The Ultimate Guide to CIPD Courses

Wed 15 Feb 2023

Hands on a laptop.

CIPD qualifications have been helping HR professionals reach their career goals for decades, but have you considered acquiring one? 

From the varying levels, benefits, costs and purposes, this blog will be discussing everything you need to know about CIPD qualifications so you can enrol with confidence. 

Whether you want to enter the industry, or are already a HR professional wanting to reach new heights, this blogpost will give you everything you need to know about CIPD courses. 

What are the different levels of CIPD Courses? 

There are 3 different CIPD levels: 

CIPD Level 3 – often referred to as Foundation Level - provides you with a basic understanding of the skills needed in an HR and/or Learning and Development (L&D) role. 

CIPD Level 5 - leads to a CIPD Associate membership and allows you to expand your knowledge of HR and L&D and learn to drive change in your organisation. 

CIPD Level 7 - the most prestigious qualification you can attain as an HR or L&D professional. Equivalent to a Postgraduate/Masters degree and the only level where you can apply for Chartered CIPD membership. Allows your to build your strategic thinking, personal effectiveness and leadership ability. 

CIPD HR Courses vs CIPD L&D Courses 

While the CIPD Level 3 course is the same for both Human Resources and Learning and Development routes, for your CIPD Level 5 course you will need to decide between a Level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management Human Resources course, or a Level 5 Associate Diploma in Organisational Learning and Development course.   

Both of the CIPD Level 5 qualifications cover topics on organisational performance, evidence-based practice and professional behaviours. While around half of what you will learn on both CIPD Level 5 courses will be the same, the other half is made up of specialist modules around either managing employees or improving learning.  

The CIPD Level 5 Human Resources course is the best route to help you in building relationships with employees, exploring performance incentives and developing the company culture  through recruitment and business initiatives.   

If you choose the CIPD Level 5 Learning and Development course, this is ideal to increase your knowledge in evaluating the capabilities of others and putting plans in place to help them improve their skills.   

Who are CIPD Courses for? 

The CIPD Level 3 qualification is perfect if you’re in the early stages of your career in HR or L&D where your day-to-day duties will include delivering on short term goals for your line manager and customers. 

CIPD Level 5 is ideal if you’re already working in an HR and L&D role and want to broaden your knowledge or support your experience with a qualification to improve your career prospects. 

CIPD Level 7 is best suited to senior professionals who need to develop and implement high-level workplace strategies to deliver long term results for stakeholders. 

What job roles can CIPD courses lead to? 

  • HR Administrator 

  • HR Assistant 

  • HR Advisor 

  • HR Manager 

  • Learning & Development Executive 

  • HR Director 

  • Senior HR Consultant 

  • HR Business Partner. 

Benefits of CIPD Courses 

While CIPD courses are not a legal requirement to obtain a job in HR or L&D, many employers will not consider candidates who don’t have (or aren’t working towards) CIPD accreditation. CIPD qualifications significantly improve your chances of advancing your career and taking on more senior roles requiring more advanced levels of knowledge and skill. 

There are four main reasons to achieve your CIPD qualification

  • Develop your skills and confidence 

  • Improve your career opportunities 

  • Earn a higher salary 

  • Gain CIPD membership. 

How much can I earn with a CIPD course? 

CIPD qualifications are recognised as the gold standard for Human Resources and Learning and Development professionals, and can significantly improve your career prospects when you’re aiming for a promotion or higher salary. 

For an entry-level role such as an HR Assistant, you can expect an average salary of around £25,000 and will potentially need a CIPD Level 3 qualification. With a 

CIPD Level 7 qualification, you’ll be eligible for roles such as HR Director and HR Business Partner where you can earn up to £60,000.  

What is CIPD Membership? 

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

CIPD membership is highly valued in the industry and gives you: 

  • Access to the CIPD community of other professionals 

  • Access to local branches 

  • Volunteering opportunities 

  • Career support & guidance  

  • Employment law support 

  • Wellbeing helpline 

  • Knowledge hub and journals 

  • People Management magazine 

  • Discounts and rewards 

  • Entry to exclusive industry events. 

How do you study a CIPD course? 

At MOL Learn we’ve designed a range of study options so you can fit your CIPD course around your other work or personal commitments. 

On- Demand provides the most flexibility with all the resources available to you 24/7 - you can study whenever you want to and progress at your own pace. 

Live Online provides you with the option to join live webinars and work in groups to solve challenges and tasks while still having the same flexible access as the  

On- Demand study option. 

Classroom learning is an option for those who enjoy a more structured approach or who have a more flexible schedule. Learners meet face to face with tutors and peers to enhance their learning experience. Please note that this study mode is only available for cohorts of 6 or more – perfect for businesses wanting to upskill a team. 

How long does a CIPD course take? 

A CIPD course will take between 6 and 24 months to complete depending on the level you choose.  

What do you learn on a  CIPD course? 

Depending on which course you take, you can learn: 

  • Talent management to sustain high performance in the workplace 

  • Advanced employment law 

  • Strategic reward management 

  • Best HR practices  

  • Personal effectiveness, ethics and business acumen 

  • Resourcing and working, and working lives in a changing business environment 

  • Strategic people management and development 

  • Management and development strategies 

  • Development strategies for performance 

  • HR management to sustain success. 

How much do CIPD courses cost? 

With most providers, a CIPD course will cost a minimum of £2,000 (depending on the qualification level), however, MOL Learn provides  qualifications at a more affordable price than other leading CIPD providers.  

CIPD Qualification 

MOL Learn Prices From 

Other Providers* Prices From 

CIPD Foundation Certificate in People Practice (Level 3) 



CIPD Associate Diploma in People Management (Level 5) 



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



CIPD Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management (Level 7) 



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



*Price averages calculated from ICS Learn & Acacia Learning, accurate at time of writing

Alternatives to CIPD courses 

As we’ve said, you don’t always need to do a CIPD course to get into the industry. Here are some of the alternatives: 

  • Human Resource Management Degree 

  • HR Graduate Schemes 

  • HR Apprenticeships 

  • Work Experience and Volunteering. 

However, compared to other routes, MOL CIPD courses are the most affordable and practical option e.g. an undergraduate degree in the UK will generally cost you around £27,000 (not including any maintenance fees for materials and living) and takes three years. In comparison, CIPD courses with MOL Learn, start from only £1,795 and can be completed in six to 24 months.  

We hope this blogpost helped you figure out your CIPD route to HR or L&D success! Visit out CIPD page to learn more about our CIPD courses and begin your career today.

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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.