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CIPD Q&A: All Your Most Common CIPD Questions, Answered!

Take your HR or L&D career to the next level with an online CIPD qualification. 

Qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Developement (CIPD) have long been considered the gold standard for HR and L&D professionals.

Whether you’re just starting your career in the people profession or you’re well on your way up the career ladder, the CIPD has something for everyone.

With so many providers out there, however, the correct information on these prestigious qualifications can sometimes be confusing, which might leave you wondering about whether enroling on a course is your best way forward after all.

To help save you some time and keep you motivated to find the right answers, below we review - and respond - to all your most common CIPD questions.

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Your Most Common CIPD Questions 

1. Is CIPD recognised worldwide? 

While there are plenty of HR and L&D qualifications to choose from online, in-person, and via blended learning, CIPD qualifications have an edge on the competition because not only are their courses considered the training benchmark for people professionals, but their qualifications are, in fact, recognised worldwide!

This means that no matter where your job takes you, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your qualification is accepted internationally.

2. Can you add CIPD to your CV? 

Absolutely!

When you first enrol on a CIPD qualification, whether it’s on Level 3, 5, or 7 course, you can showcase on your CV (and LinkedIn) that you’re studying from the get-go.

This is especially good as current and potential employers will be able to see that you’re making the effort to upskill in your profession, something that speaks volumes to business leaders who are looking for the best talent for their organisations.

3. What does Assoc. CIPD mean? 

When you enrol on the CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management, you’ll automatically be on route to Associate CIPD Membership and have the option to place the ‘Assoc CIPD’ designation beside your name.

In order to achieve Associate Membership status, however, you’ll either need to complete your CIPD Level 5 course or partake in an experience assessment (non-study route).

Being a CIPD member at this level demonstrates not only that you have the knowledge and credibility necessary to be a first-rate people professional, but that you’re motivated to advance and excel in your career.

Keep in mind that there are other CIPD membership options depending on where you’re at in your career and what CIPD level you’re studying, including Student, Foundation, Chartered and Fellow Membership. 

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4. Is CIPD equivalent to a degree? 

If you’ve done any prior research to CIPD, you’ll know that each level is equivalent to a certain level of education outside the CIPD, but not all are equivalent to a degree. 

What is the CIPD Level 3 equivalent to?
The CIPD Level 3 Foundation Certificate in People Practice is designed to give you a comprehensive look at the fundamental HR and L&D skills you need to kickstart or advance your career.

It’s the lowest level offered by the CIPD and roughly equivalent to A Level qualifications in regards to difficulty.

What is the CIPD Level 5 equivalent to?
The CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management and the CIPD level 5 Associate Diploma in Organisational Learning & Development are designed to give you the skills you need to excel at or take on mid-level HR/L&D manager or advisory roles.

At this level, qualifications are roughly equivalent to an undergraduate degree.

What is the CIPD Level 7 equivalent to?
Along with this question, many people ask, ‘Is CIPD Level 7 a Master’s Degree?’. In short, the answer is yes.

The CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma in People Management and the CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma in Strategic Learning & Development offer you the high-level and strategic knowledge and skills you need to master senior-level roles in HR/L&D.

To this end, studying the CIPD Level 7 course is roughly equivalent to a Master’s Degree or other postgraduate qualification.

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5. How hard is a CIPD HR or L&D course? 

As is the case with any kind of study, how difficult a CIPD HR or L&D course is will depend entirely on the learner, what CIPD level they’re studying, how they study (e.g., full-time, part-time, online, or in-person), and their responsibilities outside of work.

If you want to learn at your own pace and in a flexible way that suits your lifestyle, however, it’s worth checking out the programmes we offer at DPG.

We understand that life is busy and unique to each individual, so we offer online and blended learning options for our CIPD qualifications, helping you get ahead without falling behind in other areas of your life. 

6. Can you do CIPD Level 5 without Level 3

This is one of the most popular questions we get, and the answer is that yes, you may be able to enrol on a CIPD Level 5 course without having previously studied the CIPD Level 3 qualification.

To qualify for the CIPD Level 5 course in HR or L&D, you should have at least one of the following:

  • Experience in an entry-level HR or L&D role 
  • Experience in your current or past roles that involves elements of HR/L&D
  • A postgraduate degree and a desire to start your CIPD journey at a more advanced level, or
  • A CIPD Level 3 Foundation Certificate

7. Can you do a CIPD Level 7 without Level 3 & 5? 

Similar to our answer to the question above, you can study a CIPD Level 7 qualification without studying a CIPD Level 3 or 5, however, you should have at least one of the following:

  • Significant experience working in a mid-level HR or L&D role 
  • An HR degree, or 
  • A CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma


There you have it - all of your most common CIPD questions, answered! We hope that this helps clear up any lingering thoughts you may had around enrolling on a CIPD HR or L&D qualification and that you’re ready to take the next step in your career journey.


Become a sought-after people professional when you enrol on a 100% online CIPD HR or L&D qualification. 

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