The ITIL V4 certification guide (2024)

What is ITIL V4 certification? 

ITIL V4 Is a leading IT service management (ITSM) framework that helps organizations improve their IT service delivery. The ITIL V4 certification program is designed to validate your knowledge and skills in the latest ITIL best practices: 

  • Master the ITIL service value system (SVS) and service value chain (SVC) 

  • Learn the best practices for service design, transition, operation and continual improvement 

  • Demonstrate your confidence and credibility as an IT service management professional 

The ITIL V4 certification guide (2024)

Key facts

  • Number of ITIL certification holders since its inception: 2,000,000 
  • Average U.S salary for ITIL certification holders: $107,000  
  • Recommended experience: 1-2 years 

ITIL V4 exam overview

ITIL V4 certification involves an in-depth understanding of core concepts and practices in IT service management. The exam evaluates candidates based on seven specific learning outcomes. 

Outcome 1: Understand the key concepts of service management
  • 1.1 Recall the definition of: 

    • Service 
    • Utility
    • Warranty
    • Customer
    • User
    • Service management
    • Sponsor 
  • 1.2 Describe the key concepts of creating value with services: 

    • Cost 
    • Value 
    • Organization 
    • Outcome 
    • Output 
    • Risk 
    • Utility 
    • Warranty 
  • 1.3 Describe the key concepts of service relationships: 

    • Service offering 
    • Service relationship management 
    • Service provision 
    • Service consumption 
Outcome 2: Understand how the ITIL guiding principles can help an organization adopt and adapt service management
  • 2.1. Describe the nature, use and interaction of the guiding principles 

  • 2.2 Explain the use of the guiding principles: 

    • Focus on value 
    • Start where you are 
    • Progress iteratively with feedback 
    • Collaborate and promote visibility 
    • Think and work holistically 
    • Keep it simple and practical 
    • Optimize and automate  
Outcome 3: Understand the four dimensions of service management
  • 3.1 Describe the four dimensions of service management: 

    • Organizations and people 
    • Information and technology 
    • Partners and suppliers 
    • Value streams and processes 
Outcome 4: Understand the purpose and components of the ITIL service value system
  • 4.1 Describe the ITIL service value system 
Outcome 5: Understand the activities of the service value chain and how they interconnect
  • 5.1 Describe the interconnected nature of the service value chain and how this supports value streams 

  • 5.2 Describe the purpose of each value chain activity: 

    • Plan 
    • Improve 
    • Engage 
    • Design and transition 
    • Obtain/build 
    • Deliver and support 
Outcome 6: Understand the purpose and key terms of 15 ITIL practices
  • 6.1 Recall the purpose of the following ITIL practices: 

    • Information security management 
    • Relationship management 
    • Supplier management 
    • IT asset management 
    • Monitoring and event management 
    • Release management 
    • Service configuration management 
    • Deployment management 
    • Continual improvement 
    • Change enablement 
    • Incident management 
    • Problem management
    • Service request management
    • Service desk
    • Service level management 
  • 6.2 Recall the definitions of the following ITIL terms 

    • IT asset 
    • Event 
    • Configuration item 
    • Change 
    • Incident 
    • Problem 
    • Known error 
Outcome 7: Understand 7 ITIL practices
  • 7.1  Explain the following ITIL practices in detail, excluding how they fit within the service value chain: 

    • Continual improvement
    • The continual improvement model
    • Change enablement
    • Incident management
    • Problem management
    • Service request management
    • Service desk
    • Service level management 

ITIL V4 exam details

The ITIL V4 certification exam tests the candidates' knowledge of the ITIL framework, which is a holistic and flexible approach to managing IT-enabled services and covers key concepts, practices and principles of service management. 

ITIL created:  1989 Last update: 2019
Number of questions:


Type of questions: Multiple-choice
Length of test: 60 minutes Passing score: 26 out of 40 (65%) 
Recommended experience: A baseline of IT skills acquired in 1-2 years of experience  Languages:

English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Korean, Russian, Arabic

Validity duration:  Three years CPEs needed for renewal: 60 (20 per year for 3 years) 

Additional ITIL v4 exam resources

Many free or low-cost resources can help you prepare for the ITIL v4 exam. This includes study guides, books, practice questions, exams, videos and more. Here are some of the best resources that we recommend. 

