Things You Need To Know About ITIL® Practitioner Certification

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ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. It refers to practices and processes geared at ensuring excellent service delivery in IT (Information Technology Service Management-ITSM). Axelos, a best practices company in IT service provision, is responsible for developing ITIL. The systematic approach that ITIL employs towards ITSM has the following end goals:

  • Strengthening customer relations
  • Risk management
  • Cost-effectiveness across all practices
  • An IT environment that is stable, scalable, adapts to change and promotes growth

To become an ITIL® expert, you need to progress through several stages of certification. With each qualification, you become more knowledgeable about ITIL best practices. More so, the different tiers allow candidates to choose a specific career path.

ITIL 3 is transitioning to ITIL 4. The foundation level of ITIL 4 is complete, and certifications are now available. If previously doing foundation level under the ITIL3, it is important to update to ITIL 4. If at intermediate levels on the ITIL 3, you should continue with the same scheme as ITIL certifications for other levels will come out later in 2019. All the same, both ITIL 4 and ITIL 3 certification are aligned to give the easiest possible transition to practitioners.

ITIL Certification Levels 

ITIL has the following levels:

  • ITIL Foundation

At the entry level, candidates learn general ITIL basics such as concepts and elements important in the ITIL life cycle, how lifecycle stages are linked, processes and how they contribute to ITSM practices.

  • Practitioner

This is the level after foundation certification. Practitioners learn how to adapt and adopt ITIL practices in their companies.

  • Intermediate Level

There are several modules under the intermediate level. Each module specializes in a different area of ITSM; you can choose to study the module or modules most applicable to you. Intermediate courses are more detailed than the foundation and practitioner.

  • Expert Level

As the name suggests, at this level of certification, you are an expert in ITIL. As an expert, you ought to have in-depth knowledge and be skilled in ITIL best practices. This means you should hold several ITIL certifications and have relevant work experience.

  • Master Level

This skill level requires a demonstration of one’s experience in the application of ITIL techniques in practical assignments, with clear outcomes.

If you have an ITIL Foundation certification, practitioner certification should be your next step. At the foundation level, you learn the basics of ITSM. At the practitioner level, you learn the day-to-day application of the ITIL framework to your company.

What is ITIL® Practitioner Certification all about

ITIL Practitioner training equips candidates with the ability to adopt the ITIL framework in their organization, to increase value. Some focus areas of the practitioner course include:

  • Continual Service Improvement (CSI) approach and its application to projects
  • Success factors necessary for improvement initiatives. These include:
  • Change management. People are essential to the change process. You will learn how to lead and manage people for successful initiatives.
  • You will learn how to develop communication plans that include and raise awareness among all stakeholders.
  • Important metrics from a business perspective, and how to measure progress.
  • The guiding principles of ITIL practitioner. We discuss these in more detail below.

The guiding principles of ITIL practitioner

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in ITIL application. Your application has to be “fit for purpose,” meaning, you don’t just adopt ITIL best practices, you have to know how to adapt them to your specific purpose. This course teaches you how to do just that, by focusing on the following nine principles:

  1. Focus on value. Value delivery should be from a customer’s perspective.
  2. Design for Experience. IT services should provide a positive user experience.
  3. Start where you are. Assess where you are and implement around existing structures as opposed to starting afresh. Avoid at all costs to “reinvent the wheel.”
  4. Work holistically. You can achieve this by integrating software, hardware, data, people, tools, processes, etcetera. ITIL should never be a siloed process.
  5. Progress iteratively. Define your short-term goals and achieve your bigger goals by approaching them as small manageable initiatives.
  6. Observe directly. Work with relevant data obtained through direct observation at the source.
  7. Be transparent. Transparency fosters trust; a trusting team is less likely to resist change.
  8. Collaborate. Involve all relevant stakeholders to ensure buy-in and success of each initiative.
  9. Keep it simple. Only focus on activities that add value.

Learning ITIL concepts and principles is not the end goal. You have to know how to implement the framework for continued ITSM success.

By taking a training course, you will get access to learning material, case studies, quizzes, exam simulations, all developed with the help of industry experts. You can choose self-paced learning, or attend an instructor-led online classroom.

About ITIL Practitioner exam and certification

To sit for ITIL practitioner certification, you must have an ITIL Foundation Certificate. You should have proof of completion. For instance, a certificate or a letter from Axelos confirming that you are certified. If you don’t provide the foundation certificate, your practitioner exam results and certification will be withheld until you comply. You may have to re-sit the foundation exam if you cannot provide proof.

If you sat for your foundation exams a while in the past, it is advisable to refresh your knowledge before you attend the practitioner course. Axelos also has a book titled ITIL® Continual Service Improvement. This book will be important before, during and after your course.


Below are relevant details of the ITIL practitioner exam:

  • The exam fee is $150.
  • When ready to take the exam, you will be provided with an exam voucher, which you should use within 30 days.
  • The exam lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes.
  • The ITIL practitioner exam is open book; you can reference the ITIL® Practitioner Guidance during your exam.
  • You will answer 40 multiple-choice questions.
  • You need a pass mark of 70% to be certified
  • Once you complete the exam, you will get 3 ITIL credits. All the credits from the different certification levels build up to your expert-level certification, which is granted upon attaining 22 credits.

The journey does not stop with your practitioner certificate. You should continue learning and working towards Expert level certification. However, attaining ITIL practitioner certification is a great start towards improving your salary prospects.

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