follows:

  • Publishing an article on cybersecurity
  • Preparing for a presentation or teaching information related to cybersecurity
  • Preparing for non-security presentations/lectures/trainings
  • Writing, researching, and publishing books, articles, papers, and blogs
  • Preparation time for webinars, podcasts, or presentations
  • Preparing new or updating existing training seminars or classroom materials

Do you write articles or blogs? Give webinars? Make videos? Today’s digital world is full of new content and anything you create counts towards your ISC2 re-certification. Typically, you can submit CPEs for the hours you worked on content creation. For instance, if you wrote a blog post for an hour, you can claim 1 CPE credit in your ISC2 profile.

Creating content is cumbersome. There are several aspects of curating quality content. If your profession involves creating content, it is fine, you can earn ISC2 CPE credits while you are working. However, just to earn CPEs, creating content is a tough path.

CPE rules for Authoring

There are further CPE rules for authoring activities. A maximum number of CPE credits applies to the following activities:

  • Books: 40 CPE credits per book as author, 20 CPE credits per book as co-author, 10 CPE credits per book as editor
  • Articles: 20 CPE credits per article as author, 10 CPE credits per article as co-author, 5 CPE credits per article as editor
  • Chapters in books: 20 CPE credits per chapter as author, 10 CPE credits per chapter as co-author, 5 CPE credits per chapter as editor
  • Professional blogs: 10 CPE credits per blog as author, 5 CPE credits per blog as co-author, 2 CPE credits per blog as editor
  • White papers: 10 CPE credits per white paper as author, 5 CPE credits per white paper as co-author, 2 CPE credits per white paper as editor
  • Preparing existing training: one-day course equals 2 CPE credits, two-day course equals 5 CPE credits, five- to seven-day courses equals 10 CPE credits, and semesters (12 or more weeks) equal 20 CPE credits.

If you are authoring and trying to earn CPE credits, make sure you do not exceed these limits.

5th Way to Get ISC2 CPEs – Unique Work Experience

ISC2 Members and Associates can earn up to 10 Group A CPE credits for activities performed during their regular working hours when they are engaged in unique projects, assignments, activities, or exercises. The unique project, assignment, activity, or exercise must fall outside their normal (or day-to-day) job responsibilities or job description.

For instance, if you are helping a charity organization audit its website vulnerabilities, this can count as a unique work experience and you can earn ISC2 CPE credits. One hour of participation related to the credential domains equals 1 CPE credit with a maximum of 10 CPE credits per unique work experience.

6th Way to Earn ISC2 CPE Credits – Self-Study

If you are working on a research project, or if you are preparing for another certification examination, you can count your self-study hours as CPE credits. Depending on the topic you are working on, it can count as Group A or Group B CPE credit.

Cybersecurity-related research and certification examination preparations count toward Group A CPE credits. All other business-related work counts for Group B ISC2 CPE credits.

7th Way to Earn ISC2 CPEs – Volunteering

ISC2 accepts volunteering activities as ISC2 CPE credits as well. Below are two examples of volunteering activities:

  • Volunteering for government, public sector, and other charitable organizations
  • Non-security government/private sector/charitable organization committees

You can search for volunteering options on the ISC2 website as well. Note that, these activities may not be available in your location if you are living in a small city.

Auditing of CPE credits

ISC2 CPE auditors perform random audits of submitted CPE activities by ISC2 certification holders. Certification holders will need to provide proof of attendance or a brief description of the activity. This is an important process that upholds the integrity of ISC2 credentials and maintains compliance with ANSI/ISO standards for certification.

If your ISC2 CPE submissions are selected for an audit, you will receive an email with instructions about the necessary documentation to support the activities. It is important to respond to this request and provide the information exactly as instructed within 90 days.

Upon providing relevant documentation to ISC2, your application will be reviewed and CPE credits will be processed on your account.

Summary

ISC2 certification holders need to earn CPEs every three years to renew their certification. There are Group A and Group B categories for earning CPE credits. Group A activities are domain-related activities mainly around cybersecurity. Group B activities are non-domain related activities that can be about business topics and personal development.

Although there are 7 different ways to earn ISC2 CPE credits, the most popular way is attending ISC2 CPE courses. Professionals choose ISC2 CPE courses mainly because there is no cap, affordable, and easy to earn CPEs. Besides, ISC2 CPE courses are less prone to audits as those activities are already known by ISC2.

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