Before you can enter into many progressive and financially lucrative careers, it is imperative that you hold some kind of professional or vocational qualification. This is because these qualifications are usually taken to improve skills or gain attributes required by specific jobs, skills that employers value and look out for.
Professional and vocational qualifications also equip you with the knowledge and confidence to be able to enter into and succeed in your chosen career.
Most sectors have some sort of industry-specific award, so whether you want to work in accountancy and finance or leisure and sport, a professional or vocational qualification will be able to improve your employability in the job market.
Why study for a professional qualification?
As industries are evolving at a rapid rate, it is vitally important that workers keep their skills and abilities up to date, keeping ahead of the curve. Professional and vocation courses will help you do this; some courses even open the door for career progression, helping you to achieve Continuous Professional Development (CPD).
At the highest level, some courses accredited by professional bodies can lead to you becoming chartered - registered as a member of the body with a certain level of knowledge and skill.
During research for potential vocational qualifications, it is important to consider whether it will be worth your time, effort and money to do so. Are you really able to study in the evenings after a hard day at work? Will the award bring you extra recognition or help to improve your salary?
How does it take to get qualified?
The duration varies depending on the type of award that you are applying for. Some courses are short and take no longer than a few weeks to complete, some courses are much longer like a chartered accountant certification or a PhD which takes many years to complete.
The option of part-time study, distance learning and e-learning is offered to those perusing professional qualifications as many study for them while working full time.
Who awards the qualifications?
It depends on the sector and type of qualification you are aiming for, accreditation is provided by numerous professional bodies including National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).
What about Funding?
Sponsorship (full/part-time funding) from your employer is available if the award you are applying for is required for you to progress in your career. If you do go down the sponsorship route, it is important to make clear what your employers expect from you, as often you will be contractually obliged to continue working for your employer for a set amount of time after completing the course.