1. Decide the level that you would like to study
The CIPD have simplified their HR and L&D courses, making progression a lot easier to understand. Now, there are just three levels to choose from, that each correspond to their difficulty.
- Level 3: Entry-level, equivalent to A Level study
- Level 5: Intermediate-level, equivalent to a foundation degree
- Level 7: Advanced-level, equivalent to master degree study
Have a think about which difficulty level best reflects your needs in a qualification.
2. Decide if you’re motivated by CIPD membership
One of the advantages of having a CIPD qualification is the fact that you automatically gain membership of the body once you’ve successfully completed a qualification. For a lot of people, this is one of the deciding factors that motivates their study. The type of membership that you’ll gain will depend on the type of qualification you’ve completed.
It’s relatively easy to work out though: membership is basically the same as the type of qualification you’ve completed. So, if you’ve just completed a Foundation Certificate, you’ll qualify for Foundation membership. Likewise, if you’ve completed an Associate Diploma, you’ll qualify for Associate membership.
When you complete an Advanced Diploma, you’ll gain Associate membership but qualify for prestigious Chartered Membership if you fulfill a few other requirements.
You can help to find the right qualification for your needs by thinking about whether you’re motivated by CIPD membership.
3. Consider your current knowledge and skills gaps...
A useful way to find the qualification that’s best for you is to consider areas in your skills and knowledge where it feels like you have gaps.
Start by thinking about identifying the parts of the subject that you know like the back of your hand, then think about the parts that you struggle with or don’t know much about just yet.
Make a list of these thoughts and compare them to the information that you’ll cover in specific courses (note: you can generally find this in the ‘module’ or ‘course content’ information that learning providers offer). Doing this can help you work out where you currently are in terms of professional knowledge and experience — and where you need to get to.
4. .. and tie this into your overall career plans!
Ask yourself that ancient, time-honoured question when it comes to professional development – where do you see yourself in 2 years, 5 years and 10 years! What do you want to achieve in your career, and where do you see yourself progressing with it? Once you’ve worked out where you want to get to, you can work a path backwards, looking at the steps that you’ll need to take to get that place.
Try and identify key positions and research the entry requirements that you might need to qualify for that position. You can then build up a route map to your dream career and work out the specific qualifications that you’ll need.
We hope you’ve found this guide useful and that you feel more empowered when it comes to choosing the right CIPD qualification.
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