What is ITIL Certification? A Comprehensive Guide [2023]

What is ITIL Certification

With the rapid digitization of businesses and the growing complexity of IT systems, IT service management (ITSM) has taken center stage for many organizations looking to optimize their IT operations. This has led to a huge demand for ITSM skills and certifications, especially in frameworks like ITIL.

If you’ve been looking to level up your ITSM knowledge and career, getting ITIL certified is a great move. But if you’re new to ITIL, you’re probably wondering – what is ITIL certification and, is it worth pursuing?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about ITIL certifications – from what is ITIL certification and its key concepts to the different certification levels available. We’ll also dig into the key benefits of getting ITIL certified.

Knowing what is ITIL certification can really pay off for IT professionals looking to beef up their resumes and stand out from the crowd. The various levels allow practitioners to build up their knowledge base and expand their skill sets step-by-step. 

The entry-level certifications get your foot in the door, while higher-level ones show you are an expert well-versed in key concepts.

The industry-wide acceptance of ITIL makes it invaluable for IT professionals to have on their resumes. It shows employers you are committed to improving service management through tried and true practices. 

With ITIL know-how under your belt, you will have the skills to impress hiring managers and be ready to hit the ground running. It really gives job seekers a leg up.

What is ITIL Certification?

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, effective IT management is crucial for any organization’s success. One framework that stands out for its comprehensive approach to IT service management is ITIL or the Information Technology Infrastructure Library. 

Obtaining an ITIL Certification not only equips professionals with best practices in IT management but also makes them more marketable in a competitive job arena. Let’s delve into the specifics of what ITIL Certification entails and the advantages it offers.

Overview of ITIL framework

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a widely adopted set of best practices for IT service management. ITIL provides guidelines on how to design, deliver, and manage IT services to maximize efficiency and business value.

Benefits of ITIL certification

The benefits of ITIL certification include:

  • Improved delivery of IT services and increased customer satisfaction
  • Standardized IT service management processes
  • Greater productivity and efficiency
  • Improved time to market for IT services
  • Compliance with industry best practices
  • Higher perceived value of IT operations
  • Increased employability and salaries for IT professionals

ITIL Foundation certification validates expertise in IT service management best practices and can improve operations, productivity, efficiency, and service quality. It is widely recognized and valued by employers.

ITIL Certification Paths

ITIL offers a multi-level certification framework that enables individuals to tailor their training to meet specific job roles or service areas. 

In this section, we’ll explore the various ITIL Certification Paths available and help you understand which one might be the best fit for you.

Image Source

ITIL 4 Foundation

The ITIL 4 Foundation looks at ITIL through a holistic lens, allowing individuals to brush up on the key concepts and language across the ITIL 4 guidance. 

The ITIL V4 certification helps build familiarity with how the ITIL framework knits together.

ITIL 4 Managing Professional (ITIL MP)

The ITIL MP builds out from the Foundation by drilling down into the modules that make up the ITIL 4 framework. 

This intermediate certification enables professionals to fill in their knowledge across the core ITIL practices and position themselves as ITIL specialists within their organizations.

ITIL Strategic Leader

The ITIL Strategic Leader represents the pinnacle of the ITIL qualification scheme. 

This advanced certification is geared toward those ready to drive ITIL holistically across the business and oversee the end-to-end service value system. 

The training focuses on linking organizational strategy to IT-enabled services and equipping candidates to spearhead continual improvement.

ITIL Extension Modules

The ITIL Extension modules offer focused dives into niche areas, allowing professionals to round out their skill sets with specialized certifications. From programs like ITIL Intermediate to operational areas like ITIL Planning Protection and Optimization, these extension modules let candidates cherry-pick topics to build up their capabilities in specific ITIL competencies.

Steps to Obtain ITIL Certification

Knowing what to expect at each stage of the ITIL certification process can be your roadmap to success. 

Here are the steps to navigating the certification process, from ITIL certification training to examinations.

ITIL Training

ITIL training is the first step to gear up for the ITIL foundation certification. Sign up for an accredited ITIL training course to brush up on the concepts and principles. 

ITIL has different certification levels, so make sure the course lines up with the certification you want to achieve. Sit in on the classes, pay attention, and take notes to soak up the information.  

