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OSCP vs CEH: Choose the Right Cyber Security Certification

25th Apr, 2024
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    OSCP vs CEH: Choose the Right Cyber Security Certification

    Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) are the two growing fields in today’s digital world, amongst many others. Both these exams are quite challenging, and acquiring a certificate for either requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and willingness. Having said that, what exactly are OSCP and CEH Exams?

    What is the OSCP Exam?

    The Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) Exam is the basic certification exam conducted by the Offensive Security Organization. OSCP certification is intended for Cyber Security professionals who are serious and determined to enter the professional penetration testing world. You can now avail of Cyber Security Certifications online as well.

    The OSCP certification was developed for professionals to prove their ability to conduct effective attacks and demonstrate their skills. Passing this exam requires you to hack and take control of 50 targets across three networks within 24 hours. You should make a report of the accomplishments you have made in detail and explain how you did it as a next step. Hacking expertise shown in various environments and applications is required for an OSCP certification.

    What is the CEH Exam?

    Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is another credential earned by passing an exam conducted by the EC-Council. This certificate, just like the OSCP certificate, is not for beginners. The CEH certification is to test your expertise in the “specific network security discipline of Ethical Hacking from the perspective of a vendor-neutral viewpoint”.

    The CEH examination has been around for quite some time, and it serves as a benchmark for offensive security specialists. The Ethical Hacking Certification course can help a great deal in preparing for the exam. The EC-Council states that the purpose of the CEH certification is the following:

    • Establishing minimum standards for credentialing professional information security specialists in ethical hacking measures and governing it.
    • Inform the public that these credentialed professionals meet the standards or exceed them.
    • Spread awareness about ethical hacking as a unique and self-regulatory profession.

    Key Differences Between OSCP and CEH

    OSCP vs CEH: ConsiderationsCEHOSCP
    What is the Learning curve?Teaches skills related to different aspects of cybersecurity, like cloud security, cryptography, mobile testing, penetration testing, and IoT testing. You have access to an instructor.OSCP is only limited to penetration testing. Narrowly focused knowledge, but it is thorough and of excellent quality. You have no guidance, however, and you learn on your own.
    Career OpportunitiesBusiness continuity, cloud security, compliance auditing, disaster recovery, security management, etc.Only penetration tester. But the course prepares the individual for advanced pen testing.
    Required experienceExperience is not required. Preferable for beginners and dabblers.Minimum 5 years experience in cybersecurity or prior training via CEH.
    DoD ApprovalIf you are interested in working with the government then you need to have DoD approval and CEH has a DoD clearance.OSCP does not have a DoD clearance.
    RecertificationThe CEH certificate is valid for only 3 years after which you will have to pay Rs 6,387 annually for the renewal of your certificate.The OSCP certificate is valid for a lifetime.
    Exam FormatCEH (ANSI) 125 MCQ, CEH exam duration- 4 hoursCISSP English CAT with 100 to 150 questions. OSCP exam duration- 3 hours; to score 700 out of 1000 to get certified
    Pros and Cons
    • Boost your salary 
    • Learn to think like a hacker 
    • Advanced security career 
    • Improved knowledge of risks and vulnerabilities 
    • Learn to use real hacking tools
    • Difficult to clear the exam 
    • Expansive and encompasses a lot of domains 
    • Highly Technical 
    • Need 5 years+ of experience in Infosec 
    AccreditationANSI 17024 accredited, DoD recognized, GCHA accredited, Mapping NICE framework 2.0  

    CEH vs OSCP: Exam Requirements

    The EC-Council decides how the paper is conducted. For CEH, there are two options to choose from for preparing and sitting for an exam. To start preparing for the exam, you need to purchase the EC-Council-approved curriculum. The cost for the curriculum may vary depending on the region you are from, whether you are taking any training from an authorized training provider, etc. But it usually costs at least Rs. 87,000. There is no specific amount of experience required to take the training.

    Another option that you are left with for your CEH exam is to attempt the exam without taking the training. But in this case, you should be able to show two years of experience to be eligible to apply. It is also recommended that you take the CND (Certified Network Defender) exam before taking the CEH. But this is not a mandatory requirement if you have sufficient background.

    The OSCP requirements for the exam do not provide great detail about the years of experience you should have before applying. Instead, Offensive Security asks you to complete your Penetration Testing with Kali Linux course. And if you successfully complete the course, you are eligible to appear for the OSCP exam.

    This Penetration Testing with Kali Linux course is for current information security professionals, and you are also required to have some networking or security background. Additionally, each candidate must have the following set of skills.

    • Excellent and thorough understanding of the TCP/IP networking.
    • A reasonable understanding of Linux.
    • Familiarity with Bash scripting with basic Python or Perl is a plus.

    If you meet all the above-mentioned requirements, it will be easy for you to get the most out of training and have a good chance of success in exams.

    Both organizations, Offensive Security and EC-Council, provide a training option for the candidates before they sit for the exam. Offensive Security requires certain specific skills, but EC-Council does not.

    CEH vs. OSCP: Career Path

    A CEH certification is ideal for individuals who desire to pursue a career in the IT field. This is the best certification to opt for IT professionals who are not making a career in penetration testing and ethical hacking but want to expand their skills in the cyber security field. Moreover, by taking a CEH certification course, you can start your career quicker than with the OSCP certification. If you are looking to start your career through CEH, you must have excellent knowledge of networks.

    OSCP, on the other hand, is a more suitable and better option for professionals interested in pursuing a career in penetration testing. Also, you only need to have knowledge of the basics of fundamentals in Cyber Security and good knowledge of CEH for the OSCP certification.

    CEH vs OSCP: Salary

    The salary of a certified CEH professional may range from $35,160 to $786,676 per annum. At the same time, a certified OSCP professional may earn $113,325 per annum.

