Skip to main content

Professional accreditations - what are they?

Week 9

6 November 2017

If you’ve been looking at degrees, you may have noticed that some say they’re ‘professionally accredited’. We shed some light on what this means and how this could benefit you when choosing a degree to match your career ambitions.

So, what does it mean when a degree is professionally accredited?

A professionally accredited degree is normally one that’s been approved by a professional body. Examples include the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) for marketing degrees, The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for engineering degrees or Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) for accounting degrees. 

Accredited degrees are often developed and aligned with the professional body’s own qualification(s). It’s a clear sign that the course is relevant and up-to-date within a specific sector. It can also mean that some of your lecturers are currently practising in the industry. And studying an accredited degree often counts towards an additional professional qualification or registration with the professional body.

Students will normally study for the professional qualification alongside their degree. 

Professional cat

How do I know if the degree I want to do is accredited?

If a degree is professionally accredited, it should be clearly stated on the course page on the university’s website, or in their prospectus. Of course, if you’re not sure, you can ask a course leader or course representative at a uni open day or contact the uni directly. 

Another way to find out is to look at the website of the professional body relevant to the industry you want to work in. Most will have a list of the courses they accredit at each university.

Why should I think about studying for a professional qualification?

This, of course, can be of great benefit to your career. Especially in professions where ‘chartered’ status is sought after by employers, such as in the engineering sector. The right professional qualifications could make you more employable over someone whose degree course isn’t professionally accredited. This could give you that all-important ‘foot in the door’. It could also boost your salary and promotion prospects going forward.

There are many benefits to being a member of a professional body by way of studying for one of their qualifications. You can make use of their advice, information and resources. It’s also a great way to network with like-minded people both during your studies and after you graduate university.

What if the degree I want to do isn't accredited?

Just because a degree doesn't have a professional accreditation, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing or it’ll be poor quality. Not all degrees are accredited, particularly if it’s not necessary for career progression. Accreditation is usually required if there’s a specific professional qualification in the industry you wish to work in, such as engineering, architecture, medicine, accounting/finance, etc.  

Tasks for this week

Selecting a professionally-accredited degree could be beneficial for your career, especially if a professional qualification is necessary within a certain industry. Here's a few things you can do to find out if it's something you need to pursue. 

  • Check to see if a professional qualification in your chosen profession or industry is required.
  • If there's a particular course you want to do, when you're looking online at which unis run the course, check their course pages to see if they mention a professional qualification.
  • If you're not sure, check with the university.