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What Is ITIL Certification

What Is an ITIL Certification and Is It Worth It in 2024?

Many large organizations, including Spotify, have implemented the ITIL framework to enhance their workflows, reduce waste and improve relationships with clients. If you want to better your chances of working for a leading technology company, it would be wise to learn more about several ITIL certification options.

Brett DayJackie LeavittEugenie Tiu

Written by Brett Day (Writer, Editor)

Reviewed by Jackie Leavitt (Co-Chief Editor)

Facts checked by Eugenie Tiu (Editorial Assistant)

Last Updated: 2024-02-06T09:28:37+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

Key Takeaways: ITIL Certification

  • By becoming ITIL certified, you enhance your salary and career prospects.
  • There are ITIL certifications for those just starting their IT journey as well as those who have been around for a while.
  • ITIL 4 courses will teach you all you need to know about the ITIL framework and how it can be used to enhance IT services and processes.

ITIL certification training can seriously enhance earning potential and open doors with large organizations that want to enhance their IT product and service offerings.

Whether you want to be prepared to implement disaster recovery methods by using the data recovery software, help a client make the most of the best cloud backup solutions or become proficient in managing cloud services, like these cloud storage platforms, an ITIL certification will offer tremendous value.

Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know, including what ITIL is, how it affects the IT lifecycle, how you can become ITIL certified and more.

The Basics of the ITIL Framework

In a nutshell, ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a framework for ITSM (Information Technology System Management) that helps companies design and implement IT best practices. ITIL aims to simplify and standardize processes and stages in the information technology lifecycle.

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ITIL, like the PRINCE project management methodology, was designed by the U.K.’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) in the 1980s to help create best practices for emerging IT technologies. As you can imagine, a lot has changed since the ’80s. At the time of writing, ITIL 4 is the current iteration of the framework and should be considered a must-have for IT professionals.

ITIL was developed in the 1980s to help create best practices for emerging IT technologies.

In 2007, version three of the ITIL framework changed to break down the IT lifecycle into five easy-to-digest chunks in an attempt to simplify everything.

The stages, which are still used in ITIL 4, play an important role in the design, implementation and ongoing improvement of IT services, and they can help businesses meet and exceed business objectives.

The Five Stages of the ITIL Framework Lifecycle

  1. Service Strategy: This lifecycle covers the act of defining, implementing and managing a strategy to serve customers.
  2. Service Design: This lifecycle brings your service strategy design to life.
  3. Service Transition: This is the planning phase for introducing services, which includes resource planning and coordination. 
  4. Service Operation: The service operation stage oversees the rollout of services and processes to businesses and customers.
  5. Continual Service Improvement: As the name suggests, this part of the IT service lifecycle aims to identify areas of improvement and force teams to adapt to changing business needs.

For the sake of space, we won’t go into detail here, but each of the stages listed above is further broken down into processes and goals so that it can be followed and implemented quickly and easily. If you decide to undergo ITIL training, you’ll learn more about the stages and IT lifecycle, and will become an incredibly valuable member of any team.

What Is an ITIL Certification?

ITIL certifications are offered by Axelos and other accredited training organizations. They’re ideal for those working in IT who want to open career doors, increase their earning potential and become a respected IT professional that businesses would like to hire.

itil axelos
Axelos is the owner of ITIL certifications and exams.

There are a few ITIL certification courses to choose from (we’ll cover this later), and they vary in price and duration. Just know that ITIL certifications are recognized globally as the de facto standard for IT system management professionals and are highly regarded by businesses looking for skilled individuals.

Who Should Do an ITIL Certification?

Anyone who wants to further their IT career should seriously consider getting an ITIL certification to improve their prospects and help the company they work for become better at providing client services.

The following is a short list of positions that could benefit from having a certified professional in the role: 

  • IT service management roles
  • IT project managers
  • Database administrators
  • Quality analysts
  • Service support engineers

There are, of course, many more roles that would benefit from an individual who has taken one of the ITIL certification exams. Ultimately, if you want to better yourself, you owe it to yourself to continue your education in your chosen field.

itil modules
There are training courses one could take within the world of ITIL.

ITIL Certification Benefits

As with any certification in any field, becoming ITIL certified will bring many benefits to your door. Below, we’ll take a quick look at a few you can expect by becoming ITIL certified.

Improved Career Prospects

There are no two ways about it: Having a certification can boost your career prospects. If you want to make yourself stand out from the rest of the IT pack and land your dream job, you’ll need a certification. So, knuckle down and study up. Before you know it, you’ll be highly sought after by companies of all sizes.

Enhanced Earning Potential

As you can imagine, having a well-regarded certification can also boost your earning potential. A quick look on ZipRecruiter showed that those with the base ITIL foundation certification could, on average, earn $43 per hour or $88,420 per year. Those who nab the ITIL master certification can earn roughly $56 per hour or $116,386 annually. It pays to be certified.

itil salaries
You can increase your salary prospects with the ITIL foundation certification.

Learn a Common Language

As you step into advanced IT roles, you will need thorough knowledge of the advanced language many service managers use. Without a broad understanding of the processes and terminology used, you’ll be up a creek without a paddle. Fortunately, ITIL training courses will help you nail the terminology and the commonly used processes.

