ITIL certifications validate expertise in IT service management, with a focus on the ITIL framework of best practices in this space.
The IT Infrastructure Library (or simply ITIL) framework is part of the AXELOS body of certifications. The AXELOS certification portfolio includes numerous best practices credentials focused on areas such as project and program management, cyber resilience, and the sought-after field of IT service management.
When it comes to IT service management (ITSM), ITIL certifications are “must-have” credentials. According to AXELOS, “IT service management is the business of being a service provider: in other words, knowing your customers, what they need and what you do for them.” The ITIL best practices schema helps IT professionals and the organizations they support align IT services with business needs. A quality-oriented framework, ITIL enables organizations implementing ITIL practices to easily facilitate changes, manage business transformation, and promote growth. ITIL practices focus on the entire ITSM lifecycle including identification and design of business requirements, along with implementing, maintaining, reviewing, and improving IT solutions.
ITIL certifications benefit both IT pros and businesses. For IT professionals, ITIL certifications provide employers with assurance that you possess the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully implement ITIL framework solutions across the ITSM lifecycle, improve quality and drive value for their organizations. Certifications also establish a minimum level of professional competency which employers can rely on when screening prospective employees.
In addition to providing assurances regarding the quality of skills and expertise of ITSM team members, ITIL certifications also provide numerous other benefits to organizations who choose to adopt ITIL. The ITIL ITSM framework creates integration between IT departments and other teams within organizations. Utilizing the ITIL framework allows organizations to build established best practices into their organizational structure which saves both time and money leaving more time for creating IT solutions. ITIL is compatible with other quality frameworks such as agile, Prince2, ISO® standards, COBIT®, and PMBOK®. In addition, businesses find that ITIL enables them to plan better for and manage service disruptions and other risks, improves system costs, and supports an environment of continuous change allowing organizations to respond with agility.
AXELOS employs a modular approach to the ITIL framework certifications. Certification modules focus on best practices for various practice areas and disciplines within the ITIL framework. The modular framework allows IT professionals the flexibility to concentrate on practice areas specific to their interests or business needs.
ITIL 4 is the current version of the ITIL framework. For IT professionals holding ITIL 3 credentials, AXELOS provides a clear migration path for ITIL 3 credential holders to transition to ITIL 4. Candidates interested in learning more about how to transition their ITIL 3 certifications or qualifications to ITIL 4 should review the ITIL Credit System web page for additional migration information and the then current requirements.
AXELOS currently offers four ITIL 4 credentials at the entry, professional, and master level. The certifications include: Foundation (entry), ITIL 4 Managing Professional (professional), ITIL 4 Strategic Leader (professional), and the Master credential.
Let's take a deeper look at ITIL’s current array of certificates:
Launched in February 2019, the ITIL certification ladder begins with the ITIL 4 Foundation certification. An entry level credential, the Foundation certification targets IT pros who are working in organizations that have adopted ITIL or who need to understand the ITIL framework and how ITIL is applied to ITSM. The ITIL Foundation validates a candidates understating of ITIL 4 principles, Service Management dimensions, the business value of DevOps, Lean and Agile, and how to create synergy between stakeholders and customers throughout the ITSM lifecycle.
ITIL Foundation serves as a prerequisite to the more advanced ITIL certifications. While there are no formal prerequisites, it’s recommended that candidates attend a 2.5-day training session to prepare for the exam which is usually offered at the end of the course. Training cost varies depending on the training provided but candidates can expect to pay about $750 for a 2.5-day online bootcamp, plus exam. The exam fee is $363. All ITIL certification exams are administered through PeopleCert.
One of two intermediate level credentials, the ITIL 4 Managing Professional Certification (ITIL MP) is geared to candidates who work with digital teams and other technologies in their organizations. The ITIL MP credential validates that a candidate possesses the technical skill and knowledge necessary to run IT enabled workflows, services, and teams.
To become an ITIL 4 Managing Professional, candidates must first obtain the ITIL Foundation credential then complete all four ITIL MP modules:
The cost for each module exam is $488. To fully understand the ITIL MP modules, formal training is required. Candidates may download a syllabus for the respective module web page. A fee-based course guide is also available.
A relative newcomer to the ITIL 4 certification ladder, the ITIL 4 Strategic Leader (ITIL SL) was launched in September 2020. ITIL SL is the second professional-level certification in the ITIL certification ladder. While the ITIL MP targets digital teams, workflows and services, ITIL SL is focused on how IT directs and influences organizational strategies for both digitally-enabled services and digital IT operations.
To earn the ITIL SL credential candidates must first obtain the ITIL Foundation certification or complete the ITIL 4 Managing Professional Transition module. At least three years of IT managerial experience is also required. In addition, candidates must also complete two modules: ITIL 4 Strategist Direct, Plan and Improve and ITIL 4 Leader Digital and IT Strategy.
The ITIL Master credential is the pinnacle certification on the ITIL career ladder. It is geared to experienced practitioners who are able to apply ITIL principles and methods within their organization. Earning the Master credential is not easy and there are numerous requirements. To qualify for the ITIL Master certification, candidates must:
Applications for the Master credential may be obtained from PeopleCert. The assessment process consists of the following:
The ITIL Master credential is awarded upon successful completion of the prerequisites, project approval and successful interview.
Salaries for ITIL professionals may be impacted by a variety of factors such as experience, the type of ITIL certification held, the role performed, or geography. By way of example, ZipRecruiter reports average earnings for ITIL Foundation credential holders at $88,108 annually with the top 10 percent earning up to $148,500. On the other hand, ITIL Master credential holders can expect average annual earnings around $94,482 with top earnings up to $162,000. Pay scales in certain geographies can vary significantly. Foundation credential holders in Sunnyvale, CA can expect to earn at least 23 percent more than the national average. ITIL Master credential holders in San Mateo, CA typically earn 25 percent above the national average. Roles also play a factor in compensation. Glassdoor reports average earnings for an ITIL Service Management Analyst at $62,200 while an ITIL manager averages $103,847 annually.
Browse certification prep programs, college degrees, and self-paced online courses that align with ITIL certifications and related skill sets.
ITIL professionals serve organizations in a variety of roles ranging from service engineers and help desk to quality analyst and database administrators. You’ll also find ITIL certifications common among IT professionals working as service or operations managers, directors, or other service-related executive roles. Many project managers possess ITIL credentials along with quality analysts, process coordinators and service delivery managers.
Your ITIL skills and certifications may qualify you for a range of job roles. Browse and apply to:
Based in the UK, AXELOS was created by the Cabinet Office of Her Majesty’s Government in 2013. Since its inception, AXELOS has grown to a globally-recognized organization known for its commitment to and promotion of best practices. Certifications include such well-known best practices frameworks such as ITIL, AgileSHIFT, Prince2, Prince2 Agile, Resilia, MSP, and more.