ITIL V4 Certification Scheme, and Transitioning from ITIL V3 Certifications

The ITIL V4 certification scheme has changed from the ITIL V3 structure. As expected, the number of certifications one can take up has gone up.

The current ITIL V4 certification scheme released by Axelos looks as below.

ITIL V4 Certification Scheme

The ITIL V4 certification scheme looks similar to the ITIL V3 certification scheme. The foundation layer and the top most layer (Master) are the same, however, the intermediate certifications have changed somewhat. The differences are highlighted in the image below.

ITIL V4 vs ITIL V3 Certification Schemes

ITIL V4 Foundation

The new ITIL Foundation certification tests the IT professional on the concepts of ITIL V4 publications. This is a basic certification which will be launched in March 2019.

The bad news is that ITIL V3 Foundation certification holders cannot transition to ITIL V4 Foundation as there is a lot of churn in the ITIL V4 content.

ITIL V4 Intermediate

In ITIL V3 intermediate, there were two paths to getting the individual certifications and the much coveted ITIL Expert certification by completing Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC).

In ITIL V4 however, the ITIL Expert certification has been somewhat diluted by introducing two certifications (ITIL Managing Professional and ITIL Strategic Leader) in the place of one.

The ITIL Managing Professional certification provides the IT professional the practical and technical knowledge about how to run successful IT projects, teams and workflows.

To become an ITIL Managing Professional, the candidate must complete four modules – 3 ITIL Specialist modules and a ITIL Strategist module:

  • Create Deliver and Support (ITIL Specialist)
  • Drive Stakeholder Value (ITIL Specialist)
  • High Velocity IT (ITIL Specialist)
  • Direct, Plan and Improve (ITIL Strategist)

At this point in time, the exact nature of the ITIL Specialist and ITIL Strategist modules is not known. The names too don’t offer a lot of clues.

The ITIL Strategic Leader certification demonstrates that the professional has a clear understanding of how IT influences and directs business strategy.

To become an ITIL Strategic Leader, the candidate must complete two
ITIL Strategist modules:

  • Direct, Plan and Improve
  • Digital and IT Strategy

The Direct, Plan and Improve module under ITIL Strategist stream is common to both ITIL Managing Professional and ITIL Strategic Leader certifications.

Transitioning from ITIL V3 Intermediate towards ITIL V4

Due to the nature of credits, things become a little complicated in the transition works from V3 to V4.

ITIL V3 Foundation + Credits < 5

The credits or the certifications do not get transitioned over to ITIL V4. You will have to start afresh from ITIL Foundation moving up the chain.

ITIL V3 Foundation + Credits > 5

If you have 6 or more credits from ITIL V3, then you have the option of writing more ITIL V3 certifications, and aiming to get an overall 17 credits.

When you have 17 credits in ITIL V3, you become eligible to take up the Managing Professional Transition certification exam. Through this method, you can cheat your way to becoming an ITIL Expert equivalent by not writing the MALC certification exam.

Transitioning from ITIL V3 Expert to ITIL V4

For those of whose who have the ITIL V3 Expert certification, the path is straightforward.

We are eligible to take up the Managing Professional Transition certification whenever it is made available. My guess is that it will be launched in the second half of 2019.

After successfully completing the Managing Professional certification, if we need to become ITIL Strategic Leader, we need to attempt the ITIL Leader Digital & Strategy module.

ITIL Master

To become an ITIL V4 Master, both the Managing Professional and Strategic Leader certifications are necessary.

Apart from this, there is no further information available on the Master certification or the transition path for ITIL V3 Masters.


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Michael February 19, 2019 at 10:06 PM

Hi Abinhav, I successfully passed my ITIL v3 exam in ’17 with an 80% passing grade. I used your book “Become ITIL Foundation Certified in 7 Days” and I passed the exam with one swing. Thanks.

I look forward to any material that you will make available to prep for the ITIL V4 Foundations exam.


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