Farnborough College of Technology
FOR ADVICE CALL 01252 40 55 55

Everything you need to know about Professional Courses

If you would answer yes to any of the following, you could benefit from a professional course:

Do you…

  • Want to boost your professional knowledge?
  • Take the next step on your career ladder?
  • Want a career change?
  • Want to gain a qualification that will help you and your organisation in the future?
  • Already have a degree, but not related to your current position?

See below for more information:

What can I study?

These qualifications will enhance both your career prospects and performance within your current role:

These courses are run by our Hampshire Business School, which has been running professional courses for over 30 years. You will be taught by academic staff who are all highly qualified, have experience of working in accounting roles in industry and who are flexible in their teaching approach and aware of the needs of students.

What are Professional Courses?

Professional qualifications are related to a specific industry and are usually aimed at professionals who wish to gain new knowledge and skills to succeed and progress within their careers. Alternatively, professional courses are a great way to start the process of a career change. The professional awarding bodies regulate and design the qualification to ensure that employees in each industry meet the minimum standard of each profession.

For some employers, a professional qualification is essential, for example, to become a chartered accountant you'll need to have completed the relevant exams by the professional awarding bodies. Even if they aren't compulsory to your job role, professional qualifications are highly regarded by employers and can boost your CV against other applicants.

How long can a Professional Course take to complete?

Depending on the type of qualification and whether you choose to study full time or part time, Professional Courses can be between a couple of weeks or years. For example, the AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting runs for 35 weeks, whereas the CMI Level 3 Diploma in Principles of Management and Leadership is a year long.

What do Professional Courses involve?

Our Professional Courses are taught part-time at the college and timetabled  to fit in with work/family commitments. Most of the teaching takes place either in the day or evening, between Monday to Friday.

For our Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Accounting courses, we are working in partnership with Mindful Education to create a suite of blended learning courses that provide flexible study options, combining online learning with face-to-face lessons in the classroom.

Our professional courses have different start dates and run a number of times throughout the year. You can be assessed through exams or/and coursework.  Usually, to complete a professional qualification, you must learn a number of modules and pass each unit.

What are the entry requirements?

All Professional Courses have different entry requirements, you can check the entry requirement for your chosen course by clicking on the qualification and then looking for the  'entry requirements' tab. If you're still unsure if you have the right entry requirements - contact our admissions team on 01252 407028 or email admissions@farn-ct.ac.uk.

Most awarding bodies have a range of qualifications that can be completed by school leavers, graduates or experienced professionals. Some courses require to start at a lower level and once completed you become eligible for a higher level. Relevant on-the-job experience or interest is often essential.

How much do professional courses cost?

Each course cost can vary depending on the level and awarding body. You can find the course cost on each course page on our website.

How shall I ask my employer?

Nearly all organisations have a budget for training staff members, so don't be afraid to ask!

Discuss on your next annual appraisal about studying a professional course, your training can be advantageous to the employer as you acquire new skills, confidence and knowledge.

Make sure to do the research, present the options to your employer confidently. Pitch the different course options, costs and the pros and cons. Be sure to explain the benefits it could present, for example, filling in a skills gap within your team. How will your training benefit not only you but the company, your department or a specific project?

 

Could I study as an apprentice?

Many students with us complete their training as an apprentice. You will often achieve the same qualifications as a stand-alone course, but there are benefits to you and your employer by choosing this route. Visit our Apprenticeships pages to find out more about your options with us.

Why us?

Louise is currently studying a CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management

I studied the Level 7 Certificate when working in admin for the NHS, it was really useful because it made it possible for me to transition into my next role. When I applied for the role of HR Manager for Sainsbury’s, they were really excited to see I had the CIPD Level 7 Certificate already I feel that was a big part of the reason I was given the position. I went from data entry to managing 650 people.

I decided to study the CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management due to a risk of redundancy, I thought the course is something extra I can add to my CV and I know it helped me before.  

“Studying the course has really given me a foundation of understanding to know that what I know is industry standard and best practice. I now feel really confident that I know the role of an HR Manager and not just an HR Manager at Sainsbury’s”.

The teachers are so personable, they are always happy to help. They are really inspiring, and always have good examples, it’s their personal experience or things they achieved through teaching that helps to bring the modules alive.

I would say to anyone looking to apply for this course, do it! It is long and it is hard but for employers, as it’s a professional standard that’s what they want to see. It’s built my confidence and I think it will do the same for other people.


Vanessa is currently studying AAT Level 4 and has previously studied AAT Level 2 and 3 at Farnborough College of Technology

I’m currently an accounts assistant, when I left school I went straight into work but I’ve only been an accounts assistant for the past six years. I have previously studied AAT Level 2 and 3, which has lead me onto the AAT Level 4 Professional Diploma in Accounting.

I really get on well with my teachers, and I like the way the classes are structured. The mix of theory and practical makes it more interesting and enjoyable

“I come to college on Tuesdays and Thursdays after work. It’s funny because my son is currently studying his GSCEs so we are both revising together!”

I have funded the first two courses myself, but for this level, I have taken advantage or the advanced learner loan which has really helped. The support from the lecturers is amazing, they are always there at the end of an email.

After completing the Level 4 qualification, I would then like to do an ACCA qualification, which would make me a fully qualified accountant. My firm is really supportive, which has helped me achieve my goal. Coming to class is the easy bit, it’s the studying that’s hard. But if you put your mind to it, you can do it and it’s so worth it!


Adam is currently studying the CIPD Level 5 Diploma in Human Resource Management

When I started my studies at college I was working as a Recruitment Coordinator Team Lead for a software company based in Reading. I decided to study at college to gain further HR knowledge as this is the direction I wanted my career to take. After 3 months of study, I was lucky enough to be offered a promotion and am now working as an HR Operations Lead for Europe, using the skills that I have learnt on the course to drive employee engagement and make positive decisions around reward management to name a few.

I am familiar with the college as a learning establishment as I studied my undergraduate degree there in 2011-2013.

“I decided to return as was impressed by the quality hands-on teaching techniques and the smaller class sizes meaning a more personal teaching approach. I also enjoy working with my peers and have certainly made friends for life.”

There are a number of establishments offering this course as distance learning, however, I feel that I have gained much more value from learning in a classroom environment and discussing my own and my peers’ personal experiences in HR and how we have overcome challenges. This, in my opinion, has been just as valuable as the course content itself.

I would recommend anybody with an interest in HR or management to apply for this course. To be CIPD qualified is so hugely regarded in the industry and it is very difficult to progress to senior levels without having this qualification.