FAQ: What Is An ITIL Certification? (With Types And Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

IT professionals require a thorough understanding of best practices in service management, business processes, common IT terminologies and product knowledge. The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) contains a detailed set of practices related to service management and asset management, which align IT services with business objectives. If you are interested in enhancing your IT skills and improving your employability, you can consider taking the ITIL certification. In this article, we discuss the answer to 'What is an ITIL certification?', explore its various certification paths and review some frequently asked questions about ITIL certifications.

What Is An ITIL Certification?

The answer to 'What is an ITIL certification?' is that it is a globally recognised certification that IT professionals can take to improve their understanding of a service management life cycle and get familiar with industry practices. Through this course, professionals learn how to implement IT services more effectively, reduce operational costs and reach business objectives. Being ITIL certified can benefit employees in an organisation by providing a better understanding of business processes, risk management and customer relations and services.

Related: 9 Project Management Types For A Project Manager

What Are The Certification Levels Of ITIL?

ITIL v4 is the latest release of ITIL, which aims to help businesses stay current with technological advancements and provides a foundation for them to design and develop frameworks and implement best practices for their service management operating models. The various ITIL certifications are:

ITIL 4 Foundation certification

ITIL 4 Foundation introduces a holistic approach to creating, delivering and continuously improving technology-enabled products and services. The goal of the course is to give participants a basic understanding of IT and digital services or to help them discover how to use the new service management paradigm within their organisation. Professionals new to ITIL 4 or updating their existing ITIL knowledge may find this course useful. It is helpful for:

  • Understanding how modern IT and digital services operate

  • Learning commonly used service management terms and concepts

  • Learning techniques that can help improve accuracy and efficiency

  • Adapting cultural and behavioural principles that benefit an organisation

Related: What Are The Objectives Of Project Management? (With Phases)

ITIL 4 Managing Professional certification

This module contains the following sub-modules:

  • ITIL 4 Specialist Create, Deliver and Support (CDS): It provides IT professionals with an understanding of service quality and improvement methods that can increase the reliability of a company's products in the market.

  • ITIL 4 Specialist Drive Stakeholder Value (DSV): It provides IT professionals with an understanding of stakeholder management and ways to improve customer experience by offering quality and reliable services. It helps them practice collaboration and transparency in an organisation.

  • ITIL 4 Specialist High Velocity IT (HVIT): This module covers several innovative working methods, including DevOps and Agile practices, which help align the development process with operational practices. It also focuses on other technologies, such as business process automation, automation testing and cloud services.

Related: 19 Essential Project Management Skills To Master

ITIL 4 Strategic Leader certification

Certification in ITIL 4 Strategic Leader contains the following sub-modules:

  • ITIL 4 Strategist Direct Plan and Improve (DPI): This module focuses on helping managers develop strategies to encourage the continual improvement of a team. It enables them to understand how to apply innovative working methods within a product development life-cycle to improve the quality of a product and its time to market.

  • ITIL 4 Leader Digital and IT Strategy: This module helps senior professionals devise strategies to enable sustainable businesses, formulate ideas and set visions for a company's digital growth, manage risk, achieve operational excellence and mentor other professionals for leadership positions.

Related: What Is Strategic Planning And How To Do It In 6 Steps

ITIL 4 Master certification

Professionals with a minimum of five years of experience managing IT service operations at a leadership, managerial or consulting level are eligible to take this certification. It validates one's ability to apply ITIL concepts, knowledge, principles and strategies at the workplace to achieve business goals. To become an ITIL Master, it is essential that you have hands-on, practical experience with ITIL practices and actively take part in their adoption at the workplace.

Related: What Is Project Planning? (How To Create A Project Plan)

ITIL 4 Extension modules

Extension modules are additional modules introduced to help professionals stay current with technology advancements. The modules are:

  • ITIL 4 Specialist: Sustainability in Digital and IT: This module focuses on helping professionals understand sustainability in a business and ways to incorporate it into products and services.

