No Image Available

Kevin McBride


Operational Trainer

Read more from Kevin McBride

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

£500 to upgrade from Licentiate to Chartered CIPD member


Yes you read this correctly.  £500 is the 'special offer' introductory price if you want to go from Licentiate to Chartered member of the CIPD.  Five Hundred pounds (incase you thought I'd typed an extra zero by mistake).

Like many other readers I was unhappy at the introduction of the new Assoc CIPD 'entry level' membership grade for those 'starting out in their HR carreers'

Having gained Licentiate membership of the IPD in 1998 I don't realy feel that the new grading describes my role.  Having spent the last six years scoping, designing, delivering and evaluating training for one of the largest utility companies on earth I would like to think that I have moved beyond the entry level.

Rather than complain I investigated upgrading.  The upgrade pack arrived a week ago.  The concept is very simple and not unlike the present upgrade situation for Graduates.  Give evidence from your experience that you meet a lot of very very HR specific criteria (Think they forgot that it's Personnel AND Development), have someone validate this experience and then attend an interview so they can satisfy themselves that you're not trying to pull the wool over anyones eyes.  Particularly onerous.  Not at all focussed on L&D proffesionals but never the less most professionals could shoehorn their experience to meet the categories.  Oops and then there's the small matter of paying £500 on top of this years membership.

Given that it's such a similar process to the graduate upgrade I queried the £500 price tag as opposed to £60 that graduates pay.  Aren't we all now associates anyway?  Apparently not.  If you are not graduate then no amount of experience will exempt you from the fact that you just haven't spent enough money it seems.  After some investigation I'm wondering why I shouldn't just go to ITOL who will charge £49 for registration and £99 for membership at member level.  They even have a magazine that focusses purely on training. 

Would love to hear your thoughts

5 Responses

  1. Assessment fee

    Hi folks

    Just to draw a line under this one.  The £500 is an assessment fee NOT an upgrade fee.  Any Licentiate member will have to be assessed against the new gradings and the cost of this assessment starts at £500.  If you wanted to go any other route such as Graduate it would cost even more between fees and the like.  There is no route that I’m aware of using CPD which seems strange to say the least.

    If you are a CIPD member follow this link for the full detail:

    It’s too rich for me as I am not funded by my employer and I also smart at the idea that I’m paying such a large sum of money to prove that my experience fits the cipd’s standards.  I don’t mind paying to get an education but I don’t like paying to prove that I already have that education.

    Feel free to contact me if the above does not make sense.


  2. Assessment fee

    Thanks for clarifying this Kevin.

    It’s worth noting that assessment isn’t the only option and there are other routes available to Licentiate members who wish to progress to a Chartered level of CIPD membership.  I am more than happy to speak to anyone who would like to discuss the changes we are making at CIPD and how these affect them personally.  So please email me if you would like to arrange to talk 

    Melanie Bellis

    Head of Customer Service, CIPD


  3. Assessment costs


    This is not a defence of CIPD (though I appreciate their position) but a comment to indicate that assessment of competence incures time and resources. The Learning Practitioners’ Association runs an accreditation scheme that ‘evidences the application of knowledge’; is evidences what you do against our Standard. The amount of time involved in coaching and mentoring candidates, organising and validating the evidence portfolio and setting up an assessment centre costs a tidy sum.

    I have undertaken a number of ‘accreditations’ that proved that what I did met other particular standards. All of them were developmental; as is our own Certified Learning Practitioner accreditation. Whilst ours costs money; the people that have gone through it have gained significantly from the process. The worth of the accreditation and the professional development has been worth the investment.

    If you want to be a chartered this or that (CMI, CIPD, etc); or certified the other, there will be expenditure on the part of the ‘accrediting/awarding’ body. And yes some profit to keep the organisation going will be part of the equation.


  4. Assessment Fee

    Thanks Peter

    Your comment is much appreciated. 

    As with a lot  of people I do understand that there is a cost to assessing competence.  My issue is that what has been created as a ‘Pathway’ to chartered mebership for Licentiate members is not particularly different than what was already in place for graduate members.  The cost for a graduate to complete an upgrade is £60.00.  If the price for licentiate were even double that of graduate I would pay them but £500 is extreme. 

    As I mentioned on the CIPD web-site.  I was happy to pay £70 or whatever it was to sit my driving test.  I was equally happy to pay considerably more to the instructor who helped me to prepare for that test.  I and my employers have invested a great deal of time and money in my development.  All I want now is for that development to be recognised.  In all honesty the process should be achieved through CPD and not assessment of any kind. 

    In terms of the CIPD being a business and generating profit there are a couple of points to be made.

    1:  The CIPD are a registered charity

    2:  Any business has to set the correct price based on the value of the product they are selling.  CIPD membership for learning and development professionals is not as highly regarded as it once was.  For many jobs it is not even required.  My CV would carry much more weight with employers than my CIPD membership (regardless of status).  If the CIPD want people like myself to continue to give away £120 of my own money then they perhaps need to consider what I want in return and how much that is actually worth.

  5. Assessment Fee

    Hi Kevin,

    I share your frustration with the changes – I have worked in HR for a number of years and never needed the CIPD but I was lucky in that my employer offers a good education policy and offered to pay for any qualifications that would assist me in my development and career progression.  My colleagues and I looked through the available courses and one of the PA’s in HR (who by the way is very talented) decided on the Certificate in Personel Practice costing £500 to obtain Associate Level (this was at the local collage and the course was basic and very light touch).

    I already had a HNC In Business Management and the advice at the time was the CIPP would add no benefit so I decided to go for the Licentiate Membership which is a level 6 qualification and I had to complete this via MOL at a cost of £3000 + (its worth noting that the local university would not allow me on the course without first completing a degree as it is a level 6 qualification).  The course was a mixture of 4 Assignments and 4 2hour plus exams.  But given the higher level I was acheiving and the increased development I thought it was worth it.

    Under the new levels I am now at the same level as the PA (although I no longer work in the same company having received a promotion externally).  I am not annoyed at the additional £2500 as I did learn new skills and made new contacts, Im not really that frustrated in being demoted by the CIPD as I work in the city for a FTSE 100 company and I know how little value we place on the CIPD.  What frustrates me the most is the changes are designed to make it more open and credible for employers – how can this be the case when the CIPD decide to that a level 6 qulaification is the same as a Certificate in Personnel Practice?  I am recruiting for a specialist HR Manager at the moment and I am looking at past experiance, industry knowledge and I really have no interest as to their CIPD status. 

No Image Available
Kevin McBride

Operational Trainer

Read more from Kevin McBride

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!