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Author  Claire Agutter - Lead Tutor, ITSM Zone

July 7, 2015 |

 6 min read

  • Blog
  • Examinations
  • Service management
  • ITIL

What are the ITIL training questions that a tutor hears from trainees time and again?

As a useful resource for all practitioners, I felt it was worth bringing the “usual suspects” of topics together in one place:

What is an accreditor, an ATO and EI?

AXELOS is the accreditor, responsible for overall governance, management and quality of the ITIL education scheme: it sets the syllabus and is ultimately responsible for the type of training available.

Exam Institutes (EIs) are bodies approved by AXELOS to deliver exams within the scheme and which are allowed to accredit Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs).

An ATO is an independent training company accredited by one or more of the EIs to deliver training. Being accredited is a quality guarantee for the customer. For ITIL intermediate exams you must receive training from an accredited provider.

What types of training are available?

As expected, you can take classroom training for the ITIL courses. This may also be offered as “virtual classroom” training, similar in style to the classroom but delivered remotely. In addition, there is online training - such as e-learning/computer based training/self-paced/distance learning of different varieties.

While all are legitimate, there are pros and cons for each and delegates should research what is best for them. The classroom is ideal for learning in a face-to-face environment and is worthwhile if you can leave the office for a number of days. Training online means you can fit in your learning time around your schedule, and can spend more time studying in detail as the length of time you have access to the course for is often longer.

The bias at the moment is cultural and geographic: the UK leans towards classroom training where the US and countries outside Europe are more open to online training. Some delegates worry that employers will value one type of training more than another, but this isn’t usually the case. All training is accredited against the same standards, and all training types lead to the same certification.

Do I have to take a training course?

For ITIL Foundation, it’s not necessary. You can source free material online and access lots of books such as the TSO Foundation pass guide and AXELOS has a free exam to download.

Alternatively, you have the option to take a training course. Newer people to ITIL might be better with some structure, examples and support resources.

Where can I sit an exam?

Most people who undertake classroom training will probably get an exam on their final day and there is also the option of attending a test centre.

However, you can also take exams online: these have remote invigilation (or remote proctoring for the US market) whereby you’re connected to a person who ensures you’re following the rules of the exam and who will intervene if necessary.

How do I prove I’ve passed an exam?

AXELOS publishes a successful candidate register which collates results from all of the EIs, complete with exam certificates. Though voluntary for practitioners, it’s clearly of value to be able to verify your qualifications.

Does my certification expire?

There is no expiry date on ITIL qualifications. However AXELOS is developing a professional development programme which will give people means to develop their skills and show employers they have ongoing interest in ITSM and in enhancing their professional capabilities.

Do I need to be an ITIL Expert? Is the Lifecycle or Capability stream better for me?

It’s necessary to study what will help you in your current and future roles and ITIL Expert might be useful for that. You need to ask: “where do I want to be in my career?” and then decide on the most appropriate level of certification.

ITIL Expert is a very desirable qualification from a recruitment perspective and is of particular benefit for consultants. It also benefits practitioners looking at their current organization and assessing the services to the business, the service lifecycle and opportunities for improvement.

The Lifecycle stream is targeted at managers and teams who need to understand how to implement, measure and improve a process. The Capability stream is more operationally focused for those involved in day-to-day process activities.

Practitioners can opt for a mixture of courses from the Lifecycle and Capability streams and the ITIL credit system helps people understand what is an appropriate mix of modules.

Other useful information for career planning is available from the AXELOS Career Path Tool and the ITIL Intermediate Training Navigator tool.

I’m an ITIL Expert - where do I go from here?

From Expert you can go on to ITIL Master: this is not training and exam-based course; it’s experience-based, with the practitioner expected to write a paper on the use of ITIL and to attend a panel interview. It’s a big commitment and not for everyone. It tends to be favoured by those who will use it to prove their skills in their role, for example service management consultants or senior level service managers.

Beyond ITIL, there is scope to study other frameworks or standards that can complement your ITIL training. These might include PRINCE2®, MoV® and M_o_R® within the AXELOS portfolio or qualifications in approaches such as COBIT, OBASHI, ISO 20000, Agile and Lean.

As already mentioned, engaging with the upcoming AXELOS Professional Development Programme is a good way to keep up-to-date and see what other areas of best practice are emerging.

ITSM as a career

From my own experience, ITSM can lead to a very rewarding career, although the roles and progression path might not be clear at first. Many people take a similar path to me, starting on the IT helpdesk and, with ITIL training, progressing on to the service desk, then to change management, business relationship management, consultancy and training roles.

The best advice I could give anyone wanting to work in IT service management is to get involved with your organization’s IT and ITSM as much as possible: if you see that a process isn’t working or could be improved it’s a good opportunity to suggest a solution and show your capability and experience.

About ITSM Zone

ITSM Zone is a global provider of high quality best practice e-learning. One of the first companies in the world to provide ITIL Expert training online, their expanded portfolio includes PRINCE2 and RESILIA. ITSM Zone are proud to be an AXELOS strategic partner.

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