What does it cost?This is the third blog in our series on the EC-Council Certified Network Defender (CND) certification. In our previous article, we covered details surrounding the best preparation practices to ensure you are ready for the CND exam. Preparing for and passing the exam is always the focus, so those details will be intertwined throughout this series. With that being said, our goal is to uncover all the essential details around this certification, so now we will explore the different costs you may incur while pursuing this credential.

Cybersecurity will always be an evolving field, which makes staying updated and well-equipped not just a professional goal but also a necessity. The Certified Network Defender certification is an essential credential for those aiming to excel in network defense. However, understanding the costs associated with pursuing this certification, including exam fees and the expenses related to preparation, is a crucial step in your journey. It’s time to break down the costs and help you evaluate whether the CND certification aligns with your career goals and budget.

What Does the CND Exam Cost?

Let’s start by examining the direct expenses related to this certification exam. The number one direct expense is the cost of the exam voucher, which retails at $550. It’s important to note that exam fees can vary based on factors such as location and any promotions or discounts that may be available at the time of registration. Additionally, if going through an accredited training center, you may also be able to get a slight discount on the exam voucher.

In addition to the base exam fee, you might consider joining the EC-Council as a member if you haven’t already. This organization has two different membership style options. The first is an EC-Council member that becomes a purchasable option once you pass one of their certifications. This often allows for reduced exam fees, among other benefits. They also have a membership called Code Red that offers a plethora of training tools, access to some certification courses, and often discounts.

The Cost of Certified Network Defender Exam Preparation

While the exam fee is a significant component of the overall cost, it’s not the only expense to consider. Successful exam preparation is key to passing the CND certification, and this also comes with its own set of costs. Effectively preparing for this exam involves investing in study materials, training courses, and practice exams. Here are some common costs associated with exam preparation:

  • Study Materials: Acquiring up-to-date study materials, such as textbooks, online courses, and video tutorials, is essential. The cost of study materials can vary widely depending on your chosen resources and whether you opt for official EC-Council materials or third-party options. But at a bare minimum, you should plan on getting the EC-Council approved textbook for CND, which retails at $577 on their website.
  • Virtual Lab Setup: Hands-on practice in a virtual lab environment is crucial for gaining practical skills. Setting up a virtual lab may require additional expenses for software licenses and hardware if you don’t already have access to the necessary resources. The easiest option is to go through the EC-Council store and purchase a package to access their virtual labs, which retails at $199.
  • Practice Exams: Practice exams and mock tests are invaluable for assessing your readiness and identifying areas that need improvement. Out of many preparation tools, nothing will gauge your readiness like taking a practice exam. There are numerous purchasable options for this online, but it’s imperative you find one that is approved/accredited by EC-Council, it’s the only way to ensure the exam and question format is accurate. By going through the EC-Council store, you can find an exam prep practice test for $149.
  • Training Courses: Many professionals find value in enrolling in training courses designed specifically for CND exam preparation. These courses often come with a price tag, but they provide structured learning and expert guidance. Whether it’s a self-paced video series, or a week long training bootcamp, opting for some sort of training course will pay huge dividends in your preparation journey. Most bootcamps range from $3000 to $4000, but not all bootcamps have the same benefits. Some offer access to some of the tools mentioned above like virtual labs, textbooks, and practice exams, as well as getting you access to a certified professional who has passed the exam.

Why a Certified Network Defender Bootcamp Is Worth the Cost

Now, let’s explore why investing in a CND Bootcamp can be a worthwhile expenditure in your certification journey. As with many bootcamps, these can be a game-changer in your exam preparation. While it comes with its own price tag, the investment will often outweigh the cost when faced with the two different options. Behind the first option, you can spend a couple of months reading through thousands of pages within the CND textbook. Going with the bootcamp option, you have access to someone who can guide you through all of the essential components of this certification, ensuring you know where to focus your time.

Here are a few of the benefits of going the bootcamp route:

  • Intensive Learning: Bootcamps offer an immersive and focused learning experience. In a short period, you’ll cover the key exam objectives comprehensively. This alone will save you countless hours of your time.
  • Expert Instruction: These types of training courses are led by experienced instructors who are experts in network defense. They provide guidance, answer questions, and offer real-world insights.
  • Structured Curriculum: Bootcamps follow a structured curriculum aligned with the CND exam objectives, ensuring that you cover all essential topics efficiently. They often even come with access to virtual labs, to help reinforce the information you are learning.
  • Peer Collaboration: Due to the environment you are in, instructors often facilitate collaboration with peers who share your goals. Learning from others’ experiences and perspectives can enhance your understanding.
  • Other Potential Benefits: Although every company may differ in what they offer their students, many will have some added benefits that come with purchasing their course. Some additional benefits may include an exam voucher, study materials, and access to practice exams.

Are You Ready to Begin?

Investing in the Certified Network Defender certification is an investment in your cybersecurity career. Understanding the costs associated with the CND exam and exam preparation is essential for planning your certification journey effectively. While there are expenses involved, the value of becoming a Certified Network Defender, and enhancing your network defense skills, is immeasurable. If you’re looking for an intensive and structured approach, consider enrolling in a CND Bootcamp. It can accelerate your preparation, increase your chances of success, and ultimately open doors to exciting career opportunities in cybersecurity.

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