OSCP vs CEH: Which Certification is Right for You?

Cyber security experts have several certification options. This wealth of alternatives is hardly unexpected given the requirement for a diverse set of security procedures and tools to combat the vast array of cyber threats that exist. Penetration testing is used by IT experts to guarantee that their networks are secure from hackers and other unwanted intruders. […]

April 3, 2023

Cyber security experts have several certification options. This wealth of alternatives is hardly unexpected given the requirement for a diverse set of security procedures and tools to combat the vast array of cyber threats that exist. Penetration testing is used by IT experts to guarantee that their networks are secure from hackers and other unwanted intruders. There are two popular penetration testing certifications accessible right now: OSCP vs CEH.

In this article,  IT Exams will compare OSCP vs CEH certifications and help you decide which one is the best fit for your career goals.

What Is The OSCP Certification?

The Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) Exam is the basic certification exam conducted by the Offensive Security Organization. OSCP certification is designed for Cyber Security professionals who are serious about entering the realm of professional penetration testing. Cyber Security Certifications are now available online as well. 

The OSCP certification was created for professionals who want to demonstrate their competence to execute effective assaults. To pass this test, you must hack and take control of 50 targets across three networks in 24 hours. As a following step, you should provide a detailed report of your accomplishments and explain how you achieved it. An OSCP certification requires hacking experience in a variety of contexts and applications. 

What Is The CEH Certification?  

Another certificate obtained by completing an EC-Council test is the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). This certificate, like the OSCP certificate, is not for inexperienced users. The CEH certification is designed to assess your knowledge of the “specific network security discipline of Ethical Hacking from a vendor-neutral standpoint.” 

The CEH test has been around for a while and is used as a standard for offensive security professionals. The Ethical Hacking Certification course can greatly assist in test preparation. According to the EC-Council, the CEH certification serves the following purposes: 

  • Establish and regulate basic requirements for certifying professional information security professionals in ethical hacking methods. 
  • Inform the public that these qualified professionals meet or surpass the criteria. 
  • Raise awareness of ethical hacking as a distinct and self-regulating profession.

OSCP vs CEH: Which Certification is Right for You?


Examine the following comparison to decide which one is more complied with your goals, experience, and aspiration.

OSCP vs CEH Exam Requirements

The OSCP does not state in great detail how many years of experience you should have before appearing for the test. Instead, Offensive Security requests that you first finish their Penetration Testing with Kali Linux course, and their phrasing implies that successful completion of that course indicates that a candidate is ready to take the OSCP exam.

Offensive Security also notes that their Penetration Testing with Kali Linux training is aimed at existing information security professionals, with a preference for those with networking or security experience. Furthermore, Offensive Security mandates that all candidates possess the following three abilities:

  • Solid knowledge of TCP/IP networking
  • Reasonable knowledge of Linux
  • Familiarity with Bash programming and basic Python or Perl is a bonus.

It is preferable to err on the high side of these prerequisites in order to get the most out of the training and have the best chance of passing the exam.

For CEH certification requirements, EC-Council offers two choices for studying for and taking the CEH exam:

  1. You can take the EC-Council-approved CEH curriculum, which costs $850. Prices may vary depending on your region, whether you take the course through an authorized training provider rather than directly through EC-Council, and if you purchase a bundle that includes lab time and/or an exam voucher. It appears that EC-Council does not specify a minimum level of experience required to take the program.
  2. The second alternative for the CEH is to take the test without first completing the course; however, you must demonstrate at least two years of experience before applying.  On their test roadmap, they also advocate completing the CND (Certified Network Defender) exam before taking the CEH; however, this is not a prerequisite and is generally unnecessary if you have adequate history.

OSCP vs CEH Exam Difficulty

The OSCP is a notoriously difficult exam. The OSCP is a 24-hour straight live network hands-on penetration testing exercise in which you are not asked any questions and are instead forced to exploit various devices within the network that you are provided.  And if that is not enough, you must write up your observations and proof within the following 24 hours in order to receive the certification. That implies the OSCP is a 48-hour straight exam, and their paperwork and submission process is fairly tight and accurate. Attention to detail and time management are essential if you would like to pass this certification.

Compare that to the CEH, which has a strict multiple-choice format of 125 questions that must be completed in four hours.  The exam is taken in a testing facility. While a four-hour test is not to be taken lightly when compared to the OSCP, it almost seems easy, and it is shorter than many other certification examinations, such as the OSCP and CISSP.

While the CEH is a simpler exam, it is vital to remember that easy isn’t always better.  Every cybersecurity expert should assess these certificates based on their worth and potential influence on their portfolio and career. We must assess what we are gaining in exchange for all of that hardship, which we will discuss later.

