Can you skip level 5 and go straight to 7?


I completed my level 3 HR certificate October last year (and passed - woo!). I really enjoyed learning and the added insight it gave me when working in my organisation. Looking at what is covered in level 5 it is the same subjects but in more detail. Is it feasible to jump to level 7?

Thank you for your help and guidance with this!

Best wishes,


  • There are lots of similar posts if you want to use the search facilities.

    Academically you can of course skip anything and as long as you have the academic ability still get the badge for doing the higher level. You can probably succeed in getting your shinny new level 7 award. (although its not really advisable practically unless you are already working in a job that allows you to practice many of the skills )

    But you will miss out on some very valuable learning and experience along the way and this could well harm your long term career.
  • You can.....but I personally wouldn't, for a number of reasons.

    The jump from L3 to L5 is very big in itself, in terms of both content and how to produce the assignments. I thought L3 was a total waste of my time (not in a cocky way, just because of the level I was at in my career) BUT that being said it gave me a decent grounding in how to approach the whole HE thing after never doing anything like that before. L5 was a bit of a shock to be honest, it almost is like there's a L4 missing somewhere the jump is that big IMO, not just in content but expectations of the quality of the assignments.

    There are....ahem......some websites out there that show you examples of the assignment questions (and even assignments themselves) that might help you decide. But for me personally I think its much better to do L3, L5, L7 to cover the full spectrum of topics. L5 is tough for me, really stretching, but I've learned so much (if nothing else - to put L7 out of my head once and for all as honestly, I know it will be pitched too high for me personally and I much prefer to stay HR Manager level on the front line rather than more strategic Director level which L7 is aimed at I think?)

    Good luck whatever you decide :)
  • In reply to Keith:

    Thank you Keith - this is very helpful!
  • In reply to Samantha:

    Thank you Samantha for your advice! That is good to know about the jump to level 5 and I really value your insight. I most likely will do level 5 first, as one should never really skip ahead as may miss things, but just wanted to check if the option to progress a bit further (a little faster) was possible.
    Thank you again for taking the time to offer some advice! :)
  • As Keith has mentioned there are some previous similar posts which I have also responded too.

    I have studied Level 3,4 and 5 in my over 20 years career in HR. My NVQ Level 4 is no longer recognised by CIPD so just to say it did used to be there but has subsequently changed.

    I was not sure between level 5 and 7 myself as different providers were advising different things - such as Level 5 wont stretch you enough or that I wouldn't have the exposure in my daily role to able to successfully complete Level 7. It can also depend on the style of learning - as those with less HR experience may be able to successfully complete a Level 7 at university as a bit more academic (some of my colleagues with less experience have successfully done this) In the end I started 'Mixed mode' level 7 only to be dropped back down to Level 5 as just didn't have the exposure to that level in my current role. Level 5 was still definitely a stretch as had been about 20 years since I had done my Certificate in Personnel Practice (now equivalent to L3).

    Hope this helps...
  • In reply to Frances:

    Hi Frances,

    I have just completed my first year of the MSc Human Resource Management with CIPD Level 7. I have no previous experience in HR but knew that it was the field I wanted to work in and the opportunity arose so I took it! I have to say that I have really enjoyed it, and have passed my first year! As long as you are reasonably academic and can write a good essay you will be absolutely fine. The competency portfolio that I have to produce is slightly more challenging as I don't work in HR - but along with volunteer roles that I've been involved in and also unpaid HR work experience that I'm doing in my spare time, I seem to be able to cover all the bases. I would have thought that with you working in HR you would have no problem demonstrating all the competencies required.

    Thought I would add a slightly different perspective to the conversation! All the best with whichever path you choose to take!
  • I skipped level 3 and went straight to Level 5 but that was because I had studied at degree level before and based on the advice I was given I felt it was more appropriate to do so, but having compared all three levels, I certainly would not have skipped level 5 to go straight to level 7. I'm currently in 2 minds about doing my level 7 due to what is involved and where I am in my career currently.

    Perhaps contact the provider you are considering using and see if they will let you sit in on a Level 5 and Level 7 session to give you a feel of the level of study. The provider I went through for Level 5 used to allow people the chance to do this.
  • In reply to Clare:

    Thanks Clare, this is really helpful! Not sure what I will end up doing (or when as it can be expensive) but I may do what Gemma suggests below and ask to see some example questions from both levels and see what I feel I can do and understand. Thank you for your insights.
  • In reply to Kelly:

    Thank you for offering a different perspective - it is invaluable! :) I think I may try and do what Gemma suggests and see some examples of questions/type of work required from both levels and see how I feel about it. I am very passionate about this area of work and just want to learn more about it. Thank you for your insights they are appreciated!
  • In reply to Gemma Thomson:

    Gemma - this advice is really useful and I think I will try and get some examples as you suggest and see how I feel about it. I just want to expand my knowledge and have the opportunity to learn more and be more involved. Thank you for the advice! :)
  • In reply to Frances:

    Whilst the provider I used don't usually provide the content of the qualification in advance, I also asked for some example modules to give me an idea of the level they were pitched at.
  • In reply to Frances:

    Sounds like a plan!
  • In a word - YES! I have recently finished my level 7 and MA in Human Resource Management. I came from a non - HR background (although, now work in HR) and went directly into the level 7. So long as you can plan well, work very hard for prolonged periods, this can be done....Good luck.
  • In reply to Kelly:

    I would echo this response too. I was looking at a career change and decided to complete my MSc in HR Management to support this. After a busy two years of part time study and in the last stages of completing my dissertation, I can honestly say I have loved it! With very little prior experience in HR and no current role in it (until the last 3 months) I managed perfectly fine with the academic content, demonstrating application and reflecting on my learning for future development. There is no competency portfolio like Kelly but still a level 7 accredited by CIPD.

    If you have enjoyed previous study and feel competent to study at the MSc academic level, you should do fine.

    Best of luck with your decision and future study.