Beyond20: A ServiceNow Elite Partner Everything you ever wanted to know about ITIL 4 Certification - Beyond20
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Everything you ever wanted to know about ITIL 4 Certification

Erika Flora
Written by Erika Flora

Whether you’re dipping your toe into the world of ITIL for the first time or an old pro looking to move from v3 to ITIL 4, you likely have more than a few questions. This article will explain everything you ever wanted to know about getting a new ITIL 4 certification, along with a brief overview of two brand new ITIL 4 courses. We’ve arranged the information into three sections that answer the following key questions:

  • Should I get certified in the first place?
  • Which certification makes the most sense to get?
  • How do I go about actually getting certified?

Should I get ITIL 4 Certified?

Where should I take a course? Will it help me in my career?

Anyone who works in a technology-focused organization delivering products and/or services to customers will benefit from taking an ITIL course. This includes everyone from IT leaders to project managers to developers to service desk staff. The underlying concept in any ITIL course, service management, is all about strengthening the relationships we have with our customers and putting useful products and services into their hands so they can do great work. So, if you serve customers of any kind (internal or external to your organization), you should consider getting ITIL training. ITIL 4 concepts apply across the entire organization because, at the end of the day, it’s all about bringing value to those you serve.

Beyond being great for finding ways to improve your day-to-day work, ITIL 4 certification is also key to competing in today’s technical market. recently listed ITIL as one of the must-have IT management certifications for IT leaders, for example, and ITIL certifications consistently rank in the top 10 highest paid certifications worldwide. It’s long been and continues to be the gold standard for IT professionals.

Recommendation: If you’re leading a team and want to get everyone speaking the same language and making significant progress toward larger organizational goals, check into our private group training courses and ITIL 4 Maturity Model assessments.

What will I learn in an ITIL course? Will it teach me to manage products or learn to code?

You will not learn to manage projects or write code in an ITIL course (though we offer other courses like Project Management Fundamentals, Certified ScrumMaster, and Certified Scrum Developer that cover these topics). What an ITIL course will teach you is how to help your team become a world-class service provider, starting with a service-oriented mindset that views your organization from the perspective of your customers. It will also help you begin putting good practices in place to do things like successfully manage changes, more quickly resolving issues and fulfilling requests, managing customer demands, and meeting Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Further, if your team, company, or agency is trying to use Agile, Lean, or DevOps to transform, you’ll pick up some helpful tools, techniques, and other ideas for successfully implementing those ways of working.

How can ITIL benefit my organization?

Using the concepts in the ITIL framework can help organizations scale for future growth, consistently deliver great services to customers, improve the availability, reliability, and security of mission critical IT services, capture more meaningful metrics and data, increase visibility into how work is done (through value stream mapping, process refinement, etc.), and remove wasteful, costly activities. There are more than two million certified ITIL professionals around the world, and ITIL concepts are used by countless Fortune500 organizations. Here are a few quick success stories:

  • Nationwide Insurance implemented key ITIL processes, resulting in a 40% reduction of its systems outages and a $4.3 million ROI over three years. – Computerworld
  • Visa implemented ITIL concepts, resulting in improved monitoring of network and systems outages, and a reduction in the time to resolve incidents by 75%. – Smart Enterprise Magazine

Which ITIL 4 Certification Should I Get?

This section will answer several questions regardless of whether you are new to ITIL or already hold some ITIL v3 or ITIL 4 certifications.

How do I get an ITIL certificate? Do I need to take a course?

If you’re new to ITIL, to get a certificate, you need to start by taking a course. While there are a handful of ITIL courses available, the best place to start is with a two-day ITIL 4 Foundation course. The cost of the exam is included with the purchase of the course. Unfortunately, you cannot just pay for and take any ITIL exam by itself. You must take both the class and exam together. On the upside, with a Beyond20 course, we include an exam pass guarantee and provide an exam retake (in the unlikely event you do not pass on the first try) at no extra cost. As soon as you pass an ITIL exam, PeopleCert will issue you an electronic certificate that you can access any time via your online PeopleCert profile, which is created when you register for an online exam (more on that later).

What ITIL 4 certificates are available?

If you already have an ITIL 4 Foundation certificate and are looking to sharpen your skills in some key areas, there are five core ITIL 4 advanced courses worth looking at, namely:

There’s no specific order in which to take any of the ITIL 4 advanced courses. It’s a personal choice that depends entirely on what you’re looking to learn.

