CIPD qualifications FAQs

Where can I study a CIPD qualification?

What are my study mode options?

How long does it take to complete a CIPD qualification?

How much does it cost to study a CIPD qualification?

What level of membership will I get?

What support can I access during my study?

What should I do next?

What opportunities are there for further study?

Where can I study a CIPD qualification? 

The CIPD has a network of accredited centres across the UK, Ireland and internationally that offer our Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced level Award, Certificate and Diploma qualifications. You can find a full list of accredited CIPD centres and are able to search for your closest centre on our website. You will need to contact your chosen centre in order to ascertain what units they offer as this may vary.

What are my study mode options? 

The CIPD’s network of accredited centres offers a variety of different study modes to suit your study needs:

  • Full time - candidates are required to attend a number of taught sessions at their centre totalling at least 21 hours per week. The sessions are usually held during the day.
  • Part time - candidates are required to attend one or two taught sessions at their centre. Each session, usually lasting between three to four hours, is held in the evening and/or during the day.
  • Supported distance learning - candidates study in their own time, using learning materials such as workbooks. Many centres integrate workbooks with online learning media contained within their virtual learning environment (VLE). Candidates are also supported by their centre through periodic face-to-face tutorials and group workshops held online or offline at an approved centre.
  • Block - candidates attend a series of taught sessions, usually delivered in blocks of three to five consecutive full days over a specified period.
  • Mixed mode - aimed at experienced individuals who may require some distance learning support from their centre but are generally ready for assessment. Centres running mixed mode programmes are approved to offer competence-based assessment, which enables candidates to use evidence from their workplace to meet the majority of CIPD's qualification requirements. The type of learning input and support provided by the centre will vary according to the centre's resources and the needs of the candidate.

How long does it take to complete a CIPD qualification? 

Depending on your chosen study method, the CIPD qualifications are split 50:50 between class-based study and self-study. The length of time it takes to complete a CIPD qualification will depend on the qualification level (Foundation, Intermediate or Advanced) and qualification type (Award, Certificate or Diploma).

Foundation level qualifications

  • Foundation Award (2-12 credits) can be a minimum of ten and a maximum of 60 study hours depending on what unit(s) you study, your chosen study centre and your mode of study. On average it can take anything from one month to six months to complete.
  • Foundation Certificate (28 credits) is a total of 280 study hours of which 140 hours should be private study. On average it can take nine months to complete, however this will depend on your chosen study centre and your chosen mode of study.
  • Foundation Diploma (37 credits) is a total of 370 study hours of which 185 should be private study. On average it can take 12 months to complete, however this will depend on your chosen study centre and your chosen mode of study.

Intermediate level qualifications

  • Intermediate Award
  • Intermediate Certificate (32 credits) is a total of 320 study hours of which 160 hours should be private study. On average it can take 12 months to complete, however this will depend on your chosen study centre and your mode of study.
  • Intermediate Diploma (44 credits) is a total of 440 study hours of which 220 should be private study. On average and depending on your chosen study centre it can take 18 months to 2 years to complete.

Advanced level qualifications

  • Advanced Award (15 credits) is a total of 150 study hours of which 75 hours should be private study. On average it can take 3-6 months.
  • Advanced Certificate (60 credits) is a total of 600 study hours of which 300 hours should be private study. On average it can take 9-12 months to complete, however this will depend on your chosen study centre and your mode of study.
  • Advanced Diploma is a total of 1200 study hours of which 600 should be private study. On average it can take 2-2.5 years to complete, however this will depend on your chosen study centre and your mode of study.

How much does it cost to study a CIPD qualification? 

Your chosen centre will be able to provide you with information on course fees. The cost of enrolling on the programme isn’t fixed by the CIPD and can vary from one centre to another. This can be dependent on the mode of study the centre offers, the length of the qualification and the geographical location of the centre. When it comes to studying at Advanced (Postgraduate level), most centres recognise that a Masters level qualification is an expensive investment and so usually have some flexible payment options. In addition the Gov.uk website offers information and advice on education, loans and admissions into Universities that you may find useful.

What level of membership will I get? 

Once you have decided on your CIPD qualification and have registered with your chosen approved centre, you will join the CIPD as Student member. As well as increasing your professional credibility with employers, CIPD membership will also give you exclusive member-only access to the latest HR and L&D resources, development tools, networking opportunities and discounts. 

Continuing your membership beyond your studies will ensure your progression to achieving professional membership of the CIPD. Successfully completing your CIPD qualification means you’ll automatically upgrade to Associate member, which is a professional level of CIPD membership. Becoming a professional member of the CIPD will enhance your career prospects and earning potential. As an Associate professional member you’ll be able to use the letters Assoc CIPD after your name. If you’re studying the Advanced level Diploma in HRM or HRD, and are working in HR or L&D at a managerial or strategic level, you can apply to upgrade from Associate member to Chartered Member or Chartered Fellow.

Professional membership is an achievement that ensures you stand out in your career. It is respected by employers and the industry alike and may help increase your earning potential.

What support can I access during my study? 

The CIPD website is a fantastic online resource that can help support you throughout your CIPD studies and back in the workplace. The Student Resources area is a dedicated area for students giving you all you need, when you need it. This area gives everything you may need in order to assist you completing your qualification, from topic-specific factsheets, podcasts, survey reports and practical study skill tips. Written by subject specialists, you can be assured you are getting the most up to date information, new perspectives and inspiration from leading industry thinkers.

What should I do next?

Please contact your chosen CIPD accredited centre. Centres will provide you with further information on costs, start dates and enrolment. It will vary from centre to centre as to what units they may offer. Your centre will register you on the qualification with us. If you have any questions about our qualifications, then please contact the customer services team on +44 (0)20 8612 6208 or use our Contact us form.

What opportunities are there for further study? 

Regardless of what qualification you study, you can widen your knowledge further by undertaking more units at any time.


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