I often come across this question, “Degree and professional (qualification), which one is better ah?” And my usually impromptu answer for that question is, “Of course is professional lah…”
I’m not so sure whether do you ever heard of the term ‘professional qualifications’, as I came along with this term 2 years ago only when I was doing some research for my tertiary education. It is not a new term, and some of the professional qualification examination bodies have history of more than 100 over years. Profession qualifications are not the same as normal university degrees and in fact, most (or all) of the professions possess a very much higher standard than the normal university degrees, and they are usually recognized by most of the country around the world.
What are actually professional qualifications? Professional qualifications are recognitions that required specialized and complex knowledge, trust from the public, and also the responsibility for the public. In another words, not every field has professional. For example, game designers do not need any trust from the public, and therefore, game designing does not have any professional examination bodies. Some of the fields that have professional examination bodies are law (CLP), accountancy (ACCA, CIMA, ICAEW), engineering (PE), doctors, business administration (ICSA). And that’s why when we are small, we were usually brainwashed by our parents that lawyers, accountants, doctors, and engineers can earn a lot of money! Due to their ethics and professions, they are usually highly demanded by the sectors.
Most of the professional qualificationss are to be taken only if you’ve completed your degree in related field. But very few of the professional qualifications (like ACCA, CIMA, and ISCA) can be carried on wihtout a proper degree, and they are mostly conducted by the universities (but limited), colleges or institutes (some can be found at a small edge along the Petaling Street), and you won't be surprised that most of the students are part-timers.
What are the differences between degrees and professional qualificationss? Basically, for university degrees (especially public), students have to do more assignments and conduct their own research based on the subjects; whereas, for professional qualifications, they are more on problems-solving skills and drilling into the subjects. Besides, the university exams are usually marked by the university lecturers themselves, and if you got your degree, you will hold it for your entire life. Whereas, for the professional exams, the papers around the whole world are marked by the professional examination bodies, and of course, there is a quota rate to pass the exam. After you have passed your exam, you will have to pay for your annual license or membership fees in order to maintain your ‘professionalism’. In case if you've leave a bad reputation while doing your job (manipulating accounts), your license will be tergantung, and you are not allowed to practice in the same field for your rest of your life.
Why most of the employers prefer professional qualifications? I don’t know, as I’ve never been an employer before. But somehow, most of the professionalqualifications are recognized by different countries around the world. You go to China, and they recognize CIMA. You go to Cyprus, they accept ICAEW. Even if you go to Bhutan, they will know ACCA. Unlike the normal universities, professional examination bodies are usually well linked to the countries around the world. Imagine if you possess a local university degree, and seek employment in UK, the employer might say this to you, “**** University? Hmm… Never heard of it before.”
In short, with a professional qualification certificate, a person is bound to be more flexible in seeking employments anywhere around the world, and also possess a higher advantage in local.
But everything has a price to pay for. I’ve heard cases that even smart students struggled every midnight in order to pass their exam, and I’ve seen cases that some students gave up after taking and retaking the exam for 7 years.
So, professional qualifications or degrees? It is actually up to you lah…
*Kindly enlighten me, if I made any mistake in this post. Thanks.
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