CMI Level 3: Is it right for me?

CMI Level 3

Maybe you’re just about to take on supervision of others, or are anticipating that that may happen soon? Perhaps this is likely to be the start of a career in management? Possibly, your next career move will be to apply for a supervisory position and you want to attain and be able to show that you have the right skills and knowledge for the role.

Where any of the above are the case, the CMI Level 3 qualification would be a good choice. However, given that CMI offers a range of levels, before you get started, it would be worth double checking that you’ve chosen the right one.

Understanding the differences between the various CMI levels and where you should start can, at first glance, seem pretty confusing – which is why we’ve created a set of guides to introduce you to some of the most commonly taken CMI levels; Level 3, Level 5 and Level 7.

1. CMI Level 3 explained

2. CMI Level 3 equivalent

3. What does CMI Level 3 involve?

4. Which qualification should I do?

5. Award, certificate and diploma

6. How long will it take me?

7. How is CMI level 3 assessed?

8. How does CMI compare?

9. Is CMI level 3 right for me?

1. CMI Level 3 explained

Before we look at the specifics of CMI Level 3, we need to establish where it fits in in the range of CMI qualifications!

Level 2/3

Aspiring, supervisory or line managers

Level 4/5

Middle managers

Level 6/7

Senior managers

Level 8

Senior directors and CEOs

As we alluded to earlier, CMI’s Level 3 qualification is perfect for current or aspiring supervisors, team leaders or line managers.

The only requirement you must meet to begin studying for a CMI level 3 qualification is that you must be over 18. However, do be aware that ultimately the decision of whether you’ll be accepted onto a course lies with the CMI provider you apply to (more on these later). CMI states that these organisations must ensure that they accept students who ‘have sufficient capability at the right level to undertake the learning and assessment’. So if you’re still unsure whether you’d be suited to a CMI Level 3 qualification, you should speak to your prospective CMI provider.

2. What qualifications is CMI Level 3 equivalent to?

As we alluded to earlier, CMI’s Level 3 qualification is perfect for current or aspiring supervisors, team leaders or line managers.

The only requirement you must meet to begin studying for a CMI level 3 qualification is that you must be over 18. However, do be aware that ultimately the decision of whether you’ll be accepted onto a course lies with the CMI provider you apply to (more on these later). CMI states that these organisations must ensure that they accept students who ‘have sufficient capability at the right level to undertake the learning and assessment’. So if you’re still unsure whether you’d be suited to a CMI Level 3 qualification, you should speak to your prospective CMI provider.

3. What does CMI Level 3 actually involve?

The qualification aims to introduce you to a broad range of topics, techniques and skills that will really improve your ability to manage individuals and teams who are working to meet your organisation’s needs! 

There are 4 different CMI Level 3 qualifications available for you to enrol in depending on the area you’d like to improve your skills in! 

They are:

Management – combined

Principles of management and leadership

Coaching and mentoring

Project management

4. Which of the level 3 qualifications should I choose?

So, within level 3 there are more choices to be made. The first will be to ascertain which course you want to pursue. 

Given the name of the institute, the two most obvious choices would be Management – combined and Principles of management and leadership. 

Management – combined

CMI’s Level 3 qualification, Management – combined is a fairly theoretical introduction to the principles of management. This means the course would be a great choice for new or aspiring supervisors and team leaders who are looking to obtain the skills to lead a team effectively, understand how their team supports the success of the business and who are looking to go on to take on further management responsibilities in the future. 

Typical units for this qualification include:

  • Principles of leadership and management
  • Principles of people management
  • Principles of business

If you think this is the right course for you, have a read through the factsheet for this course that CMI has produced. Of course, you should also have a read through the syllabus too!

Principles of management and leadership

CMI Level 3 Principles of management and leadership will be perfectly suited to first-time or aspiring managers or supervisors who are responsible for successfully coordinating daily operational and project activities. It is well suited to individuals looking to develop their practical management skills, and perfect the requirements of their current role. 

Typical units for this qualification include:

  • Managing daily activities to achieve results
  • Managing budgets and resources
  • Managing data and information

If you want to find out more about this course, including the complete list of units, check out CMI’s fact sheet and syllabus

Coaching and mentoring

If you’re about to take these on as part of your role or are looking to be a better coach or mentor to those around you, this Level 3 qualification is for you. It is one of CMI’s most popular Level 3 courses.

Typical units for this qualification include:

  • Understanding organisational culture, values and behaviour
  • Understanding team dynamics
  • Completing the coaching and mentoring process

For more information on this course, check out CMI’s Level 3 in coaching and mentoring factsheet and the Level 3 coaching and mentoring syllabus.

Project management

This Level 3 qualification is perfect for those looking to attain or improve their project management skills at work. 

There is only one unit for this qualification and it’s:

  • Introduction to project management 

To find out more information on this course, head over to CMI’s Level 3 in project management fact sheet and the course syllabus.

5. What’s the difference between the Level 3 award, certificate and diploma?

But the decisions don’t stop there, within every CMI Level there are three qualifications available:

  1. Award
  2. Certificate
  3. Diploma 

The CMI award is the shortest of the qualifications – it tends to cover one topic in-depth.  This would be ideal if there was one aspect of your role that you wanted to concentrate on, for example conflict management or equality, diversity and inclusion. 

The CMI certificate is the medium-size qualification – it tends to cover a few topics in-depth. This could be a good choice for anyone with a little more time to give to their studies and a slightly broader knowledge and skills requirement. 

The CMI diploma is the biggest qualification – covering a broad range of topics in-depth. This qualification would provide someone with a good range of knowledge and skills that may prove to be key to being an effective manager both currently and going forward within their present role.

