Why should I study for a CIPD qualification?

A qualification from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development can be a very useful way of demonstrating your grasp of Human Resources. If you’re looking to bolster your knowledge, gain an in-depth understanding of all facets of the profession and prove to potential employers that you’re ready to take the next step, then a qualification can be ideal. Here we answer your questions about the pros and cons of a CIPD qualification.


What is CIPD?

The CIPD is the professional body for HR people and the organisation holds a Royal Charter which gives it powers to set benchmarks for the standards that HR professionals should reach. With 140,000 members around the world, the CIPD represents their views to government and business leaders and makes sure that the training provided to HR professionals at hundreds of institutions across the UK is of the right quality.


What qualifications are on offer?

CIPD qualifications come in three levels:

  • Foundation, the basic level for anyone whatever their experience,
  • Intermediate, the undergraduate level to help HR practitioners to build on their experience
  • Advanced, a postgraduate level for experienced professionals

At each level, there are three types of qualification – Awards, a short course, Certificates, which take about nine months and Diplomas, which take a year. The highest qualification is an advanced level diploma which allows you to become a Chartered Member or Chartered Fellow of the CIPD.


What are the benefits of studying a CIPD course?

Some job descriptions will include a CIPD qualification as a pre-requisite for a candidate. However, this doesn’t mean that other types of qualification are not also useful. An equivalent HR-related undergraduate degree or a postgraduate qualification such as a Masters in Organisational Psychology can also tick the right boxes – not to mention the key requirement which is real, hands-on experience in the role.

But a CIPD qualification is recognised across HR functions in every industry so it remains a very useful standard. Employers will know you have up to date knowledge about the latest in best practice, new legislation and theory on Human Resources.


Why do I need continuous development once I’ve started my career?

After you’ve completed a course and found a great HR job, it’s tempting to think that classroom time is over, that you’ll be learning on the job and growing into new responsibilities. It’s easy to rely on theory and knowledge from your course only to discover in a few years’ time that there are new ideas about best practice, or changes in legislation. Renewing your knowledge can help you stay on top of what is often a fast-changing profession.


Gaining a specialisation and boosting your career – seize the opportunities!

The CIPD is keen to point out that individuals with professional qualifications can earn an extra £81,000 over the course of their career. How does this work in practice though? One way is to take a specialisation and CIPD courses can help with that. Intermediate and Advanced level courses are available in fields including law and employee relations, organisation development, leadership, behavioural science, employee engagement, talent management, reward and training, as well as many more.

By taking a specialisation, you will match more roles with sought-after skills and find yourself in demand from employers. Remember though, there is no substitute for experience so make sure that your formal qualifications – whether CIPD or not – are backed up by solid career development.

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