Professional Qualifications, Are They Worth It?
On average, we spend around 90,000 hours of our life working. That’s an astounding statistic which quite frankly goes to show just how important your choice of work is. With such an extensive amount of time spent working, you want to be sure that you will be doing a job you enjoy. Professional qualifications, training and CPD courses can elevate your skills to make your working life easier. Increased knowledge, skills, and capabilities all positively impact your career, making that 90,000 seem a little less of a chore.
With up to 29.4% of your waking hours spent working, picking the right job to dedicate that time to is crucial. You need to choose a job that you enjoy, but that will also be financially feasible. That being said, many high paying careers require qualifications, training, and experience to even get beyond the application stage. Taking the appropriate steps prior to your application can help you along your career journey.
What is a Professional Qualification?
Looking for a new career path often includes an assessment of skills which can quite often lead to the exploration of available training courses. At a first glance, there are so many courses on offer that it can be overwhelming. There are so many qualifications available and it can be confusing to differentiate them. When considering your available options, a little background knowledge in the styles of courses available is invaluable.
If you are looking for a full breakdown of courses, be it the difference between a certificate and a diploma, or what each level of an NVQ means, we have blogs available that fully explore these topics. However, we are going to be taking a look today at Professional Qualifications.
A Professional qualification is a course that has been designed to work on specific industry related skills. These qualifications are career based and are often tailor made to suit individual career paths. The alternative and more general style of course is often referred to as an academic qualification. These tend to be a lot less definitive.
Types of Professional Qualifications
On the whole, academic qualifications are considered to be more research orientated and the knowledge gained from these courses can be applied to a number of careers. Professional qualifications however are much more focused and intent on one specific career path. You will find some levels of qualification can seem a bit ambiguous, as in a few cases there is a degree of crossover between the two.
The courses that are primarily professional qualifications include:
- HNC – Higher National Certificate
- NVQ – National Vocational Qualifications
- HND – Higher National Diploma
- QTS – Teaching & Education
- MBA – Postgraduate (Masters) and Professional Qualification.
Perhaps the least definitive of the two is the postgraduate qualification, the Masters degree. There is a significant overlap between the two, rather that these being set into distinct categories. A Masters degree may sound like an academic qualification, given its nature and method of study, but is actually more often considered to be a professional qualification due to its content.
What are the Benefits to Gaining a Professional Qualification?
As with all qualifications available, being professional, academic, or otherwise, there are multiple benefits to be gained. The further pursuit of study can lead you down many paths, and may be stressful at the time, but the investment is well worth the rewards. In addition, following recent societal changes, the way in which many professional qualifications are delivered has been changed but we will speak further more on that later. For the time being, let’s take a look at just a few of the benefits of gaining such qualifications.
It is no secret that being good at your job makes your working life easier. Being confident in your skillset and confident in yourself can completely change your outlook on your working life. Furthermore, it can have a significant impact on your health and mentality. Knowing you are good at what you do is often a thought that many take for granted. With so much of our lives being spent at work, being confident in your skills makes your day so much easier. There is a decrease in work stress, and an increase in your feeling of self-worth, your value. So, with that in mind, professional qualifications can be great for your mental health. Additionally, for those looking for employment, confidence is a skill that can only do you favours in the interview process.
For many workplaces, qualifications are a requirement. This is especially true if you are looking to enter into a career path with clear progression in mind. Regardless of what industry you choose to go into, training and qualifications will be required, be it on the job or prior to application. Therefore, having professional qualifications before beginning the application process, sets you apart from your competition. It is important to view qualifications and training courses as an investment towards your future. Regardless of the role you are applying for.
I can speak here from personal experience. I have studied my QTS, gained the professional qualification, yet applied for roles that require no qualifications, let alone teaching ones. Initially, after completing this qualification and swiftly realising that teaching wasn’t the career for me, I am still being rewarded for my prior efforts. I have been told by multiple professionals, including current and previous employers, that having that qualification on my CV still influenced their opinion. Through this qualification I was able to display skills, show my dedication and prove I am a hardworking individual.
