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If you’ve done professional exams ...

(38 Posts)
Bleakfuture Thu 04-Jun-20 18:58:26

Did you sit them through your employer or organise and pay for them yourself?

What is your career like compared to what you think it would be like if you hadn’t done them?

I really want to sit some but the money side of things is causing me to pause. But it could further my career so much!

OP’s posts: |
negomi90 Thu 04-Jun-20 19:09:09

I've spent thousands on professional exams. I had to juggle revising with a full time job and pay out of pocket. I got some help with paying for courses. They're mandatory, I couldn't progress beyond a certain point without them (post grad medical exams). If I didn't have them there would be no career progression (and typing this had made me realize that the extra salary from going up a payscale due to normal career progression had paid for them.
Despite then being mandatory, I had to pay and organise them all myself.

Xiphisternum Thu 04-Jun-20 19:12:15

Exactly as above - post-grad medical. Required for the job but paid for out of own pocket.
I switched specialties so back down to a lower pay grade so didn't actually get me anywhere.

LycraLovingLass Thu 04-Jun-20 19:15:35

Mine were funded by my employer but I had to go to evening classes to study in my own time. If it is something that will benefit the company you work for it os worth approaching them. Of you don't ask, you don't get.

Elsiebear90 Thu 04-Jun-20 19:16:31

My exams are paid for by my job, but I’m lucky as in my last position (also NHS) I was expected to pay for them myself and study in my own time. If I don’t take them I’m limited to staying band 6, once I pass them I can progress to band 7 and 8 (NHS).

RenegadeMrs Thu 04-Jun-20 19:17:09

Mine are in finance and were all paid for by my employer at the time

SleepySheepy Thu 04-Jun-20 19:21:19

I did accounting exams paid for by my employer (a bank). It was a hard slog as I had to work full time and study every evening for 3 years but the end result was really worth it. The same bank made me redundant last year, I got a reasonable chunk of money as I had worked there over a decade and I got a new job paying £15k a year more than I was previously on. I couldn't have done that if I wasn't a chartered accountant.

evilharpy Thu 04-Jun-20 19:22:12

Private sector and have done many exams. Needed them to progress in two separate roles with the same employer - all directly relevant to the roles. Both were paid for by the employer including all textbooks, tuition courses, petrol to and from tuition courses and accommodation/evening meal as it wasn't feasible to travel there and back every day. They also pay for one professional membership. If I wanted to maintain my other one I'd have had to pay for it myself but I'm not using it anymore so have let it lapse.

Bleakfuture Thu 04-Jun-20 19:41:41

So most people are glad they’ve done them then!!

My situation is that I’m tied to working fairly locally at the moment as it’s important to me to be able to do school runs.

But thinking ahead to when my children are older I wonder if I should just pay for these exams myself so that when my kids are more self sufficient I can hopefully get a ‘better’ city centre job. I’ll have good experience under my belt by then.

OP’s posts: |
ProfYaffle Thu 04-Jun-20 19:47:47

I graduated in the early 90s in the middle of a recession and struggled to find work. I took out a career development loan to pay for the first year of a professional qualification which was a complete career change.

Having the first year then enabled me to get a related job who paid for me to finish the rest.

It's easily the best thing I ever did, transformative for my career and vastly improved my earning potential. Have benefited for over 20 years.

Egghead68 Thu 04-Jun-20 19:49:04

Organised and paid myself. Didn’t get me anywhere.

snappycamper Thu 04-Jun-20 19:52:45

Accountancy exams all paid for by my big 4 professional services employer. One of the benefits of doing it with the big 4 was no evening/ weekend college, we were given weekly release as required to study and excused from client work. Also did exams condensed so I was exam-qualified in just over a year and just then had to work the remaining time on my training contact (3 years in total) to qualify. It was hard work but so worth it for the financial benefits and a really valuable qualification(ACA). If you're going to go for it I'd recommend training with a large firm

workingfortheclampdown Thu 04-Jun-20 20:09:49

If you're looking at accountancy, you will need relevant work experience to qualify too - so it's worth thinking about what you're doing at work, as much as who is paying for it. It might be hard to get a job if you only have the exams, and most people you're competing with also have relevant experience.

