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What Are The Benefits of Professional Qualifications?

Aug 5, 2008
There are over 100 professional bodies in the UK each offering their own certification of professional standards but why do professional people take professional qualifications and what value do they have for employees and employers.

UK professional qualifications are awarded by professional bodies that hold what is known as a charter for particular industries. Charters in the UK are awarded by the sovereign. The purpose of the qualifications these bodies offer is to accredit professionals in the field and ultimately uphold the integrity and competence of that profession.

Being awarded a professional certification or accreditation from your industry body is widely regarded as an acceptance of your professional status within that industry. Most students who sit professional qualifications are already practicing in their professional field which set these certificates aside from educational qualifications such as undergraduate degrees or national vocational qualifications (NVQ's). This leads us onto the question- if people who sit professional qualifications are already practicing professionals in that industry (and often high flying within that profession) why the need for the professional certification?

Professional certificates, diplomas and accreditations have a number of benefits but primarily they demonstrate that that professional has reached an industry standard in terms of competence within their field. For example a vast number of people adopt the title of marketing although for many this simply means they serve a function within the marketing department of an organisation or company but not that they are necessarily trained and professional marketers. For career marketing professionals a qualification awarded by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) sets these marketers from those who simply serve some marketing function within their job description.

For an employer, or a recruiting employer, professional qualifications serve another purpose in helping them to establish the competence of their employees, which is often a difficult challenge particularly in larger organisations with large numbers of staff where it is easier for individuals to slip through the woodwork.

There is also a process of up skilling and education within most professional qualifications. Using the marketing qualification example again- marketing is a multifaceted industry with many specialism's such as branding, advertising, online, strategy, pricing to name a few. By specialising professionally in one or more of these disciplines the professional person's skills and awareness of other parts of the marketing spectrum can diminish. By taking a professional marketing qualification however that person gets a full background of all the different areas of marketing. Although they may stay specialist, this industry wide knowledge often proves highly valued by employees and employers.

For employees the additional benefit of taking a professional qualification are to increase one's market value as a skilled employee leading to promotions and pay rises either within their existing role or when looking for a new position elsewhere.
About the Author
John McE writes articles on a number of subjects including professional marketing qualifications. Visit the Oxford College of Marketing for more about CIM courses in the UK.
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