PenTest+ vs CEH

PenTest+ vs CEH: Which Certification Should I Take In 2024?

PenTest+ and CEH are two popular certifications in the field of penetration testing. Continue reading this post to discover the most suitable certification for you!

Updated at April 17, 2024

When considering certifications in the field of cybersecurity, you may come across some that appear quite similar to certifications offered by other companies. For example, the CompTIA PenTest+ and the CEH certifications have comparable content. For individuals interested in pursuing an IT-related job, it is important to determine which exam would be the most beneficial.

PenTest+ vs CEH: Which Certification Is Suitable for you? The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification is undoubtedly a superior investment, whether you are already working in the field and have extensive experience with penetration testing or are new to the industry.

Now, let’s delve deeper into the advantages and disadvantages of each exam and explore why opting for the Certified Ethical Hacker exam could make more sense compared to taking the PenTest+.

General Information About PenTest+ vs CEH

PenTest+ vs CEH

CompTIA PenTest+ Certification

The CompTIA PenTest+ certification is designed for cybersecurity professionals with intermediate-level experience who perform penetration testing to identify, expose, disclose, and remediate security vulnerabilities.

PenTest+ assesses the latest penetration testing techniques, vulnerability analysis, and system management requirements to evaluate the network’s resilience against attacks. Successful candidates will possess the ability to design accountability frameworks, collaborate on and report findings, and articulate recommended approaches to enhance understanding of IT security advancements.

To be well-prepared for the CompTIA PenTest+ exam, it is important to familiarize yourself with several key features, including:

  • The CompTIA PenTest+ exam is the most comprehensive, covering all aspects of penetration testing from start to finish. Unlike previous penetration testing exams that only focus on certain stages through essay writing and interaction, PenTest+ utilizes questions that assess both knowledge and performance, ensuring that all procedures are addressed.
  • PenTest+ is the only exam available that thoroughly examines all facets of vulnerability management. In addition to hands-on vulnerability assessment, scanning, and analysis, it also encompasses planning, scoping, and managing vulnerabilities, rather than solely exploiting them. This sets it apart from traditional penetration testing, which solely focuses on vulnerability exploitation.
  • PenTest+ is the most up-to-date exam for penetration testing, offering the latest tactics for safeguarding against increasingly complex attack surfaces. It is a unique examination that requires candidates to demonstrate their proficiency in penetration testing for various environments, including cloud settings, hybrid environments, online applications, the Internet of Things (IoT), and traditional on-premises systems.

Candidates pursuing the CompTIA PenTest+ certification must demonstrate their essential knowledge and skills to:

  • Develop a plan and define the scope parameters for the penetration testing project.

  • Understand and adhere to legal and regulatory responsibilities.

  • Conduct vulnerability scanning and penetration testing using appropriate tools and methodologies, followed by thorough analysis of the results.

  • Create a comprehensive written report that outlines recommended corrective measures, effectively communicate findings to management, and provide realistic solutions.

CEH Certification

CEH, which stands for Certified Ethical Hacker, is one of the most highly sought-after certifications offered by the EC-Council. It was designed to certify that the holder is familiar with the techniques and tools employed by malicious hackers to identify vulnerabilities in computer systems. The primary objective of this certification is to validate this knowledge.

It is crucial for every security team to employ cybersecurity professionals who are capable of utilizing the tools and strategies employed by malicious hackers. To establish an effective defense, one must possess a comprehensive understanding of the various offensive strategies that may be employed against their respective systems.

Having a CEH certification indicates that an individual has acquired the necessary skills to work in various professions, including:

  • Security Specialist
  • Computer Forensics Specialist
  • Security Professor
  • Penetration Tester
  • Security Specialist
  • Security Code Specialist
  • Malware Analyst
  • Security Consultant

It is encouraging to witness the recognition of ethical hacking as a legitimate career path, partly due to the widespread acceptance of the CEH certification in the IT industry. This acknowledgment has bestowed respectability upon a previously marginalized set of computing and network skills.

CEH vs PenTest+: What Are the Similarities?

As previously mentioned, the content of both PenTest+ and CEH is equivalent. Both certifications remain valid for a period of three years from the exam date. However, PenTest+ requires 60 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) for certification maintenance, while CEH requires 120 credits.