    OSCP vs CEH: Pricing

    The CEH and OSCP exams both have high costs. But the CEH exam cost is much more expensive than OSCP. EC-Council, the organization responsible for delivering the CEH, offers the course remotely as well, and if you opt for that, the exam cost is $1,199, and retakes cost $450.

    The OSCP exam course fees seem to be considered reasonable as compared to the CEH exam price. If you are looking to purchase an exam ticket, it will only cost you as little as $850. But this price does not include the mandatory training or the license to utilize the hacking lab for 30 days.

    Even if you fail the OSCP exam, re-appearing for the exam requires a ticket cost of $150 only. You can also purchase more lab time if you want.

    Although the course exam seems to be more cost-effective and transparent in terms of price structure, the certifications in OSCP cybersecurity are never inexpensive and you will have to spend several hundred dollars to get these credentials.

    OSCP vs CEH: Difficulty Level 

    Both CEH and OSCP are highly competitive and challenging exams. For the OSCP exam, you will be required to do a live network penetration testing exercise for 24 hours without being prompted with questions as part of the Open Security Certification Program (OSCP).

    If this renders insufficient, then you will have to submit your findings and required documents for the certification in the following 24 hours. Hence, OSCP is an exam that lasts for the whole 48 hours. In order to successfully crack the test, you will have to pay attention to the specifics asked of you.

    The CEH test has 125 questions with multiple-choice answers, and 4 hours of time is given to complete the test. So, compared to OSCP, this test is far shorter in terms of test duration. Even though CEH may seem less complicated comparatively, note that both these exams are challenging and require a great deal of dedication to crack it. Try KnowledgeHut’s Cyber Security Certifications online and seamlessly start your exam preparations.

    Benefits of OSCP and CEH

    OSCP Benefits

    After acquiring an OSCP security certification, you can work for organizations to secure their servers. This involves understanding the threats and potential threats the organization faces and working on them. You will handle the organization’s network and detect security issues.

    You will have learned to work with exploits, vulnerability scanning, and buffer overflows, client-side attacks, password attacks, and many more through your OSCP certification. This will help you give proactive security to the organization.

    CEH Benefits

    The CEH exam training process involves 5 phases for the professionals. Each phase lays down measurable indicators to identify and understand vulnerabilities. The CEH certificate is the only globally recognized certification that provides expert knowledge in all of the 5 phases. We have been seeing a rise in cybercrimes, security risks, and threats around us. Hence, Ethical hacking has seen a shift from an extra skill to a mandatory skill for network security professionals.

    The global surge in data that we are currently witnessing will benefit CEH professionals with growing opportunities due to the continuous growth of this industry.

    Who Should Take The OSCP?

    The OSCP certification is intended for penetration testers with a strong technical and ethical hacking background. If you are a cybersecurity professional working in the following fields, you will greatly benefit from an OSCP certification. These fields include:

    • Penetration testers
    • Cybersecurity consultants
    • Systems auditors
    • Advanced security professionals

    Who Should Take The CEH?

    If you are looking for a career in ethical hacking, you can pursue the CEH certification. If you have worked in any of the following roles, you can also consider taking the CEH.

    • Information Security Administrator/Analyst
    • InfoSec Officer
    • InfoSec Specialist/Manager
    • Infosec Professional
    • Risk Analyst
    • System administrator
    • Network Engineer
    • IT Auditor

    If you have had experience in any of the above fields, you can consider applying for the CEH course exam.

    Looking to boost your career? Explore our ITIL training and certification programs. Gain the skills you need to succeed in the ever-evolving IT industry. Join us today!

    Wrap Up

    We have covered their differences in detail, which will help you understand which certification is better for your role and experience. Still, it is an open debate and challenging for some professionals to decide which is better. whether CEH or OSCP, both are excellent Cyber Security Certifications to pursue. If you want to dig deeper into the certifications, you can consider enrolling with KnowledgeHut now! Now you must have got all your answers. Is CEH better than OSCP? Happy learning.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Is CEH harder than OSCP?

    No, it is the other way around. OSCP is harder than CEH as it involves a lot of technical stuff and core programming.

    2Which is better, CEH or OSCP?

    It depends on your educational and professional background and your vision for your future. For example, CEH is best for auditors, while OSCP takes you into the network architecture field.

    3Which certification is better, CEH OSCP or CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)?

    The answer to this also depends on the individual's career aspirations. For example, CEH is for auditors, OSCP is for pen testers, and CISSP is for beginners in the cyber security niche.

    4Can I do OSCP without CEH?

    OSCP is at an advanced level. So, it is always advisable to clear CEH first, get a fair idea of the ethical hacking world and then go for OSCP.

    5Is the CEH entry-level?

    Yes, as CEH contains all the theoretical parts and works for beginners trying to get into this industry, you can call it an entry-level certification.

    6What is the salary of OSCP?

    The average salary of an OSCP-certified professional is around $96,180 per year.


    Vitesh Sharma

    Blog Author

    Vitesh Sharma, a distinguished Cyber Security expert with a wealth of experience exceeding 6 years in the Telecom & Networking Industry. Armed with a CCIE and CISA certification, Vitesh possesses expertise in MPLS, Wi-Fi Planning & Designing, High Availability, QoS, IPv6, and IP KPIs. With a robust background in evaluating and optimizing MPLS security for telecom giants, Vitesh has been instrumental in driving large service provider engagements, emphasizing planning, designing, assessment, and optimization. His experience spans prestigious organizations like Barclays, Protiviti, EY, PwC India, Tata Consultancy Services, and more. With a unique blend of technical prowess and management acumen, Vitesh remains at the forefront of ensuring secure and efficient networking solutions, solidifying his position as a notable figure in the cybersecurity landscape.

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