Improved Efficiency and Effectiveness

Improving your skill sets and knowledge can make you a more efficient professional. By gaining new skills, you can also increase your effectiveness in the workplace. This is a win-win-win situation, as you, the company you work for, and the clients you serve will benefit. You’ll quickly become a key player, and the extra knowledge and know-how will boost your confidence in the workplace.

Global Recognition

Should you decide to leave the shores of your current country after gaining an ITIL certification, you’ll have nothing to worry about regarding work. ITIL certifications are recognized around the world by top IT service companies. As such, not only can you demand more pay for the position of your dreams, you can do it practically anywhere on this big blue ball we call Earth.

Top ITIL Certification Paths You Should Consider

There are five different ITIL certification levels one can achieve. From foundation to master, there’s a certification exam for you and your current career level. Below, we will cover each certification level, who it’s for and how much you can expect to pay.

itil strategist
The ITIL Strategic Leader certifications are required if you want to become an ITIL Master.

1. ITIL 4 Foundation

Per the Axelos website, the ITIL 4 Foundation certification is the “introduction to an end-to-end operating model for the creation, delivery and continual improvement of technology-enabled products and services.” This course is for those needing to grasp the fundamentals of key IT and ITIL 4 concepts within the ITIL framework. In other words, it’s an entry-level certification.

According to PeopleCert, the cost of Foundation training and the ITIL Foundation exam, which features 40 multiple-choice questions and has a time limit of 60 minutes, costs $680. Score 26 out of 40 and the ITIL foundation certificate will be yours.

2. ITIL 4 Managing Professional

The ITIL Managing Professional (ITIL MP) certification consists of modules that are designed to give you the skills and knowledge to implement and manage IT-enabled services. To become a Managing Professional, you must complete the create, deliver and support; drive stakeholder value; high-velocity IT; and direct, plan and improve modules.

itil certifications
The Axelos website offers a wealth of information about ITIL certifications.

Be warned — the modules are not cheap. Per PeopleCert, the create, deliver and support; drive stakeholder value; high-velocity IT; and direct, plan and improve modules cost $765 each

Each exam presents 40 questions. You must score 28 or higher to pass, and you get 90 minutes per closed-book exam. You’ll need to study hard for the Managing Professional certification.

3. ITIL 4 Strategic Leader

The ITIL Strategic Leader certification is for established ITIL professionals who want to learn about the intricacies of all things digital. The certification has two modules: “direct, plan and improve,” as well as “digital and IT strategy.”

The “direct, plan and improve” module teaches you how to marry product management with business needs, while “digital and IT strategy” teaches you how to design IT strategies.

Each module, which teaches practical and technical skills, comes with a PeopleCert price tag of $765. The “direct, plan and improve” ITIL exam lasts 90 minutes, and you must answer 28 of the 40 multiple-choice questions to pass. The “digital and IT strategy” exam lasts 60 minutes. You must answer 21 out of 30 questions correctly to pass.

4. ITIL 4 Practice Manager

If you want to become an ITIL master, you must pass the already mentioned certifications and the ITIL Practice Manager module. The Practice Manager module contains five lessons: service desk, incident management, problem management, service request management, and monitoring and event management.

PeopleCert is just one of many accredited institutions that offer ITIL courses and exams.

You can mix and match the lessons as needed (each costs $280), or you can opt for the ITIL 4 Specialist: Monitor, Support and Fulfill course, which contains all five modules for $865. 

Each separate course exam has 20 questions, 13 of which must be answered correctly. Each exam lasts 30 minutes. Taking the all-inclusive course gives you 90 minutes to answer 60 multiple-choice questions. You must score 39 to pass.

5. ITIL 4 Master

ITIL Master certification is granted to those who pass the Practice Manager, Managing Professional and Strategic Leader certifications. You don’t need to apply to be an ITIL 4 Master, nor do you have to sit for an exam.

itil master
Once you complete the Practice Manager, Managing Professional
and Strategic Leader certifications, you become an ITIL Master.

Axelos automatically provides the Master certification, as you have already shown you can design and implement strategies, plan effectively and lead cross-functional teams to success. If you get to this point, bravo! Give yourself a pat on the back.

Final Thoughts: ITIL Training & ITIL Certificate

To answer our initial question of if the ITIL 4 certification is worth it, we would say absolutely. Learning about the ITIL framework will improve your earning potential and career prospects. You’ll become a key member of an organization’s IT team and will be able to provide incredible value for money to clients. These certifications are a no-brainer.

Of course, only you can decide what is right for you. Has the information we provided regarding ITIL certifications piqued your interest? Will you take the next steps to further your IT career? What about the ITIL certifications appeals to you the most? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thanks for reading.

FAQ: ITIL Certification Explained

  • ITIL certifications come with many benefits. With an ITIL certification, you can enhance your career prospects and earning potential. You’ll have a globally recognized certification and will be able to manage a variety of IT projects.

  • The best ITIL certification is the one that suits your current skill set. Some ITIL specialist courses are suitable for those new to the industry, while others are for those ready to be considered a master.

  • The difficulty of ITIL certifications will depend on an individual’s knowledge and experience.

  • The five levels of ITIL are service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation and continual service improvement.

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