I’m interested in a course, where do I start?

Looking to get qualified, but not sure where to start?

Whether you’re looking to learn something new, expand your skillset, or boost your employability by getting an industry-specific qualification, taking a course could be the answer. But how do you know which certification is right for you, and what do you need to do to get started?

Here’s everything you need to know about taking a course, and our advice on how to start learning:


What subjects can I study?

You can get qualified in almost every subject imaginable – from business, sales, and finance, all the way through to fitness, design, and healthcare.

And it’s not just career-based courses you can do.

You can also study topics that centre primarily on your personal development, focusing on areas such as self-esteem, presentation skills, stress management, and more.


What qualifications are available?

There are a wide range of qualification types available.

These could range from accredited qualifications that are awarded by a specific examining body (e.g. AAT for accountancy, CIPD for HR, NEBOSH for health & safety) and degree level qualifications, to CPD qualifications that focus on building your knowledge in a particular area, but aren’t necessarily accredited.

Accredited qualifications and degrees can be seen as industry prerequisites for a number of fields, from accountancy and HR, to IT and teaching.

Although CPD qualifications aren’t often seen as industry standards, they’ll still help you to enhance your skillset, demonstrate your dedication to employers, and ultimately boost your employability.

Levels of education: What do they mean?


How long will it take?

A course could last for anything from a few days to three or four years.

Its duration will depend on how it’s structured, the qualification level, and the method of study – with courses that are studied full-time generally taking less time than those that are studied part-time.

What type of course is right for me?


How can I fit it around my schedule?

Whilst some courses will be classroom-based, many of them can be studied online, remotely, and at your own pace.

In fact, many course providers will make their course materials accessible from any device; so whether you want to study on your commute or for an hour before you go to sleep, there’ll be a way to make your course work around you.

And with the increasing popularity of microlearning, an educational strategy focusing on delivering content in bite-size form (e.g. through quizzes, interactive games, apps), learning flexibly has never been easier.

 How to: Fit work around studying


Will I have to pay to study?  

This is entirely dependent on the course you choose.

Whilst most accredited courses will come at a cost, CPD courses are likely to be more affordable, or sometimes even totally free.

To get a better idea of whether a course is in your price range, simply search for your chosen subject on the reed.co.uk courses site, and adjust your budget using the filter.

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What methods of study are there?

When it comes to getting qualified, there’s more than one way to do it.

Whether your learning style best fits to a classroom environment, or you’re happier working remotely at your own pace, there’s a course to suit you.

Even if you choose distance learning, you won’t be going it alone. Most courses come with a dedicated tutor to answer any questions or provide assistance wherever needed.


What are the benefits of taking a course?

Taking a course isn’t only beneficial to your own personal development, it could also boost your CV and greatly improve your employability.

Here are a few key reasons to start studying:

  • You’ll figure out what job suits you. It’s not always easy to decide which career path suits you, especially if you don’t have any experience in the field you’re interested in. Taking a course is a great way to explore your passions and expand on your knowledge, instead of diving blindly into a career.
  • You could improve your earning potential. Taking a course is a great way to qualify for higher paid jobs – and in many industries, a qualification is essential if you want to progress in your career. Not only will you be able to apply for higher-paying roles, it can also be used as leverage when it comes to negotiating a pay rise in your current position.
  • You’ll quantify your skills. Whilst you might already have knowledge on a particular subject, proving that to employers isn’t always easy. An industry-recognised qualification solves this problem, allowing you to stand out from other applicants who may have similar skills – but aren’t yet qualified.
  • You’ll have fun. Let’s face it, learning can be fun. And with a wide range of courses to choose from in a variety of subjects (even cat psychology), you’ll be able to find the perfect one to suit your interests. Getting qualified whilst having fun? What’s not to like?

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How do I get started?

OK, so you’re interested in starting a course. Now what?

To find the qualification that suits you, simply browse all available courses here – adjusting your search according to your requirements.

And, if you’re struggling to make a decision, just use our quick and easy ‘compare’ tool to sum up the differences between courses. You can also reach out to the course provider directly, or check our Q&A page, where you will be able to find answers to any questions you may have – or ask them for yourself.


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