When the course wraps up, review your notes and study hard for the exam, going over the material repeatedly to drill it into your head. The classes will break ITIL down, but you need to hammer the concepts home through self-study to really lock in the knowledge.

Taking the exam

Once you have prepped via the training program, it’s time to step up and take the ITIL Foundation certification exam. 

There are various levels you can start at, depending on your familiarity with ITIL. The entry-level exam is the ITIL Foundation certification exam which tests your grasp of the basic concepts of ITIL.

When taking the ITIL Foundation certification exam, be sure to read the questions carefully and rule out incorrect answers before selecting the right choice. 

Manage your time wisely so you can make your way through the questions efficiently. Use the skills sharpened during your training to ace the exam.

Maintaining ITIL Foundation Certification

After passing the exam, you’ll receive your ITIL foundation certification! 

Passing the ITIL exams is not the finish line. To stay certified, you need to fulfill ongoing education requirements. This involves accumulating a certain number of credits through activities like taking refresher courses, attending webinars, listening to podcasts, etc. 

Stay on top of the annual credit requirement to keep your ITIL foundation certification intact. Beyond earning credits, you should also continue to apply ITIL principles in your professional life. 

Absorb any new changes or updates to the ITIL framework that come about. Stay plugged into the ITIL community to brush up on the latest best practices. 

Consistently incorporate ITIL principles into your daily work activities to deepen your mastery of the ITIL framework over time.

Benefits of ITIL Certification

An ITIL certification can really pay off and open up new career prospects. Let’s break down some of the key benefits:

Increased employment opportunities

An ITIL certification stands out on your resume and helps you get your foot in the door for jobs, especially in IT service management. 

Employers look for it as it shows you are up to speed on best practices for IT service delivery. It gives you a competitive edge over other applicants to land interviews and job offers.

ITIL skills are in high demand across many industries as companies aim to improve IT efficiency. So, having the certification broadens the types of jobs and companies you can apply to. It enables you to cast your net wider.

The certification qualifies you for new and higher-level roles in ITSM, like service delivery manager, IT analyst, IT architect, and more. So, it really opens doors and expands your career path.

Higher earning potential

Given the high demand, ITIL-certified professionals often command a higher salary. Companies are prepared to dig deeper to hire and retain certified staff.

The skills allow you to take on more responsibility and advance to higher positions with bigger paychecks. This enables you to scale up the career ladder more quickly.

Certified professionals also have more leverage to negotiate higher starting salaries or raises since they are highly sought after. The certification packs a punch during salary discussions.

Enhanced skills and expertise

  • The certification process drills you into the ITIL framework and best practices for modern IT service management. 
  • You learn how to streamline operations, improve efficiency, align IT with business objectives, and more. 
  • It also keeps you up to date with the latest processes and emerging technologies.
  • Having learned from the international standard, you can implement ITIL principles to deliver robust IT services wherever you go.

The certification pays dividends through more job opportunities, fatter paychecks, and stronger expertise. It gives your career a real boost and equips you for leadership roles in IT service management.

ITIL Certification Costs and Requirements

Navigating the financial and prerequisite aspects of ITIL Certification can often feel like a task in itself. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve broken down the various costs and requirements associated with each certification level. 

Understanding these elements will not only prepare you for the certification journey but also ensure that you get the most value for your investment.

Cost of certification

The costs of obtaining ITIL certification can really add up, but the investment often pays off in terms of career advancement and salary increases.

The baseline prerequisite for any ITIL certification is passing the relevant ITIL 4 exam. Exam fees typically range from $150-$500, depending on where you take the exam. On top of the exam fees, most people opt for formal training to properly take in and retain the large amount of information covered in the ITIL framework. 

ITIL certification cost can vary widely, from around $500 for basic online self-paced courses up to over $1000 for intensive in-person classroom instruction over several days. Some training packages bundle together the exam fee with the course fee, while others charge separately.

Prerequisites for ITIL certification

In terms of requirements, the entry-level ITIL V4 certification has no prerequisites. However, all subsequent intermediate and higher certifications require you to pass the ITIL 4 Foundation exam first.

The next rung up is the ITIL Managing Professional certification, which is comprised of two modules – Create, Deliver & Support, and Drive Stakeholder Value. Each module requires passing an exam, so two exams total.

Finally, the highest certification is ITIL Master, which necessitates accumulating 17 ITIL credits, submitting an ITIL case study, passing an interview, and having 5+ years of IT experience managing IT Service Management programs.

