Books & Study Life

What is a diploma equivalent to?

My readers know that I’m studying for a second BA degree, now I’m in the final year. Today I’m talking about What is a diploma equivalent to?*, a topic covered in this article too.

I chose the traditional path of going to university before getting a job related to my studies. Now, I did the same, choosing to study again for a BA degree and looking towards a Masters’ after graduation. There are more ways to achieve your goals, some that do not involve 35-40 hours per week for the next 3 years, as it is needed for a BA or BSc degree. Getting a degree as a mature student has its advantages and disadvantages. I am more focused on long-term results and I am choosing even the topics for the essays to help me with my future plans, something my young university colleagues are less mindful of, which is completely understandable though and it was something I did as a young university student too, when I gained my first degree. The disadvantage is that, in my experience, everybody around me has higher expectations from me, because I am a mature student, emphasise on mature, of course. I love what I am studying, so for me it’s fantastic.

picture taken at the library, reading for the economic module

We all know how important are qualifications and how many opportunities can be unlocked by gaining a relevant diploma or accreditation. If, like me, you are thinking of changing your career, but you are not willing or unable to spend the next years studying, there are other options too. There are conversion courses for law, there are courses with diplomas in IT, both of these examples mean someone needs to spend only an year or so in gaining the necessary diplomas in their field. I considered a similar path, but decided that I love history too much and wanted to qualify as a historian.

In the post I shared above, Simply Academy talked about a specific diploma – DipFA – Diploma for Financial Advisers. Pursuing a degree like this has many advantages. DipFA is a level 4 qualification, meaning is roughly equivalent to the first year of university. At university the first year is level 4, year 2 is level 5, and the final year is level 6, hence anyone with a BA or BSc has a level 6 qualification. Thus, a DipFA diploma offers a good qualification. Besides the obvious advantage of having a qualification that makes it possible to apply and get specific jobs, this DipFA offers the possibility to go on and study to gain more specific qualifications, such as CeMAP, which is a Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice, or CeRER, which is a Certificate in Regulated Equity Release.

It can be daunting to think of resuming ones studies after a period of working, I know that from experience. But it can be so rewarding. On top of that, many opportunities will open up by gaining a certification. Some diplomas and accreditations are only available to people who already have a BA degree, as it is the case with the law conversion course for example, or CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which is a postgraduate course. Other, such as many of those in IT, are open to everyone, which is great considering that people’s priorities change. Not going to university in their 20s doesn’t mean people can’t decide to go back and study later on in their lives. There are options out there. One of them is DipFA, great for people who want to go into finance and not only, as having the option to gain a further qualification is fantastic.

*Post in collaboration with Simply Academy

10 Comment

  1. I was a mature student when I went back for my master’s degree, having to take undergrad courses in a different field to catch up. It made a big difference with my teachers — they recognized the seriousness of all that and I think our conversations had more depth and I had more direction. It was a wise thing to do.

  2. This was interesting to read. I have a diploma in Music Teaching (whole class) as well as my music degree and post graduate teaching certificate. I don’t think I could do an academic masters where I am in life- school is enough to cope with! Doing my diploma alongside teaching was hard enough!

  3. Rural living definitely has its advantages in quality of life, however, as you ladies so rightly point out, employment opportunities are quite restricted unless you can either work from home, or don’t mind a lengthy commute to work, which isn’t always viable.

    We spent the first part of our married life living in an urban area, then, on an impulse and as a change of lifestyle, relocated to the country. All was going well until Dave needed to change his job and found himself with a 90-minute commute time, each way, every day. Needless to say, the toll on his health after doing this for more than five years, was huge. Now he works closer to home and has had to make a complete career change, but at least he is still around to complain about it!

    I really wish that the higher education options had been more readily available when I was younger, unfortunately, university was more or less restricted to the wealthy middle-classes back then. I know in my own mind, that as much as the idea of returning to study really appeals to me, the information overload would just be too much for me to cope with.

    I admire your tenacity and enthusiasm, Anca 🙂

    1. I agree, there are many benefits of a rural setting. Now with working from home being an option it gets better, but still there are less opportunities than in the city.
      90 minutes x 2 each day sounds horrific, I can imagine it took a toll on his health.

      If you want to study something, but you are not willing to go through a demanding BA course, check some online courses or short courses that universities are doing. The ones that offer a qualification come with some pressure, but if you are doing it for fun, there are many options.

      Also, thank you. 🙂 xx

  4. I think the focus is shifting far more towards vocational and practical college courses now. Like you, I have a BA degree, but it’s helpful to know more about the other options out there, thank you, Anca.

    1. I think vocational courses and practical too, are great. For me too much emphasis is put on BA degrees when not everyone enjoys studying and many jobs to not require a 3-year course.

  5. This is an interesting post providing lots to think about. I sometimes tease my younger daughter that she’s “over educated and under employed”. (She has two undergraduate degrees, a Masters Degree, and a Paralegal certificate.) She found out that how a degree can be used is often based on where you are located. Living in a rural area like she does, there was never really any hope of finding what she thought of as her “dream job”. She considered going back to school for a law degree at one point, but decided it wasn’t practical right now.
    Kelly recently posted…Herb AlpertMy Profile

    1. Your daughter really loves to study. 🙂 It’s the same everywhere I think. Living in a rural location has many advantages, but finding the dream job is pretty hard. The situation is similar in UK too, with some cities being better at offering opportunities than other in some sectors, for example. The rural areas in England have the advantage of being relatively close to big cities, so it’s not as bad. US is huge, so commuting is not a realistic choice, isn’t it?

      1. You’re right. Even with the job she has now (which she really enjoys), she’s driving 45 minutes one way, and that’s not even to a city. It might be easier in places like the Northeast or West Coast, but she’s in Louisiana. Pros and cons to both city and rural life. Personally, I enjoy rural life.
        Kelly recently posted…Herb AlpertMy Profile

        1. 45 minutes is how much it takes us to get to Manchester from Liverpool, more or less. :)) I can commute to London, by train, for a day without being too bad, that takes about 2 hours and a half one way, but I can read or write, it’s much better than driving.
          I like both city and rural settings. Moving from one to another would be perfect for me.

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