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A Guide to the CIPD Membership Levels: Foundation, Associate & Chartered

Accelerate your HR or L&D career with a globally recognised CIPD qualification.

It’s officially a New Year and with a new year comes new goals, new objectives and - this year - new CIPD membership updates.

If you weren’t already aware, the CIPD recently revamped their globally recognised qualifications, changing up each course layout at Levels 3, 5, and 7, the modules involved, and subsequently, the level of CIPD membership associated with each qualification.

To help you get a better understanding of these changes, we’ve created a guide to CIPD’s new membership levels for your convenience.

CIPD Membership Grades and Your Career

Being a member of CIPD has the power to advance your HR or L&D career at any stage, with each CIPD membership grade reflecting your level of knowledge and experience, allowing you to demonstrate to clients, colleagues, and prospective employers your level of proficiency and dedication to the people profession.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re already a seasoned industry executive, there’s a CIPD membership level best suited to you, offering you an abundance of benefits along with highly sought after industry accolade.

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The CIPD Membership Framework

CIPD Student Membership

When you enrol on any CIPD qualification, you’ll become a Student Member of the CIPD, giving you access to the tools, resources, and support you need to be successful. 

CIPD Foundation Membership

If you complete the CIPD Level 3 Certificate in People Practice, you’ll become a Foundation Member, one of the two brand new levels of membership now awarded by the CIPD.

As a Foundation Member, among other things, you’ll demonstrate a strong insight of key practices and behaviours necessary for HR and L&D roles, as well as a fundamental understanding of culture and change in context with the people profession,

This new CIPD membership level is your first step to unlocking your industry potential and advancing your career.

CIPD Associate Membership (Assoc. CIPD)

Moving onwards and upwards from the Foundation Level Membership is the CIPD Associate Level Membership.

To achieve Associate Member status, you’ll need to have successfully completed a CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma or a CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma.

Reaching this point will exhibit your tight grasp on the essential behaviours, skills, and functions of the people profession while also pointing out your exemplary specialist knowledge of ethics, diversity, inclusion, and employee wellbeing, enabling you to specialise in your chosen field of HR or L&D.

CIPD Chartered Membership (MCIPD)

Once you complete a CIPD Level 7 Diploma (or equivalent), you’ll be eligible to apply to become a Chartered Member - the highest industry accolade.

To achieve Chartered Member status, however, you’ll need to have worked consistently at this level for at least one year within the last five years, working strategically in what’s likely to be an operational role. 

Becoming a CIPD Chartered Member, while not necessarily critical to your success, can take you leaps and bounds beyond your initial career development goals.

Achieving Chartered membership status illustrates to both your employer and your peers that you have the knowledge, dedication, and experience to make a true impact in the workplace, making a positive and long-lasting difference in organisational strategy and people development.

CIPD Chartered Fellow Membership (Chartered FCIPD)

As the most sought after and prestigious CIPD designation, to become a Chartered Fellow, you’ll likely need to have more than one years’ experience in a senior HR or L&D role after completing a CIPD Level 7 Diploma (or equivalent). We say you’ll ‘likely’ need more than one years’ experience because more often than not, it takes more time to demonstrate the standards required to achieve this membership.

You’ll need to prove that you’re highly skilled in combining your strategic knowledge and expertise to change - for the better - how organisations think about and manage their employees, ultimately showcasing how you’re a role model for the people profession.

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CIPD membership, along with CIPD qualifications, can take your career to the next level, giving you the professional credibility you need to get you in the industry roles you want.

If you’re interested in becoming a CIPD member, take a look at the new CIPD membership levels and how they’re aligned with CIPD’s new Profession Map.

Depending on your current level of HR or L&D industry experience, you might also want to look into how you can gain CIPD membership through experience assessment.

We hope that our guide to CIPD’s new membership levels has helped you become reacquainted with the CIPD framework, and remember, if you have any questions - you know where to find us.

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