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If you are thinking about choosing a CMI management qualification to progress your career but are overwhelmed by the amount of information available, then here’s our how-to guide to help you make your decision.   

As specialists in providing professional qualifications, apprenticeships and in-company courses, Reed Learning has supported thousands of people to gain the skills and knowledge they need to get ahead in their career. 

So, whether you are an experienced leader or a first-line manager, we’re here to explain everything you need to know about choosing the right course to suit your learning needs and there’s no better place to start than with the CMI itself! 

What is the CMI?

he Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is a professional organisation for management and leadership. Based in the UK, it has a membership of over 180,000 and provides a range of qualifications for people in management and leadership roles.  It carries out research into management and leadership practices, produces publications and reports on various related topics, and provides a networking platform for members.  The CMI is the only body that can award Chartered Manager status, the highest accolade for managers and leaders. 

Why study for a CMI qualification?  

Too many people fall into management roles because of their technical abilities or due to promotion. They are good at their job so surely they must be able to lead a team without any professional management training? 

Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and many first-time managers struggle with their new leadership responsibilities. Managing teams effectively has always been important to business success. Done well, it can help attract and retain your talent, improve employee engagement and deliver high productivity. Done badly, it can lead to disengagement and high turnover rates.  

CMI accredited qualifications are designed to help managers develop the skills and knowledge to be proficient in their job and to achieve results for their organisation.  If you are committed to pursuing a career in management and leadership, studying for a CMI qualification is one of the best ways to prove to employers that you have the skills and knowledge to do the job.  As a Chartered Manager, you will be able to make others aware of your qualification with the letters CMgr after your name on your CV and LinkedIn profile.  

A CMI survey on the impact of becoming Chartered reports: 

  • 88% of managers say their self-confidence has increased 

  • 81% say their management skills have improved 

  • 81% say that since becoming Chartered they have used their managerial skills to lead people and manage change. 

What level of study do you want to achieve? 

This really depends on your experience and current knowledge.  There is a wide range of CMI qualification levels so there is something for everyone. 

At Reed Learning, we currently offer fully flexible CMI qualifications at levels 3 and 5 that you can complete online. The more advanced the qualification is, the higher the number.  

Additionally, at each CMI level, qualifications are categorised by the breadth of information covered and the length of time they take to complete.  These are indicated by:  

  • Award 

  • Certificate  

  • Diploma 

How to choose the right qualification 

There’s lots of information out there which can be daunting but a great place to start is to think about your career goals. Your next step is to research the qualifications available and decide which one will help you meet these objectives. For example:   

  • What is your current management experience? 

  • Where do you see yourself in five years time? 

  • Will you be at the same company or are you aiming for a more senior role elsewhere? 

  • Do you want to work in the same industry or sector? 

  • Are you planning to specialise in leadership? 

Now, have a read through our CMI qualifications to see what’s right for you! 

CMI Level 3 

CMI Level 3 Principles of Management and Leadership 

If you have or are about to take on your first management position, CMI Level 3 qualifications are designed to help you succeed in your new role. You don’t need any prior management experience and there are no entry requirements for this level.  Ideal for new or aspiring managers, the courses are aimed at those in roles such as: 

  • Team Leader 

  • Supervisor 

  • Project Officer 

  • Shift Manager 

  • Foreperson 

CMI Level 3 Award (1 unit – 4 credits) 

If you’re just starting out in your first supervisory or team leader role and want to gain a solid introduction to a particular aspect of management then a CMI Level 3 Award will help you develop your skills quickly.  Simply choose the unit which is most relevant to your role. Remember it’s always possible to add further units when you are ready to top-up to a Certificate or Diploma.  

A CMI Level 3 Award is achieved after successfully completing one written assessment.  It can be completed in as little as six weeks. 

CMI Level 3 Certificate (2-3 units - 13 credits) 

If you want to gain a deeper understanding of management in specific areas, the CMI Level 3 Certificate will help you get up to speed. Simply choose the three units which are most relevant to your current or aspiring role. Once again, it’s always possible to add further units to top-up to a Diploma when you are ready. 

The CMI Level 3 Certificate is achieved after successfully completing three written assessments.  It can be achieved in 12-18 weeks. You will also be eligible for CMI Foundation Chartered Manager status (fCMgr). 

CMI Level 3 Diploma (8 units – 37 credits) 

Become an effective manager in a wide range of business areas when you study for the CMI Level 3 Diploma. Ideal if you want to gain in depth management knowledge and progress to further leadership roles.  There are many different units to choose from to help take your career to the next level. 

The CMI Level Diploma is achieved after successfully completing eight written assessments over a 12 month period. 

CMI Level 3 Units 

CMI Level 5  

CMI Level 5 Management and Leadership 

If you are a middle manager wanting to gain further knowledge, skills and techniques or you currently don’t have a qualification to demonstrate your expertise, our CMI Level 5 courses are the perfect choice. You may be leading and developing teams, perhaps reporting to a senior manager or business owner, with responsibilities including planning and managing projects or creating operational plans, but whatever your role a CMI Level 5 qualification will help sharpen your personal effectiveness and help you achieve success. 