The curriculum for both penetration testing and ethical hacking exams was developed by subject matter experts (SMEs) who are experienced professionals in their respective fields. The evaluation of PenTest+ also incorporated the results of a comprehensive survey sent to industry participants.

Both credentials are included in DoD Directive 8570, making them valuable assets for individuals working in the government’s information assurance workforce who wish to enhance their knowledge in the field of pen testing or ethical hacking. The Specialty Areas of NICE are associated with each certification, and both certificates are recognized by ANSI/IEC/ISO 17024.

Moreover, PenTest+ and CEH certifications are easily accessible, not tied to any specific vendor, globally recognized, and available in multiple countries.

CEH vs PenTest+: What Are the Differences?

PenTest+ vs CEH


When deciding between two certificates that are identical, it is crucial to consider the price of each one. Naturally, you would lean towards the option that offers the best return on investment.

Comparing the prices of the two exams might leave you perplexed. The CEH certification costs $1,199, while the PenTest+ certification is priced at just $404. This price difference is especially notable given the similarity between the two exams.

If you are just starting out, the high cost of the CEH exam may discourage you from pursuing it. However, it is important to remember that whichever certification you choose, it will be beneficial in the long run. Despite its expense, many penetration testers have opted to obtain the CEH certification and have found it to be a worthwhile investment. These experts agree that it offers significant value for the money.

Difficulty Level

If you visit any discussion site comparing the CEH to the PenTest+, you will often come across people stating that the PenTest+ is a significantly more challenging exam. Even individuals with extensive experience in penetration testing find the PenTest+ exam to be one of the most difficult ones.

It appears that CompTIA designs parts of their exams based on what they believe you should know rather than solely focusing on practical application in the field. This approach can make the exams more challenging, particularly for those who are already working in the field. Although the subject matter of PenTest+ and CEH is similar, CompTIA’s exams seem to prioritize theoretical knowledge over practical skills.

On the other hand, the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification exam has a simpler structure and is perceived to have more direct relevance to the profession compared to the PenTest+. Consequently, the CEH exam is often recommended for this aspect of the field.

Exam Preparation

Before being eligible to take the exam for many certifications, it is expected that you have completed a specific amount of training and/or gained a certain level of work experience. In most cases, meeting this experience requirement is the minimum prerequisite to consider pursuing any of these credentials.

For the CEH certification, it is recommended that candidates have a minimum of two years of experience working in the information security industry before attempting the exam. According to the CEH exam roadmap, they suggest that candidates first obtain the CND certification, which stands for Certified Network Defender, before pursuing the CEH certification.

Additionally, there is a non-refundable application fee of one hundred dollars. Upon receiving the required information from you, the application will be processed within five to ten business days. Furthermore, there is a specific rule regarding exam readiness.

It is strictly prohibited to use any “brain dumps” in preparation for the exam, as doing so would violate the non-disclosure agreement that you are required to sign. If it is discovered that you have utilized a brain dump while preparing for an ECC test, you will be disqualified from taking any further ECC exams, and any certifications you currently hold will be revoked.

On the other hand, for the PenTest+ certification, it is recommended that candidates have between three and four years of professional experience. Additionally, they suggest having training in either Network+ or Security+ or an equivalent qualification. If you haven’t already obtained your Security+ certification, it is recommended that you prioritize obtaining it as the first step.

It is crucial to remember that the PenTest+ should not be underestimated, as it requires a higher level of knowledge and is generally regarded as more challenging.

Exam Format

When making decisions regarding credentials, it is important to consider both the content of the test and the evaluation criteria it employs. The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification focuses exclusively on penetration testing, while the PenTest+ exam encompasses both vulnerability assessment and penetration testing. 

Another factor to consider is the duration and format of the exams. The CEH exam can last up to four hours and consist of up to 125 questions, while the PenTest+ exam can last up to two hours and 45 minutes with up to 85 questions. Additionally, besides multiple-choice questions, the PenTest+ exam may include other performance-based components.

For most test-takers, the CEH exam, which consists solely of multiple-choice questions, is generally considered the easier of the two examinations to complete.


In the future, it will be necessary to recertify for the majority of the certifications you obtain. Some certifications may have stringent recertification requirements. Both the CEH and PenTest+ certifications have similar recertification processes. Both certifications remain valid for three years from the date of the test.

