ITIL certification guide: Costs, requirements, levels and paths


The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) offers best practices for delivering IT services using a systematic approach to IT service management (ITSM). ITIL certification is near the top of almost every list of must-have IT certifications, and for good reason. As an IT management framework, ITIL can help businesses manage risk, strengthen customer relations, establish cost-effective practices, and build a stable IT environment that allows for growth, scale, and change.

The ITIL 4 was updated by Axelos in February 2019 to include a stronger emphasis on maintaining agility, flexibility, and innovation in ITSM, while still supporting legacy networks and systems. As of 2021, ITIL 4 has been fully rolled out and Axelos announced plans to discontinue ITIL 3 completely by the start of 2022.

Those with an Expert level ITIL 3 certification qualify for the transition module and exam that will get you up to speed and certified in ITIL 4. For those without an Expert level certification, credits from ITIL 3 modules and examinations will transfer to the ITIL 4 certification scheme.

ITIL 4 certification paths

The ITIL 4 certification scheme has been streamlined to offer two main designation paths with seven modules total between both certifications. You will progress from the Foundation level to either the Managing Professional (MP) or Strategic Leader (SL) paths. You can stop at either path, or if you choose to complete both paths, you’ll be eligible to earn the ITIL Master designation.

ITIL Foundation

No matter which path you choose, you’ll first need to pass the ITIL Foundation module, an entry-level certification that covers the basics of ITIL 4. Candidates for the ITIL 4 Foundation exam should have a basic understanding of creating valuable products and services for customers and stakeholders, the basic principles of ITIL 4, the four dimensions of service management, best practices of ITIL 4, and key concepts of Lean, agile, and DevOps.

The ITIL Foundation course takes place in a classroom over two and a half days. At the end of the course, you’ll take a one-hour exam consisting of 40 multiple-choice questions and will need 26 correct answers to pass. Courses are offered through accredited training organizations and can be found on the Axelos website. You can also choose to self-study using practice exams and other material from Axelos or third-party providers.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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