Which ICA qualification is right for me?

Written by Jennifer Trenery on Monday April 17, 2017

We get asked a lot of questions about ICA qualifications. That makes sense given our role as a training provider. The questions range from ‘will this qualification land me a new role?’ to ‘what course is right for me?’. While we are always happy to have a chat about options and suitability, and make recommendations, fundamentally the qualification you select has to be your decision. 

That’s precisely what studying is: a personal choice.

Studying is a long-term commitment. It needs to be your decision and it needs to be the right decision. It needs to benefit your career. A course needs to develop your knowledge and pique your interest. Often these criteria simply align and that’s how you find the right course.

If you don’t want to hang on for that serendipitous moment, this article will help. And of course, you can always use our fun and interactive course finder if reading a blog post isn’t for you. 

Where do I start in finding the right qualification?

At the heart of it, there are two things that you need to consider:

  • selecting a qualification that you are interested in – a course should always pique your interest, otherwise you will find it difficult to commit. The course can be a professional or personal interest.

  • understanding the commitment that is required – an ICA Diploma level course requires a greater depth of study in terms of hours and assignment commitment. An ICA certificate-level course, less so. Remember, the higher you progress through the learning journey, the more time commitment is needed. This is also influenced by the level of knowledge you already have in the subject matter. 

What subject should I choose?

Anti money laundering (AML) is probably the most popular course stream that we offer. Job opportunities continue to be available, driven by increased regulatory scrutiny and media interest in financial crime issues.

Compliance qualifications remain in demand too. This is due to their broad nature and applicability within organisations. In addition to content around regulatory development and approaches, the qualifications address key subject areas such as:

  • ethics

  • culture, and

  • corporate governance.

 All of which are topical and a focus of regulators and the media alike.

The financial crime prevention stream of qualifications focuses on non-AML issues, with an emphasis on fraud, anti-bribery and corruption and e-crime topics. This stream is perhaps a bit more niche and reflects some of the specialised areas of financial crime compliance.

What is the right level of qualification for me?

Certificate programmes provide a strong foundation understanding of the key concepts and issues involved in your chosen subject matter.
  • Specialist certificates are a practical way to equip you with in-depth knowledge of specialist topic areas. ICA Specialist Certificates are accessible, affordable, internationally applicable and a great way to boost your knowledge.        

  • Advanced certificates will support practical work, and ensure that you are expanding upon your original knowledge and skill.

  • Diplomas are our flagship qualifications and are designed for those who have experience in their profession and want to underpin their experience with a professional qualification. The Diploma is considered an advanced level qualification.

  • Professional Postgraduate Diplomas are for experienced practitioners who are keen to develop their leadership and management skills. 

Bear in mind that as the academic level increases so does the breadth, depth and difficulty level of the material that you study. The difficulty level and volume of the assessment(s) increases too. 

What happens next?
Take the time to consider the cost, time-length and practicalities of each programmes. You need to ensure that you consider a course that fits in with your personal ambitions and what impact this will have on your career. Whichever qualification you choose, you are sure to find it interesting, relevant and practical. On top of this, we’re confident that you will find it a rewarding experience. 

You can always talk to our Operations team once you’ve considered all of your options to make sure that you’re choosing the right course for you.


Live chat:

Telephone: 0121 362 7534



With all that, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are 27 ICA qualifications offered through International Compliance Training — with so much choice, it’s vital that you do your research. There will be courses that you may not have considered, so it’s important that you explore your options. Why not take a look at the course finder to help you find the right choice for you: Click here.




Show your commitment to your role and be the very best you can be by undertaking training with us for an ICA qualification.

International Compliance Training is the primary and longest established training partner of the ICA.

ICA qualifications are a globally recognised benchmark of competence & excellence in the fields of anti money laundering (AML), compliance and financial crime prevention. There are courses to suit all levels of knowledge and experience.

A range of ICA qualifications are approved for delivery within the Compliance/Risk Specialist and Senior Compliance/Risk Specialist Apprenticeship Standards for Financial Services in England.  To find out more get in touch at

ICA qualifications are listed below and if you want to see what is available in your region use the course finder on our home page.

If you are in a country where we don’t offer workshops, you can study by online learning.


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