ILM or CMI: Which is better?

business managers

The CMI and the ILM are two of the UK’s leading organisations offering leadership and management qualifications and training.

If you work in a management or leadership role and are seeking a training course to develop your skills and experience, you may be wondering which organisation to choose.

Both are highly respected and reputable organisations offering similar training opportunities and benefits. However, there are a few key differences between the two. So, if you’re weighing up whether to choose an ILM or CMI qualification and wondering which is best for you, let’s find out more to help you decide.

What are the ILM and CMI?

ILM stands for the Institute of Leadership and Management, a membership organisation and subsidiary of the City & Guilds Group that focuses on improving leadership and management standards. It works with a global network of over 2,000 approved centres to provide industry-leading qualifications and member services.

CMI stands for Chartered Management Institute, a prestigious independent professional body that has been granted a Royal Charter in recognition of its high standards. The CMI also provides leadership and management qualifications and other support for individuals who want to improve their leadership skills.

Both the CMI and the ILM offer a wide range of highly regarded management and leadership qualifications and training programs. In this article, we’ll learn more about the qualifications that each organisation offers and their differences to help you decide which option is right for you.

What is an ILM qualification?

ILM qualifications are accredited by the ILM and are suitable for people working in leadership or management roles in any sector and at any level. Over 70,000 people register for an ILM course each year, making them the UK’s most popular leadership and management qualifications.

Leaders and managers exist at all levels of an organisation, and ILM qualifications cater to this diversity. They start at Level 2, suitable for those just starting out in a leadership role, up to Level 7, which is equivalent to a Master’s Degree. ILM qualifications focus solely on general leadership and management training that can be applied across a range of industries.

ILM qualification units are relatively small compared to CMI qualification units. This means you need to cover more units to gain enough credits to complete a qualification. However, each unit is smaller and should, in theory, be quicker to complete.

What is a CMI qualification?

Because the CMI has been granted a Royal Charter, CMI qualifications tend to come with higher recognition and prestige than ILM qualifications. Over 30,000 people enrol on a CMI qualification each year.

When compared to the ILM, the CMI offers a broader range of business qualifications. Rather than specialising solely in leadership and management like the ILM, the CMI also offers courses across other business areas, including marketing, finance, and human resources.

Like the ILM, the CMI offers courses for those at all levels within an organisation, starting at Level 2 through to Level 7. Additionally, the CMI offers some Level 8 courses, which are equivalent to a Doctorate.

Another key difference between CMI and ILM qualifications is the depth and detail that they go into for each unit. The units within a CMI qualification tend to be longer and more in-depth compared to those offered by the ILM. Consequently, fewer units are required to complete a CMI qualification.

Which is better: ILM or CMI?

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to give a definitive answer about which option is best, ILM or CMI.

Both are highly respected organisations offering similar training opportunities. Ultimately, the right option for you is a personal choice. However, before deciding which one to go with, here are some key considerations to mull over when choosing the right qualification for you:

  • Learning goals: What level are you currently working at, and is there a specific topic you want to learn more about? If you have very particular learning goals, then the organisation that offers the most relevant qualification is the obvious choice for you.
  • Industry requirements: Some industries or businesses may prefer or recognise one type of qualification over another. It’s best to check with your employer if they would prefer you to take a certain type of course.
  • Career goals: Where are you trying to get to in your career? If you aspire to progress to a role that requires comprehensive business knowledge, not just leadership skills, then a CMI qualification may offer more depth and broader business knowledge.
  • Preferred learning style: Consider the conditions under which you learn best. Do you like to immerse yourself deeply in topics, or do you prefer more variation?

Take a leadership course with CBAT

Here at Care Business Associate Training, we are proud to be one of the UK’s leading providers of health and social care training. We provide training for some of the country’s biggest healthcare organisations!

Excellent leadership and management are crucial to maintaining the high standards of care that we expect from our healthcare providers, so investing in management and leadership training is essential in the healthcare sector.

Here at CBAT, we are an ILM-approved centre and provide a wide range of leadership and management qualifications suitable for the health and social care sector. Our courses are flexible and can be tailored to your learning requirements or your organisation’s goals.

One of our most popular courses is the City & Guilds Level 3 and Level 4 Awards in Leadership and Management. These courses are ideal for anyone who is new to a management or leadership role and lacks formal training but is eager to gain comprehensive management and leadership knowledge and skills.

If you would like more information about any of our ILM-accredited qualifications or to book your place on a course, call our team on 01772 816 922 or email