Multiple tiers of ITIL certification
ITIL Foundation Certificate
At the core of the certification process is the ITIL Foundation Certificate. Foundation coursework and certification testing are designed to offer an overall understanding of the ITIL framework and are prerequisites for the more advanced elements of ITIL certification.
This level breaks the coursework into two streams that focus on specific aspects of ITIL. The Lifecycle Stream contains five individual certifications that address the design and delivery of IT services. The Capabilities Stream includes four certifications that have an operational slant, including change management and operational support. The advanced level also includes a certification called Managing Across the Lifecycle, which aims to connect the other certifications at this level in a cohesive manner.
ITIL Expert designation
Above the advanced level is the ITIL Expert designation. Students who complete a mix of advanced-level coursework and achieve a certain number of credits for those courses are given this designation. The goal of the expert designation is to acknowledge an advanced understanding of the framework while enabling practitioners to specialize in focused areas of ITIL.
At the top of the ITIL certification pyramid is the Master level, which doesn’t focus on testing, but rather on practical deployment knowledge. It is achieved by providing written documentation of a real-world ITIL implementation and by an oral examination.
Like the technology it supports, the ITIL framework is continually evolving, with updated versions being pushed every couple of years. The current version of ITIL, V3, was originally issued in 2007, and support for its predecessor V2 was withdrawn in 2009. To provide a path for those who have already achieved certification in the prior version, ITIL offers bridge certifications. Essentially coursework and tests that highlight the changes between versions, the bridge certifications enable those with existing Foundation, Advanced, or Expert designations to stay current without repeating the full process.
Getting a foundation in ITIL
IT staff might also receive ITIL foundation training as part of an enterprise’s shift to an IT service management model. Giving the teams a baseline of understanding about ITIL and IT service management will help establish expectations and set the tone for an ITIL rollout.