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Student Loans for professional qualification courses

Professional qualification courses prepare you for a specific career and equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge required to enter a specific field of work. Depending on your career, a professional qualification might be essential to progress as a professional in that industry. For others, a professional qualification may be required as part of continuing professional development (CPD) in order to keep your knowledge and skills up to date. Acquiring a professional qualification can significantly impact your salary and the job opportunities which are available to you. Competition becomes fiercer as technology constantly changes and new skills come into demand.

Key Features:

  • Applications are assessed based on future earnings potential, not just a credit score

  • Borrow up to £100,000

  • Fixed interest rates

  • No early repayment fee

  • No repayments during full-time study

Frequently asked questions

Professional Qualifications are courses leading to titles or qualifications related to various professions. In some professions, completion of the professional qualification coupled with a minimum relevant working experience are required in order to be recognised as a professional in the field of work and be eligible to work in the profession whereas other professional qualifications are not mandatory for working in a specific sector or job description but indicate to potential employers and/or clients that the holder or student of the qualification has studied and worked to a higher level of competence. Usually, professional bodies also require that the holders of the qualification perform some form of continuing professional education, which also signals to employers and clients that the holder continues to be up to date with recent and upcoming changes in their profession.

A professional qualification course is a training course that is undertaken to learn and develop skills and expertise that will help to further advance a career or role in a specific industry. Professional qualifications are especially important in professions that have particular standards, methods and ethics in practice which are set by a representative professional body or organisation.

While the course itself can often be undertaken at a University or independent course provider, the certification is awarded by the representative professional body. Acquiring the certification usually comes with a membership to the professional body as well as listing in their register of recognized professionals.

People from all walks of life, ages and academic and professional experience undertake professional qualification courses. New entrants to a profession or vocation undertake them to signal to employers and clients that their commitment to their new career or to close the learning and experience gap between themselves and more experienced people in their workplace. More mature professionals undertake them as a stepping stone to a higher position in their company or field or to keep updated with new standards and knowledge in their field.

Nearly every industry has some form of professional qualification available. Some of the most popular ones that offer and/or require professional qualifications include:

  • Finance
  • Legal
  • Accounting
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Teaching
  • Engineering
  • HR
  • Nursing
  • Social Work

Professional qualifications are offered by Professional Awarding Bodies. The courses themselves however can be taken with an independent course provider or at a university or even through independent self-paced study. Some require significant study and examinations, similar to a university undergraduate or postgraduate course. Depending on the qualification, hands-on training may also be included.

Examples of the most commonly known associations and bodies that offer and award professional qualifications are:

  • the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • the Bar Council
  • the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
  • the General Dental Council (GDC)
  • the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)
  • the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)
  • the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)
  • the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA)
  • the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  • the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA)
  • the General Optical Council
  • the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)
  • the Architects Registration Board (ARB)

Flexibility is usually an important factor for those who are undertaking a course for a professional qualification as many people are under full time employment whilst studying. For this reason, you will find that there are increasingly many professional qualifications that can be completed fully online with distance learning, or through blended learning (a combination of face-to-face and distance learning), or by studying the syllabus at each individual’s pace.

The costs for obtaining a professional qualification vary from a few hundred pounds to sums in the tens of thousands (especially for medical qualifications or similar). Some undergraduate or postgraduate courses are recognised by professional awarding bodies as either eligible courses or offer exemptions from professional examinations and thus the student has the advantage of advancing in the pathway of a professional qualification without additional costs or time.

For a large duration of the time when the United Kingdom was part of the European Union, professional qualifications and vocational licensing arrangements were mutually recognised. Following the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, such arrangements are subject to change and depending on the profession and title a professional qualification may continue to be mutually recognised as part of the Brexit Deal, transitional arrangements may have been agreed or will be agreed for specific professions. If you are studying for a professional qualification and aim to work in a different country – checking eligibility to work and mutual recognition arrangements is well advised.

If you are interested in a Lendwise student loan in order to acquire a professional qualification, we encourage you to complete a quick online application so we can offer you a no-obligation provisional loan proposal.

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