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Transitioning from ITIL v3 certification to ITIL 4
Thu, 8th Apr 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

ITIL is the most commonly used framework for delivering IT Service Management (ITSM) in the world. The framework provides IT professionals with a best practice guidebook for delivering IT services that meet their organisations' needs.

According to the 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report, ITIL Foundation is the number one held certification worldwide. AXELOS, the framework's creator, recently published ITIL 4, the first significant update to the framework in 10 years. Now that the ITIL 4 publications, together with the respective syllabi and exams, have been completely launched, AXELOS has announced the ITIL v3 certification scheme's discontinuation schedule, starting in July of this year and finishing in July 2022. This is as follows:

  • ITIL v3 Foundation to be discontinued as of 1 July 2021
  • ITIL v3 Intermediates discontinued as of 1 Jan 2022
  • ITIL 4 Managing Professional Transition examination to be discontinued as of 1 July 2022

This means ITIL v3 exams will no longer be available post the dates mentioned above. Following AXELOS policy, training MUST also be discontinued and then, just like a domino chain, the supply of related materials and services will diminish until it disappears altogether.

What's the difference between ITIL v3 and ITIL 4 certification?

ITIL v3 had four primary certification levels: Foundation, Intermediate, Expert and Master.
Under ITIL 4, these levels have changed to the following: Foundation, Managing Professional, Strategic Leader and Master.

Given that the last update to the ITIL course syllabus was a decade ago, there is a large amount of new material in ITIL 4. For this reason, not every level has an ‘upgrade option' that ITIL v3 certified professionals can simply take to become ITIL 4 certified. For example, the contents of ITIL 4 ‘Managing Professional' course, compared to the old ‘Intermediate' level of ITIL v3, are very different.

How to transition to ITIL 4?

Understandably, considerable confusion and concern have arisen within the IT community. Many professionals ask questions such as: What happens to me if I am already certified in ITIL v3 – do I have to start entirely from scratch? Will my existing credit points be recognised? How long do I have to transition into V4? Some IT professionals may not even know they need to transition to ITIL 4.

For IT professionals who have already obtained an ITIL v3 certification, the key questions are how to update this to the equivalent in ITIL 4 and how their ITIL v3 certification positions them on the path to higher level ITIL 4 certification.

The following are popular scenarios for individuals interested in ITIL knowledge and in upgrading their certification from ITIL v3 to ITIL 4.

Scenario 1 – You are ITIL v3 Foundation certified

There is a large amount of new material in the ITIL 4 Foundation course; however, not everyone must start from scratch. A transitional certification is currently offered by AXELOS, which is shorter than taking the entire ITIL 4 Foundation course, titled ‘Upgrade to ITIL 4 Foundation'.

This offer is only available until the end of June 2022. Individuals who haven't taken the course by this date will need to start afresh and take the entire ITIL 4 Foundation course.

Scenario 2 – You are ITIL v3 Intermediate certified

a) with less than 17 credits

Those who have less than 17 credits but still want to bridge their knowledge into ITIL 4 rather than starting from scratch will need to gather 17 credits in total first.

This can be done by taking a combination of ITIL v3 Intermediate Lifecycle Modules (the amount needed to take depends on how many credits are required). Those with 17 credits will be eligible to take a short transitional course to bridge them to ITIL 4 ‘Managing Professional' level.

This transitional course is only five days long, compared with 14 days for the whole course, but is only offered until June 2022; hence individuals will need 17 credits and will need to book their exam before June 2022. Those who haven't reached 17 credits or taken the transition course by this date will have their existing credits forfeited, and will need to start from scratch on the ITIL 4 Managing Professional course.

b) with 17 credits or more

Those with 17 credits or more will be eligible to take the ITIL 4 Managing Professional transition course (5 days). However, this is only offered until the end of June 2022.  Those who haven't transitioned by this date will need to start from scratch.

Scenario 3 – You are ITIL Expert certified

Certified ITIL Experts will be eligible for the ITIL 4 Managing Professional Transition Course (5 days) and should take this before July 2022. If they fail to take the course by this date, they will need to start afresh with the ITIL 4 Managing Professional course, which takes 14 days in total.