The ITIL certification pathway is stacked in a building blocks approach, where each level builds off the previous one. This modular structure allows you to space out your learning and exam-taking over time while gradually adding to your qualifications.

Just be aware the costs involved will also stack up over time, often running into thousands of dollars for those who pursue the highest certifications. 

However, the return on that investment is gaining the most widely recognized and sought-after credentials in IT Service Management.

The Importance of ITIL in Business

The role of ITIL in today’s business landscape cannot be overstated. As organizations increasingly rely on technology to drive growth and efficiency, understanding ITIL’s impact on business operations becomes critical.

Increased efficiency and effectiveness

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) can really pay off for businesses looking to increase efficiency and manage risks more effectively. By setting up ITIL practices, companies can break down silos between IT and other departments, enabling them to work hand-in-hand toward common goals.

With ITIL, issues can be ironed out more quickly through improved communication flows. Rather than pointing fingers when problems crop up, teams can get to the bottom of matters in a solutions-focused manner.

Better risk management

ITIL also helps businesses keep up with changing technologies and market demands. By regularly reviewing and updating processes, companies can phase out outdated practices and phase in new ones. This ensures systems stay up-to-date and aligned with strategic objectives. 

With ITIL, organizations can draw up plans to head off potential problems down the road. By thinking ahead, teams can mitigate risks before they escalate or get out of hand.

Overall, implementing ITIL allows businesses to shape up operations, boost productivity, and deliver higher-quality services. With streamlined workflows and enhanced collaboration, companies can propel innovation and give themselves a competitive edge. 

Though it takes time to roll out, ITIL is well worth the investment for future-proofing operations and optimizing success.

ITIL Certification FAQs

Let’s now address a few common questions about ITIL certification to help you make an informed decision.

Validity of ITIL certificate

ITIL certificates generally stay valid without expiring as long as the certification scheme keeps going. However, some organizations may require employees to refresh or top up their ITIL training periodically to ensure their knowledge is up-to-date.

Format and structure of the ITIL certification exams

The ITIL certification exams consist of 40 questions that test your understanding of ITIL concepts and best practices. These questions are picked out from the ITIL® Foundation Certification question bank. 

The time limit given is 1 hour for all the candidates in their particular languages. Participants have to score 26 marks out of 40 (65%) to pass the exam and earn the certification.

The exam questions are made up of scenario-based multiple-choice questions that are focused on testing the candidate’s knowledge of the key concepts of ITIL. Candidates need to work through the questions carefully and pick out the most suitable answer. 

The exam aims to find out if the candidate has taken in the core ideas of ITIL and can apply them to real-world situations.

Exam result timelines

You should receive your ITIL exam results within 4-8 weeks of taking the exam. Some test centers may provide preliminary results on the spot. 

Ensure you factor in this turnaround time when scheduling exams if you need the certification by a certain date. Prometric, the company that administers ITIL exams, will follow up with official results and certification documentation.

ITIL Framework Overview  

Image Source

The ITIL framework consists of a comprehensive set of best practices organized into five core publications:

1. Service Strategy

Provides guidance on how to design, develop, and implement service management. Covers service portfolio management, financial management, demand management, and strategy management.

2. Service Design

Offers best practices for service design processes, including service catalog management, information security management, supplier management, and availability and capacity management.

3. Service Transition

Focuses on the transition of services into operational use. Covers change management, service asset and configuration management, and release and deployment management.

4. Service Operation

Deals with daily delivery and support of IT services. Includes incident management, problem management, event management, request fulfillment, and access management.

5. Continual Service Improvement

Focuses on the importance of an ongoing cycle of evaluation and optimization in IT service management. It provides frameworks and best practices for systematically identifying areas of improvement, implementing corrective measures, and elevating the quality of services offered. The aim is to enhance customer satisfaction and business performance over time.

ITIL Certification Training

As you embark on your journey towards ITIL Certification, one of the most critical steps is selecting the right training program. 

The quality of your training can make or break your readiness for the exams and, ultimately, your success in the IT service management field.

Overview of training options

ITIL training really pays off for IT professionals looking to move up and expand their skills. Whether you’re just starting off or brushing up your knowledge, there are plenty of options to take on ITIL certification.

