How To Get ITIL Certification: Tips And Strategies

itil certifications tips and strategies

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Embarking on your journey to enhance your expertise in IT service management is a strategic step that can significantly elevate your career prospects. As organizations place increasing emphasis on optimizing IT services to deliver value and efficiency, possessing a recognized credential such as an ITIL certification has become more essential than ever.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of obtaining an ITIL certification, providing valuable insights into different certification levels, who they’re targeted towards, and valuable preparation tips to conquer your ITIL certification. Whether you’re a seasoned IT professional looking to upskill or an aspiring newcomer in the industry, understanding how to obtain the ITIL certification can open doors to new opportunities for professional growth.

Understanding ITIL: A Glimpse Into The Framework

Before we begin, it is first important to understand the significance of the ITIL certification. 

Information Technology Infrastructure Library, commonly known as ITIL, is a globally recognized framework for IT service management (ITSM). Developed by the United Kingdom’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), it is now owned by Axelos, a joint venture between Capita and the Cabinet Office.

The ITIL framework provides a structured and systematic approach to designing, delivering, managing, and improving IT services. It focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of businesses, risk management, seamless service delivery, and customer satisfaction.

Now before embarking on your ITIL Certification journey, it is essential to understand how to approach the ITIL Certification and prepare for it.

Choosing The Right Certification Level

The first and most essential step to earning your ITIL certification is choosing the right certification level depending on where you are in your career level and if you hold any prior ITIL experience. 

The ITIL certification is divided into five different levels, each building on the knowledge gained from the previous one. The primary certification levels are:

1. ITIL Foundation

This is an entry-level certification that aims to introduce candidates to foundational ITIL 4 concepts, key principles, and terminologies practiced in the ITIL lifecycle. It provides further knowledge to candidates on an end-to-end operating model for the creation, delivery, and continual improvement of technology-enabled products and services.

2. ITIL Managing Professional

ITIL 4 Managing Professional (ITIL MP) comprises four modules aimed at equipping individuals with practical and technical expertise in effectively managing IT-enabled services, teams, and workflows. Achieving the designations of ITIL 4 Managing Professional or ITIL 4 Strategic Leader necessitates the completion of all stream modules, with ITIL Strategist serving as a common module for both paths.

The four modules are as follows:

ITIL 4 Specialist: Create, Deliver, and Support: 

Tailored for IT professionals involved in designing digital products and services, this module encompasses delivering, developing, deploying, and monitoring these services up to agreed standards.

ITIL 4 Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value: Ideal for IT experts seeking to nurture stakeholder relationships to create value, this module is valuable for those responsible for managing the customer journey, needs, expectations, and experiences.

ITIL 4 Specialist: High-velocity IT: Designed for IT managers and practitioners operating in digital and highly automated environments or involved in delivering digital products and services. It’s relevant for those engaged in digital transformation or transitioning to Lean, Agile, or DevOps practices.

ITIL 4 Strategist: Direct, Plan, and Improve: Geared towards individuals responsible for aligning team objectives with organizational strategy, this module aids in instilling continuous improvement in the organizational culture. It provides guidance on planning work, enhancing products, and managing change.

3. ITIL Strategic Leader

The ITIL 4 Strategic Leader module helps validate that the candidate has a thorough understanding of how IT influences and directs business strategy. ITIL SL recognizes the value of ITIL, not just for IT operations, but for all digitally-enabled services.

In order to pursue the ITIL Strategic Leader, you must complete all modules of ITIL 4 Managing Professional.

ITIL SL is actually a stream of 2 modules. These are:

ITIL 4 Strategist Direct, Plan, and Improve: The details of this have been covered above. 

ITIL 4 Leader Digital and IT Strategy: This particular model equips you with the relevant skills required to shape IT and business strategies. 

4. ITIL Practice Manager

The ITIL Practice Manager (PM) certification offers a range of practice-focused modules, offering flexible training options that enable you to customize your learning experience by selecting and combining modules as needed. These individual practice courses are tailored for professionals seeking to showcase their expertise in specific practice areas.

To attain the ITIL 4 Practice Manager certification, there are two pathways to choose from. The first involves completing the five individual practice modules along with the ITIL Specialist: Create, Deliver, and Support module. Alternatively, the second scenario entails completing a 3-day bundled or combined module in conjunction with the ITIL Specialist: Create, Deliver, and Support module.

The individual practice modules are available through one-day training sessions or can be bundled and combined over three days. These courses incorporate practical assignments aligned with the curriculum to help you apply your knowledge in real-life scenarios. There are two combined course options according to Axelos:

ITIL 4 Specialists: Monitor, Support, and Fulfill: This combined practice module focuses on establishing effective cross-practice collaboration and creating efficient service value streams. It covers the essential concepts of five ITIL practices, including Incident Management, Service Desk, Problem Management, Service Request Management, Monitoring, and Event Management, enhancing your proficiency in these areas.