The image below gives a summary of what the ITIL 4 certification landscape currently looks like. There are three certification streams: Managing Professional (MP), Strategic Leader (SL), and the ITIL Extension modules, released in late 2021. There are ITIL 4 course discounts available if you plan on taking several courses to achieve the MP or SL designation.

ITIL 4 Certification Schema

Do I need to get an ITIL 4 certification if I already have ITIL v3?

There’s a lot of new material in ITIL 4 that did not exist in ITIL v3. In fact, almost half of the information covered in an ITIL Foundation course has changed or is new and several ITIL v3 concepts like the Service Lifecycle have gone away. This article on Going from ITIL v3 to ITIL 4: Key Differences and Shifting Long-Held Beliefs is good for understanding some of the key areas that have changed between the two versions. If your organization is using ITIL concepts and looking to stay current with modern ways of working, it’s extremely helpful to strengthen your knowledge and skills by taking an ITIL 4 course.

How do I Get ITIL Certified?

Once you’ve figured out which course to take, you’ll want to think about where to take a course and the format that makes the most sense. This section also answers some common questions around taking the exam itself and finding certificates for yourself or others.

Where can I find the best ITIL certification course?

Axelos is the official creator of ITIL 4, so if you’re looking to find the best training organization in your area, you’ll want to check out their list of Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs) first. Course Conductor also regularly assesses the best ATOs around the world and produces a Radar Report for ITIL training companies.

Should I take a live or self-paced course?

Another question you’ll want to figure out is the kind of course format you should take. Our mission at Beyond20 is to Change Work Life, and we believe the best learning and development happens when learn from one another, debate topics, and discuss how to best apply ITIL concepts within our organizations. This approach allows students to learn new skills and knowledge from their instructor as well as other students in class, pass the ITIL exam on the first try (like 95% of our students do), and most importantly, take those new skills and knowledge back to the workplace for immediate use and impact.

Ultimately, we deliver the kind of courses we want to take, and we’ve found that live courses provide a rich learning experience in real time. Below are some quick snapshots of our online ITIL Foundation course, which includes tons of virtual whiteboards, sticky notes, activities, and lively discussion throughout.

ITIL 4 Training Course Activity - 4 Dimensions of Service Management

ITIL 4 Foundation Course Snippet - Key Terms












What are the ITIL exam questions like?

This blog article on How to Pass the ITIL 4 Foundation Exam provides a deep dive into what the ITIL 4 Foundation questions are like; and it provides a link to 40 free practice questions to test your knowledge. The exam is closed book, which makes it somewhat difficult. However, with a good course, a solid approach to studying, and making sure to practice with online exam questions, you can prepare and successfully pass without too much trouble.

The ITIL 4 Advanced courses are a bit more difficult to study for and pass. This article on How to Pass the ITIL 4 Managing Professional Exams provides details on the ITIL 4 Advanced courses and gives several examples of the types of questions you’ll see during class and the exam itself. For a deeper dive into each of the ITIL 4 advanced courses, check out this article on What’s Covered in the Advanced ITIL 4 Courses and Who Should Attend.

What is the exam itself like?

All ITIL 4 exams are now delivered online through PeopleCert. This blog article on The ITIL 4 Foundation Exam Online: Everything you Need to Know answers several questions around the online format, as does the short video below:

Where can I see whether someone has an ITIL certification? Where can I view my own certificate?

Axelos publishes a Successful Candidates Register online, where certificate holders can opt to show their certifications. Note: This is not a comprehensive list but it’s a good first place to check. If you can’t find someone’s certificates here, you can ask them to send you their electronic certificates as validation that they hold a particular ITIL certification. If you’re being asked to validate your own certificate, you can pull all your certificates from your PeopleCert profile online.

Do I earn PDUs or continuing education credits with an ITIL certification?

Yes! Students who take an ITIL Foundation course will earn 16 continuing educational credits (CEUs) or professional development units (PDUs) for those who hold the PMP certification. For any of the ITIL 4 advanced courses, students will earn 24 educational credits or PDUs.

We hope this article has helped answer your questions on the ITIL certification. If you have additional questions, please let us know. We’re always happy to help and wish you the best on your learning and development journey.

Interested in learning more about ITIL 4?

Our complete guide is waiting for you. Hop on over and get a thorough look at the cutting-edge concepts included in the latest ITIL publications.
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Originally published January 01 2022, updated April 04 2023