Increased Earning Potential
From here I would like to discuss another employment benefit that professional qualifications can offer. As mentioned above, many set career paths that include progression, require professional qualification. This qualification is a demonstration of your knowledge and abilities. Having such listed on your CV means you need not apply for entry level positions anymore. With your enhanced capabilities, you are more prepared to enter roles with increased responsibilities, and therefore, higher salaries.
Finally, I would like to bring us back to the simple fact that you will have boosted expertise in your field. Now, the benefits differ per industry, so I would like you to perhaps take a minute to think of what this qualification could mean to you in your chosen career. If you are armed with expert knowledge and understanding, there are so many opportunities open to you. You can really start to identify your niche and make that known to fellow experts around you. This in itself can host multiple opportunities to continue to further your career or even your standing within the industry and your fellow professionals. All the above benefits drastically increase your value, following just a small investment from yourself.
Studying Professional Qualifications – Frequently Asked Questions
With qualifications coming in so many formats, there are often a lot of questions surrounding the way in which a professional qualification is delivered. There are multiple companies offering professional qualifications, each being delivered in their own way. I shall be touching on both when answering the questions below. Many companies choose to deliver their content in different ways, but for now I would like to talk about how we deliver our courses here at the College of Contact Management.
Are Professional Qualifications Full-Time Study?
This is actually one of the most common misconceptions about professional qualifications. Given how much you learn, and the skills you leave with, it’s understandable that people would automatically consider them to be full time. However, many courses are actually part time, some even being flexible to your work schedule.
The period of study is reflective of the training provider. For example, the College of Contract Management host our live online lectures outside of standard working hours. The reason for doing this is to make our courses more accessible regardless of your current situation.
Expanding your skillset shouldn’t require you to take a step back. For many, the idea of taking a professional qualification can make you think that you need to leave your job to make time for your studies. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. We at the College of Contract Management understand that fitting studying around your schedule is important to the majority of working professionals. Therefore, we aim to host all our lectures outside of standard working hours. This means that you can further your understanding and increase your professional opportunities without having to sacrifice your current job or earnings.
Do you Need to Relocate When Studying for a Professional Qualification?
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, not anymore. In fact, given the significant impact the recent pandemic had on the world, online learning is more available than ever. Some of the more vocational courses may require some degree of flexibility within placements, but this is normally pretty easy to adapt to suit you. For example, whilst I was completing my QTS, I was able to find multiple opportunities close to home.
At the College of Contract Management, we aim to make our learning as accessible as possible. With that in mind, we make a conscious effort to host all of our courses online. Through this method of delivery, it means that regardless of location, provided you have an internet connection you can access our courses.
Are Professional Qualifications Expensive?
When looking at the cost of learning courses, it really depends on the provider you choose. Further to this, you will also want to factor in the level of the course you have chosen. The higher the qualification, the more you can be expected to pay. Although this may be unfortunate at the time of application, the increased spend means increased benefits further down the line.
One of the key things to do when weighing up whether the cost is worth the qualification, is consider your available options. For example, you may have a part time course provider that is local to you and runs their courses in person. Your alternative is an online study. More often than not, you will see that the online course is significantly cheaper than the face-to-face course. Simply due to the cost of running the course online in comparison to the costs involved with face-to-face learning.
Taking Professional Qualifications with The College of Contract Management
We understand the impact professional qualifications can have on both your mental wellbeing but also your career. In fact, the majority of us here have all, at one point, gained professional qualification. From that we have worked to create opportunities to provide these chances to as many people as we can.
In order to make our courses accessible, we host all our lectures live online, outside of standard working hours. We aim to mitigate student expenses, whilst still offering high quality education, delivered by leading industry experts. If you are interested in furthering your career, a professional qualification with the College of Contract Management is always a great place to start.