ITIL 4 Specialist: Plan, Implement, and Control: This combined practice module provides comprehensive understanding and expertise in five other ITIL management practices: Change enablement, deployment management, release management, service configuration management, and IT asset management. The module explores these key concepts at both strategic and operational levels, emphasizing how to derive value from these practices.

5. ITIL 4 Extension Modules

The ITIL 4 Extension Modules comprise a set of four modules with a focus on enhancing understanding of the main ITIL 4 framework, its concepts, and the relevant ITIL 4 guidance. These certifications aim to augment professional expertise and provide guidance on addressing challenges and opportunities posed by contemporary themes and technologies affecting operations. The four modules include:

ITIL 4 Specialist: Sustainability in Digital & IT: This module explores the relationship between the IT role and digitally enabled services within the working environment. It also delves into opportunities for positively influencing sustainability.

ITIL 4 Specialist: Acquiring & Managing Cloud Services: Offering a vendor-neutral, user-centric perspective, this module equips learners with practical knowledge of incorporating cloud procurement and technology to support broader business strategies and functions.

ITIL 4 Specialist: Business Relationship Management: Designed for IT professionals responsible for cultivating relationships between service providers, consumer organizations, and stakeholders, this module emphasizes effective relationship management.

ITIL 4 Specialist: IT Asset Management: This module covers the procedures involved in managing costs and risks, monitoring compliance, and governing IT assets. It provides essential insights into optimizing asset management practices.

6. ITIL 4 Master

The ITIL 4 Master certification is the highest achievement in ITIL 4. While it’s challenging, it’s also very rewarding. It shows you understand business needs, can create effective plans, use practical methods, and lead teams for better business results.

To become an ITIL 4 Master, you need to complete the Practice Manager (PM), Managing Professional (MP), and Strategic Leader (SL) certifications. You also have to pass exams on various IT Service Management topics, including digital strategy, management practices, and more. It’s a comprehensive certification that demonstrates your expertise in ITIL 4.

Exam Details For ITIL Certification Exams

ITIL 4 Certification Level 

Exam Format 

No. of Questions 

Passing Score 

Exam Duration


Multiple Choice Questions



60 minutes

Managing Professional

Multiple Choice Questions



90 minutes 

Strategic Leader

Multiple Choice Questions



90 minutes

Practice Manager

Multiple Choice Questions 



90 minutes

ITIL 4 Extension Modules Details


Exam Format

No. of Questions 

Passing Score 

Exam Duration 

Sustainability In Digital & IT 

Multiple Choice Questions 


Not defined 

60 minutes

Acquiring & Managing Cloud Services

Multiple Choice Questions 


Not defined 

90 minutes

Business Relationship Management 

Multiple Choice Questions 



90 minutes

IT Asset Management 

Multiple Choice Questions 



90 minutes

Effective Preparation Tips For Passing the ITIL Certification

Now that we have covered the basics of the ITIL certification and you have a good idea of the different levels, it is not time to get into the juicy bits; the reason that brought you here in the first place. How to get an ITIL certification?

Here is an effective game plan to not only get you started with your ITIL journey but also help you conquer it and overcome any potential hurdles that you may be faced with:

1. Understanding The Scope Of The Syllabus

Understanding the scope of the syllabus should be your first step in your preparation process. Make sure you have an outline of the syllabus and what it covers, printed in front of you. This will help you keep your focus only on what the syllabus expects you to cover. 

In addition, you will have a general idea of what the exam encompasses and the topic you will need the focus on. 

Syllabus aspects vary, of course, from level to level but usually build more on what you have previously studied

2. Enroll in Training Courses

Training courses can be a vital tool in not only your knowledge base but also allow you to be more proficient with skills and practical application of these concepts. Therefore, try to enroll in ITIL training courses that correspond to the certification level you’re targeting.

These courses can be available in various formats, including in-person workshops, online classes, and self-paced e-learning modules. A structured training program will provide you with in-depth insights into ITIL concepts, case studies, and real-world applications.

3. Thoroughly Try To Understand ITIL Concepts

As you progress through your training, try to deep into key ITIL concepts such as service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation, and continual service improvement. Each of these areas plays a crucial role in understanding how IT services align with business objectives and contribute to overall success.

4. Practice With Sample Questions

Remember, practice makes perfect! 

