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What's the Difference Between CIPD Course Providers?

These days there seem to be a thousand and one CIPD course providers out there, with most of them offering tons of awesome perks and professional resources to add to an exceptional learning experience.

So, with so many to choose from, how can you possibly decide on which provider to study your CIPD qualification with? The answer is simple: you start out by learning the differences by asking the right questions.

While there may not be any stark contrast between CIPD providers per se, below we dive into some key questions you should be asking to help you understand how each CIPD provider may differ and how to narrow them down so you can feel confident with your final choice.

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Questions to Ask

1. What are your credentials? 

Without a doubt, before you enrol on a CIPD course with any provider, you’ll first want to check in on what the organisation brings to the table and whether they have a sound reputation to fall back on. A few credential-specific questions you can ask, for example, include:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • How long have you been offering CIPD qualifications?
  • What is your overall CIPD pass rate?

By asking these questions, you should be able to find the initial confidence you’re looking for in a potential CIPD provider; ideally, one that has ample experience in effectively delivering the wide range of material involved with these prestigious qualifications 

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2. How should I expect to learn?

This question is an especially important one that will help you narrow down your choice of CIPD learning providers significantly.

While these days online learning has become the new norm, you may be someone who prefers an in-person or a hybrid approach to learning that includes both online and virtual elements as well as some face-to-face time with a facilitator.

Whatever the case may be, keep in mind that not all providers offer all three options. Some are entirely online (like us!), for instance, while other providers like DPG Learn and Acacia Learning offer online and blended learning options.

Make sure to choose a provider that will offer you the type of learning you’re looking for so that it can shape to your lifestyle and not the other way around.

Speaking of which… 

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3. What can I expect from my learning experience?

While it’s important to know the difference in how you learn from provider to provider, it’s also vital that you understand what to expect from your chosen CIPD course.

For instance, if you currently work full-time, you may want to find a provider that offers accessible online CIPD courses that allow you to learn at your leisure around your work, family, and life commitments. This means you can prioritise what’s most important to you on any given day, and get back to studying when it’s most convenient for you. 

In-person and virtual classroom learning, on the other hand, can sometimes be accompanied by more rigid timetables and start dates, making these options perhaps more suitable for individuals who work part-time and have more flexibility in their day-to-day.

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4. What kind of support will I receive?

Embarking on a CIPD qualification can be intimidating, and that’s precisely why we recommend asking your selected providers what type of support you’ll receive during and after you enrol.

Even if you’re a seasoned HR or L&D professional taking on a CIPD qualification to excel in your career, there may come a point while you’re studying your course where you’ll find that you need a little help with a topic, theory, or skill that you’d like to master.

Luckily, most CIPD providers offer tutor support, however, dig a little deeper and see whether that tutor support is unlimited and available one on one or find out what stipulations there might be.

It’s also a good idea to look into the credentials of any potential CIPD tutors or facilitators you may be learning from. Are they HR or L&D professionals or Chartered Members with practical experience, for example, or are they simply individuals hired to regurgitate the course material word for word?

Whatever you do, just make sure you know who you’ll be learning from and what you can expect from the tutor-student relationship. How and when are they available to chat? How can you contact them? How soon will you hear back? All very good questions. 

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5. How much can I expect to pay for a CIPD course?

Since no CIPD provider is the same, this is a great question to ask if you’re looking to get the most out of your money and your CIPD qualification.

While you’ll likely come to expect to pay more for in-person and hybrid learning CIPD course models, as you’re paying for someone else to guide and teach you rather than study primarily on your own, we can’t deny that online learning tends to be the most affordable option.

With online learning, you don’t have to worry about a commute to class and you’ll avoid having to buy physical course materials as the majority (if not all) of them will be available to you on your laptop, phone, or tablet.

Some providers (again, like us!) also offer no-interest payment plans and low monthly payments to help those who may not have the means to put down the full cost of a CIPD qualification right away.

After all, every little bit counts. 

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6. Where can I find testimonials from current and previous students?

We like this question because we feel that it’s always a good idea to see if an organisation can live up to its seemingly high standards.

The best way to do this is to look on the provider’s own website for any CIPD student testimonials, as well as on websites like Trustpilot that often have an abundance of student and client reviews.

You wouldn’t choose an internet or phone provider, or even a hairdresser with terrible reviews, right? The same approach should be used when you’re choosing something as important as your future CIPD provider.

You’ll want to look for students who were satisfied with the level of knowledge and skills they’ve learned in their course and who would recommend the provider to others.

We hope these questions have helped you understand what differences to look out for between CIPD course providers, and that they will help you choose the one that best suits your lifestyle.


Interested in advancing your HR or L&D career? Enrol on our 100% online professional CIPD qualifications today.

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