To test the difficulty of the CEH Exam, try out the free CEH practice exams on this website.

OSCP vs CEH Costs

The CEH and OSCP certifications are not inexpensive tests; however, the CEH costs somewhat more than the OSCP.

The cost of the OSCP is significantly lower.  You can presently acquire a voucher for the exam for as little as $850, but this also includes the necessary training and a 30-day license to use their hacking lab.  The value of the course alone may easily be deemed close to that amount, therefore in some ways, the cost of the exam is nearly free.  And if you don’t pass the OSCP by chance, you can buy a retake voucher for only $150, and you can even buy extra lab time if you need it.


In terms of CEH, if you take the CEH through Pearson Vue, the current standard fee is a hefty $1,199 for the exam voucher. You may also take it online through EC-Council (the body that issues the CEH), and the cost is reduced to $950.

Keep in mind that this does not include any training, courses, or study materials. There is also a $100 non-refundable application fee if you skip the course. Of course, EC-Council offers a CEH training program, and the fee is now $850, as noted above, but this price might fluctuate. It does not take long for the cost of obtaining the CEH to rise significantly. We were able to uncover some price alternatives, but we also discovered that there are many more pricing options dependent on whether you purchased the training or everything in a bundle, what location you reside in, and whether your business was purchasing for a bigger group. 

OSCP vs CEH Career Path

For professionals looking for a career in penetration testing, the OSCP is a more appropriate and superior alternative. The OSCP certification is designed for penetration testers with extensive technical and ethical hacking experience as well as a thorough understanding of CEH. An OSCP certification will be extremely beneficial if you are a cybersecurity expert working in the following positions: 

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

A CEH certification is appropriate for persons who want to work in the IT industry. This is the perfect certification for IT workers who do not wish to pursue a career in penetration testing or ethical hacking but want to broaden their knowledge of cyber security. Furthermore, obtaining a CEH certification course allows you to begin your profession faster than the OSCP certification. If you want to start your career in CEH, you must be quite familiar with networks. If you have worked in any of the jobs listed below, you might consider taking the CEH: 

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

In addition, a qualified OSCP professional’s annual income might be up to $113,325. The CEH salary can range from $35,160 to $786,676 per year. 

OSCP vs CEH DoD Approval

The OSCP has no DoD approval, which may or may not be significant to you and your career path. This does not imply that the DoD disapproves of the certification, but rather that it has not been assessed and authorized.

The good news for professionals thinking about entering the public sector Department of Defense is that the CEH is a DoD 8570 baseline qualification. This qualifies you for four distinct cybersecurity service provider professions as well as a variety of government-related occupations, many of which will also need a clearance.

OSCP vs CEH Recertification

You do not need to renew your OSCP certification.  According to Offensive Security, “our certifications do not expire and they do not need to be renewed,” which is generally acceptable for a professional at that stage in their cybersecurity career.

The CEH certification is valid for three years from the date of exam completion. Then, for CEH renewal, CEH does demand that you obtain 120 ECE (electrical and computer engineering) credits over a three-year period. They also charge an annual membership fee that is the same regardless of how many certificates you have with them. The current yearly membership price is $80.

Read more > > CEH vs Pentest+: Which Certification Should You Choose?

Why Should You Choose an Offensive Security Certification?


Comprehensive and proactive security

Penetration Testing Training with Kali Linux, abbreviated as PWK, is required before passing the OSCP test. PWK teaches students how to use penetration testing tools and processes in an online lab setting. PWK and OSCP address a wide range of subjects in great detail.

The Hands-on OSCP is a hands-on exam that “simulates” real-world scenarios and is completely practical. Physical participation in the activities is required for the exam. Applicants who have successfully completed the PWK course must demonstrate their ability to hack into a range of devices within twenty-four hours of the course’s finish.

After accessing the simulated environment, exploring the network, exploiting it to carry out assaults, and utilizing the results of their investigation, they generate an OSCP penetration test report based on the findings of their investigation.

As a result, the examination gives participants the opportunity to practice their abilities in a situation similar to what they would experience in the real world.

Demonstration of proficiency and advanced abilities

When it comes to the “red team” part of penetration testing, the OSCP emphasizes the use of real-world attacker methods. OSCP holders excel at finding weaknesses in systems and pay close attention to detail in all parts of their profession. It’s probable that security teams might benefit greatly from having these characteristics.

Although Offensive Security considers the OSCP to be an entry-level certification, some other certification bodies consider this test to be intermediate or even advanced. To be successful, candidates must complete an online lab session, a network investigation, and a report.