  • Online courses allow you to dive into ITIL training at your own pace. You can sign up and chip away at the materials on your schedule.
  • Classroom training may help drive home concepts through in-person instruction and hands-on labs.
  • Bootcamps cram all the content together for those looking to knock out certification quickly.

Importance of ITIL training

Regardless of the path, ITIL courses equip you with frameworks to streamline IT service management. 

Understanding ITIL best practices helps tie together service strategy, design, transition, and operation. This boosts efficiency and cuts down on issues. Companies worldwide have taken on ITIL to optimize their IT departments.

The training makes you more well-rounded and shows you have up-to-date expertise. It can open up new job opportunities and help move your career forward. Investing time into ITIL certification can really pay dividends for aspiring IT professionals down the road.

ITIL certification Renewal and Maintenance

Maintaining the validity and relevance of your ITIL Certification is just as crucial as earning it.

Let’s look into some essential steps to keep your ITIL Certification current and valuable, aligning your skills with the ever-changing demands of the IT industry.

Overview of the renewal process for ITIL certifications

Keeping up with ITIL certification requires going through a renewal process periodically to stay certified. There are a few options to keep your certification up-to-date and avoid having it expire.

The most straightforward option is to retake the same ITIL exam you originally took. As long as you pass it again before your certification runs out, you will renew it for another 3 years.

Another option is to opt for furthering your ITIL education. You can take and pass another more advanced ITIL course and exam within the ITIL 4 framework before your current certification kicks the bucket. This will refresh and build upon your existing knowledge.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) involves actively logging at least 20 CPD points per year across various categories for 3 consecutive years. 

At the end of the 3-year period, your certification renewal date will be pushed back another 3 years. You must tally up and submit your CPD points annually by the original date you passed your most recent exam.

If you hold multiple ITIL certifications, you only need to follow the CPD renewal process once to tick all the boxes. Overall, staying on top of the renewal requirements will ensure your certifications do not lapse so you can continue to get the most mileage out of them. 

Taking a proactive approach will allow you to renew without hassle and uphold your hard-earned certification.

ITIL Certification and Career Opportunities

Let’s now explore how an ITIL Certification can significantly boost your career trajectory, opening doors to new roles and opportunities within the IT service management landscape.

How employers value ITIL certification

ITIL certification has become sought after by many IT professionals looking to get ahead in their careers. Employers sit up and take notice when they see ITIL certification on a candidate’s resume. It shows them that the applicant is clued into best practices for IT service management and is up to speed on processes that can help run IT operations more smoothly.

Having ITIL certification under your belt can open doors and move your career forward.

Many large corporations have built up or revamped their IT departments around ITIL frameworks. They look for certified candidates who can plug into and enhance their ITIL-aligned workflows.

ITIL training helps IT professionals stand out and rise up for management and leadership roles. The credential signals you are fluent in ITIL terminology and concepts employers want their staff to grasp.

Job roles and industries that place importance on ITIL certification

ITIL skills are in demand across a wide range of industries. Any organization that depends on IT services to function stands to benefit from ITIL.

Fields like financial services, healthcare, government, and technology all clamor for ITIL-savvy professionals who can take the lead in improving IT service delivery.

Whether you want to get your foot in the door or gain an upper hand in the job market, getting ITIL certified pays off. It equips you with the know-how to streamline operations, boost service quality, lower costs, and align IT with business objectives.


ITIL certification has really taken off in recent years as more and more organizations look to improve their IT service management. 

By laying out best practices and a common framework, ITIL helps IT teams get on the same page and work towards shared goals. Going through ITIL training and getting certified enables IT professionals to boost their skills and marketability.

While the certification process takes time and effort, it will pay dividends down the road. ITIL helps tech workers carry out their tasks more efficiently and work better with others. 

For organizations seeking to enhance IT operations, getting team members certified in ITIL best practices is a great way to drive improvements. With so many levels and paths to choose from, there are ITIL certifications to suit all needs and experience levels.

So, if you’re looking to get ahead in your IT career, be sure to check out the ITIL 4 Foundation Certification course by CCS Learning Academy. This comprehensive training will help you get to grips with ITIL frameworks and service delivery best practices.

Enroll now and gain the knowledge and certification to propel your career forward. With the high demand for ITIL-skilled professionals, this course is your ticket to opening up new opportunities and boosting your earning potential by up to 40% compared to those without certification.