  • ITIL 4 Specialist: Acquiring and Managing Cloud Services: This course facilitates professionals to get acquainted with cloud services and enables them to develop and deploy end-to-end products on the cloud. It also helps them evaluate various cloud service providers and choose one that is suitable for their project and follows the organisation's guidelines.

Related: Types Of Cloud Computing (With Definitions And Tips)

What Are The Designations Within The ITIL Certification scheme?

In the ITIL 4 certification scheme, there are five levels or designations:

  • ITIL Foundation

  • ITIL Specialist

  • ITIL Strategist

  • ITIL Leader

  • ITIL Master

After the foundation course, the two designation streams are ITIL Managing Professional (ITIL MP) and ITIL Strategic Leader (ITIL SL). The management professional streams help professionals understand how to run IT projects, manage the project workflow, focus on service management and effectively manage teams. The strategic leader certification path focuses on managing all the digital services of a company and planning business strategies to help the company fulfill its mission and vision. ITIL Master certification requires learners to complete both the ITIL Managing Professional (ITIL MP) and the ITIL Strategic Leader (ITIL SL) certifications.

Related: 44 ITIL Interview Questions With Sample Answers

What Is The ITIL Course Path For Management Professionals?

End-learners who wish to become ITIL Managing Professionals (ITIL MPs) require completing the following modules:

  • ITIL 4 Foundation

  • ITIL 4 Specialist: Create, Deliver and Support (CDS)

  • ITIL 4 Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value (DSV)

  • ITIL 4 Specialist: High-velocity IT (HVIT)

  • ITIL 4 Strategist: Direct, Plan and Improve (DPI)

Related: What Is Quality Control? A Complete Guide

What Is The ITIL Course Path For Strategic Leaders?

Professionals who wish to become ITIL Strategic Leaders (ITIL SL) require completing the following modules:

  • ITIL 4 Foundation

  • ITIL 4 Strategist: Direct, Plan and Improve (DPI)

  • ITIL 4 Leader: Digital and IT Strategy

Related: New Product Development Process: Steps, Benefits And Tips

What Are The Benefits Of ITIL Certification?

Here are some ways in which employees of an organisation can benefit from an ITIL certification:

  • Helps IT professionals familiarise themselves with industry practices while developing products and strategies to improve customer experience

  • Provides a systematic and valued approach toward various IT processes

  • Helps IT professionals devise strategies that can reduce operational costs and improve the efficiency of a business

  • Enhances credibility and improves employability

  • Provides strategies that can help manage change more effectively

  • Helps improve communication and collaboration across teams

  • Details about various key performance indicators that leads or managers can use to track performance

  • Helps eliminate redundant work and improve resource utilisation

Related: Your Guide To The Strategic Management Process

What Is The Format Of An ITIL Exam?

Here is the general format for an ITIL exam:

  • The ITIL exam contains multiple-choice questions with four options to choose from, where each right question carries one mark.

  • There are 40 questions in the ITIL Exam and you have one hour to answer them.

  • You pass the ITIL exam if you score 65% or answer 25 questions correctly.

  • You can take an exam online or with a paper-based test at any of Axelos' Accredited Training Organizations (ATO).

Is ITIL Certification Mandatory?

It is not mandatory to obtain an ITIL certification. Organisations recommend employees to take the ITIL foundation course because it provides them with a solid understanding of the ITIL framework, terminology and concepts related to various IT processes. This can guide IT, professionals, to incorporate various methodologies and strategies at different stages of a product development cycle and ensure that it aligns with the operational processes and business objectives.

How Can A Candidate Transition From ITIL 3 to ITIL 4?

ITIL 4 courses are backwards compatible with ITIL 3. Those with 17 or more credits or candidates holding certification under ITIL 3 are eligible to take the Managing Professional Transition module and exam under ITIL 4. This is a five-day course that helps professionals transition from ITIL 3 to ITIL 4. This module comprises key concepts from ITIL Foundation and core modules from ITIL 4 Managing Professional.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article is associated with Indeed.

Explore more articles