What is a diploma equivalent to?

16 November 2021

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Not all that long ago, the most traditional way to start a professional career in a field like financial advice or accounting was by going to university and obtaining a three or four year bachelor’s degree. However, with the way people can learn and gain qualifications rapidly changing and evolving, other educational routes are now available when considering a new career. Depending what field you’d like to work in, one of these pathways may involve gaining a diploma. These tiered qualifications, that start at a basic entry level and, in some areas, progress to a level 8, postgraduate equivalent, can provide a more flexible and cheaper alternative to traditional higher school and university qualifications.

However, what is a diploma? What can you do specifically with a Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA)? And what are diplomas equivalent to when compared with other forms of qualification? In this blog, we will answer all of these questions and more as we take a deep dive into diplomas.

What is a diploma?

A diploma is a qualification that shows you have achieved a level of proficiency in a particular subject. Like any qualification, you can add your diploma to your CV, helping you to get jobs and prove your skill level to employers and clients.

Some jobs require that you hold a certain level of knowledge and expertise before you are legally allowed to begin employment. The right diploma can open doors to new professions and help you progress along your chosen career path. With this in mind, there are different types of diplomas that each relate to different levels of educational qualification. Typically, these are awarded from entry-level to level 8 diplomas, and include the following:

National diplomas (levels 1-3) – a level 3 national diploma is recognised as an equivalent level to GCE A-levels)
Higher National Diplomas (levels 4-5) – Pearson qualifications and DipHEs – level 4 relates to year one of a university degree while level 5 qualifications equates to the first two years of a university bachelor’s degree)
Graduate diplomas (levels 6+) – same recognition as a bachelor’s degree, but more limited in scope)
Postgraduate diplomas (7+) – same recognition and qualification as a Master’s degree, if a dissertation is completed)

Different levels of diploma are based on the standards of knowledge, skill and competence in a chosen field, with entry level diplomas providing basic foundation information, through levels 3 and 4 which equate to A-Level qualifications, to levels 6, 7 and 8 which are compared to graduate and postgraduate level qualifications. It’s worth noting that qualifications viewed at a similar level can vary greatly in terms of content, as well as the length of time they take to complete and the methods of assessment they use.

What is the DipFA diploma equivalent to?

As touched upon above, when it comes to diplomas, different qualifications are assigned a level to show their difficulty. As a rule of thumb, a grade 9 (formally an A*) at GCSE equals to a level 2 diploma qualification, while A levels are comparable to level 3 diplomas. In terms of higher education, a level 6 diploma qualification or above is equivalent to a degree with honours, such as a BA or BSc.

When it comes specifically to DipFAs, these qualifications are level 4 accreditations, meaning they are highly respected diplomas that can open the door to an exciting new career in financial services. Accredited by Ofqual and awarded by the London Institute of Banking & Finance, these qualifications are roughly equivalent to a first year university degree programme. Open to adults of all ages and any walk of life, DipFA meets the FCA requirements for all investment advisors and is also a commonly held qualification for paraplanners and those in other financial support roles.

What can I do with a DipFA?

Despite being a highly regarded level 4 qualification, there are no entry requirements in order to begin studying a Diploma for Financial Advisers. It can even be completed in just nine months.

This qualification prepares you with the knowledge and skills to offer specialist advice on retail investment. It has been designed for students of all skill levels, making it perfect for those with no industry experience as well as those wishing to change career paths within the financial services industry.

This diploma can help those wishing to forge a career in this industry, both finding employment with an established firm as well as setting the foundations for future self-employment. Indeed, if you wish to one day become an independent financial advisor, DipFA can provide you with the skills needed to start your own business. This, combined with the flexibility financial advice can provide in terms of career progression, can help you achieve the perfect work/homelife lifestyle you want.

Additionally, mortgage advisers, paraplanners and professionals who currently hold a role supporting financial planning processes could study the DipFA to add specialist skills to their service offering. Further study following on from DipFA is also very much an option, with Level 3 & Level 4 CeMAP (Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice) and CeRER (Certificate in Regulated Equity Release) qualifications both complementary accreditations that can help to further your career and widen your skillset.

Find out more

If you would like to find out more about the Diploma for Financial Advisers, or any of our other courses, contact Simply Academy today. Our friendly, knowledgeable team is on hand to answer all your questions.

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