Top ITSM Certifications for 2024

Advanced in Tech & Business

Top ITSM Certifications for 2024

IT service management, or ITSM, certifications have become standard across the technology sector. These certifications can show competency and knowledge related to designing, planning, operating and delivering IT services.

ITSM is based on the framework of ITIL, or the IT Infrastructure Library. This documentation informs ITSM practices and is used as a guiding principle.

We’ll look at the most popular ITSM certifications and why each one is important in the field of information technology. The focus of these certifications is to enhance the delivery of value to customers by improving information systems processes that can increase efficiencies and reduce downtime or interruptions.

You may notice that some of the featured ITSM certification listings link to practice courses. Some versions of the ITSM exam certification packages come bundled with practice courses and prep materials, while others do not.

Certification Cost Duration Skill level Will you receive a certification, badge or professional designation?
ITIL 4 Foundation – IT Service Management Certification $649 – $1,349. Prices vary based on type of instruction and regular sales. 2 weeks, or about 16 – 18 hours Beginner ITIL 4 Foundation certification
ITIL 4 Managing Professional Approximately $3,400 – $5,300 Varies depending on whether taken independently or with a group, but most of the four modules contain 8 – 10 hours of content, plus exams. Intermediate ITIL 4 Managing Professional designation
ITIL Strategic Leader $1,678 (two modules at $839 each) Varies depending on whether using guided or self-guided modules, plus 90-minute exams Intermediate ITIL Strategic Leader designation
ITIL 4 Master Free (requires completion of ITIL 4 Practice Manager, Managing Professional and Strategic Leader modules) Varies depending on the duration of the previous modules (requires completion of ITIL 4 Practice Manager, Managing Professional and Strategic Leader modules) Advanced ITIL 4 Master designation
CompTIA IT Fundamentals $138 – $421 for the exam from CompTIA, plus an optional $59/month for practice materials from Coursera Coursera suggests 13 hours to complete the practice materials. The exam lasts 60 minutes. Beginner CompTIA IT Fundamentals certification
CompTIA Security+ $404 – $1,111 depending on the bundle. Duration will depend on individual preparation speed. The exam lasts 60 minutes. Intermediate CompTIA Security+ certification
CompTIA Network+ $369 – $1,165 depending on the bundle. Duration will depend on individual preparation speed. The exam lasts 60 minutes. Beginner CompTIA Network+ certification
CompTIA A+ $253 and $849 depending on the bundle. Duration will depend on individual preparation speed. The exam lasts 90 minutes. Beginner CompTIA A+ certification

Top ITIL certifications

Since ITSM processes are informed and steered by ITIL best practices and guidelines, it’s best to start there. ITIL certification is currently at Version 4 and is organized in a tiered structure.

Udemy offers a training course for the ITIL Foundation certification.

ITIL 4 Foundation – IT Service Management Certification: Best for professionals new to ITSM training

Simplilearn’s ITIL 4 Certification Training course comes with a guarantee that you can pass the ITIL 4 certification exam afterward. Image: Simplilearn/screenshot by TechRepublic 

As the name suggests, the ITIL Foundation certification sets the foundation for understanding the essential ITIL framework and how it relates to delivering value through technology services.

This certification focuses on the four key elements of the ITIL framework, which are as follows:

  • ITIL guiding principles.
  • The four dimensions of service management.
  • The move from processes to practices.
  • The ITIL service value system.

Cost

The ITIL Foundation certification from Simplilearn costs $649 (on sale from $949) for self-paced learning or $799 (on sale from $1,349) for live, classroom-style instruction. Corporate team leaders can inquire for enterprise bundle prices.

Best for IT team leaders: ITIL 4 Managing Professional

The ITIL 4 Management Professional certification is available through Axelos, the organization behind ITIL. Image: Axelos/screenshot by TechRepublic 

The ITIL 4 Managing Professional certification is the next step after learning the foundations of ITIL. The managing professional certification looks at practical ways to manage an IT service or department; it focuses on all aspects of running an IT department, including managing teams, customers and services.

The ITIL Managing Professional certification is broken down into four modules:

  • ITIL 4 Specialist: Create, Deliver and Support.
  • ITIL 4 Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value.
  • ITIL 4 Specialist: Support High-Velocity IT.
  • ITIL 4 Strategist: Direct, Plan and Improve.

Cost

The ITIL 4 Managing Professional modules together cost between $3,400 and $5,300 depending on the type of training; this estimate was calculated by adding estimates for the four modules together. These modules may be taught in person, which may change the prices. Local training centers can be found through PeopleCert.

Best for IT directors, department managers or aspiring executives: ITIL 4 Strategic Leader

The ITIL 4 Strategic Leader certification requires you to complete two modules. Image Axelos/screenshot by TechRepublic 

The ITIL 4 Strategic Leader certification is for those who will be implementing IT services and workflows alongside company strategy and future goals. This certification focuses on success through processes that deal with competition and navigating challenges in areas of technology that must be overcome.

