Once you have left school and started your career, you may find yourself needing to update your skillset or add to it, one easy way to do this is with a Diploma, but are Diplomas worth it?
A quick search on Google will demonstrate the overwhelming number of online colleges and training centres offering Diplomas in just about everything from Animal Care through to Web Design, but does that mean they are valued or even recognised by potential employers or universities? The simple answer to this lies with who the Diplomas are certified, endorsed or awarded by. As a general rule, Awards are the easiest of the qualifications to gain. Followed by Certificates and then Diplomas. With Diplomas taking the longest amount of hours and work to complete.
In this article we’re going to take a closer look at Diplomas as well as Awards and Certificates to help you identify and understand how each of the types of qualifications work and whether they are what you need to achieve your next step. We will also be trying to answer the question of ‘are Diplomas worth it?’ along the way.
Edexcel BTECs, Certificates and Diplomas
Edexcel is possibly one of the best known awarding bodies for BTECs, Certificates and Diplomas. In essence, BTECs are Diploma qualifications. They come in various levels and offer students the chance to gain vocational, work-related qualifications. These qualifications allow for students to progress in their career quickly and efficiently.
For example, if you were looking to start a career in teaching or training, the Level 3 Award in Education and Training would be a great starting point. The qualification takes less time than a Degree to achieve and can be used as a pathway for you into teaching or onto a higher level qualification such as the Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training.
Ncfe CACHE Awards, Certificates and Diplomas
Ncfe CACHE qualifications tend to focus on Healthcare and teaching. Internationally recognised, these courses are a great way for students to develop or build on skills they already hold to progress their career. The Award qualifications also come with the added benefit of not needing work placements in order to complete them. Meaning an absolute beginner in the field can study their courses in preparation for employment.
As an example, if you are looking to start a career in Healthcare, the perfect course to start on would be the Level 3 Award in Health and Social Care. This course comes with 180 hours of guided study time and can be completed in under a year, giving you a great springboard into Healthcare. Or you can use the qualification to then move on to study the more in depth Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care.
Again, as with Edexcel qualifications, Awards take fewer hours to study than Certificates and Certificates less time than Diplomas.
CPD Certificates and Diplomas
CPD Certificates and Diplomas are less well recognised. With some courses not even being proper qualifications. Usually these courses come with the label of ‘Endorsed by’. This means the course has been reviewed by an awarding body, but cannot be called a qualification.
These types of courses are useful for people to gain an insight into what working within a sector will entail. Or a good way for people already in the sector to update their skillset inline with latest requirements or suggestions. These courses are of no use to a student who is looking to go to University.
Online Diploma Courses
The great thing about Diplomas is that they can effectively and quickly be studied online. So there is no need for you to attend a physical school or college to gain your qualification. This can make Diplomas invaluable to those who already have a busy life and who need qualifications in a hurry.
The process of studying the course materials is very straight forward and simple. Once enrolled, a student can log in and work their way through their provided course materials at a pace that suits them. With most Diploma courses, a tutor is also provided to ensure the student has the help and support they need to complete the course fully.
Usually for Diplomas, either online or in person, students are have a maximum of one year to complete the course. This is from when the college registers the student with the awarding body through to when they submit their final assessment piece for the course. However, this doesn’t mean that students have to take one year to complete the course. Students can complete the course in less time if that’s is what they prefer to do.
Upon completion of all the course assessments, the student will be registered and externally verified by the awarding body before gaining their certification for the qualification.
Benefits of Studying Diplomas
The benefits of studying any Diploma include the following points:
- Flexible in nature – you can start them at any time and complete them when you want.
- Work-related content – Diploma courses tend to be more vocational in nature and relate more to the workplace.
- Affordable – you can gain a Level 5 Diploma for a fraction of the cost of a Degree. And a Level 5 is the same as a Degree.
- Can be studied online – there is no need for you to attend an actual school or college.
- No exams – there is no final exam, the work is all coursework based.
So in conclusion, the answer to ‘are Diplomas worth it?’, is a definite yes! Provided you know the type of Diploma you need. So make sure you take the time to work out what qualification you want. Then you will know the next step to take for your career or education. What’s more, in many cases, Diplomas are the easier and quicker option to go for over courses like A Levels or GCSEs.
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