Which CIPD course is right for me

Everyone has at one point asked themselves that all-important question: how do I get to the next stage in my career? 

Signing up for a CIPD programme is one way to give your career a huge boost. By learning from top “Human Resources (HR)” or “Learning and Development (L&D) experts”, you can gain the knowledge you need to stay ahead of the curve.  

There are plenty of CIPD courses out there, so it’s important to find one that suits you. That’s where we come in.  

Our Ultimate Guide to CIPD courses will help you choose the right programme for you, whether you’re an expert looking to sharpen your HR skills, or a newbie taking the first step in your L&D career. 

What is a CIPD qualification?  

A CIPD qualification is a signal to potential employers that you take your profession seriously, and are committed to constantly growing. It lets them know that you’re someone worth investing time and money into. 

This is because the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is a hugely respected entity in the worlds of HR and L&D. It is a truly international community, with more than 160,300 members across the “UK, Asia and the Middle East.”  

The organisation works alongside industry experts to create top-quality practical learning materials that are regularly updated and based on the latest best practices.  

So when you qualify for the CIPD, not only have you learned from the very best, but the rest of the world knows you’ve learned from the best – and this is a huge advantage in the job market. A CIPD certificate is often the primary requirement for HR and L&D roles. 

What are the different CIPD qualification levels? 

Before choosing a CIPD course, familiarize yourself with its offerings.

The CIPD provides various qualifications for professionals at different career stages. These qualifications are based on the CIPD Profession Map, a framework model that highlights the key areas of HR or L&D, such as personal effectiveness, business behaviours, and technical proficiency. 

They are designed to enhance individuals’ skills, knowledge, and confidence in their field. From foundation-level certificates to advanced-level diplomas, each qualification is tailored to meet the needs of the modern HR and L&D professional.  

Now, let’s examine the three primary levels of CIPD qualifications.

Level  Certification  Experience needed  
3  Foundation Level Certificates  Little to no experience  
5  Intermediate Level Certificates and Diplomas  Some experience in HR or L&D  
7  Advanced Level Diplomas  Extensive HR or L&D experience  

How do you choose the right CIPD level? 

So, which is the right CIPD HR or L&D course for you? Well, that depends on various factors, including your current qualifications, professional experience, and career aspirations. 

Are you a beginner, taking your first step into HR and L&D? In this scenario, a CIPD Level 3 course is ideal. These foundational courses cover key concepts and practices. There’s no need for prior experience, so CIPD Level 3 is a great starting point for anyone looking to begin their journey. 

If you’re a mid-level professional who already has experience in an HR role, consider taking a CIPD Level 5 course. These programmes provide a deeper dive into the management aspects of HR and L&D, focussing on key skills such as strategic planning and business impact. 

And if you’re an experienced senior professional, looking to gain a greater understanding of strategic decision-making and leadership, then you should opt for a CIPD Level 7 course. These are more advanced programmes and are designed for experienced professionals looking to move into upper management or consultancy positions. 

What CIPD course delivery formats are available?  

Think about your learning style. Do you prefer traditional textbooks and classroom methods, or interactive digital content and remote learning? Some people prefer to be left to themselves, whereas others might like to engage with an expert speaker. 

Let’s look at some of the different options available to learners, along with their strengths and drawbacks. 

Style Pros Cons 
In-person classes  1. Chance to interact with expert tutors and socialise with fellow learners1. Inflexible
2. Many learners find it difficult to balance a full-time job or family commitments with their learning obligations 
3. Not very accessible if you do not live near the classes. 
Self-paced online learning 1. Flexible
2. Learners can take in the course at their own pace and can build their learning around the existing work or family commitments
3. Lower cost than tutor-led courses
4. Learners have access to a range of downloadable resources.
1. Less support than tutor-led courses. 
2. Less opportunity to socialise and network than in traditional or guided online classes. 
3. There is less structure to keep you on track.
Tutor-led online classes 1. Blends structured and flexible learning in one package
2. Learners get to access a host of online learning materials while also getting to take part in online seminars led by expert tutors
3. Learners have access to a range of downloadable resources
4. Learners can take part no matter where they live – all they need is an internet connection
5. This structured learning environment typically results in faster course completion and qualification.
1. Can be more expensive than self-paced courses
2. Learners need a good quality internet connection to take part in classes. 

It’s important to note that each learning provider will have their strengths and weaknesses too, along with their unique features. 

Check out Avado, the UK’s most trusted CIPD course provider today for HR and L&D courses:  

CIPD Level 3 HR courses: The CIPD Level 3 Certificate in People Practice is ideal for anyone looking to start a career in either HR or Learning and Development.  
CIPD Level 5 HR courses: The CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management will help you build on your existing HR knowledge.  
CIPD Level 5 L&D courses: The CIPD Level 5 Diploma in Organisational Learning and Development is the most comprehensive course available for L&D professionals, ideal for you if you want to formalise your existing experience, skills and knowledge.  
CIPD Level 7 HR courses: The CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma is aimed at expanding learners’ autonomy so they can strategically direct organisations and their people.

Nilesh Jha