Human Resources

Everything You Need to Know About CIPD Qualifications in 2020



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Enhance your career with an online CIPD qualification.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is the leading professional body for HR and people development.

Their globally recognised qualifications set the standard for HR and training specialists as they help you develop the industry-specific skills and knowledge that employers are looking for.

Whether you’re just starting your HR or L&D career or looking to enhance your existing skills and knowledge, a CIPD qualification will help you gain the confidence and credibility you need to achieve your career goals.

If you’re considering a CIPD course then you likely have some questions that need answering before enrolling, and we’ve got you covered!

Here’s everything you need to know about CIPD qualifications in 2020.



How Long Does a CIPD Qualification Take?

It generally takes anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to complete a CIPD qualification, but the amount of study time required depends on whether you choose the comprehensive CIPD Diploma, the shorter Certificate, or a single CIPD Award.

How long a CIPD qualification will take also depends on your schedule and the amount of time you can dedicate to your review. You might need to study around a full-time job, your kids, and other prior commitments.   

You might be a particularly motivated individual who can complete your course in a shorter time, or perhaps your workload and responsibilities vary, or you become unwell, causing you to take a few breaks from your studies and picking them back up when it better suits you.

Whatever the case may be, having the flexibility to study at your own pace makes a world of a difference when you don’t have to worry about deadlines.

How Much Does a CIPD Qualification Cost?

To break it down, there are three levels of CIPD qualifications: Level 3, Level 5, and Level 7. Within these levels, there are also three qualifications to choose from including the Diploma, the Certificate, or the Award. Each is individually priced with differing costs at each level, and some may include optional or mandatory workshop fees.

Also, to study your course, submit your assignments, and sit any exams, you’ll need to have a CIPD student membership, which has an annual fee. You will need to consider exam centre fees as well if you’re studying a CIPD Level 7 qualification.

How you study can also impact the price of your CIPD course. Colleges, for instance, are typically more costly than if you were to choose to study your qualification online.

If you choose to study in person, you have to consider the costs of mandatory textbooks and supplies, whereas if you study online, you’re often supplied with the course materials upon enrolment.

It’s difficult to put a price on your career development, but make sure that you’re budgeting your time and your money according to how you’ll best spend it.

What CIPD Course Should I Take? Levels 3, 5, and 7 Explained

You might be in the dark on which CIPD course you should take, but that’s okay because there’s a lot to consider before making your decision, and we want to make it easier for you!

To put it plainly, each CIPD level roughly relates to your current level of experience:

  • Level 3 Foundation qualification: ideal for beginners and entry-level roles
  • Level 5 Intermediate qualification: suitable for relatively experienced and mid-level roles
  • Level 7 Advanced qualification: for HR graduates or experienced professionals

The CIPD qualifications are organised into these three levels because each level represents how advanced the material is, so be honest with yourself and your level of experience to guarantee the utmost success in your studies.

Should You Choose a CIPD Diploma, Certificate, or Award?

Once you’ve decided on which CIPD level course you should take, the next step is deciding on whether you should study a CIPD Diploma, Certificate, or Award. But what’s the difference between the three?

  • CIPD Diplomas are the most well-rounded and desirable CIPD qualifications, covering everything you need to know at your chosen level by taking an in-depth look at subject areas and providing students with the skills needed to take on the industry.
  • CIPD Certificates cover only the essential modules from the Diploma at your chosen level, making them slightly shorter qualifications that provide a solid foundation of HR or L&D in a broader context.
  • CIPD Awards are compact courses that cover only one module from the Diploma. They’re valuable if you’d like to focus on one topic to help you build a practical qualification that suits your specific professional needs.

Choosing the right CIPD qualification is key to making the most of a CIPD Diploma, Certificate, or Award, so choose the one that will best relate to and elevate your HR or L&D career.


15+ In-Depth Student Reviews of Studying CIPD with ICS Learn

 One of the many perks to studying a CIPD qualification is that they’re world-renowned qualifications that automatically give you a leg up in your industry and the competitive job market.

So if you’re not already convinced that earning a CIPD qualification should be the next step for you, then we recommend that you check out our CIPD student reviews for an in-depth look at what it’s like to study CIPD courses online with us.

Our students come from all different walks of life, and they recommend studying CIPD online with us because we make it easy, flexible, and affordable for you to take charge of your career development around your busy schedule.


By taking the time to invest in yourself and earn a CIPD qualification, you’ll be making room for valuable career opportunities and increase your earning potential while gaining the skills and knowledge you need to get ahead in your organisation and advance your career.

What are you waiting for? Kickstart your career development today by studying a professional CIPD qualification 100% online with us.

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