Most of us are quite canny when it comes to spending money.
If we’re considering investing in something expensive like a laptop or phone, we’ll usually do some research into the various models available and the credentials of the places offering them for sale. We’ll then base our decision on the information we find – we won’t normally go with the first person we look at.
The same should go when you’re trying to choose where you should study your CIPD qualification.
To help your research process, we thought we’d share some of the key things to look for. Here are five of the most important questions to ask when choosing a CIPD provider.
1. How long have you been a CIPD provider?
The age of a company is often a good indicator of the quality of service that you’re going to receive from them. After all, if a company has been in existence for a while, that’s a likely indicator that they’ve been doing something right.
That’s because, logically, the quality of your products and services is going to directly influence whether or not you get repeat customers – they’re an indication that people are satisfied with the service they’re receiving from that company. Why would they choose to come back if they weren’t happy?
Generally, a company that has been offering CIPD qualifications for at least 5 years should be relatively trustworthy.
(At ICS Learn, we’ve been offering CIPD qualifications for 30 years and distance learning for more than 130 years – proving that our customer service and the quality of our tuition has stood the test of time.)
2. Is the course online, face-to-face, or a mix of both?
The format that you choose to study your CIPD qualification should be motivated by the type of study that best suits you. We all learn in different ways, after all, and if you’re investing time and money into a course you’ll want to make sure that you learn in the way that’s best suited to you.
CIPD qualifications are offered in a range of formats. In the past, most CIPD qualifications were delivered in person in a classroom, but over the last decade there has been an explosion in the online delivery of CIPD courses.
Online learning is popular because you can study wherever and whenever you want, providing that you have an internet connection, and generally have more control over your study schedule.
It’s worthwhile checking with the provider ahead of signing up about the format of the course. Sometimes there can be a bit of ambiguity about whether a course is delivered 100% online or not – some courses might list themselves as online courses and then require you to attend physical workshops.
3. How much flexibility will I have in my studies?
Chances are that if you’re studying CIPD to advance your career, you’ll already have a ton of other things going on in your life too. The biggest commitment that most people who study a CIPD qualification try to work around is their existing job. Studying and working full-time can often be exhausting if you don’t have flexibility in your course schedule.
When you’re doing your research into prospective course providers, find out how much flexibility each provider has when it comes to how, and when, you complete your studies.
Helpfully, a lot of CIPD providers will be able to offer you some type of flexibility in your studies – particularly if the course is delivered completely online. The most flexible courses let you study where and when you like, with no set schedule or assignment deadlines, although you will usually have a date for when your course access and support runs out.
Online study is pretty flexible by its very nature so it’s a good option to choose if you have a lot of prior commitments that you need to devote time and energy to.
4. What support do you provide and what are your tutors' credentials?
The skills, knowledge and expertise of your tutor will have a big effect on how well you complete a qualification. Of course, the teaching ability of your tutor isn’t solely responsible for the grade you get, but it plays an important role in it.
Asking your provider about the credentials and experience of their course tutors can give you a good indication of the type of knowledge that they have and whether that’s relevant to the specific subject that you’re learning.
If you’re studying CIPD, you’re going to want to look for courses that are led by tutors with practical experience of having worked in the Human Resources or Learning and Development sectors. They should also be CIPD Chartered Members, Fellows or Academic Associates.
It’s also useful to establish how your relationship with your tutors will work. When are they available to chat? How long does it usually take them to get back to student questions? How can you contact them?
5. Can I see testimonials from past CIPD students?
Reading testimonials from past students who have studied CIPD with your chosen provider can be a great way to discover how studying with them will be in reality.
Most providers will usually proudly display any testimonials that they receive from their students.
Bear in mind though, that most of the testimonials and reviews that you read on a provider’s site will be positive. Independent online review sites like TrustPilot can be a great place to get a more nuanced idea of a CIPD provider’s track record.
Forums like The Student Room can also provide a great place to find out how previous students have got on studying with particular providers.
These are only five questions, but they’re really important ones. Keep these at the front of your mind when you’re looking for a CIPD provider and you’ll find a course that’s really suited to your needs.
Start the next stage of your career today with a fully online CIPD qualification that you can complete any time, from home. Contact our team to find out more.