CMI vs ILM: Key Differences

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Regarding professional development and leadership qualifications, the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) are two of the most reputable organisations in the United Kingdom. Both organisations offer a range of courses, training, and certifications that help individuals and businesses enhance their leadership and management skills. For example, the ILM Level 5 qualification is highly regarded in the industry as it equips individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in senior management. On the other hand, CMI also offers a variety of courses and qualifications that are widely recognised in the industry. Ultimately, the choice between CMI or ILM will depend on the individual’s needs and career aspirations.  

Both organisations are highly reputable and offer valuable qualifications, so it’s important to research and consider their specific programmes and courses before planning. Additionally, some individuals may choose to work with both organisations to gain a broader range of skills and knowledge in leadership and management. 

Table of Content: 

  • Focus and Approach 
  • Accreditation 
  • Membership 
  • Assessment 
  • Cost 
  • Conclusion 
  1. Focus and Approach 

The CMI has a broader focus, covering management and leadership skills across all sectors and industries. They provide a range of qualifications and training options, including diplomas, certificates, and apprenticeships. 

On the other hand, the ILM focuses solely on leadership and management skills but is more specialised in its approach, tailoring its programmes to specific sectors such as healthcare, education, and hospitality. The ILM also offers qualifications and training at different levels, including awards, certificates, and diplomas. 

 2. Accreditation 

One of the main differences between CMI and ILM is their accreditation level. The CMI is a chartered organisation, which means that its qualifications and courses are accredited by a professional body that ensures they meet specific standards. This accreditation is a guarantee of quality and is recognised by employers around the world.  

The ILM, on the other hand, is not a chartered organisation, but its qualifications are accredited by Ofqual, the UK government’s qualifications regulator. This accreditation ensures that ILM qualifications meet national standards and are recognised by employers in the UK. 

 3. Membership 

Another difference between CMI and ILM is their membership options. Both organisations offer membership, which provides access to various benefits, including networking opportunities, events, and online resources.  

However, CMI membership is more extensive, with different membership levels available, including Chartered Manager status. This is the highest membership level and is only awarded to those who have achieved a CMI qualification and can demonstrate their management experience and skills.  

The ILM offers two types of membership: associate and member. Those who have successfully completed an ILM qualification are eligible for associate membership. Conversely, individuals who have attained a higher level of qualification and can exhibit their leadership and management experience are granted member status. 

 4. Assessment 

Both CMI and ILM qualifications involve assessments to measure an individual’s knowledge and skills. Nevertheless, there exist variations in the manner in which these assessments are carried out. 

CMI qualifications typically involve written assignments, case studies, and exams. These assessments test individuals’ ability to apply their knowledge to real-world situations and demonstrate their understanding of management and leadership principles.  

ILM qualifications also involve assessments, which are often more practical. For example, an individual may be required to complete a work-based project or assignment or give a presentation to demonstrate their leadership and management skills. 

 5. Cost 

Finally, there is a difference in cost between CMI and ILM qualifications. Generally speaking, CMI qualifications are more expensive than ILM qualifications due in part to the level of accreditation and the range of benefits offered through CMI membership.  

However, it is worth noting that the cost of these qualifications can vary depending on the level of qualification, the method of delivery (e.g., classroom-based or online), and the provider offering the course. 


The CMI and ILM offer a range of qualifications and training options that can help individuals and businesses enhance their leadership and management skills. However, key differences between these two organisations are important to understand before planning which one to work with.   

Ultimately, the choice between CMI and ILM will depend on your needs and circumstances. If you are looking for a comprehensive qualification that covers management and leadership skills, then CMI may be your better choice. Alternatively, if you seek a customised and targeted approach to suit a particular industry or sector, ILM might be the preferable choice. 

When planning, it is also important to consider factors such as accreditation, membership options, assessment methods, and cost. No matter which organisation you select, whether it be CMI or ILM, both are well-regarded and acknowledged by employers for equipping you with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in your profession. 


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