How Long Does a CMI Course Take?

If you’re interested in developing your management career, chances are you’ve already started looking into the different types of courses and qualifications that might help you gain a leg up over your competition. 

If that is the case, then you’ve also likely come across courses with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

Considered the ‘gold standard’ training of management professionals, CMI qualifications are the perfect way to gain practical skills and develop theoretical knowledge that will help you achieve a successful career in a managerial or leadership role. 

You’re probably wondering, however, just how long these qualifications will take, especially if you’re in full-time employment or have other personal obligations you need to cater to while studying. 

Let’s take a look!

What CMI qualifications are available?

 CMI qualifications provide diverse avenues for growth across various levels (2 through 8), tailored to particular management roles and the essential skills sought by employers. To add, there are three distinct types of CMI qualifications, which are: 

How long does a CMI Award typically take? 

Awards are typically the shortest form of qualification you can study with the CMI as well as the simplest type, covering only one single topic in detail. 

They usually take around 1 to 3 months to complete and are the ideal option for those looking to expand their practical knowledge but don’t want to commit to lengthy courses. 

How long does a CMI Certificate typically take? 

CMI Certificates are the next step up from the Awards, taking an average of 6 to 8 months for learners to complete. Certificates cover a range of  topics, relevant to their subject (e.g., strategic leadership), in detail. 

They’re a great way to gain a broad understanding and develop some key skills on a topic in a relatively short period of time. 

Typically employers will accept  CMI Certificates as the bare minimum when reviewing candidates for mid to senior level managerial roles, so they’re perfect if you’re ready to take the next step in your career and secure a promotion. 

How long does a CMI Diploma typically take? 

Diplomas are the most comprehensive qualifications offered by the CMI and you're able to study these at every level. 

They can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months to complete and they’re specifically designed to provide learners with all the important, all-encompassing knowledge to progress in their career. They tend to cover more topics than the Certificates and in much more detail.

How long a CMI qualification will take  depends on the type of qualification you choose to study. As Diplomas are the most detailed course, covering more topics, it’s only typical that they take the longest to complete. 

What can affect how long a CMI qualification takes to complete?  

Your study format

One of the biggest factors that could affect the duration of your studies is the format in which you choose to study.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning has become the preferred  option for many choosing to upskill as it provides the flexibility of studying anywhere and at any time while allowing learners to work through their course material at their own pace. You can, however, choose to study in person or via blended learning, depending on the provider.

Depending on how you choose to study, the time it will take you to complete the course will vary. If you choose to study in person, for example, chances are there will be a specific timetable to work from, with set deadlines for any assignments. 

This can be both a positive, as you’re forced to stay on track and progress through the course at the same time as other learners, but it can also be a setback if you have a changing schedule, as you’ll have to dedicate yourself to set class times. 

If you choose to study completely online, however, you have the luxury of completing your CMI  course on your own time, just so long as it’s within the course access period, which will vary depending on the provider you choose to study with. 

Personal commitments 

Unless you’re able to fully commit to just studying full-time, chances are that you’ll have to balance out your existing commitments, such as work or childcare, with the demands of studying. 

Things come up all that time that are outwith our control, but often demand much of our attention, so you may have instances where your studies will take a back seat, which will inevitably affect how long it takes for you to complete a course.

Studying takes time and commitment and you’ll only reach your professional  goals when you dedicate that time appropriately (and realistically). 

However, having a full-time job or family obligations shouldn’t deter you from enrolling on a CMI qualification. Organising your own study plan and setting aside the times of the day you can commit to studying will help you stay on track with your course progression. It will  also help you make room for your other commitments, fitting them seamlessly around your study schedule. 

Your experience

Of course the knowledge and industry experience you already have under your belt can influence how fast you progress through the course. 

It’s appreciated that individuals with demonstrable experience in the industry have developed a unique set of skills and a bank of knowledge that can make a CMI course easier to complete. 

Before enrolling on a course, make sure you contact a course adviser to make sure you’re choosing the right qualification for your background and experience. Our qualified course advisers are always available to talk through your industry experience, qualifications and career aspirations to help you make the right course choice for you.

Upskill with a CMI qualification 

Enrolling on a CMI qualification will undoubtedly do wonders for your management career and help you reach your leadership potential. Regardless of how long it takes you to complete it, every little step you make toward your professional development will go a long way, getting you closer to your personal and professional goals. 


Advance your management and leadership career with a 100% online CMI qualification today.