CMI Level 5 and Level 7 qualifications are designed for management professionals at two different levels. 

It’s essential to be conscious of this when deciding to study on a CMI-accredited course so that you can select the course that most closely aligns with your training objectives and will facilitate career progression. 

In this post, we explain the difference between the CMI-accredited Level 5 and Level 7 qualifications we offer here at In Professional Development. We then provide guidance on how to identify the most suitable level of qualification for you.

What’s the difference between CMI Levels 5 and 7?

The decision to study for either a Level 5 or a Level 7 qualification will depend on the stage you’ve reached in your management career. A Level 5 course is designed for professionals at a middle management level and will concentrate more on aspects of direct management, whereas a Level 7 qualification is aimed at senior management professionals and focuses more on organisational strategy.

What topics will a CMI Level 5 course address?

A Level 5 leadership course will develop your understanding of the role of the manager and cover vital aspects such as self-awareness, managing multidisciplinary teams, and improving your personal approach to leadership. You’ll discuss pertinent topics including leading teams, forming productive working relationships, and having important conversations. Goal setting and planning are crucial parts of management, too, and you’ll study these under the Improvement of Services module.

Level 5 qualifications are intended to assist you in progression to senior management level. Our detailed blog post explores the various ways a Level 5 CMI qualification can help you reach your professional goals.

What topics will a CMI Level 7 course cover?

Level 7 courses explore organisational strategy and concentrate on key aspects of it. Choosing a Level 7 course enables you to study decision-making, issues of inclusion and diversity, coaching and mentoring, leading through change, creating high-performance teams, and digital leadership in more depth, as well as overall leadership at a more senior level. The courses create the opportunity to work on specific weaknesses or areas where you may require additional knowledge.

Level 7 qualifications aim to empower senior management professionals further and help them to strengthen their skills and knowledge. This in-depth blog post explores the ways a Level 7 qualification can support the demands of senior management roles.

Which CMI course is right for me?

Understanding the differences between CMI Level 5 and Level 7 courses and their objectives is fundamental. This awareness can form the basis for selecting the best-suited course and level for you. Below we’ve suggested some measures to aid your decision.

Observe where you are professionally

This step is important to select the level that aligns with your current level of management expertise. Choosing the wrong level could prevent you benefiting from the course, either because you’re too advanced and won’t learn anything new – or because you’re under-qualified and the course will prove too challenging for your current level of experience.

You should also evaluate your future career goals and determine how the course might impact it. If you’re aspiring to senior management level, a Level 5 qualification will steer your progression further towards this goal, whereas if you’re already in a senior management role, a Level 7 course will reinforce your strategic skills and prepare you for a Level 8 course, planned specifically for C-level leaders.

Consider potential barriers to progression

Reflect upon your organisation, the way it operates, and its culture. Analyse the role to which you’re seeking promotion and ask yourself if there is anything that might be preventing you from achieving it. For example, would the business place the responsibility of organisational strategy on someone who lacks sound theoretical grounding in management strategy? Would they promote someone who doesn’t have evidence of the core skills of management?

Talk to your superiors to get their recommendations for training

Approaching a superior for feedback will enlighten you on your performance. Your superior will be able to highlight areas where they feel there may be room for improvement, and if they’re exploring the possibility of promoting you, they can guide you on training that will keep you on course for that promotion. They may recommend you build specific skills or deepen existing skills to prepare yourself for serving the organisation at a higher level.

Read more about the CMI courses to better understand

Reading about the various courses is essential. The course description(s) will outline the people for whom the courses have been created, the themes the course will cover, and any assessments or assignments you must complete. The desired learning outcomes of the course will also be stated, helping you to gauge whether they align with your aims and how you wish to benefit from the course.

Speak to one of our team

Naturally, we want you to make as informed a decision as possible, so we invite you to contact us if you have any questions about our CMI-accredited courses or any of our other courses. We can put you in touch directly with our course tutors, who will respond to all your questions and can provide further clarity on the best course for you.

Book your CMI Level 5 or Level 7 course with us

Once you understand what courses at each level can offer you and have decided which course you wish to study, booking a place with us is straightforward. It’s a mere matter of going to the relevant course page and clicking on the ‘Book your place’ button to initiate the booking process or, if you wish for further details, clicking on the ‘Request a callback’ link and supplying your contact information for one of our team members to contact and advise you. 

Alternatively, you can email us at enquiries@inpd.co.uk, message us through the form on our Contact Page, or call us on 0161 826 3139, to book your place. We’re here to answer your questions and look forward to assisting you in your professional development journey.


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