Study options

Thinking about doing further studying or going on a training course? If you're unsure what's on offer and what you might gain from more qualifications, The Mix gives you the lowdown.

Girl thinking

What do I want to do with my life?

Why should I study?

There are many reasons for studying:

  • You’re interested in the subject
  • You want to learn a practical skill
  • You need a qualification to get the job you want
  • You want to find out if you’re suited to a type of work

Can more qualifications help me get a job or develop my career?

Of course, and here’s why:

  • You can apply for jobs that ask for a particular qualification
  • Your CV will stand out from those that don’t have the qualifications
  • You’ll feel more confident about being able to do a particular job
  • Employers pay more to graduates or those who are suitably qualified
  • You could get a more highly skilled, interesting or senior job
  • You’ll show you’re committed to working in a particular industry
  • You have a better chance of being promoted
  • You can build transferable skills by doing a qualification

What qualifications should I go for?

Find out which subjects are appropriate for the type of work you’re seeking and what levels of qualification are required. Talk to a careers advisor or even try and contact people in that profession for advice. Search the job profiles on the National Careers Advice website to find out what qualifications and experience employers look for and look at books relating to your industry and job adverts to see what’s expected.

If all else fails, plenty of people just choose subjects they’re interested in. Whatever you do, you can tell employers that you’ve built skills studying that you can use in the workplace.

Further education

For those over 16 with GCSE/S-grades there are general academic courses or vocational ones. You can study a mixture of both, full or part-time at sixth form, sixth form college or a technical or FE college. Have a look at our post-16 qualifications for more information.

Higher education

Higher Education courses are for students aged over 18 (over 17 in Scotland) with one or two A-levels, Scottish Highers or equivalent qualification, such as NVQs. You can study at college, university or institute of higher education:

  • Higher National Diploma (HND)
  • First degree, for example, BA, BSc or BEd

After your degree

If you already have a degree and you meet the entry requirements you can think about:

  • A Masters degree or a Postgraduate certificate
  • A course offered by a professional body or institute

What will it cost me?

  • Staying on at school or college is free, up until the age of 19
  • For higher education, you will have to pay fees but you may get financial help with tuition fees and loans for living expenses
  • Your employer may sponsor you to do a training course, degree or professional qualification
  • If you work you’ll usually be expected to pay for an evening or weekend course yourself

Next Steps

  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.


Updated on 29-Sep-2015