The Professional Development Scheme (PDS) is generally completed over two to three years part-time, via evening or day release classes. Some centres might also run PDS as a full-time course over one to two years.
PDS is aimed at those seeking to advance their managerial careers in personnel and development. The CIPD does not give specific entry requirements to the course - individual centres will have their own requirements - but this is a post-graduate level course. Some centres will also require students to have had work experience. For those who want to undertake the course but don't have a degree qualification, CIPD suggests applicants complete its Certificate programme first as this will be accepted by most centres.
Students need to complete four core subject areas, which include a number of modules with some choice offered:
core management: modules include managing activities, managing people, managing in a business context, managing information
People management and development core: this covers all key elements of personnel and development and explains how practitioners' work is integrated with that of other personnel and development specialists
Generalist and specialist personnel and development
Applied personnel and development: This core includes the Management Report, to assess professional competence applied in the workplace, and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) - a systematic and continuous review of self-development
The CIPD suggests many employers demand that candidates have a CIPD qualification. Successful completion of all four fields will lead to Graduate membership.