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How Long Does a CIM Qualification Take?

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Whether you’re just getting started in your marketing career or you’re a seasoned marketing professional, it goes without saying that in this fast-paced industry there’s always more you can do to develop your skills and enhance your career.

While the idea of enrolling on a professional qualification seems the ideal avenue to move forward, you wouldn’t be here reading this blog if you didn’t have some questions about how much of your valuable time you’ll need to devote to studying and, subsequently, how long it might take you to complete a CIM marketing qualification.

We decided to take a closer look at how long CIM courses take to give you the answers you’re looking for.



Why study a CIM qualification?

Short for The Chartered Institute of Marketing, CIM is a professional marketing body with more than 30,000 members and over 3,000 registered Chartered Marketers.

Their qualifications are internationally recognised and are respected by employers around the globe, making them a great asset for your CV and a building block for future marketing career opportunities.

CIM qualifications help you to advance your core marketing knowledge and skills, enabling you to better understand the theory and principles behind your daily marketing tasks and how to best apply them to your current role.

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How long does a CIM qualification take to complete?

Depending on which level and which type of qualification you choose (i.e. an Award, Certificate, or Diploma), CIM courses will vary in the time they take you to complete.

For more insight, we’ve laid out how long a CIM qualification will typically take you to complete at each level.



CIM Level 3 Qualifications

A CIPD Level 3 qualification is ideal for those aspiring to get started in the marketing industry or for those new to entry-level marketing roles.

  • A CIM Level 3 Foundation Certificate in Professional Marketing has a total of about 120 learning hours, which equates to around 9 to 12 months while working full time.
  • A CIM Level 3 Foundation Certificate in Professional Digital Marketing also has a total of 120 learning hours, equating to 9 to 12 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 3 Award in Marketing Principles has a total of 60 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 3 Award in Communications in Practice has a total of 60 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 3 Award in Digital Fundamentals has a total of 60 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time.

*Please keep in mind that all Awards are shorter courses focusing on one specific module from one or both of the CIM Level 3 Certificate qualifications. 


What will you learn?

CIM Level 3 qualifications provide you with the fundamental skills and knowledge you need to be able to perform well in a support role within the marketing industry.

You’ll learn about the key components of the marketing environment and factors that influence customer behaviour, as well as uncover the elements of the marketing mix and its application in different contextual settings.

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CIM Level 4 Qualifications

A CIPD Level 4 qualification is best for marketing executives with at least a basic level of marketing education or experience, such as a CIM Level 3 qualification, a university degree, or a minimum of one years’ experience working in marketing.

  • A CIM Level 4 Certificate in Professional Marketing has a total of about 170 learning hours, which equates to around 9 to 12 months while working full time.
  • A CIM Level 4 Certificate in Professional Digital Marketing also has a total of 170 learning hours, equating to 9 to 12 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 4 Award in Applied Marketing has a total of 60 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 4 Award in Planning Campaigns has a total of 60 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 4 Award in Customer Insights has a total of 60 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time. 


*The Awards listed here are specific modules from one or both of the CIM Level 4 Certificate qualifications. 


What will you learn?

CIM Level 4 qualifications will help you build your practical marketing skills and enable you to perform at your best at an operational level within your role.

Among other things, you’ll come to understand the factors and current trends in the marketing landscape and learn how to satisfy customer needs while maintaining business objectives.

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CIM Level 6 Qualifications

CIM Level 6 qualifications are perfect for marketing managers looking to progress their strategic skills with at least two years’ experience in the industry or a CIM qualification at Level 4.

These qualifications are equivalent to an undergraduate degree.

  • A CIM Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing has a total of 170 learning hours, equating to 9 to 12 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 6 Diploma in Professional Digital Marketing has a total of 170 learning hours, equating to 9 to 12 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 6 Award in Digital Optimisation has a total of 70 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 6 Award in Innovation in Marketing has a total of 70 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 6 Award in Managing Brands has a total of 70 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 6 Award in Marketing and Digital Strategy has a total of 70 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 6 Award in Resource Management has a total of 70 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 6 Award in The Digital Customer Experience has a total of 70 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time. 


*The Awards listed here are from one or both of the CIM Level 6 Certificate qualifications. 


What will you learn?

A CIM marketing course at Level 6 will encourage you to develop your strategic marketing skills, enabling you to perform better in your current and future management roles.

You’ll learn the ins and outs of marketing and digital strategy and how to monitor, measure, and adapt marketing plans for continuous improvement.

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CIM Level 7 Qualifications

Qualifications at CIM Level 7 are ideal for accomplished marketers with at least 5 years’ experience working at a strategic management level or similar who want to strengthen their leadership skills and turn their business challenges into actionable opportunities.

These qualifications are equivalent to a Master’s degree. 

  • A CIM Level 7 Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Marketing has a total of 200 learning hours, equating to 10 to 12 months while working full time. Please note that this qualification is only available for learners outside of the UK. 
  • The CIM Marketing Leadership Programme has a total of 200 learning hours, equating to 10 to 12 months while working full time. 
  • A CIM Level 7 Award in Consultancy has a total of 70 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time.
  • A CIM Level 7 Award in Contemporary Challenges has a total of 70 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time.
  • A CIM Level 7 Award in Leading Change has a total of 70 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time.
  • A CIM Level 7 Award in Managing Business Growth has a total of 70 to 80 learning hours, which equals roughly 4 to 6 months while working full time.

*Please note that the Awards listed here come specifically from modules covered in the CIM Marketing Leadership Programme.


What will you learn?

A CIM Level 7 qualification will provide insight into the modern marketing challenges that present themselves in today’s organisations.

You’ll then learn how to lead your employees by example through these challenges by learning how to implement effective change and manage subsequent business growth.

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Should you study online or in a classroom?

How you choose to study will no doubt also have an effect on how long your CIM qualification will take you. That being said, it’s important to weigh up your options.

If you choose to study in a classroom, you have to think about set class times and teaching schedules, as well as the time it will take you to commute. While this learning method might work for you if you’re presently working part-time, if you have additional obligations beyond that you may find in-person classes difficult to manage.

If you choose the online learning route, however, you have the flexibility of studying at your own pace, on your own time, around your own schedule from anywhere with a Wifi connection. Some providers (like us!) even allow you to temporarily pause your studies should you need some time to balance out other areas of your busy life down the line.



While it’s obvious that studying a CIM qualification will take you some time, there’s no question that taking the opportunity to enrol on a professional training course will be well worth the investment, ultimately adding immense value to your life and career.



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