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What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Manager?

Becoming a well-rounded manager in today’s working world tends to take significant experience and even then doesn’t guarantee you the prestigious management position you’ve been after. Not to worry though - that’s where management and leadership qualifications come in handy! 

While it’s true that you don’t always need a qualification to be a manager, gaining the relevant qualifications has the power to take your career to new heights, giving you the skills and credibility you need to get to where you want to be sooner.

With that in mind, we've reviewed the key qualifications you need to become a confident, world-class manager - no matter what industry you’re in.

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Master's Degree in Management Qualifications

While there are a massive number of management qualifications out there to choose from, we’ve narrowed down the ones that are not only globally recognised but those that we feel are best at expanding your skillset and showcasing your knowledge.

Management Masters

A postgraduate qualification can improve your chances of becoming a manager if you already have an undergraduate degree under your belt.

If you’re not sure what area you’d like to specialise in, there are a variety of general postgraduate management degrees you can enrol on to keep your options open, including:

  • An MSc in Management
  • An MSc in International Management, or
  • An MSc in Business Management

The great thing about any of these three Master’s degrees is that they’re sure to give you the competitive edge you need to reach your management goals in the real world, offering you a steady advantage over undergraduate candidates competing for the same roles.

Course Requirements

The entry-level requirements to study for a Master’s degree will vary depending on which country, course, and school you plan to study with.

For more information on courses available in the UK, we recommend using Prospect’s useful search tool.

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PRINCE2® Project Management Qualifications

Since managing a project takes a lot of juggling and strategic delegation, sometimes the first step to becoming a good manager is learning how to effectively manage a project so that you can come to grips with the amount of responsibility you should be prepared for as your career progresses.

As the most universally used project management framework worldwide, PRINCE2 qualifications are key to teaching you how to lead and manage a project of any size, acting as the global benchmark for project management qualifications.

You can study a PRINCE2 qualification either in person - which takes roughly 2 to 3 days to complete - or online (with us!) where you can study on your own time, at your own pace over the course of three to six months. 

Course Requirements

The PRINCE2 Foundation course has no entry requirements and covers the essential knowledge you need to understand the PRINCE2 method.

Once completed, you may choose to advance to the PRINCE2 Practitioner course which will teach you to adapt and apply the PRINCE2 framework to a variety of projects, proving your high level of knowledge and understanding as you study to become a registered PRINCE2 Practitioner.

Alternatively, you can enrol on the PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner Combined course, which is ideal if you want to become a fully registered Practitioner but save your hard-earned money by studying both courses in one.

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Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Qualifications

Next up on the docket are ILM qualifications, which are - in short - the leadership and management qualifications you need to deliver the skills, knowledge, and experience to be a stand-out manager in the real world.

While ILM qualifications are offered at Levels 2 through 7, if you’re just starting out your journey to become a manager, we’d recommend checking out the following courses:

  • ILM Level 2 Certificate in Leadership & Team Skills: as a current or aspiring team leader, this qualification is your stepping stone to cultivating a wide range of key management skills and knowledge, including how to develop your team and make informed decisions.
  • ILM Level 3 Certificate in Leadership & Management: designed to take you from ‘management material’ to actual first-line manager, you’ll master the essential management tools to progress your career, including budgeting, project management, workplace problem-solving, and communication skills.

You can study these courses through a local ILM training provider or via online learning depending on your preferences, availability, and learning style. This means it could take up to 8 months to complete your ILM Certificate.

ILM also offers shorter Awards courses at Level 2 and 3 if you’re looking for a shorter alternative to the full Certificate.

Course Requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for the ILM Level 2 or Level 3 courses. However, you should be 18+ with at least two years of full-time work experience or three years part-time to get the most out of each course.

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Chartered Management Institute Qualifications (CMI)

A CMI qualification is highly desirable amongst employers and will equip you with the skills, knowledge, and confidence you need to make your career in management a reality.

Similar to ILM qualifications, CMI qualifications are offered at a variety of levels (2 through 8) depending on where you are and where you plan to go in your career.

The difference, however, is that the CMI is the only professional body in the UK that can recognise outstanding managers by awarding Chartered Manager status - the ultimate industry accolade.

If you’re looking for a qualification that will help you become a manager, we’ve outlined the following qualification levels that will get you started based on your current job status:

  • CMI Levels 2 & 3: created for aspiring, supervisory, or first-line managers, offering training on a broad range of knowledge including resource management and how to lead a team effectively.
  • CMI Levels 4 & 5: at these levels, the courses are more focused on developing core management skills, including talent management and recruitment, making these levels ideal for current or aspiring middle-managers.
  • CMI Levels 6, 7 & 8: these qualifications are designed for experienced managers taking on senior management positions

It should also be noted that CMI offers qualifications in three varying sizes (Awards, Certificates, and Diplomas) depending on how in-depth the material is and how long it will take you to complete it - this can range anywhere from 1 to 12 months.

You can study at a CMI approved centre nearest to you, or you can choose to study CMI online with an established distance provider (like us!), offering you the flexibility you need to shape learning to your already busy lifestyle.

Course Requirements

You don’t need any formal qualifications to study the CMI qualifications listed above, however, you typically must be at least 18 to enrol - and have the relevant professional experience to make the most of the course.

These days, only 1 in 5 managers have a recognised management qualification on their CV, meaning that when you take the time to gain a professional management qualification, you’re not only setting the bar but you’re setting yourself up for long-term success.

We hope this blog has helped you narrow down your search and look forward to seeing what you do with your management career.

Good luck!


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