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A Quick Guide to the FITSI Exam

What is FITSI?

FITSI stands for the Federal IT Security Institute. It is a non-profit government agency that ensures that federal employees have a mastery of security standards and practices. If you want to work in an IT-related field as a government employee, you need to get FITSI certified.

The government is concerned with making sure our online infrastructure is secure and safe from attacks by individuals and other governments. They view it as essential to the overall security of the nation. FITSI is intended to protect the nation’s infrastructure from threats both foreign and domestic.

As they state it, their mission is “to help secure the Nation’s Federal Information Systems by certifying that Federal Workforce members understand and can apply appropriate Federal IT security standards.”

Why is FISTI Important?

The difficulty with tech security is that it straddles two areas–tech and security. Who should be in charge of it? Security professionals or IT professionals? FITSI aims to address this problem by getting tech professionals certified in security protocols. Those with certification are called FITSP, or Federal IT Security Personel. The tests are called FITSP exams.

By administering the FITSI, the government ensures that it has employees that adhere to nationwide standards. It also makes it easier for any employer to know that potential hires have all of the skills they need to protect systems information. Certified Federal IT Security Professionals are a safe bet for businesses, both federal and private.


Types of FITSI Certification Tests

FITSI offers certification for four different roles: Manager, Designer, Operator, and Auditor. These levels are not hierarchical, meaning they don’t go from least difficult to most difficult. Rather, they are designed to address the different skills and knowledge needed for different types of IT jobs.

  • FITSP-Designer:

Who’s it For?

The FITSI-D exam is for those that design and implement IT security systems. That includes system designers and developers, ISSEs, and other engineers.

Where to Get FISTP-D Training Materials:

  • FITSP-Operator:

Who’s it For?

FITSP-O is for those individuals who implement security protocols and operate them on a daily basis. That includes system and application administrators, system owners, ISSOs, DBAs, and other personnel who manage and maintain the system.

Where to Get FISTP-O Training Materials:

  • FITSP-Manager:

Who’s it For?

FITSP-M is for those who oversee the implementation of information systems and security protocols. That includes CISOs, ISMs, and IAMs.

Where to Get FISTP-M Training Materials:

  • FITSP-Auditor:

Who’s It For?

The FITSP-A is an oversight level of FITSP qualification. Individuals in organizations who audit IT are charged with making sure the security procedures at a workplace are functioning as intended. FITSP-A professionals need to understand IT security well enough to guide other professionals and ensure entire security systems are working properly. Those with FITSP-A qualifications are generally in oversight roles such as Inspector General or in public accounting.

Where to Get FISTP-A Training Materials:

FITSI Requirements

Cost: $295

Experience: The FITSP exams require that an applicant has five years of experience in an IT security field. For each of these exams, FITSP-D, FITSP-O, FITSP-M, and FITSP-A, you must be able to demonstrate experience in IT security design, operations, management, and auditing respectively.

The proof of your experience may be provided in the form of a resume. If you have other qualifications, including other security certifications or education, you may be able to waive up to 3 years of experience. That leaves a minimum of two years experience that ALL applicants must prove.


Test Style

The FITSI exams are computer-based. They consist of 150 multiple choice questions. These are tailored to the specific qualifications you are seeking–designer, manager, operator, or auditor.

In order to pass, you must achieve a minimum score of 75%. That means you must get 113 questions right and can miss up to 37 questions.

30 Bird training materials offer practice tests so that you can be sure get your goal score to where it needs to be before you pay the $295 exam fee.  


Testing Details

The federal government administers the FITSI exam. They provide all the necessary materials for the test, as well as the testing site and proctors to administer the test. The exams are held on a quarterly basis, approximately every three months.


Where to Register

FITSI offers online registration at


Continuing Requirements

You must renew your certification every three years. The cost is $45 a year. You must also complete 60 hours of continuing education during the three year period. As long as you keep your certification current, you will not have to retake the exam.


Get Started Today!

At 30 Bird, we have developed simple and effective training courses for each of the four exams offered by FITSI. Our training courses cost less than half the price of those offered by our competitors. Check out our offerings today! 

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