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CMI or ILM? Which should you choose?


If you have ever considered adding a management qualification to your CV, you will most likely have come across the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM).

One of the more common questions we are often asked is what is the difference between a CMI or an ILM management qualification? We have broken it all down for you - read on to find out more.


The CMI is a Chartered Institute, whereas ILM is part of the City & Guilds group. But what does that actually mean?  CMI is the UK's ONLY chartered professional body for management, meaning it is seen as the 'blue chip' institute, with a more established reputation. It is better known for it's high-end qualifications (so the Level 5 and Level 7), which considered on par with Foundation and Master degrees, respectively).

The ILM management qualifications have their own advantages though.   Of course with the City & Guilds accreditation, they are more recognised internationally. If you are looking for a supervisory, or first line management qualification, the ILM Level 3 is the perfect choice.

Course content - units

There are no significant differences when it comes to the content within both the CMI and ILM management courses.   Both require you to complete a set of mandatory units then select from a range of optional units whilst meeting the awarding bodies ‘Rules of Combination’.  Both allow for learners to select a certain number of units at the level directly above or below the level they are working towards.   So, for a level 5 Diploma you may choose a small number of optional units at level 4 and at level 7.   There is a limit on this, and your assessor will ensure you meet the minimum requirements to gain the full Diploma at your chosen level.

Benefits of a management qualification

Still not sure whether you should enrol on either a CMI or ILM management qualification? Here are just some of the benefits of achieving a management qualification, at any level:

1. Gain professional recognition

Yes, a qualification will enhance your knowledge, understanding and practice of management, but having that 'seal of approval' showcases your commitment to continued professional development.

2. Boost your career earnings

Who wouldn't enrol on a management course, purely for that reason?! Extensive research has found that by completing a professional qualification, you could earn an additional £152,000 throughout your career.

Don't forget that by enrolling on one of these courses, you will automatically be a member of the given awarding body too. Opening doors for career progression within the management community.

3. Raise your confidence & competence

Having this additional qualification and knowledge will make you better equipped to deal with daily management challenges, competently. Improving your effectiveness at managing people will help raise your status within your organisation too.

4. Improve your management skills

This is a given, but still equally as important. By learning new techniques and strategies for management and leadership, you will perform better and become more effective in your role.


We hope you found this guide useful, but if you have any further questions please do contact our team on, or give us a ring on +44(0)1472 240112.