ITIL Credentialing Overview

Those of us deeply involved in the world of ITIL often forget how confusing the structure of the ITIL credentialing system can be to those who aren’t. In this post, I’ll describe the first two levels of the ITIL credentialing system.


The first level in the ITIL credential structure is foundation. An ITIL foundation class provides a baseline level of knowledge about service management concepts in general and the ITIL best practices specifically. An individual who passed an ITIL foundation exam demonstrated a baseline level of knowledge of the ITIL best practices.  ITIL foundation exams consist of forty multiple choice questions. Passing this exam requires answering twenty-six or more of the forty questions correctly.

Who Should Take a Foundation Class?

A foundation class is appropriate for anyone at any level of an IT organization because the information often centers around making sure everyone in the organization uses a shared vocabulary to describe typical IT activities. Furthermore, many IT tools these days regularly use ITIL terminology and process names, meaning anyone who uses tools typically found in an IT organization benefits from the baseline level of knowledge that an ITIL foundation class provides.


The intermediate level comes after foundation in the current ITIL credentialing structure. Intermediate classes provide students with much more detail about the best practices as well as how and why an organization might choose to adopt the guidance provided by ITIL. Intermediate exams are much different than the foundation exam in that they consist of eight scenario-based, multiple choice questions. The questions are gradient-scored, which means that of the four possible answers, different point values are given based on the relative correctness of each answer. Intermediate exams test a much deeper level of knowledge by expecting examinees to understand how to take multiple factors into account when applying the ITIL best practices in an organization. Passing an intermediate exam requires a minimum of twenty-eight of forty possible points.

The intermediate level is split into two paths, lifecycle and capability. There are five lifecycle courses, one for each of the ITIL core books. Lifecycle courses are typically delivered over a 3-day period and discuss the best practices from a management perspective.

There are four capability courses. Capability courses combine information from two or more of the ITIL core books and are typically delivered over a 5-day period. They discuss the best practices at more detailed level, which is typically useful for someone who has to perform one or more of the ITIL processes.

Who should take an ITIL intermediate course?

ITIL intermediate courses are appropriate for anyone who wants to understand more about the ITIL best practices. It’s common to see various job roles in ITIL intermediate classes, including:

  • Executives
  • IT Managers
  • Change managers
  • Release managers
  • IT Architects
  • Designers and developers
  • IT Program and project managers
  • Information security professionals
  • Availability managers
  • Supplier managers
  • Service level managers
  • Business relationship managers
  • Technology consultants

Related Courses
ITIL® version 3

ITIL Qualification Scheme

In this article

Join the Conversation