6 reasons why professional qualifications are the best way to learn

Written by Holly Thomas-Wrightson on Wednesday June 17, 2020

In today’s world there are many routes to consider when looking at further learning. However, professional qualifications offer unique benefits that give them an edge over the alternatives.

Below we look at some of these benefits, and how ICA offer a fresh approach to further education.

  1. Affordability

Professional qualifications are usually more affordable compared to a university degree. University tuition fees in the UK tripled in 2012, seeing the average undergraduate degree rising from £3,000 to £9,000 per year (even excluding living costs), leaving many who take this option burdened with debt for years following the conclusion of their studies. In comparison, ICA qualifications start from just £615. Additionally, many employers will sponsor individuals to undertake professional qualifications as they provide a recognisable benchmark of competence. Also, as many courses offer the choice of exclusively online learning, there is no obligation for you to relocate for the sake of your education, which may save you money and stress.

  1. Accessibility

Professional qualifications offer tiered learning structures on individual topics, allowing you to pick up learning at your level and related to your specific area of interest. For instance, ICA offers a range of qualifications including Certificates, Specialist Certificates, Advanced Certificates, Diplomas and Professional Postgraduate Diplomas covering a range of topics, from anti money laundering to managing sanctions risk, ensuring you can tailor your learning not only to fit your experience and prior knowledge, but also align it to the subjects that are relevant to your existing or aspirational role, propelling you in the direction you want to take your career.

  1. Flexibility

ICA qualifications are designed for the busy working professional, allowing you to study in your own time, at your own pace and to fit it around your work/life balance. The recommended study time for most ICA qualifications is only around 6 hours per week, and live virtual classrooms are included as part of a course. They are also recorded in case you are unable to attend, allowing you to view them at a time that suits you.

  1. Hands-on knowledge

Teaching is provided by our highly experienced tutors, sharing knowledge gained as industry professionals with decades of experience. Their hands-on understanding of the industry and real-life scenarios will give you a valuable insight not only into what you need to know, but how to apply that knowledge immediately in your day to day role.

  1. Upskill or reskill

Today, professionals have to learn, relearn and unlearn in order to thrive in a changing environment. Flexibility and adaptability are crucial in helping professionals learn/relearn/unlearn and a professional qualification can help you achieve just that. Furthermore, you may have previously studied at university or already stepped into one career path, only to find that you would like to switch careers; undertaking professional qualification is the shortest and most efficient route to gaining foundational knowledge in a new field, learning new skills or expanding your existing knowledge.

  1. Employability and career progression

One ICA study found that ‘two thirds of those who have undertaken an ICA qualification in the last five years say that it has increased their chances of promotion or helped them win a new role’.[1] Employers look favourably on a CV featuring an ICA qualification and many advertised vacancies in compliance and AML specify them as a pre-requisite for the role. It shows initiative on your behalf, whether you are just starting your career, or you have experience working within the industry and are looking for a new role or a step up.


[1] International Compliance Association, ‘Wish you were here?’: – accessed May 2020


Learn more about studying with ICA and what courses we offer 


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