Which level CIPD course is best for me?

Hi all

I have worked in HR for around 18 months as a HR Administrator but have had a lot of exposure to a lot of different elements of HR not just your standard admin - KPIs, audits, disciplinaries, absence management meetings and your usual hr admin - onboarding, inductions, new starters, leavers, holidays, general enquiries, recruitment, agencies, training.

I also have law degree and studied employment law.

Do you think I would be ready to study CIPD, if so - what level? I wouldn't want to waste my time doing Level 3 if a lot of it might be things i already know.

Any advise would be appreciated.



  • Hi Jenny,

    It sounds like you have had quite a bit of exposure so I would recommend the level 5. I have studied the level 3 myself and have had about half the experience you had so I think level 3 might be a step back for you.

  • Hi Jenny

    I had been in my HR job for 5 months when i started studying my level 3 so found it very useful. I dont think you would learn much from the level 3 based on your experience above. Some people in my class were even working HR but still found it ok to understand and be able to complete the assignments.

    I would go for level 5.

  • I did a blog piece on the levels you can read it here: workforcedynamics.wordpress.com/.../

    You are one of the lucky ones in that you are working in HR, but 18 months isn't all that long and I would advise you to start at Level 3 as that is appropriate to your role at present time, use that to build on, gain some more experience then go for the Level 5.

    CIPD courses are an expensive investment more so at the top end so make sure it is appropriate.
  • Hi Jenny

    I can only tell you my experience. I studied the ILM Level 3 Diploma in Leadership and Management and to be honest, I didn't find them very much of a challenge. I am an older student so I do have many years' experience so that probably helped. On the flip side, I hadn't studied since the 80s and have never been to university so no degree.

    I started my CIPD Level 5 Diploma in HR Management on 1 April. It is 100% online and although I have found elements of it tricky, I reckon the level is perfect for me. I have completed 3 units, will submit the 4th at weekend and have 4 more units to go. I hope to finish by the end of the year.

    I think you need to speak to a few providers and be honest about your past experience and they will hopefully advise you which Level is best for you. You will probably have a better idea yourself which Level to go for after speaking to them.

    Let us know what you decide.

  • Hi Jenny - I think with your experience and academic background a Level 5 sounds okay but there are pros and cons to the various levels so it depends on a number of factors. I would be happy to advise if you want to chat through let me know :) Jackie
  • I was in HR for 10 months when I studied CIPD level 5. I was recommended to go straight to level 5 as, similar to you, I had already studied and had a lot of exposure to different areas of HR. I found it a good challenge and think I definintely would have found the level 3 too easy. I would probably say level 5 for you but I would research both levels first to see what you think would be the most beneficial for you.
  • i wouldn't mess about Go for level 7
    I would have you on our course
  • Morning Jennifer
    I was a graduate and had worked six years in HR when I opted for Level 5 (with Avado). I think you should also opt for Level 5. It will cover familiar elements -such as the ones mentioned in your question - plus a whole lot more to broaden your HR knowledge and to challenge you. Good luck!
  • In reply to Sue Eakin:

    How about me? I have an MBA in Corporate Governance and a professional HR certificate with five (5) years HR experience. I am an HR generalist, draft and implement policies, do compensation and rewards etc. Which level would be advisable?
  • Hi Jennifer
    I would really think about the investment you are about to make.
    You already have a law degree so despite your current job role I would advise the Advanced Diploma.
    This is the only qualification that enables you to upgrade to a Chartered Member. It takes 18 months to complete during which time you will have 3 years of experience.
    If you select the Intermediate qualification you will become an Associate Member and then need to start the Advance Diploma from scratch. It is the time and cost that I feel you need to be aware off.
    You have demonstrated your academic ability with your degree and by doing the Advanced Diploma you will be able to use your newly acquired knowledge to relate it to your current role.
  • Straight to level 5 minimum. I guess you will find it a refreshing walk in the park! Best of luck.
  • In reply to Daniel:

    Hi Daniel,

    I, too, have an MBA but I made a deliberate choice of the Level 5. Level 3 is equivalent to A-levels, so is fairly basic - great for those starting out but not if you have some experience. Level 5 is equivalent to 1st/2nd year degree level, so it gives you a wide experience but does lack depth. Level 7 is equivalent to Master's level so gives you great depth but lacks width. I wanted to gain a wider knowledge so went for the 5, however if I wanted to specialise in, say, L&D I'd have gone for the 7. Hope this helps.
  • In reply to Maureen Scholefield:

    She might have three years of HR experience by the time she finishes but not necessarily the right experience at the right level, how do you know? She may still be an HR Administrator and an overqualified one!