To maintain your PenTest+ certification, it is relatively straightforward, as you only need to upload 60 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) to your certification account within a three-year period. These CEUs can be acquired through participation in CompTIA-recognized activities and training programs.

The process of recertifying for the CEH, although not as simple as it used to be due to the increased time commitment, is still manageable. Recertification requires a total of 120 credits in ECE (electrical and computer engineering).

Additionally, as part of the ECE policy, you are required to pay a single annual membership fee, regardless of the number of certifications you already hold. The fee is $80, but if you have other credentials not covered by the ECE policy, the cost is only $20. If you have additional credentials that are not protected by the ECE policy, the charge remains at $80.

Which Exam Is More Respected?

It is essential that an examination be given respect in the context of job interviews. The more well-known and well respected an examination is, the greater significance it has in the industry. PenTest+ is a relatively new test that is not well known since it has only been in operation for a short period and is thus considered to be new.

Since the Certified Ethical Hacker has been around for more than fifteen years, it has had enough time to build a good name for itself in the information security community.

Is CompTIA PenTest+ Worth It?

So, is the CompTIA PenTest+ worth it? Absolutely! The PenTest+ certification is an excellent choice for individuals who are new to the field of penetration testing. It is also comparatively easier to obtain when compared to other penetration testing credentials, like the OSCP.

The CompTIA PenTest+ is a comprehensive test.

The CompTIA PenTest+ certification, in contrast to a good number of other penetration testing certificates, covers everything a penetration tester needs to know, from initial project planning to concluding reports. The questions in the exam are both multiple-choice and performance-based, and their purpose is to evaluate the candidate’s practical knowledge of cybersecurity.

Luiz Vieira, a freelance consultant and veteran, is a member of the CompTIA Subject Matter Expert (SME) organization. SMEs are industry experts who contribute to the creation of test topics and questions. CompTIA PenTest+ is his preferred certification out of his total of six in the cybersecurity field.

“It’s incredible,” Vieira said, “since there are so few certificates that cover the whole process.” CompTIA PenTest+ certifies intermediate skills and best practices for customizing assessment frameworks, allowing certification holders to successfully cooperate and disclose vulnerability discoveries, as well as convey suggested IT security methods.

Cybersecurity workers now have access to a unique mix of technical and administrative skills, thanks to a recently introduced IT certification. Not only does it describe how to detect vulnerabilities, but it also discusses how to manage them and report on their results.

IT workers can demonstrate their ability to understand and manage the process of penetration testing by earning the CompTIA PenTest+ certification. This certification covers both vulnerability assessment and management.

CompTIA examinations are developed by working individuals who are familiar with the industry.

The CompTIA examinations are designed by information security professionals from all around the globe. These experts bring a plethora of real-world experience to the table, which positions them as valuable contributors to the test’s content. CompTIA SMEs originate from a variety of fields and frequently incorporate certification concepts.

Vieira’s response, which illustrates the variety of professional experiences represented within the group, said, “We acknowledge the many differences in the themes we are discussing in this test.”

CompTIA collaborates with members of the IT industry as well as organizations in the field to provide exam questions that are both thorough and useful. A good number of the experts had previously participated in testing that was analogous to that required for IT certification, and as a result, they could offer useful insights into what IT professionals seek.

The CompTIA PenTest+ evaluates critical cybersecurity tactics.

Professionals in the field of cybersecurity need to be familiar with both defensive strategies and offensive strategies. CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) evaluates a company’s ability to implement defensive measures, while CompTIA PenTest+ encourages IT workers to consider offensive measures.

The most knowledgeable security experts combine the two points of view when devising strategies to combat vulnerabilities. Thinking like a penetration tester or a hacker may help companies discover blind spots in their security.

More penetration testers are required.

The SMEs are in agreement that there are not enough qualified people available to fulfill the ever-increasing demand for projects. According to Saulo Hachem, a security specialist at Morphus Segurança da Informação, “Every day, more firms are requesting [pen testers],” and this trend is expected to continue. Every day, there are brand new penetration testing jobs to do.

There are around 19,000 open positions for penetration and vulnerability testers listed on in the United States. CompTIA PenTest+ may help IT professionals advance their careers and acquire the skills that are in demand by organizations.