This is especially true when you’re preparing for certification exams. Once you feel you have obtained a good understanding of the syllabus content, you should immediately move on to testing the concepts you have studied 

Practicing exam questions can help you identify where your weak areas lie, and ultimately help you gauge your certification exam preparation as well. 

In addition, by practicing sample questions, you relieve some of the anxiety you may experience on exam day. This is because you will now have an idea of what to expect in the exam and also have experience attempting similar questions. As a result, you can be a more confident version of yourself on the exam day.

5. Take The Certification Exams

Once you feel confident in your understanding of the ITIL concepts, it is time to take the certification exam. You can take your ITIL certification exam anywhere, any day, at any time that suits you. The exams are typically multiple-choice and scenario-based, assessing your ability to apply ITIL principles to real-world situations. Remember to remain calm and focused during the exam.

6. Continuing Education And Advancement

Once you have taken the exam, successfully passed it, and received your certification, you may think your ITIL journey has come to an end. However, there is still some road left to walk on your ITIL path. 

ITIL is a pretty dynamic framework and staying up to date with the latest concepts, methodologies, and technologies is crucial.

Read more: Top Highest Paying IT Certifications

Target Audience For The ITIL Certification

The ITIL certification can prove valuable to a diverse range of audiences, especially since it starts with the foundational level, proving favorable for even novices entering the tech space. The target audience for this certification is as follows:

1. IT Service Managers and Directors

IT service managers and directors are responsible for strategizing and overseeing the delivery of IT services that align with business objectives. ITIL certification equips them with the knowledge to streamline processes, improve service quality, and optimize resource utilization, resulting in enhanced customer satisfaction and better organizational outcomes.

2. IT Support Professionals

Frontline IT support professionals, including service desk analysts and technical support staff, play a critical role in resolving technical issues and providing timely assistance to users. ITIL certification enables them to grasp incident and problem management concepts, helping them provide faster and more effective solutions to users’ challenges.

3. IT Operations Managers

IT operations managers are accountable for maintaining the IT infrastructure’s stability and performance. ITIL certification equips them with the skills to implement best practices in change management, ensuring that modifications to the IT environment are carried out smoothly, minimizing disruptions and downtime.

4. System Administrators

System administrators are responsible for configuring and maintaining IT systems and networks. ITIL certification helps them understand configuration management and release practices, ensuring that changes to systems are controlled, documented, and aligned with organizational goals.

5. Project Managers

IT projects often involve the implementation of new services or significant changes to existing ones. Project managers with ITIL certification are better equipped to manage projects with a service-oriented mindset, focusing on delivering value to the organization and its customers.

IT Professionals Seeking Career Advancement: Professionals who aspire to advance their careers in IT service management can benefit from ITIL certification. Whether aiming for a promotion within their current organization or seeking opportunities elsewhere, the certification provides a competitive edge by showcasing their expertise in aligning IT services with business needs.

Read more: 7 Topmost Project Management Certification

Final Words

In conclusion, achieving ITIL certification is a valuable step toward enhancing your IT service management knowledge and career prospects and ultimately moving forward in the IT space. Throughout this guide, we covered the different levels of ITIL certifications, the preparation process, and the benefits of obtaining these credentials. 

Remember that ITIL certification is not just about earning a badge; it’s about acquiring practical skills and knowledge that can be applied to improve IT service delivery within your organization.

Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs)

While it’s possible to skip the Foundation level, it’s generally recommended to start with it, especially if you’re new to ITIL. The Foundation level provides a fundamental understanding of ITIL concepts that are crucial for advanced certifications.

The difficulty of the ITIL certification exam depends on different factors. If you are attempting the foundation exam, it may be relatively easier especially if you have prior experience in ITSM. However, as you move up the ITIL certification ladder, the difficulty level of the exam is also bound to get higher. 

But you can make your overall exam experience relatively easier by amping up your exam preparation. Practicing can also help you improve specifically your weak areas. Edurely ITIL exam dumps are a great way to improve your preparation by attempting sample questions and ultimately feeling more confident in the exam.

The time required to get ITIL certified varies based on your current knowledge, the level of certification you are pursuing, and the time you can dedicate to studying. Generally, foundation-level certifications can be achieved in a few weeks, while higher-level certifications may take months.

Yes, ITIL certifications are widely recognized and respected. They provide a common language for IT professionals to communicate and collaborate across different countries and industries.

Initially, ITIL certifications had no expiry date and were valid for life. However, in the Continuing Professional Development Programme created by PeopleCert, ITIL certifications need to be renewed within three years from when the certification was awarded.

While hands-on experience is not mandatory, it greatly enhances your understanding of how ITIL practices are applied in real-world scenarios. Practical experience also helps you relate theory to practical situations during the certification exams.

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