Professional qualifications

Professional courses help you with your career. They can be divided into two main groups: professions for which by law you need to be properly qualified to practice, e.g. medicine, dentistry, law, and social work those which are seen as highly desirable or the norm within the profession, and which bring professional status and accreditation, open the most doors in terms of employment prospects and increase the potential for additional pay Engineering is a good example of the latter. In the UK, the name ‘engineer’ is not protected by law so anyone can call themselves an engineer, professional engineer, or even registered engineer. But they will be in unskilled or semi-skilled trades – firms will not employ you as a skilled engineer unless you are qualified and probably a member of a recognized and respected professional body such as Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). Titles which show professional accreditation are protected by law, e.g. it is illegal to use IMechE as part of your job title unless you are a member of that institute – and IMechE won’t admit you unless you are qualified.

Some professions take a harder line than others. For example, usually you need to be a qualified journalist to be a newspaper reporter, but it’s still possible to work as a magazine journalist with plenty of experience but without professional qualifications. In some industries, it is common for people to start their career with experience only, but then to qualify later – PR is one such profession.

A variety of Courses

Entry requirements, course descriptions, duration, fees, and assessment methods will vary. Some professional postgraduate qualifications are a master’s level, whereas others can be taken as certificates or diplomas. For example, you can take a Certificate in Flood and Coastal Risk Management, a Certificate in the Food and Grocery Industry, or a Diploma in Career Guidance.