CompTIA PenTest+ helps build more capable teams.

There are many businesses that are concerned about cybersecurity, but there aren’t enough teams with the necessary experience to defend IT systems. According to the findings of the study titled “Assessing the IT Skills Gap” conducted by CompTIA, 96 percent of IT and business executives believe that too many workers lack advanced skills such as problem-solving, analysis, and logical thinking.

According to Vieira, one of the challenges is overcoming the obstacles associated with attracting qualified new hires. He said, “This kind of specialist is critically required all around the world.”

Increasing our level of knowledge will help us get closer to achieving our goal. Resilient networks have become essential for conducting business, which is why penetration testers are in high demand.

CompTIA PenTest+ educates information security professionals on how to identify vulnerabilities and think like attackers. These cybersecurity specialists consider the CompTIA PenTest+ certification to be a good method for narrowing the skills gap by providing penetration testers with the necessary abilities.

Is CEH Worth It?

PenTest+ vs CEH

According to the Electronic Crimes Coordinating Council (EC-Council), “To battle a hacker, you need to think like one!” The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) exam and certification are designed to train professionals to utilize the same skills and resources as malicious hackers in a manner that is compliant with applicable laws and standards.

According to EC-Council, the primary focus of the CEH program is on ethical hacking. Ethical hacking is a broad term that encompasses various activities, such as penetration testing, and is defined as a wide-ranging concept.

Ethical hackers, with the CEH certification, have the ability to adopt a more aggressive approach to security. This goes beyond a defensive and reactive security posture. As part of proactive security defense, ethical hackers conduct penetration testing on their own systems using advanced tools and methodologies.

They perform the tasks of real hackers, albeit ethical ones, searching for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the systems they target to assist their clients in preserving the security of their networks and data amidst constantly evolving threats.

Individuals in the information technology industry with the appropriate mindset may discover that the certification opens up an intriguing, engaging, and financially rewarding career path. As of April 8, 2024, the average yearly salary for a CEH in the United States stands at $87,877.

PenTest+ vs CEH: Which Certification is Suitable for You?

The CompTIA PenTest+ certification is intended for highly skilled security professionals who evaluate target systems for vulnerabilities and execute penetration testing. This examination also covers managerial skills like planning, scope management, and exploiting vulnerabilities in existing systems.

PenTest+ certified professionals are able to do penetration testing in a range of information technology environments, such as mobile, cloud, desktops, and servers, amongst others. They identify potential entry points for breaches, gaps in systems and organizational design, and deficiencies in rules and processes while simultaneously defending the company’s security infrastructure against malicious hackers.

Assume that you have experience in the field of information security ranging from three to four years and that you are interested in pursuing a career in penetration testing. In a situation like this one, having this degree might end up being useful for you.

EC-Certified Council’s Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification is intended for highly skilled security professionals who are aware of the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the systems that are being targeted. White-hat hackers are security professionals that secure corporate networks and data from the ever-evolving threats posed by the Internet. They do this by using the same tools and strategies as cybercriminals, but they do it in a legitimate manner.

If you already have at least two years of professional experience in the subject of cyber security, you could find that this certification is the right fit for you.

Final Thought

This article dedicates significant space to discussing the PenTest+ vs CEH certifications. Both certifications emphasize the ability to penetrate networks. However, the PenTest+ also includes other aspects of vulnerability management and assessment.

On the other hand, CEH places its emphasis on a proactive strategy that enables ethical hackers to conduct pentests using the same tools and techniques employed by hackers. While the CEH certification requires a minimum of two years of experience, the PenTest+ certification necessitates three to four years of information security experience.

Have you spent the past 2-3 years working in the field of information security or penetration testing? If so, it is advisable to consider applying for both the PenTest+ and CEH certifications, as the exam domains and practice questions are comparable. Obtaining both certifications will provide you with comprehensive preparation in various aspects of ethical hacking.

Collaborating on both the PenTest+ and CEH certifications can potentially give you an advantage over other candidates and provide you with peace of mind during interviews and while working in the job.

Don’t forget to take our free CEH practice test. It will help you familiarize yourself with the format and questions of the actual exam, strengthen your knowledge and skills, and enable you to pass the CEH exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck!