ILM qualifications explained

Leadership and management qualifications – tailored to your needs.

What do the levels mean?

ILM qualifications start at Level 2 (ideal for team leaders) and go up to Level 7 (suited to senior managers, such as a CEO). Each level can be achieved at Award, Certificate or Diploma status depending on the amount of credits gained at that level.

Qualification levels are set by the regulatory frameworks. They broadly equate to levels of management position. They also indicate a qualification’s level of complexity.

ILM offers qualifications from Level 2, ideal for new or aspiring team leaders, to Level 7, suited to CEO-level senior management. As you go up the levels, the qualifications demand more complex, comprehensive skills and knowledge.

Educational qualifications versus vocational qualifications

Most of ILM’s qualifications are vocational. We deliver the skills, knowledge and experience you need to do a job in the real world.

The level you reached in your academic career might be above or below the right level of vocational qualification for you. You might have an economics degree, but if you are new to managing a project or leading a team, then you will need a lower level vocational qualification. You might have left school after your GCSEs (or equivalents) and yet because of your level of real-world management experience be ready to take an ILM qualification at Level 3 or above.

Existing qualifications and ILM

While you can choose to deliver an ILM qualification, you can also choose to map your existing courses to ILM standards and deliver even more. Through Accreditation Alignment your learners can achieve an internationally known qualification awarded by The City and Guilds of London Institute, backed by a Royal Charter, on top of your programme’s recognition. The Accreditation Alignment service is assessing the ‘equivalence’ between your course materials and qualification assessments and the ILM assessment criteria.

Qualification levels compared to other qualifications

This table will give you a rough idea of how the qualifications we offer compare to other qualifications.

Qualification level

Roughly equates to


  • GCSE grades A*-C
  • NVQs at level 2
  • BTEC at Level 2


  • A-Levels
  • GCE in applied subjects
  • International Baccalaureate
  • NVQs at Level 3
  • BTEC at Level 3


  • The first year of an under-graduate degree
  • Certificate of Higher Education
  • HNCs
  • BTEC Professional Diplomas Certificates and Awards
  • NVQs at level 4


  • The second year of an under-graduate degree
  • Diploma of Higher Education
  • HNDs
  • BTEC Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards


  • The third year of an under-graduate degree
  • BTEC Advanced Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards


  • Post-graduate certificates, diplomas and Masters degrees
  • BTEC Advanced Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards

Qualification levels and management experience

ILM’s qualifications are designed to reflect the different needs of managers at different levels. As you work towards new responsibilities, and climb the career ladder, you will find the right qualification to consolidate your experience and give you the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to perform effectively and really make a difference in your role.

The table below gives a brief overview of how qualification levels are matched to management levels.

Qualification level

Management level (practising or aspiring to practise at this level) 

Sample qualification 


  • Team leader
  • Team supervisor

Level 2 Certificate in Team Leading

Level 2 Award and Certificate in Leadership and Team Skills

  • Junior manager
  • First-line manager
  • Supervisor 

Level 3 Award, Certificate, and Diploma in Leadership and Management

Level 3 Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring


  • Middle manager

Level 4/5Award Certificate and Diploma in Leadership and Management

Level 5 Certificate and Diploma in Coaching and Mentoring 


  • Senior manager
  • Director of smaller organisations 

Level 6 Award in Management

  • Senior leader
  • CEO
  • Director of large divisions 

Level 7 Award, Certificate and Diploma in Leadership and Management

Level 7 Certificate and Diploma in Executive Coaching and Mentoring

Interested in working with ILM?

Want to know more about what ILM can do for your business? Please request a call back. An expert will be in touch within two working days.

Get in touch

Email us

01543 266 867

*All ILM qualifications are awarded by The City and Guilds of London Institute which was founded in 1878 and is incorporated by Royal Charter.

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