Subscriber Discussion

How Do I Get An ASIS Certification?


You buy the books, read them, potentially take a review course and pay for the exam. If you pass the exam, you made it.

Only major restriction is years of security experience - for CPP, 7 plus a bachelor's, for PSP, 4 plus a bachelor's, though typically experience is interpreted relatively broadly so if you have been doing any time of surveillance video / access control work, it counts.

Here's the PSP as an example, since it's the one people in surveillance most typically would take:

  • Get the PSP reference material set: $369 member / $449 non-member price
  • Read the reference material - ~6 books, ~1000 pages
  • Optionally, do a review - online option: $400 member / $550 non-member price
  • Take the exam: computer based: $300 member / $450 non-member price

The net / net is that it will take you months of reading the difference books, probably take the review course (because going through them on your own is a pain) and pay $1200 (including $150 ASIS annual membership).

This, of course, brings up the other big issue - should you get an ASIS certification?

For people on the surveillance technology side, I think it is a waste of time. It does not do much in terms of opening doors (outside of letting CPPs know you are a PSP), it takes a lot of time and money, and a lot of what is covered is dated and not relevant.

On the other hand, if you want to be a security director / manager, CPP is taken far more seriously and can make or break promotions, job applications, etc.

The ASIS LinkedIn group is a good place to ask questions and get feedback from ASIS CPPs and PSPs.

If you're not a member of your local ASIS chapter, then join one. Usually the local chapter tried to put together a study group and here is where you can gather the material/borrow books to study with. I would suggest starting there.

When I sat for the exam in 1995 I didn't buy any books or review materials from ASIS. We shared study material... you'd be surprised at how much is out there if you just ask.

Here's an online PSP study guide. On the one hand, I think it's risky to depend on those guides, as they could be incomplete or out of date. On the other, the alternative, reading through all those books, is hugely time consuming. When I took the PSP, i found some study guide online (from a chapter in Texas) and it helped greatly, having very similar questions to what is on the exam.

Thanks a lot John.

I want to develop a conceptual content about security electronics, you know some books to indicate?

Eduardo, please elaborate what you mean by "conceptual content about security electronics"? What concepts? Which types of electronics?


It would be a content to teach IT professionals manage the area of security.
The focus is CCTV!

Eduardo, none of the ASIS certs cover CCTV beyond the very basics plus, even the PSP, which has the most percentage on surveillance, is still less than 10% of the material.

Beyond that, you still need to elaborate. It is very hard to give advice when you only offer a few word explanation. What level of depth do they need in CCTV? Are they just installing it, troubleshooting, designing, etc.?

Hello John,
I apologize for the lack of explanation, my english is limited.

The information that an IT manager needs is: Concepts (image sensors, lenses, Recording Systems, Architectures, Protocols, etc ...) and information from the market.

The content of the exam is aimed on someone who has the experience and core knowledge of security. The books and other study materials should just be for reviewing, not to try and learn everything at one sitting. I certainly hope that is not how the exam is tailored these days.

Margarita, I bet a lot of people, especially coming from the surveillance side, need to learn many new things for the PSP or CPP. Most of the topics covered are not issues one deals with regularly in surveillance or technology jobs (e.g., I remember spending a lot of time memorizing minutiae about fences, barriers, etc.). Now, maybe people like us should not even take the test :)

Eduardo, in terms of education in CCTV / surveillance, we have an online course + certification. Next course is this fall.



It is my opinion that engineers and technicians who design and install security and surveillance systems should have a generalized knowledge of all aspects of physical security in addition to detailed technical expertise in their own specialty. When advising clients and designing solutions, they need to have at least a basic grasp of security fundamentals so that they can properly do their job. If nothing else, they should "know what they don't know" so that they can call in other people when a project takes them outside of their area of expertise.

While having a CPP and/or PSP certification doesn't in itself make someone qualified to design surveillance systems, it does show that the certificate holder was able to pass a test on basic security fundamentals, and in my opinion, is a great addition to any other training or credentials that they may possess.

When interviewing potential integrator candidates for my client's projects, I consider it a positive when engineering and technical staff have credentials such as a CPP or PSP certification.

Michael, I agree that engineers and technicians should have a generalized knowledge of all aspects of physical security. I wish that ASIS had a more compact program to deliver it, but the time, cost and effort to take a PSP (forget the CPP which is far more involved) is hard for most to justify.

Thanks for all comments!!