So in short, you could undertake a Level 3 Award, a Level 3 Certificate or a Level 3 Diploma.

6. How long is CMI Level 3 going to take me?

CMI qualifications are made up of units that each have a credit value. The number of credits will roughly show you how long it will take to complete the qualification because one credit is considered to be about 10 hours of work. 

The main determinant of how long your qualification will take will be whether you decide to do the Award, Certificate or Diploma: 

Level 3 Awards

Minimum credits: 4

Minimum learning time: 40 hours

Level 3 Certificates

Minimum credits: 13

Minimum hours: 130 hours

Level 3 Diploma

Minimum credits: 37

Minimum learning time: 370 hours

You must remember that these are only rough estimates! 

The actual amount of time it will take will depend on such things as: 

  • The actual number of credits associated with the particular units undertaken
  • The course delivery method you choose 
  • How quickly you complete your assessments (more on these in a moment)
  • The CMI centre you choose and your chosen learning style 

…so could potentially take you less than the estimate! 

However, that said, CMI does outline the ‘Total Qualification Time’ (TQT) in each syllabus, which is an estimate of how long it takes to learn the content and complete the tasks. If you can’t remember the TQT for a particular qualification or unit, remember that one credit equals 10 hours of studying and assessment. 

7. How is CMI level 3 assessed?

You will have to complete one written assessment per unit, often made up of smaller tasks. These include such things as entering specific information into a table or providing short written answers. Typically, the word-count guidance for assessments at Level 3 is between 2000-2,500 words

If the idea of completing an assessment feels a bit worrying – don’t panic! Just check out our complete guide to acing your CMI assessment for some top tips. 

Once you’ve completed your assessment, it will either be marked internally by your course provider or be sent to CMI for marking. For each assessment, there are two possible options: pass or refer. If you pass, you’ll receive all of the credits that that unit is worth and be one step closer to completing your qualification! 

The other option is that the work is ‘referred’. This means that although your assessment did not reach the required standard for a pass, you have the option of amending and re-submitting it. You’ll be told which sections need improving, so you won’t be in danger of changing something which was Ok, to begin with! If your work is referred again, after this, you’ll have one final opportunity to update and re-submit it.

There are no exams in any of the CMI courses. 

CMI level 3 assessment

8. How does CMI level 3 compare with other CMI qualifications?

CMI qualifications range from Level 1 to Level 8, so level 3 is one of the lower levels CMI offers

Level 1Equivalent to GCSE grade -G

Level 5Equivalent to HND (higher national diploma) or foundation degree

Level 2 – Equivalent to GCSE grade A*-C

Level 6 – Equivalent to a bachelor’s degree

Level 3 – Equivalent to A level

Level 7Equivalent to a master’s degree

Level 4 – Equivalent to BTEC professional diploma

Level 8 – Equivalent to a doctorate

CMI Level 3 is likely to take you less time to complete than levels 4 – 8 as the assessment tasks will be shorter. 

A CMI Level 3 qualification will not make you a Chartered Manager. Once you achieve a CMI Level 5 Diploma or above, you can be awarded Chartered Manager status.

It’s important that you know this does not mean Level 3 is not a respected qualification! CMI has created a spectrum of courses so that there is something for everyone based on their work experience and future goals. 

9. Is CMI level 3 right for me?

Only you can decide what’s the right direction for you and your career! But, here are some final pointers to help you make the right decision:

1. CMI expects you to start your professional qualification journey at the level that best reflects your current position. So, if you are an aspiring or new manager, it’s likely that CMI Level 3 is, in fact, the best place for you to start!

2. If you’re a more experienced manager or have a management qualification already, you might want to check out some of the higher-level qualifications that CMI offers!

Only you can decide what’s the right direction for you and your career! But, here are some final pointers to help you make the right decision:

So, if it sounds like doing a CMI Level 3 qualification is the way forward for you, how do you get started! 

You may be surprised to learn that you don’t actually register directly through CMI. Instead, you apply for the course you’re interested in through a CMI centre (such as Astranti). There are over 850 CMI centres in the UK – so make sure you find one that offers your course. 

There are many factors you need to consider when choosing a CMI provider, such as flexibility, teaching styles and course format – you’ll be pleased to know that we have a page dedicated to guiding you through this process. 

The fees course providers charge can vary, so it is important that you consider all of your available options. To enrol on a CMI course, you will have to pay a fee to CMI (this will be charged to your provider, so it will probably be included in your overall course fee). 

Registration fees (£)

  • Award – 110
  • Certificate – 150
  • Diploma – 200

    It is likely that the CMI centre you apply to will ask for information about your background, your management experience and why you want to take this course, so it would be advantageous to prepare for these questions before you embark on the application process.

    Once you’ve applied, been accepted and paid your fees, you’ll then finally be ready to start your CMI Level 3 studies. In that, we wish you all the very best!

    Free CMI Level 3 Award Course

    Join our free online CMI level 3 award course and just pay your CMI fees.

    If you’re worried about diving in too deep too early, an award consists of just one module and is, therefore, a great way to try CMI out for yourself! Your award will also count as one of your certificate and diploma modules should you decide to carry on with your CMI level 3 studies.

    Sign Up to Access our Free Course Sample

    You can also explore our CMI level 3 course for free by creating your free Astranti account. Click below to find out more about our courses or create your free Astranti account.

    Holly Dymmock

    Customer Service and Mentoring Supervisor

    I hope you’ve found this guide on taking CMI Level 3 useful – but if you’ve got any further questions, leave a message and I’d be happy to help!

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