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How Long Does a CIPD Qualification Take?

CIPD qualifications can create a wealth of new opportunities for HR and L&D practitioners.

Naturally, many prospective students want to know how long it will take to complete a CIPD course, so we’ve outlined all of the important information that you need to know.

In each section below, you’ll find out how long it takes to complete the comprehensive CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma, the shorter CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma, and the entry-level, CIPD Level 3 Foundation Certificate at each level.


How Long Does a CIPD Level 3 Foundation Certificate Qualification Take?

The CIPD Level 3 Foundation Certificate in People Practice will take you around 7 to 9 months to complete while working full time.

If you’re looking to take the first step on your HR or L&D career path or have minimal HR/L&D experience, then the CIPD Foundation Certificate in People Practice qualification is right for you.


How Long Does a CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma Qualification Take?

A CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma will take you around 9 to 12 months to complete while working full time.

A CIPD Associate Diploma qualification is suitable for you if you have some HR or L&D experience or a degree and are looking to take on managerial roles.

Depending on your goals, you could study the CIPD Associate Diploma in People Management or the CIPD Associate Diploma in Operational Learning & Development.


How Long Does a CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma Qualification Take?

A CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma will take you around 18 to 24 months while working full time.

A CIPD Advanced qualification is the correct level for you if you have significant experience in HR or L&D, or an HR degree. It will help you gain strategic senior roles.

Depending on your goals, you could study the CIPD Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management or the CIPD Advanced Diploma in Strategic Learning & Development.

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Factors That May Impact Your CIPD Completion Time

The estimates that we’ve given for completing these CIPD courses are a guideline based on how long it takes most of our students to complete their qualification through self-led online learning.

However, your completion time will be entirely unique when you study with us. All our students work at their own pace, depending on their schedule, job and family commitments, experience, and motivation.

This means that if you’re really motivated to complete your course in a shorter time period, there’s nothing standing in your way! Similarly, if you suddenly become much busier at work or become unwell, you can take a break from your studies and pick them back up when the time is right.

Our extended support periods give you the flexibility you need for these kinds of occasions, as we always offer students more time than required to complete the course.

Other CIPD providers have set timetables that will determine how long your qualification takes, especially if you’re tethered to class times and teaching schedules. Do bear this in mind as you weigh up your options for your CIPD studies.

Remember that CIPD qualifications have no formal exams – instead, you’ll submit an assignment at the end of each unit which will then be marked by your tutor. At the end of the course, you’ll either pass or fail the qualification. 

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Can You Fast-Track Your CIPD Qualification?

Yes! When you study CIPD with us, you have the freedom to complete your qualification as quickly or slowly as you like within our generous support period, making it easy to fast-track your CIPD course.

Our courses are completely self-paced, so the only limitation on how quickly you can become CIPD qualified is how much time you can dedicate to your studies.

This flexibility also means that you're not tied in to fast-tracking your course; if your plans go awry and it turns out that you need more time, you have the flexibility to switch to a slower pace.

If you're fast-tracking your course, bear in mind that you'll need to leave time to have your assignments marked by your tutor, which can take up to a week.

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If you do have a goal completion date in mind, then it’s important to create a study plan that will help you to reach it. It’s easy to start out with good intentions when you enrol on your course, but you need to back this up with concrete action to keep up your momentum in the long term.


Becoming CIPD qualified or taking the next step up with a higher-level CIPD qualification both have the power to supercharge your HR or L&D career. Make sure you understand the time commitment required for completing a CIPD course to ensure that you can shape your chosen course around your life.

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