They must also have a basic grasp of TCP/IP networking, as well as some familiarity with the programming languages Bash and/or Python, and past expertise with penetration testing. As a result of all that has been demonstrated, it is plainly clear that they are capable of doing real-world penetration testing.

Certified by a trustworthy organization

The Open Source Hacking Certification Program (OSCP) has a strong reputation in the field of penetration testing since it covers and examines the whole range of hacking techniques currently in use.

It is highly valued since it assesses students’ abilities, such as time management, attention to detail, and the ability to write quality reports, all of which are in high demand by businesses worldwide.

OSCP Penetration Testers have a deeper grasp of the dangers facing the company

Penetration testers may gain a better knowledge of how data is collected and safeguarded by employing the PWK and OSCP. As a result, they are in a better position to determine the most effective techniques for safeguarding their systems and fixing any damage produced in the event of an attack.

Why Should You Choose a Certified Ethical Hacker?



You should prioritize earning a CEH certification over just doing penetration testing. Even if you’ve been working in the field for a long, attaining this certification will provide you with a more in-depth understanding of network security than merely understanding the theory behind it. Penetration testing makes it simpler to assure business continuity and reduces the amount of downtime faced by IT.

According to Gartner data, the cost of an IT downtime grows by $5,600 per minute. If you have CEH certification, you will be able to execute penetration testing and establish how frequently such tests are done.

You might even provide recommendations to the firms on what kinds of security measures they should invest in instead. As an information technology professional, your market worth and flexibility will rise in proportion to your level of knowledge and experience.

Vulnerabilities are better understood

Criminals that operate online are constantly on the lookout for security flaws to exploit. Even while they will virtually always discover new methods to abuse and gain from IT infrastructure, it will almost always be built using the same standards and processes.

You will be in a better position to protect and defend your network if you have a thorough grasp of the weak regions and the hazards that exist inside them. If you want a deeper knowledge of how dangerous possible vulnerabilities are and how vulnerable your firm is, you must obtain the CEH certification.

Salaries have gone up

The abilities you get as result of your participation in this program are far more important to these firms than any piece of paper you may have.

Because of the breadth of your competence, you will be able to assist in the protection of organizations and the elimination of unnecessary losses caused by IT downtimes. These companies realize the value of you as precious asset that they must have in order to keep their market from falling into the wrong hands.

According to the study’s findings, the yearly incomes of CEH-certified IT specialists are much higher than those of unqualified workers. Even if you are earning good living in your IT profession, there is always the possibility of earning little extra money.

Recognized by Human Resources Departments

The CEH moniker may be recognized by HR departments and recruiting managers, and people who have gained certification may have access to more professional opportunities. If an employer does not recognize a certain certificate, that credential does not have the same value as one that is more well-known.

CEH is Available at Pearson Vue

It is hard to overstate the convenience of taking an exam in a recognized testing location. While it is possible for a testing site to have a poor internet connection or a computer malfunction, none of these things are your duty or fault if they do occur.



Should I get OSCP or CEH?

To summarize OSCP versus CEH, the latter is appropriate for IT workers who aren’t interested in creating a career out of penetration testing and ethical hacking but want to broaden their knowledge of cyber security. The OSCP is intended more for professionals who want to pursue or further their careers in penetration testing.

Can I obtain both the OSCP and CEH certifications?

Depending on how quickly you master networking principles, you might be certified in cyber security in a matter of weeks. You can then expand on your CEH expertise by pursuing the OSCP or CISSP. Maybe even both. If you elect to take both, start with the OSCP and then continue on to the CISSP.

Is OSCP good for beginners?

Although Offensive Security considers the OSCP to be a starter certification, several other certification providers consider it to be an intermediate/advanced test.

How much time does it take to prepare for OSCP?

It is advised to spend two or three months in the lab. A one-month lab will never be sufficient for learning. You can take two months if you have adequate time to work on weekdays.

Who should take CEH certification?

According to the EC-Council, “The Certified Ethical Hacker certification will fortify the application knowledge of security officers, auditors, security professionals, site administrators, and anyone who is concerned about the integrity of the network infrastructure” all from a vendor-neutral perspective.

Can I take CEH without training?

Previous cybersecurity experience is not required for the training course. The second route permits applicants with at least two years of prior information security expertise to bypass the training and immediately take the certification test.

Wrap up

Both certifications, OSCP vs CEH are valuable, but the OSCP certification stands out above the CEH for those who are really interested in becoming top-tier penetration testers. For those of us who know a lot of cybersecurity and IT specialists, the CEH is a more theoretical penetration testing certification. We have not met an OSCP certification holder who is not a hacker.

Before making a final selection, consider your experience, skills, and, most significantly, your long-term career aspirations over the coming five years.