FAQs: Getting a CIPD qualification

Phil
Boucher answers your most Frequently Asked Questions about studying for – and
achieving – CIPD qualifications.

Where
can I do a CIPD course?

There
are over 400 CIPD approved centres nationwide. Course structure and costs vary
between all of them so it is best to check what’s available locally and find
one that most closely matches your budget and course requirements.

To
do this you will have to contact the centres directly. A list of relevant
places can be found by contacting the CIPD professional education department on
020-8263 3313 or e-mailing profed@CIPD.co.uk
or visiting www.cipd.co.uk

Can
I study part-time or at home?

As
most people who undertake a course are already working, the CIPD has made it
very easy to study part-time, in block release or through a distance-learning
programme. Full-time courses are also available, although all applicants are
vetted for their suitability.

Further
information can be found via the CIPD flexible learning department on 020-8263
3340 or e-mail flex@CIPD.co.uk

What
courses can I take?

Those
looking for a general personnel qualification can take certificate courses in
either personnel practice (CPP) or training practice (CTP). These have been
specifically designed as entry point qualifications for students who want a
thorough grounding in HR basics.

They
are open to people from any background who would like to improve their people
management skills. So a typical course will involve line managers, personal
assistants and clerical staff alongside new HR recruits.

What
about a more in-depth course?

For
more in-depth study, the CIPD professional qualification structure (PQS)
provides the opportunity to study more specialised areas.

This
has three components:

        
core personnel and development

        
core management

        
specialist and generalist personnel and development.

The
first two of these account for 55 per cent of the total programme and require
300 hours of study.

Core
personnel and development provides an overview of the whole range of work
carried out within the personnel and development area.

Core
management covers the skills required by middle management.

The
remaining 45 per cent of the course is taken up by specialist and generalist
personnel and development. PQS students are required to take four modules from
a choice of 25 specialist subject areas that are designed to meet each
candidate’s needs and interests.

Students
can choose from a personnel management route, a training and development route
or a mixed bag of electives.

What
happens after I’ve done a CIPD course?

Once
you’ve completed the PQS course you will receive graduate membership of the
CIPD. After three years of working in a relevant field this is upgraded to
membership status (MCIPD).

Upgrading
to fellowship status (FCIPD) requires a minimum of 10 years of relevant
management experience and approved continuing professional development (CPD).

What
if I have small gaps in my knowledge or simply want a refresher course?

There
are a number of short courses to choose from as well as a wide range of
seminars on particular topics. These are ideal for introducing you to the
basics of a subject and keeping you in touch with all the latest developments.

The
CIPD training department also has a programme of courses that run throughout
the year alongside the more in-depth Certificate in Training Practice. For
information call 020-8263 3313 or e-mail profed@CIPD.co.uk

Can
I get exemptions if I have other qualifications such as an MA or an NVQ?

The
CIPD does take appropriate previous qualifications into account, but these must
have covered at least 80 per cent of the competencies detailed within the CIPD
syllabus (known as the CIPD Professional Standards).

If
you have a management-based qualification and are interested in taking a core
management course, you have to contact the approved centre first to see if
these conditions apply.

For
all other qualifications and further information contact the CIPD membership
department on 020-8263 3826 or e-mail memdev@CIPD.co.uk
and ask for details of the assessment of prior certificate learning.

I
have been working in HR for five years. Can I get exemptions on the basis of my
experience?

The
professional assessment route is available for candidates who are seeking
membership on the basis of their experience.

This
gives experienced HR people the chance to measure their competence against the
CIPD Professional Standards and gain a professional qualification from the
Institute without sitting formal exams.

This
route is only open to highly experienced HR or training professionals who would
not benefit from undertaking a course. To be eligible, candidates have to
demonstrate five to 10 years of managerial level experience.

This
includes:
– a demonstrable involvement in policy making and its implementation at regional
level
– a professional interpretation of current legislation
– an understanding of company strategy and its relation to HR
– evidence of influencing senior management or key decision-makers.

On
average this will take somewhere between six and 12 months. For further
information call the CIPD membership development department on 020-8263 3353 or
e-mail memdev@CIPD.co.uk

How
long will it take to get a CIPD qualification?

A
typical part-time course will take from two to two-and-a-half years to
complete. But depending on the way you have chosen to study, the course could
take anywhere from one to three years. It all relates to the amount of
flexibility you want to build into the course and whether you want to turn your
attention to it full-time, or simply after work and at the weekends.

There
is also a lot of flexibility in terms of enrolment and examinations dates.
There are two exam sessions in November and May but these vary if you are
taking short-term courses.

Enrolment
takes place in September and January for the main PQS courses but runs
throughout the year for many of the others.

To
find out what’s available locally, contact the CIPD professional education
department on 020-8263 3313 or e-mail profed@CIPD.co.uk

What
role will my employer have?

In
most instances people are supported and subsidised through the schemes by their
employers. And in a lot of cases the employers actually push their staff to do
a course as it is seen as a license to practice by many of them.

Those
who want to convince their employers to send them on a course should simply
outline the business benefits it will have. Many employers believe the courses
provide skills that underpin people’s day-to-day work.

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