ITIL Certification Guide – Overview and Career Paths

by Jones David

These times, you cannot succeed in the world of business while staying on the outskirts of the world of technology. To advance as a business, a company needs to be as erudite and exemplary in information technology as it is in its corporate objectives. If a corporation fails to generate a satisfactory IT department, it risks losing customers to other rival companies which may offer services better suited to the customer, and hence, waste finances, time, and effort. To make sure that companies maintain the quality of their work, reduce their IT costs, and increase productivity simultaneously, one way that is very common nowadays is to adopt the ITIL framework.

What is ITIL?

The ‘Information Technology Infrastructure Library’, or ITIL, is a framework for managing IT services delivery globally. Used all over the world in well-known and prominent organizations, it has become a de facto standard in IT Service Management. There have been several versions of ITIL in the past and ITIL is currently owned by AXELOS which has promised to release an ITIL 4 to replace the current ITIL v3 version by the second half of 2020. Businesses look to generating uniform, stable and expected services that are precipitated by The Best application of technology. Companies gain cost-effective development and deployment, increased customer satisfaction, and consistency in the quality of services provided by the business by adopting ITIL. It is especially a game changer for the small businesses who cannot easily recover from a costly blunder by their IT departments.   

Numerous ITIL Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs) offer training and ITIL certification at the end of the training program. The current version of ITIL (ITIL v3) comprises five modules or certification levels:


The ITIL Foundation Certification is about the basics of ITIL and has no prerequisites. Training for the exam can be in classrooms or via distance learning and courses online. Anyone with an interest in the subject can sit for the exam and has to score 65% or correctly solve 26 out of 40 multiple choice questions in an hour in order to clear it. Individuals who have cleared this level can move on to the next level.


This has been a relatively recent addition to the ITIL scheme, being first offered in February 2016. Clearing the Foundation level is a prerequisite to sit for this exam. It comprises of practical knowledge of ITIL processes and its application in business. Getting a Practitioner Certification accounts for a gain of three credits in the way of completing the Expert Certification. Training is by self-study, in organized physical classrooms, through online courses or via distance learning. A score of 70% or 28 out of 40 correctly solved multiple choice questions is required to pass the exam.


The intermediate level consists of nine modules each focusing on a different aspect of ITIL Service Management and categorized under Service Lifestyle or Service Capability. You can choose either one category or different modules from both categories. Training for this certification has to be under an ATO and you cannot self-study for this exam.

The Service Lifecycle modules are:

  • Service Strategy (SS)
  • Service Design (SD)
  • Service Transition (ST)
  • Service Operation (SO)
  • Continual Service Improvement (CSI)

The Service Capability modules are:

  • Operational Support and Analysis (OSA)
  • Planning, Protection, and Optimization (PPO)
  • Release, Control, and Validation (RCV)
  • Service Offerings and Agreements (SOA)


As the name suggests, this is an advanced certification that encompasses all aspects of ITIL learning in detail. An Expert Level Certification is necessary to sit for the Masters Certification. The prerequisite to sit in the Expert exam is 22 credits acquired from the Foundation, Practitioner, and Intermediate levels, and clearing the Managing Across The Lifecycle (MALC) exam.


This is the highest certification ITIL has to offer. It encompasses all ITIL processes and principles learned from Foundation to Expert. The cost to sit for this exam is about $4000 and only very serious individuals are advised to sit for this exam. The prerequisite to sit for this exam is:

  • Achieve the ITIL Expert certification
  • Demonstrate at least five years of ITIL experience in a management or leadership role
  • Submit a proposal for a service improvement
  • Submit a work package that demonstrates your ability to apply ITIL principles to a real-world business case, including positive impacts to a business service
  • Successfully complete an interview with an ITIL assessment panel

What Does the Future Hold?

The newer version expected to be released by the second half of this year, ITIL 4, has four certification levels:

  • Foundation
  • Managing professional
  • Strategic leader
  • Master

AXELOS advises the current ITIL v3 foundation candidates to change to ITIL 4 Foundation, and the current Intermediate candidates to continue with ITIL v3.

So, Should You Get An ITIL Certification?

Although ITIL has many advantages that may very well outnumber the disadvantages, it cannot be denied that achieving a Master level qualification in it is a feat not accomplished easily or inexpensively.

ITIL can be beneficial to businesses and corporations in a number of ways. It can result in reduced IT costs, improved customer satisfaction through consistency in the services provided, improved quality of services provided, increased productivity, more efficient use of skills and experience, and building and meeting of new, higher standards.

Other than the above benefits, AXELOS claims that ITIL can help organizations manage risks, disruptions, and failure, strengthen the organization-customer bond by making happier and more satisfied customers, be cost-effective in the long run, and construct an atmosphere that permits growth and change.

Furthermore, ITIL benefits an individual by the fact that there is always a need for ITIL certified IT professionals in large corporations that have adopted the ITIL framework, as ITIL continues to proliferate. Nowadays, small and medium-sized businesses have begun adopting it readily too, as it cuts down on the costly IT failures that a small or medium scale corporation may not be able to recover from. ITIL Certification is a valuable skillset to learn for all individuals concerned with IT- be it service administers or the highest-ranking IT professionals in a corporation.

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