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For more than 75 years, the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has helped aspiring managers to become more skilled and competent in their roles, ultimately empowering individuals to become more confident, practical, and effective leaders. Backed by a Royal Charter, the CMI aims to increase the quality, number and standard of professionally qualified managers, and benefits from the unique ability to grant Chartered Manager status, the highest accolade for managers and leaders, making their qualifications highly sought-after.


Which CMI course should I take?

CMI offers an all-inclusive approach to career development, seamlessly blending hands-on training with theoretical learning, regardless of where you are in your management or leadership career.  Their courses are designed at levels 2 to 8 with the help of  subject matter experts to ensure the content remains up-to-date with relevant industry knowledge, skills and trends relevance and necessary knowledge that align with employers’ evolving expectations The CMI qualification you choose, however, will depend on your current role and experience, as well as your professional goals and aspirations, so it is important to choose correctly. Through the CMI website, individuals can explore diverse qualifications tailored to different job roles, such as:

They also offer Scottish vocational qualifications as well as other special qualifications for professional consultants, armed forces, and police.

To add, depending on the level of the qualification you take, there are three lengths of CMI qualifications to be aware of. These include:

  • The Award, which is the most brief and concise of the qualifications, usually completed within one to three months. An award is equivalent to 4 to 10 credits, which equals 40 to 100 hours of learning.
  • The Certificate, which offers a foundation of industry knowledge and skills, is typically completed within three to six months. A certificate is equivalent to 13 to 20 credits, which equals 130 to 200 hours of learning.
  • The Diploma, which provides and in-depth and extensive learning experience, takes about six to twelve months, depending on your learning method and provider. A Diploma is equivalent to 37 or more credits, which translates to about 370 or more hours of learning.

Now that you know the basics, we can discuss the various CMI qualifications more in-depth to help you gain a better understanding of which one you should take to upskill in your career.

1. CMI Level 2 & 3 Qualifications: For First-Line Managers

CMI Level 2 and 3 courses are for individuals who are in or aspire to be in entry-level supervisory and managerial roles. At Level 2, students go over the fundamental aspects of management, learning core skills such as team leading, communication, problem-solving, and basic project management. Units cover topics such as:

  • Understanding Leadership: Learning about diverse leadership styles and their impacts on team dynamics.
  • Developing Yourself as a Team Leader: Personal and professional development strategies for effective leadership.
  • Problem-Solving and Decision Making: Strategies to identify, analyse, and resolve common workplace challenges.

Moving to Level 3, students deepen their understanding and skills in management practices. They may explore topics such as:

  • Managing a Team: Strategies for team motivation, conflict resolution, and performance management.
  • Effective Communication in Management: Advanced communication techniques for conveying vision, goals, and expectations.
  • Project Planning and Implementation: Detailed planning, resource allocation, and risk management for successful project execution.

At both levels, the focus is on using what you learn in real situations and thinking carefully. This helps students lead teams well, share their ideas clearly, handle problems, and help their organizations succeed. These courses give a strong foundation for people who want to start or grow in their management jobs.

At levels 2 and 3, you can choose from the following CMI qualifications:

  • Team Leading (Level 2): to support you with starting your management journey.
  • Team Leading – Combined (Level 2): for team leaders looking to excel.
  • Principles of Management and Leadership (Level 3): for individuals that supervise or manage a team.
  • Project Management (Level 3): for leaders responsible for ongoing projects.
  • Coaching and Mentoring (Level 3): for all types of first-line managers to learn relevant coaching and mentoring techniques.
  • Management – Combined (Level 3): to support and develop your knowledge and competences in management.


2. CMI Level 4 & 5 Qualifications: For Mid-Level Managers

Designed for mid-managers, CMI Level 4 and 5 courses focus on developing core management skills such as managing resources, recruitment, and information management. If you are an operations manager, a divisional manager, a departmental manager, an experienced team leader or a regional manager, these are the levels suitable to improve your strategic management skills. The courses explore topics such as strategic planning, resource management as well as organisational performance.

Within these levels, you can choose from the following certifications:

  • Management and Leadership (Level 4): which help you grow professional management skills such as decision-making and managing team dynamics. It also allows you to become more capable in delegating tasks and employees.
  • National Vocational Qualification (NVQ Level 4 & 5) in Management and Leadership: permits middle managers to develop their leadership skills and manage diverse employees and teams.
  • The CMI Level 5 Management & Leadership Certificate or Diploma are  ideal  if you want to build on your current skill set and develop new ones to respond to the modern workplace as a mid-level manager. 
  • Principles of Management Consulting, Professional Consulting or Management Consulting Practice (Level 5):to develop your skills in managing different interventions, customer relationships, communication and problem-solving.
  • Professional Coaching Practice, Professional Team Coaching, Principles of Professional Coaching and Professional Mentoring Practice are all CMI level 5 qualifications that support middle managers to develop their knowledge and diverse set of coaching skills.
  • Project Management (Level 5): to make project leaders more efficient in their delivery.

3. CMI Level 6 & 7 Qualifications: For Senior Managers

Senior managers, directors, executives, strategic leaders, and chiefs are encouraged to follow CMI Levels 6 and 7, which are developed to assist high-position leaders that are expected to translate organisational strategy into efficient and high performance. These advanced qualifications, equivalent to a master’s degree, focus in-depth on specific managerial areas such as: corporate governance, strategic change management and organisational direction.

Within these levels, you can choose from the following certifications:

  • Professional Coach Supervision (Level 6): supporting coaches to enhance the quality of their services to their clients.
  • Professional Management and Leadership Practice (Level 6):helping senior managers learn about new trends and develop their professional skills and leadership practices.
  • Award in Strategic Approaches to Equality Diversity and Inclusion (Level 7):to develop an in-depth understanding of equality, diversity, and inclusions.
  • Strategic Management and Leadership Certificate or Diploma (Level 7): provides a comprehensive and in-depth training in strategic management and leadership skills at an advanced level.
  • Leadership Coaching and Mentoring (Level 7): focuses on developing expertise in coaching and mentoring techniques for an efficient leadership.
  • Professional Consulting (Level 7): offers a specialized training for individuals seeking to excel in the consulting industry.
  • Entrepreneurial Practice (Level 7): equips students with the necessary knowledge and skills required for them to succeed in their entrepreneurial endeavours, covering diverse areas such as innovation, business development and risk management.
  • Award in Strategic Approaches to Health and Wellbeing (Level 7): allows senior leaders to understand the importance of employee wellbeing and mental health and the impact it has on their performance.


4. CMI Level 8 Qualifications: For C-Suite Leaders & Managers

CMI offers the unique Level 8 qualification, Strategic Direction and Leadership,  is designed for high-level executives and senior leaders, such as CEOs, COOs, and CFOs, but also senior leaders with an extensive experience and corporate responsibility. This course helps individuals develop and implement efficient ethical and collective strategies across their organisations, including their strategic thinking and leadership skills to effectively navigate complex business environments. They will also learn how to develop and implement ethical and inclusive strategies that drive organisational success and sustainability.


Invest in Your Management Journey with a CMI Qualification

As organisations keep growing and adapting their workforce to stay up to date with the world’s rapid workplace advancements and trends, investing in continuous upskilling is becoming essential for not only organisational success, but for individual success as well.
With courses designed by industry experts, CMI qualifications provide learners with contemporary skills that not only match today’s employer requirements but also the evolving skills requirements in today’s world of work.  By studying a CMI course with Acacia Learning, you can expand your professional skills, improve your specialist knowledge and develop your leadership expertise to become a better, more informed and effective manager.


Enrol on a professional CMI qualification and elevate your career today.