Online Learning

How Long Does a CIPS Qualification Take?

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If you work in procurement or are perhaps looking to get started in the purchasing industry, then you’re probably wondering where to start when it comes to taking your career to the next level.


CIPS, short for the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, is a leading global provider of professional qualifications for those in the procurement and supply management profession.

Their courses are the industry standard worldwide and will help you master the globally relevant skills you need to achieve your goals and advance your career.

While this might sound all well and good, you’re probably still wondering how much of your valuable time you’ll need to put into a CIPS qualification before you enrol.

To provide you with some insight, we’ve taken a closer look at how long online CIPS qualifications generally take at Levels 2 through 6.

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How long does a CIPS Level 2 Certificate take?

A CIPS Level 2 Certificate in Procurement & Supply Operations is the first of three available entry qualifications and is ideal for anyone new to the profession or those with little to zero business experience. 

It’s also suitable for leaders and managers who need to gain a better understanding of the procurement and supply function as it relates to business performance and success. 

  • A CIPS Level 2 Certificate has a total learning time of 180 hours, which equates to around 6 to 8 months while working full time.


What will you learn?

You’ll develop a clear knowledge and understanding of facts, transactional processes, and procedures related to procurement and supply and learn how to effectively identify, gather, and interpret relevant information.



How long does a CIPS Level 3 Advanced Certificate take?

The second of the three available entry qualifications, the CIPS Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Procurement and Supply Operations is great if you want to improve your intermediate skills and specialise in procurement and supply. This qualification will also help you progress onto the CIPS Level 4 Diploma. 


What will you learn?

You’ll explore the theory, processes, and skills involved in procurement and supply, learning how to tackle a wide range of complex challenges and non-routine tasks that you'll inevitably face day-to-day in the workplace.



How long does a CIPS Level 4 Diploma take?

The CIPS Level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply is the last of the three entry-level courses available for learners and is the only entry point onto their Diploma qualifications.

This course is suitable for those currently in operational roles or those managing or supervising the procurement and supply function who want to develop their career. 

  • A CIPS Level 4 Diploma has a total learning time of 600 hours, which equates to around 12 to 14 months while working full time. 


What will you learn?

Among other things, you’ll broaden your understanding of negotiation, planning, risk management, and data analysis and learn how to apply these skills and review their efficiency in the workplace.

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How long does a CIPS Level 5 Advanced Diploma take?

This qualification is for those who have already completed the CIPS Level 4 Diploma, meaning it’s ideal for middle to senior leaders and managers in the industry who want to improve organisational procurement and meet organisational objectives.  


What will you learn?

You’ll focus on how to deal with key aspects of risk and cost reduction in supply chains, explore advanced financial management, and learn more about sustainable procurement in your industry.



How long does a CIPS Level 6 Professional Diploma take?

If you’ve completed the CIPD Level 5 Advanced Diploma and you’re working towards becoming a Member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (MCIPS), then this course is for you. 

  • A CIPS Level 6 Professional Diploma has a total learning time of 600 hours, which ranges from a minimum of 12 to 14 months while working full time. 


What will you learn?

You’ll build on what you learned from the CIPD Level 5 Advanced Diploma, demonstrating your strategic knowledge and leadership skills by finding solutions to challenging workplace problems while progressing your transferable skills. 

In doing so, you’ll prove that you have what it takes to effectively work in and lead procurement and supply chain teams and, upon completion, you can work towards upgrading to your professional license as an MCIPS. 

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Factors That Impact How Long Your CIPS Qualification Takes

Now that we’ve given you a good indicator of how long you can expect an online CIPS qualification will take at each level, it’s now important to consider what other factors might impact the time it takes you to complete your CIPS course.

The method you choose to study, above all else, will make a big difference to the length of time it takes you to gain your qualification. CIPS qualifications can be studied in the classroom, online, or through a mixture of both (i.e. blended learning).

With classroom learning and blended lectures, for example, you’ll need to consider that you’ll need to make time for set classroom sessions, which aren’t always the most flexible option if you’re currently working full-time or have other family and life obligations.

Online learning, on the other hand, allows you to work through your qualification at your own pace - from anywhere - meaning you can get it done as quickly as you’d like, with some providers (like us!) even offering extended support periods for when life gets hectic.



CIPS qualifications are recognised worldwide as the gold standard for anyone who works in the procurement and supply chain, with 90% of learners saying that taking a CIPS course has enabled them to progress further in their careers.

So, if you’re looking to do the same, then we hope that after reading this you’ll take the time to enrol and advance towards a brighter future today.




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