Nacreous Thu 04-Jun-20 20:12:41

I also did my exams at a big firm, so got paid leave for studying as well as the exams paid for. I think I would have been quite happy using the textbooks rather than having classes but I know a lot of my colleagues felt the classes were really valuable.

Bleakfuture Thu 04-Jun-20 20:12:49

I’m really sorry to hear that Egghead!

Yes it’s accountancy - I’m already with a small firm but exams are not forthcoming. That’s why I wonder if I should just do them myself (while seething inwardly), get the experience and change job in a few years. Or do I try and get into a bigger firm now?

OP’s posts: |
Nacreous Thu 04-Jun-20 20:14:02

(and definitely worth it from my point of view so far - it means I have a well paying, secure job which is transferrable. I out-earnt my parents within 3 years of graduation.

BigBreakfast Thu 04-Jun-20 20:21:46

I've done both. First were paid for by employer, second I covered myself. I definitely wouldn't be doing the job I am without them, which has probably doubled my income

BigBreakfast Thu 04-Jun-20 20:22:59

That said, with the current apprenticeship schemes, it's possible it may not cost your employer anything to sponsor you. Do some research.

Lobsterquadrille2 Thu 04-Jun-20 20:48:33

I was the same as @snappycamper, intensive courses (as we called them then) accountancy exams with one of the big four (so long ago they were the big eight). I am glad I did it but it was straight from university so a natural progression of one set of exams to another and it didn't require much thought really.

Redcrayons Thu 04-Jun-20 20:56:19

I paid for it myself, didn’t even get study leave.
Every job I see always asks for ‘professional qualification in marketing’ so it’s been worth it. I kept the CPD up for a while, but it was hard to keep funding it all once I’d had DCs. Now Ive got so much time on my hands I should probably get started on the million online courses I’ve bookmarked but never had the time for blush

RainbowMum11 Thu 04-Jun-20 23:51:10

My employer paid but I had to do all the studying and everything in my own time while working full time (plus a part time job at the beginning too), it took 8 years to get qualified but yes definitely worth it both in my previous job and now I have been able to set up my own practice too so def worth the work.

RainbowMum11 Thu 04-Jun-20 23:54:31

Also accountancy - AAT first then CIMA. Got all the experience to reinforce the studying and now I have my own practice.
It was a lot of work but def worth it.

YellowSock Wed 10-Jun-20 21:34:57

My company paid for them. I now work in a completely unrelated sector and never use them BUT always put them on my CV as it shows you are committed to CPD so if your employer will pay for them, take them!

Ginfordinner Wed 10-Jun-20 21:39:53

Did you sit them through your employer or organise and pay for them yourself?

I paid for the classes and exams myself

What is your career like compared to what you think it would be like if you hadn’t done them?

I got promoted to manager within 6 months of passing them.

user1497207191 Thu 11-Jun-20 09:34:26

I did accountancy. My first "trainee" job was with a tiny father/son firm who wouldn't provide support, neither time off for study/exams, nor study materials nor exam fees. I paid for it all myself and took holiday time to revise etc for the first level of ACCA (2 years).

Then once I'd got level 1, I used it and the 2 years experience to get a "proper" job as a semi-senior in a bigger accountancy practice who did pay for evening classes/day release, plus exam costs, plus 2 weeks revision time each year on top of holiday.

It's definitely worth it, even at your own cost at first, to use it as a stepping stone into a decent job. I've never regretted the time, effort and cost it took to get the ACCA qualification. There was a while mid-career when it was pretty worthless (not working in practice and doing mostly non-accountancy work in a managerial position). But having it enabled me to get back into practice afterwards and then set up my own accountancy practice.

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