There are two modules within the ITIL Strategic Leader certification:

  • ITIL 4 Strategist: Direct, Plan and Improve.
  • ITIL 4 Leader: Digital and IT Strategy.

The first module is for those who want to implement positive organizational change with a focus on constant improvement; it also focuses on methods to support changes in management styles in a way that minimizes disturbances to workflows.

The second module, Digital and IT Strategy, focuses on working across organizational departments to implement synergistic strategies. Risk management is also addressed, along with processes for mentoring and developing new talent and leadership candidates.

Cost

The ITIL 4 Strategist: Direct, Plan and Improve module costs $839 for the self-paced class taken online; the prices for instructor-led classes vary. The ITIL 4 Leader: Digital and IT Strategy module costs $839 online, or you can inquire about local training centers.

Best all-around IT competency: ITIL 4 Master

ITIL 4 Master certification will be granted to you by Axelos upon completion of the ITIL 4 Practice Manager, Managing Professional and Strategic Leader designations. Image: Axelos/screenshot by TechRepublic 

The ITIL 4 Master certification moves away from coursework and focuses on real-world usage and implementation of the other ITIL 4 principles and modules.

This certification requires five years of experience in IT-related services implementing and using the other ITIL 4 concepts. This experience must be within leadership, managerial or advisory areas of an organization or service provider.

To obtain an ITIL 4 Master certification, there is no set test or curriculum to follow; instead, it asks individuals to document their experiences and success in implementing the concepts of previous ITIL 4 modules. The certification is 100% based on real-world applications and how an individual is able to document and explain their decisions, as well as the results that follow.

Cost

ITIL 4 Master does not have a specific test or curriculum, so it does not have a specific cost. PeopleCert and Axelos offer the prerequisites.

More ITSM-related certifications

While all ITSM certifications and methods are informed by ITIL 4, there are other certifications outside of ITIL that demonstrate an understanding of best practices when providing IT services. We look at some of the top certifications for those looking to expand their knowledge of ITSM-related concepts.

A prep course for CompTIA IT Fundamentals is available through Coursera.

Best for IT service managers: CompTIA IT Fundamentals

CompTIA provides the test and study materials for the IT Fundamentals certification. Image: CompTIA/screenshot by TechRepublic 

The CompTIA IT Fundamentals certification is an introduction to core IT services. This ITF certification can be seen as a first step for those looking toward becoming IT service managers.

In addition, this certification is suitable for those who are not IT managers but want to better understand the processes and concepts involved in IT management in order to make better decisions and more easily work across technology departments.

Cost

CompTIA IT Fundamentals from CompTIA costs $138 to $421, depending on the bundle. Different bundles contain either only the exam for certification or the exam plus study and practice guides.

Best for cybersecurity professionals: CompTIA Security+

The CompTIA Security+ certification is administered by CompTIA. Image: CompTIA/screenshot by TechRepublic 

The coursework and testing for this certification deal with being able to assess specific network security issues and develop strategies for fixing them. In addition, CompTIA Security+ deals with how to implement security-focused services across different platforms.

This certification is aimed at those already working in IT services who want to expand their knowledge and understanding of security and how it integrates with other aspects of IT service management.

Individuals can expect to learn IT security best practices as well as ways to maintain compliance with industry standards involving privacy and data security.

Cost

CompTIA Security+ costs between $404 and $1,111, depending on the bundle.

Best for IT pros who want to specialize in networking: CompTIA Network+

CompTIA Network+ is suited for early-career network administrators. Image: CompTIA/screenshot by TechRepublic 

The course and certification for CompTIA Network+ involve the fundamentals of networking in an IT services environment. It focuses on the core aspects of a network, such as cabling and various hardware devices.

The CompTIA Network+ certification also focuses on more advanced topics, such as how to properly implement network components and how to troubleshoot common problems and network failures.

While not a complete networking course, this is a strong foundational certification for those who want to learn best practices when it comes to networking and working in IT services.

Cost

CompTIA Network+ costs between $369 and $1,165, depending on the bundle.

Best for aspiring IT workers: CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+ covers IT skills and customer service. Image: CompTIA/screenshot by TechRepublic 

The CompTIA A+ certification aims to teach the fundamentals of providing IT service support to end users. The focus is on end-user hardware and software implementation and troubleshooting.

This is an entry-level certification for those looking to work in IT service management. Despite being an entry level certificate, it does touch on more advanced concepts like security and cloud computing. CompTIA A+ also teaches operating system fundamentals and how support for software-related issues can be handled effectively.

Cost

CompTIA A+ costs between $253 and $849, depending on the bundle.

Final thoughts on ITSM certifications

The need for ITSM certifications arose due to the dynamic nature of IT service management and the underlying technology. With the ever-evolving landscape of technology services, it became crucial to have certifications that can swiftly adapt to these changes.

Focusing on certifications that show your competency in key areas of IT service management is an important way to demonstrate how you can bring value to any technology-related team or organization.