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PMP Certification vs ITIL Certification

PMP Certification vs ITIL Certification

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In this article

In this article

When it is about Project Management, professional certifications play an important role as compared to traditional degrees in the job market nowadays. ITIL and PMP are the two most popular credentials of Project Management. Even though both the certifications are unique in their own way, sometimes people just get confused about which one to choose and which one is right for them. The answer to their queries just depends on the character of their work. There are several similarities and differences between the two certifications but it is quite difficult to figure out which one is suitable at the level of career. This article would help you to know all the facts related to PMP and ITIL certifications

Need For the Project Managers?

It is the changing business priorities and a wave of automation that dominates the world and thereby it has become very essential for professionals to upskill. When it comes to PMP vs ITIL certifications, both are the best choices from the career point of view. Upskilling is equally important for Project Managers as for entry-level employees. The main objective behind this is to make Project Managers more responsible and help their teams to deliver better results. Besides this, there are two more reasons behind why Project Managers need to upskill which are as follows:

  • One of the main reasons is to gain new skills both for the growth of the organization and personal matters so that one can stay ahead in the competition. It helps the Project Managers to develop on a personal level and also help them to be a more talented as well as experienced professional. Hence, they can be a great asset to their enterprises as they would be in a high position with their heightened institutional knowledge to take much more positive steps to get value-added features for the organization.
  • The second reason is to stay updated with the fresh technological trends by learning about digital innovations and emerging tech. This would further let Project Managers encourage the implementation of disruptive technological solutions and direct their teams to create and deliver results. 

Know About PMP and ITIL Certifications to Consider for Upskilling

Today, there are many Project Management courses in the market, but let us focus on the two most well-known certification courses named PMP (Project Management Professional) Course and ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) Foundation Course.

PMP Certification

The Project Management Institute (PMI) provides PMP certification which is designed to teach Project Managers the best practices and the core principles of Project Management as mentioned in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). The PMBOK is the accredited and universally recognized guide for Project Management. The thoroughly detailed framework concentrates on methodologies, processes, and tools that best suit the different projects of the industry.

ITIL Certification

The ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library certification course that presents the standard principles of organization IT Management to the professionals. The individuals are provided with hands-on training along with the standard frameworks of IT Service Management. It helps them to learn the industry practices and top norms associated with IT service management. Once the professionals complete this course, they are fully equipped with the skills required to execute the IT projects and deliver enhanced IT as well as IT-related services to their clients through companies. 

Comparison between PMP and ITIL Certification

When it comes to ITIL certification vs PMP certification, there is a lot of differentiation that you need to consider while choosing a good professional course for your career which are as follows:

Eligibility Criteria

If we talk about ITIL 4 certification, it includes four levels such as Master, Strategic Leader, Managing Professional, and Foundation. For the ITIL Foundation course, there is not any prerequisite to meet but for higher levels of ITIL, one must pass the ITIL Foundation examination first. When it comes to ITIL Master certification, one should have five years of proven experience in higher management advisory positions or leadership. Similarly, the candidates should have a valid four-year degree along with 35 hours of Project Management training and 36 months of Project Management experience or CAPM certification in case of PMP. In the case of PMP, the individuals have only an associate’s degree or high school diploma, they should possess 60 months of experience in project leadership along with CAPM Certification or 35 hours of Project Management training/education. 

Career Aspects and Focus

As ITIL is more concentrated on enterprise IT service management, it is less versatile. In ITIL, more focus is given to the back-end processing of cost-reduction and IT operations. On the other hand, a PMP certification concentrates on managing a set of projects or the entire scope of a project within an organization. The job of PMP comprises the role of making sure that the team is following the ITIL standards. Therefore, PMP renders more versatility as it covers the best practices and the key principles for Project Managers. The other difference between these two certifications is job security. PMP certifications offer higher opportunities for having a long-term career as a Project Manager whereas ITIL Expert jobs are short-term contract basis. Various industries look for different certifications so you have to do research on job adverts for your selected career path to check about skills, knowledge, and accreditation as well.

Renewal of Credential

Keep in mind that your ITIL Foundation certificate will never expire as you can attach it to your CV for your whole life. However, the versions of ITIL might change but then too the old versions of the certification would stay valid even after the introduction of a new version. Initially, there was a program called ‘bridge courses’ that helped the certificate holders of the ITIL Foundation course upgrade their certification from an older to a new version. When the newest version is released, there is no such requirement of an official bridging program for the ITIL 4 Foundation course. It simply means that the certificate holders would need to re-appear for the new ITIL 4 Foundation examination to get the most recent credential. In addition, there is a scheme namely Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme of ITIL that provides you with digital badges if you pursue a certificate and join their membership program as well.

Then, members need to have 20 CPD points to extend the badge for the next 12 months. However, PMP is totally opposite to ITIL as the certification of PMP can be renewed every three years. The PMP certificate holders should prove that their professional skills are still relevant and sharp to meet the current demands of the business in order not to get their PMP certification revoked by PMI. This is possible for the PMP certificate holders by earning 60 PDUs (Professional Development Units) in each 3-year certification cycle. PDUs are classified into two categories namely Giving Back to the Profession and Education. Most significantly, certificate holders should gain a maximum of 25 Giving PDUs and at least 35 Education PDUs by the end of the cycle. If the prescribed amount of PDUs is not earned by them, they would need to face a one-year suspension of their certification after which it will no longer be valid.

Structure of Examination

If it is about the examination structure of an entry-level ITIL Foundation course, it consists of 40 multiple choice questions, and you have to score a minimum of 65% (26 correct questions or more) to pass the exam. The duration of the entire examination is 1 hour but the individuals who appear for the examination in a distinct language from their working or native language would get 25% extra time. The ITIL Foundation examination has been conducted to test the individual’s terminology, general knowledge of ITIL concepts, and core elements of the service value chain and service value system. Unlike the ITIL, the duration of the PMP exam is usually longer as it is for 4 hours with no scheduled break. It involves 200 multiple-choice questions; among them you have to appear 175 questions to get the final score and the rest of the 25 questions are pretest ones that are given to test the question’s validity for future exams. The five project phases are tested by the PMP examination questions including planning, initiating, monitoring/controlling, executing, and closing, as well as the code of ethics and extra domain of professional conduct. 



Besides the differences between the PMP and the ITIL certifications, both are important in different aspects with respect to various career options depending on one’s aspirations. You do not need to be confused between these two courses as this article is presented to make you know the facts and benefits of the certifications so that you can know which one to choose and which one is better from your career point of view. Honestly, if you are the one who wants to specialize in IT service, it would be better to go with ITIL. The PMP would be ideal for the one who wants to focus more on Project Management with more freedom regardless of the type of industry or project.



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