There are plenty of courses available to choose from each UK university. Some are accredited while others are not, and it can be difficult for you to choose between the two, especially if you’re not fully informed on what accreditation is, what it implies, and the pros and cons associated with it. Choosing a course is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a student, so it’s integral that you know your choices inside out before making a final decision.
If you’re unsure about whether or not an accredited course is the right choice for you, don’t worry. In this article, we’re going to cover what an accredited course is, which organisations offer and accept accredit courses, and the advantages and disadvantages associated with them. With the pros, cons, and details in mind, you can make an informed decision about your future and your specific needs.
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What Is an Accredited Course?
An accredited course is one that has been approved by a professional organisation. This means that the course has been thoroughly inspected and reviewed, and its content, learning and assessment methods, and more have been given the stamp of approval by professional regulatory bodies. These professional training bodies have standards that need to be met in order for courses to receive accreditation.
There are many different regulatory bodies that can accredited a course. For example, architecture courses may be accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects, while electrical engineering courses by the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and accounting degrees by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). This varies with every degree providing accredited courses in the UK, including architecture, engineering, psychology, dentistry, accounting, optometry, physiotherapy, dietetics, and other fields.
Why You Should Choose an Accredited Course
There are many reasons why people choose to get an accredited degree, ranging from good career prospects to becoming a member of a professional body.
Protected Job Titles
There are some job titles that you cannot legally use unless you’re registered with the relevant authority. One example of this is calling yourself an architect in the UK. Unless you’re on the Register of Architects, you can’t describe yourself as one. These protected job titles make it mandatory for you to gain accreditation to be able to practice in your chosen field.
Professional Head Start
Accredited courses are a good option to consider if you want to make sure that you’re work-ready by the time you graduate, or if you want a head start when applying for postgraduate courses. They can make your career goals easier to achieve and ensure you know enough about the industry to start working within it when you graduate.
Boosting Career Prospects
One of the main reasons students choose accredited degrees is because of the boost they give to their careers. Employers and clients alike are impressed by professional qualifications, and these can make you a significantly more desirable option to both. Sometimes, graduating from an accredited course can result in you getting a better job, a higher position, or a bigger salary. Other times, accredited courses allow you to get your foot in the door in a highly competitive industry, with some employers only choosing to recruit from accredited degrees.
Professional Organisation Membership
While professional organisations are known for gatekeeping, that isn’t their only function. They’re incredibly useful because of the help and support they offer to individuals throughout their careers. In addition to training courses and lectures, they have been known to provide access to industry-specific magazines and journals. Graduating from an accredited course also makes it easier to join these organisations, which may otherwise have significant barriers to entry.
Recognition and Quality of Education
An accredited course ensures that your degree is recognised professionally. UK universities and courses accredited by professional organisations are more widely recognised across the world than those that aren’t. This proves the high quality of education that you have received from clients and employers alike.
In some cases, because of the relevance of the material you’ve studied in accredited courses, you may be exempt from professional examinations. For example, there are many examinations required to become a qualified accountant. With certain accredited courses, you can earn exemptions from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) or the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
How to Find Accredited Courses
If you’re wondering whether a course is accredited, that information is usually available when you look at course details on university and college websites. However, if you’re looking for accredited courses in general, one of the best ways to find the right one is by checking the websites of professional organisations in your industry for accredited courses. You can narrow down your selection from there using factors like price, location, course content, and more.
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Choosing to study an accredited course can give you a head start when it comes to gaining employment in your chosen industry and can open up a lot of doors for you. Whether or not they’re a legal requirement of the profession you’re getting into, opting for an accredited course can provide many benefits.
Some areas like medicine, engineering, and accountancy are more likely than others to offer accredited courses. Other careers, like that of an architect, require accreditation in order to be able to work in the field. However, as beneficial as accredited courses can be, it’s important to remember that they’re not necessary for everyone, and their benefits do not mean that courses that aren’t accredited aren’t valuable or worth pursuing.
Ultimately, whether or not you choose an accredited course is up to your personal needs and career requirements and whether you require a professional qualification to work in your chosen industry. We hope that this guide has helped clarify some of the confusion surrounding the topic and aids you in your decision-making process.