ceh vs pentest+

CEH vs PenTest+: Which Certification Is Right For You In 2024?

There are two popular certifications in the penetration testing industry: CEH vs PenTest+. If you are unsure about which one is the best, look no further than this post!

Updated at April 17, 2024

When searching for certifications in the field of penetration testing, you’ll notice that CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) and PenTest+ from EC-Council and CompTIA, respectively, are relatively comparable in terms of curriculum as they both assess pen-testing skills.

Furthermore, they are both challenging and designed for mid-level professionals with backgrounds in specific cybersecurity areas.

If you’re considering a career in management, vulnerability assessment, or penetration testing, you might be uncertain about the value of obtaining one or both of these certificates.

In today’s post, we will delve into a detailed comparison between CEH and PenTest+.

ceh vs pentest+

What Is CEH Certification?

Ethical hacking, also known as the act of accessing someone’s computer or systems, is performed by individuals who are authorized to identify vulnerabilities and implement protective, remedial, and preventive measures before the systems are compromised.

CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) is one of the most highly sought-after certifications offered by the EC Council. It was designed to demonstrate the holder’s expertise in the techniques and tools used by malicious hackers to discover vulnerabilities in computer systems.

Every security team should ensure they have cybersecurity professionals who are well-versed in the methods and tools employed by malicious hackers.

What Is Pentest+ Certification?

The CompTIA PenTest+ certification is intended for cybersecurity professionals with intermediate levels of expertise who perform penetration testing to identify, uncover, disclose, and address security issues.

To assess the level of a network’s defense against attacks, PenTest+ conducts evaluations based on the latest requirements in penetration testing, vulnerability analysis, and systems management.

Successful candidates will be capable of establishing accountability frameworks, collaborating on projects and reporting findings, and articulating recommended strategies to enhance awareness of IT security advancements.

CEH vs Pentest+: Key Differences

The Exam Details

When comparing certifications, consider what the exam covers and how it will assess your abilities.

Number of questionsMaximum of 85Total of 125
Test duration165 minutes240 minutes
Test formatMultiple choice and performance-basedMultiple-choice
Passing score750 (On a scale of 100-900)60% to 80% (depending on which exam question bank is used)

Exam Cost

Most likely, you will choose the certification that provides the greatest value for your money.

When comparing the pricing of the two exams, especially considering their close similarity, you may start to wonder why the PenTest+ is priced at only $404 while the CEH carries a significant cost of $1,199.

The high cost of the CEH exam could pose a significant barrier for those who are just beginning their careers. However, it is important to consider that whichever certification you choose, it will be worthwhile in the long run. Many penetration testers have opted for the CEH certification despite its high cost, viewing it as a worthy investment.

Certificate Requirements

Before you can take the exam or are advised to do so, many certifications require that you have completed a certain level of education or job experience. This is typically the absolute minimum requirement you should have in order to even consider taking some of these certification exams.

According to the CEH, you should have at least two years of professional experience in the field of information security. Additionally, they recommend completing the CND (Certified Network Defender) exam before attempting the CEH exam, as outlined in their exam roadmap.

Furthermore, you are required to pay a $100 non-refundable application fee. Once you have provided the requested information, the application will be processed within 5-10 business days.

The certification program also provides guidelines on exam preparation. It is prohibited to use any “brain dumps” as they violate the terms of the non-disclosure agreement that you are required to sign.

Any certification you have obtained from ECC will be revoked if you are found to be using a brain dump. Additionally, you will be permanently banned from taking any future ECC exams.

On the other hand, PenTest+ recommends that you have a minimum of 3 to 4 years of professional experience. They also suggest having obtained the Network+, Security+, or equivalent education.

It is important to note that the PenTest+ should not be underestimated as it requires more experience and is considered to be more challenging.

The Level of Difficulty

Any forum that compares the PenTest+ to the CEH will emphasize that the PenTest+ is a significantly more challenging exam.

Even individuals with extensive experience in penetration testing have reported finding the PenTest+ to be difficult.

Although the PenTest+ and CEH have exams with similar themes, it seems that CompTIA includes questions that focus more on theoretical knowledge rather than practical skills used in the field.

In contrast, the Certified Ethical Hacker exam questions are more straightforward and appear to be more directly applicable to the actual work. Considering this, the CEH is recommended for this aspect.

Career Opportunities

When considering certifications, it is important to think about the positions you may qualify for with each of them. Both certifications are recognized as a DoD 8570 baseline certifications. By obtaining them, you become eligible for four specific cybersecurity service provider jobs, as well as other government-related roles.

ceh vs pentest+

Certificate Maintenance

Ultimately, you will need to go through the recertification process for almost all of your certifications. The recertification procedures can be challenging for some certifications. The recertification processes for the PenTest+ and the CEH are similar.

Both the PenTest+ and the CEH certifications remain valid for three years from the date of the exam. For PenTest+ recertification, you will need to accumulate 60 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) and upload them to your certification account. These CEUs can be earned by completing CompTIA-approved training courses and activities.

The recertification process for the CEH takes a bit longer as it requires earning 120 credits in ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering).

Additionally, in accordance with the ECE policy, you are required to pay a one-time yearly membership fee, regardless of the number of certificates you hold. If you possess additional qualifications that are not covered by the ECE policy, you will only need to pay $20 out of the $80 fee.

Why Choose Pentest+?

According to CompTIA, a PenTest+ certification increases a professional’s value by three times. In addition to penetration testing, CompTIA PenTest+ also covers vulnerability management and vulnerability assessment, as stated in the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework.

Unlike certain other penetration testing certifications, PenTest+ provides a more comprehensive examination of the skills required by a penetration tester, encompassing project planning, scoping, reporting, and communication.

CompTIA PenTest+ emphasizes an offensive and investigative approach to assess the resilience of modern networks against cyberattacks, identify vulnerabilities, and mitigate risks before they occur.

The certification validates both technical and soft skills related to business processes, industry standards, and professionalism in the field of penetration testing.

Why Choose CEH?

According to EC-Council, the CEH program focuses on ethical hacking, which encompasses a range of tasks, including penetration testing.

The CEH certification enables ethical hackers to implement an aggressive proactive security strategy. Additionally, there is the reactive security strategy, which is more protective in nature.

Ethical hackers perform penetration testing on their systems using advanced tools and techniques while adopting a proactive security defense. They simulate the behavior of actual hackers, albeit with ethical intentions, in order to identify flaws and vulnerabilities in targeted systems.

By doing so, they assist their clients in safeguarding their networks and data against constantly evolving threats.

IT professionals with the right mindset can leverage this certification to pursue an exciting, engaging, and financially rewarding career path.

CEH vs Pentest+: Which Is Better?

The decision on which certification to pursue ultimately lies with you and your employer.

However, it is important to carefully consider the similarities and differences between the CEH and PenTest+ certifications.

If you lean towards having a broad understanding of ethical hacking and are at an entry-level stage, the CEH program may be the best choice for you.

On the other hand, if you have more experience in the field of information security and focus specifically on penetration testing in IT environments, including management aspects, the PenTest+ certification is ideal in that scenario.


The above post provides the primary difference between CEH and PenTest+ certifications, as well as offers recommendations on which one may be more suitable.

It is crucial to assess your current position and your desired goals before deciding which certification you wish to pursue.

On this website, we provide thousands of free CEH practice tests  to assist you in thoroughly preparing for the exam!