Ideal for anyone who is building a career in management or leadership, these qualifications will allow you to develop your existing knowledge and ultimately prepare you for progression towards the prestigious Chartered Manager status. Ideal if you are in roles such as: 

  • Operations Manager 

  • Business Manager 

  • Departmental Head 

  • Team Lead 

  • Specialist Manager 

CMI Level 5 Award in Management and Leadership (1 unit – 4 credits) 

If you want to gain some management expertise quickly and enhance your CV with a CMI qualification, then an Award will help add knowledge and skills in a specific area. Choose the unit that is most relevant to your role, enrol on the course and get started. A CMI Level 5 Award is achieved after successfully completing one written assessment. 

It can be completed in as little as six weeks. 

CMI Level 5 Certificate in Management and Leadership (2-3 units – 13 credits) 

For this CMI Level 5 qualification, you can select to study two units from a combination of four different pairs. You’ll hone your management and leadership knowledge in specialist areas of your choice, focusing on real-life scenarios to acquire the expertise to develop your skills, deliver results and drive best practice. Remember it’s always possible to add further units when you are ready to top-up to a Diploma. 

A CMI Level 5 Certificate can be achieved in 12 weeks. 

CMI Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership (8 units- 37 credits) 

For managers and leaders to make a real difference in their organisations, they need high-level strategic management knowledge and expertise. Our CMI Level 5 Diploma will guide you to successfully lead both individuals and teams as well as to achieve positive change and lasting results. This CMI Diploma is a qualification that will ultimately ensure you stand out in your business and achieve your career goals. 

For this qualification, choose from a range of units which best suits your role and career progression. The combination of units will equip with you the skills and expertise you need for a thriving career in middle management. 

The Diploma provides a more comprehensive learning opportunity than the Certificate and is a pathway towards becoming a Chartered Manager.  

A CMI Level 5 Diploma can be achieved after successfully completing eight written assessments.  It can be completed in 12 months. 

CMI Level 5 units 

CMI Level 7  

CMI Level 7 Strategic Management and Leadership Practice  

If you have responsibility for strategically leading a large team or organisation, then CMI level 7 qualifications will ensure you gain the key skills and competencies to become an effective leader at the top of your game.   

As with other CMI qualifications, Level 7 offers a stimulating set of modules so you can select the ones that are most valuable to your role and your career.  Learn how to master change management, succeed in organisational design and development, or become an expert in the strategic management of data and information. Whatever you choose, you will develop your strategic leadership skills to improve your own performance and achieve results for your business.  

A CMI Level 7 Diploma will recognise your professional capabilities and prepare you for becoming a Chartered Manager. Level 7 courses are aimed at people in senior roles within their organisation such as: 

  • Senior Manager 

  • Regional Manager 

  • Specialist Manager such as Head of HR, Finance or Sales and Marketing 

  • Head teacher 

  • Director 

  • CEO 

  • Business Owners 

CMI Level 7 qualifications are available as Awards, Certificates and Diplomas. 

How do you want to study? 

Having researched the CMI qualification levels, your next task is to consider the way you learn best. Do you like studying online at your own pace or do you prefer learning with others in a classroom setting?  Would you like to get through your qualification quickly or do you want to take advantage of the full time allowed? Thinking about the ways that suit your learning style will help you determine the studying method that’s right for you. 

At Reed Learning, we have four distinct options to choose from: 

Live online – combine learning in your own time with attending live online webinars delivered by our CMI tutors for each unit you study.  You will also have access to all the learning materials and recorded content on our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). 

On demand – learn 100% online at your own pace whenever you want and wherever you are based. You’ll get 24/7 access to learning materials and recorded content on our VLE. 

Classroom – learn in online classrooms or via face-to-face workshops hosted at a range of locations throughout the UK. You will also be supported by 24/7 access to our VLE. 

Residential – focus solely on your study with no distractions at the Reed Business School, a historic manor house situated in the picturesque village of Little Compton in the Cotswolds. Learn in style and take advantage of the networking opportunities with fellow students.  

How we support you  

You’re never on your own when you study with Reed Learning. We will support you with your programme, track your progress and work with you every step of the way to achieve success.  All our learning options include: 

  • 1:1 support from a dedicated expert personal tutor. 

  • Access to our renowned VLE where you will find lots of study materials and reference guides. 

  • Links to ManagementDirect on the CMI website which has thousands of reliable and validated management and leadership resources, including company and industry reports, videos, checklists, e-books, and journals such as the Harvard Business Review, with new content being added weekly. This rich source of materials with a powerful search facility is learner friendly and time efficient and is available anytime, anywhere on any device.  

 Invest in yourself 

Studying for a professional qualification takes commitment but investing in yourself will benefit your career. CMI qualifications hold industry recognition and respect. Whether you are taking your first steps into management or looking to improve your existing skills, becoming CMI qualified will ensure you stand out from the competition in your job search and progress your career. 

 Contact us 

We hope you have found this guide useful and you are able to decide which CMI qualification is right for you.  If you’re still not sure or would like to find out more then call our specialist team on 020 7932 2760.