Do I Need to Do a CIPD HR Course?

Thu 16 Mar 2023

A woman using a laptop and talking to a colleague

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is a well-known professional body for Human Resources (HR) and people development. They are based in the UK and are respected internationally in the HR industry for providing training courses, qualifications, research and resources.

The CIPD qualifications available are:

  • Level 3 Foundation Certificate
  • Level 5 Associate Diploma
  • Level 7 Advanced Diploma

The CIPD aims to champion better work and working lives by improving practices and policies related to people management and development in workplaces.

If you’re considering a career in HR, you’ll hear a lot about CIPD courses.

Considering pursuing a new professional qualification can feel overwhelming due to factors like finances, time commitments, and work-life balance. At some stage, you might ask yourself, "Do I really need to do a CIPD HR course?"

CIPD has a community over around 20,000 HR professionals who have achieved their CIPD certification, so let's delve into  the benefits of a CIPD HR qualification and also take a look at other routes you could take into the HR industry.

What does CIPD mean?

CIPD stands for Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, which is the professional body for HR and L&D experts in the UK and worldwide.

Here are a few things the CIPD does:

  • CIPD sets and maintains standards in the HR field
  • It provides qualifications to enhance professionals' skills and knowledge
  • CIPD offers resources to support HR professionals
  • The organisation plays a key role in advocating for effective people management and development
  • This advocacy extends to both organisational and societal levels.

Do you need a CIPD qualification to work in HR?

While there’s no legal requirement for you to have a CIPD qualification to have a HR role, most employers don’t consider candidates who aren’t CIPD accredited.

Most employers prefer candidates with CIPD accreditation for HR roles because it shows commitment to professional growth and following industry standards. This makes CIPD qualifications highly valued in the HR industry.

The CIPD course was my ticket into the competitive HR industry. It helped me get my foot in the door, and I'm immensely grateful for taking that step. Employers truly value and seek out CIPD qualifications, and I now feel respected and equipped to thrive in this dynamic field. - MOL CIPD learner

What are the different types of CIPD courses?

MOL provides a diverse range of courses tailored to cater to HR professionals at different skill levels, offering programmes for beginners, intermediates, and professionals alike.

CIPD Level 3 Certificate

This course is perfect for those just beginning their career in HR or have some experience and are new to studying.

After completing this course, you would be qualified to work as a:

  • HR administrator
  • HR assistant
  • Organisational Development Officer.

CIPD Foundation Certificate in People Practice (Level 3)

CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma

This is ideal for those already working in a HR or L&D role, but want to take the next step in their career and expand their skills and experience with a training course. MOL has two types of courses at this level.

Once you have a Level 5 Diploma, you could be equipped for a role as a:

  • HR/L&D manager
  • Talent manager
  • recruitment manager.

CIPD Associate Diploma in People Management (Level 5)

CIPD Associate Diploma in Organisational Learning and Development (Level 5)

CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma

This is an advanced diploma which will indicate you can work at a strategic level and is the only level where you can apply for Chartered CIPD membership upon completion. The Level 7 advanced diploma is suited to HR professionals who develop workplace policies and business strategies.

Those who complete this course are suited to positions such as:

  • Head of HR
  • People Analytics Manager
  • Head of Diversity and Inclusion.

CIPD Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management (Level 7)

CIPD Advanced Diploma in Strategic Learning and Development (Level 7)

"Starting with Level 5 CIPD was just the beginning. Progressing to Level 7 propelled my career to new heights, leading to higher salaries and respected positions. CIPD gave me the tools to soar in HR." - MOL learner

MSc Top-up in Strategic Human Resource Management

If you’ve recently obtained your CIPD Level 7 Diploma (within the last 5 years), you can enhance your experience by acquiring a highly respected and globally recognised qualification. Investigate a specific business challenge and present real-world solutions that will benefit you and your organisation.

Careers available after completing your MSc studies include:

  • Director of HR
  • Director of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Director of People.

MSc Strategic HR Management (in partnership with the University of Salford) - Fully Online

Alternatives to CIPD HR Courses

As mentioned earlier, you don’t always need to do a CIPD HR course to get into the industry although it is often the best choice. Here are some of the alternatives:

Human Resource Management Degree

Many universities offer undergraduate degrees in Human Resource Management and, once you’ve graduated, you can apply for HR roles and graduate schemes.

A few things you should be aware of when comparing HR degrees to CIPD courses are:

  • Not all degrees reach the CIPD’s standard of accreditation - your CV could still lack the CIPD qualification employers are looking for.
  • Not all universities facilitate distance learning which can limit your study options if you’re not able to relocate.
  • Most undergraduate degrees are significantly more expensive than a CIPD qualification and take much longer to complete.

HR Graduate Schemes

Some employers offer graduate schemes to help newly qualified individuals start their career in HR. You should note if you don’t already have a CIPD qualification, when you start a graduate scheme, your employer will probably expect you to achieve a CIPD accreditation during your time with them. 

It’s also important to note, people professionals with a CIPD qualification could earn on average +12% more, so you may be better off pursing a CIPD qualification.

HR Apprenticeships

For those with little experience and/or industry qualifications an apprenticeship is a great route into the industry. Similarly to graduate schemes, HR apprenticeships are designed to develop your skills and help you achieve a CIPD qualification by the end of your work placement.

Work Experience and Volunteering

Experience is always helpful when applying for a new role and technically it’s possible to start a role in HR without a CIPD qualification. However, your employer will most likely expect you to undergo some professional development as your role grows – i.e. complete a CIPD HR course.

Benefits of a CIPD HR Course

CIPD Membership

When you achieve a CIPD qualification you automatically gain CIPD Membership giving you access to networking opportunities, CIPD communities and tools to use in your HR role.

Flexible Learning

MOL Learn’s On Demand or Live Online study options mean your CIPD HR courses can be completed virtually – allowing you to fit your study around your work or personal commitments.

Research shows, e-learning increases information retention rates up to 60%, compared to 8-10% for traditional learning, so you can rest assured you will be able to perform better at your role after completing on of our professional development courses. 

Improved Employability

CIPD qualifications are recognised as the gold standard for HR professionals which can significantly improve your career prospects when job hunting or looking for a promotion.

CIPD qualifications are recognised internationally and the organisation has over 50 branches across the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Gibraltar.

Cost and time-effective

An undergraduate degree in the UK will generally cost you around £27,000 (not including any maintenance fees for materials and living) and takes 3 years. In comparison, CIPD HR courses with MOL Learn, start from only £1,995 and can be completed in 6 – 24 months.

If you’re aiming to kick-start or accelerate your career in HR we highly recommend a CIPD HR course.

"Choosing the CIPD course over a university degree was a no-brainer for me. Not only did I save a fortune, but I also fast-tracked my journey into HR. Now, armed with practical skills and industry-specific knowledge, I feel unstoppable in pursuing my dream career." - MOL CIPD Learner

We’ve been working with the CIPD since the 1990s, we understand the HR profession like no other training provider - that’s what makes our courses great. Our tutors are industry experts and use a wealth of HR experience to bring your learning to life. View our CIPD Level 3 or CIPD Level 5 diploma to kickstart your HR career.

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Human Resources

We're proud to be a CIPD Organisational Delivery Partner and deliver all levels of CIPD qualifications from Foundation Certificate to an MSc.

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Learning & Development

We understand the L&D profession like no other training provider. That’s what makes our courses great.