ITIL V4 study guides and books 

One of the most effective ways to study for the ITIL 4 exam is to read books and guides covering the ITIL V4 Foundation syllabus and key service management concepts. Many books and guides are available online or in print, but some of the most popular ones are: 

  • ITIL Foundation Essentials: The Exam Facts You Need, by Claire Agutter
  • ITIL 4 Foundation Complete Certification Kit: Study Book and eLearning Program, by AXELOS
  • ITIL 4 Exam Prep Questions, Answers and Explanations: 800+ ITIL Foundation Questions with Detailed Solutions, by Christopher Scordo   

ITIL V4 practice questions and exams 

Another way to test your knowledge and readiness for the ITIL V4 exams is to take practice questions and exams that simulate the real exam format and difficulty. A few of the most popular ITIL V4 practice question options are listed below: 

  • ITIL 4 Foundation Practice Tests 3rd Edition, by ISC2 and Sybex
  • ITIL 4 Foundation Official Practice Exam, by AXELOS 
  • ITIL 4 Foundation - ITILFND V4 Exam Questions by ExamTopics 

Most ITIL V4 training courses also have practice questions and exams available. For example, the ITIL V4 Foundations Training Boot Camp offers unlimited practice exam attempts while you prepare for your ITIL certification online. 

Other free ITIL V4 training resources 

There are a number of other free ITIL training materials being produced and shared by the community:

  • Forums like the r/ITIL subreddit will help you connect with other people who are studying for the ITIL V4 exam or who have already passed it, provide you with insights about passing the exam, and help you when interviewing for ITIL roles. 

  • Videos on YouTube and other free and paid platforms can help you learn ITIL concepts while you watch. 

  • Podcasts like the Cyber Work Podcast by Infosec may not help you prepare for the exam but can help you learn about the challenges and opportunities that certified ITIL professionals face in their careers. 

ITIL V4 jobs and careers

Becoming an ITIL V4 certified professional opens up a world of opportunities in IT service management. Organizations across industries value professionals who can effectively implement ITIL practices. 


Common ITIL V4 job titles 

  • IT service manager 

  • IT service desk analyst 

  • IT project manager 

  • Service desk manager 

  • Change manager 

  • Compliance manager 

  • Security manager 

ITIL V4 live boot camps and self-paced training

ITIL V4 certification comparisons and alternatives

ITIL V4 certification provides valuable knowledge and skills in IT service management. However, it's important to understand how it compares to previous versions and other certifications in the industry. Here are some comparisons and alternatives to consider. 

ITIL V3 vs V4

The evolution of ITIL from ITL V3 to ITIL V4 included a shift toward a more holistic and flexible approach to service management, incorporating concepts like the Service Value System (SVS) and the Four Dimensions of Service Management. ITIL V4 also places a greater emphasis on the integration of ITSM with other frameworks and practices, such as Agile, DevOps and Lean. 


While ITIL V4 focuses on IT service management, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification centers around project management. PMP certification validates your knowledge and expertise in project management principles, processes and best practices. While both certifications can complement each other in specific roles, they serve different purposes. ITIL V4 is more specific to IT, while PMP is broader and applicable to various Industries and project types. 

Other ITIL alternatives 

As you progress in your career, especially in cybersecurity, there are other frameworks and compliance standards to consider along with ITIL. These include: 

  • NIST Cybersecurity Framework: Developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), this framework provides guidelines and best practices for managing and improving cybersecurity risk. 

  • DoD Risk Management Framework: Specifically targeted toward the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), this framework outlines the process for managing cybersecurity and information risk within DoD systems. 

  • NERC CIP: The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards focus on cybersecurity requirements for the electric power industry. 

  • PCI-DSS: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is a set of security standards designed to protect payment card data and ensure secure cardholder transactions.