Which CIPD Course Should I Take?

So you’re taking that big step towards progressing your career. “What CIPD qualification should I do?” I hear you cry. It’s not something to take lightly and understandably so. A CIPD qualification is the absolute cornerstone to a successful career in HR and L&D. You’ll gain the relevant experience you need, boosting your skills, knowledge and credibility.

“But which CIPD qualification do I need?”

Answering this question can sometimes be tricky. With numerous training providers and tonnes of information online, it’s easy to take the wrong road. That’s why we’ve written this helpful article for you, so you can ensure you’re prepared with all the information you need before you take the leap.

Surely, I start at 3 and finish on 7?

The general misconception is that you should do the levels in order, starting at the bottom and working up. That’s not the case. You can choose whatever level you like, although trying to run before you can walk often ends in disaster. The main question to ask yourself first is ‘What CIPD qualification do I need?’

Level 3 – Whilst there’s no pre-set route, we advise that people at certain stages of their career go for certain levels. For example, the CIPD Level 3 Human Resources Practice Programme is perfect for anyone that is fresh to the field. It is entry level and equivalent to an A-level qualification. This level is a great starting place for HR/L&D administrators and trainers who haven’t been in their field for a long time.

Level 5 – The CIPD Level 5 Human Resources Management Programme is a much-needed middle ground. That doesn’t mean you can’t start here though. The Level 5 is equivalent to degree level, delving deeper into the roles of HR/L&D in organization and driving people performance. If you’re an existing HR/L&D manager looking to extend your knowledge, this would be best suited to you. This can also be suitable for people with general management experience or business owners looking to gain some HR knowledge.

Level 7 – The CIPD Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management is much more advanced than the previous programmes and is equivalent to postgraduate level. In turn, it is highly regarded in the HR/L&D field. This is best suited for HR/L&D directors, or someone that has been in the field for many years and perhaps is already educated to a degree level.

What else should I consider?

It’s about finding the right level and qualification for you, so it’s important you think carefully about what you want. Research the different options and talk to us.

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is that you think long and hard about what you want to gain from pursuing a qualification. The clearer you are, the more likely it is that you’ll choose the right course, for the right reasons.

So, do your research. Research the course components, what you’ll be looking at, what the time commitments are, how much travelling is involved. Think about how you will fit it in around your everyday work.

Don’t forget to talk to people – talk to colleagues and peers, and talk to your manager. Get their view on what’s important and what the qualification involves. They are there to help people make the right decisions. It’s important that you talk to our programme advisers, talk through any concerns you might have and ask lots of questions. They are there to help people make the right decisions, so make good use of their knowledge and expertise.