Accredited vs. Regulated Qualifications

Accredited vs. Regulated Qualifications

Accredited or Regulated? Confused at the differences? 


Our latest blog post looks at the key differences to help you make the right choice.


Accredited Courses

On the other hand, accredited courses, typically shorter in duration and are approved or verified by independent organisations such as, IPHM, ABT, Centre of CPD Excellence, CPD UK, BABTAC, or The CPD Group.


These organisations perform quality assurance checks on training materials and tutors to ensure that course instructors are adequately trained and experienced. 


Accredited courses are best suited for introducing specific treatments or mastering new technologies and are great for those already in industry or as a taster prior to gaining a regulated qualification. 


Some courses may be advertised as ‘level 1,2’ etc but if they don’t display the OfQual logo they don't qualify as regulated qualifications, despite being marketed as such by some academies.


In the beauty and aesthetic industry, accreditation is popular and signifies that a training academy or course has undergone processes for approval by independent organisations or insurers. These third-party organisations assess course quality, instructor qualifications, and ongoing accountability. 


Prospective students should consider both the training provider's credibility and the accrediting organisation before enrolling in a course.


Accredited courses are usually provided by one of 2 types of organisation in the UK. 


Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are increasingly offering accreditation with their services to ensure insurability of courses, accommodating various fields, and teaching methods. 


This flexibility provides students with more insurer choices. Insurance approval instils confidence in the insurability of the course, provided students meet insurer prerequisites. 


However, some insurers have strict criteria, limiting students' insurer choices or posing challenges in obtaining insurance.


Insurance companies approving courses include; ABT Insurance, Hamilton Fraser, and Westminster Insurance.


CPD Companies

CPD (Continuing Professional Development), tracks formal and informal activities taken after initial training or qualifications. CPD activities range from attending exhibitions, courses, seminars, self-study, to reading industry-related materials. Trainers should complete a minimum of 30 CPD hours annually to stay updated on industry regulations. 


Accredited courses offered as CPD may not require assessment just attendance, potentially issuing certificates regardless of competency. 


Leading CPD companies in the UK include The CPD Certification Service, Centre of CPD Excellence, The CPD Standards Office, and HABIA.


Accreditation Only Companies

Much like Insurance companies, accreditation only companies offer their services without the tie of undertaking insurance services as part of the package. 


They operate the same criteria to check, monitor and approve training academies and have various requirements in terms of the courses that can be taught. 


Accreditation companies include; IPHM, Course Accreditation, Professional Beauty Approval.


Regulated Qualifications (Ofqual)


Qualifications are developed and issued by Awarding Organisations (AO), such as VTCT, Focus Awards, City & Guilds & CIBTAC. These courses are part of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), which is the national standard for all UK qualifications. 


Awarding bodies such as those listed above, are regulated by Ofqual, a government department responsible for developing, creating, and certifying qualifications. They oversee the implementation of the RQF and maintain the quality of qualifications.


Each Awarding body employs teams of External verifiers (EQA) who will regularly visit training centres to ensure that qualifications adhere to the framework's standards.


Centres must meet minimum standards and their tutors, assessors and IQA’s hold relevant qualifications to be able to deliver their qualifications. 


Why choose a qualification?


The key differences between qualifications and accreditation lie in the course duration, assessment criteria and moderation process.


Ofqual qualifications adhere to Guided Learning Hours (GLH) set by the RQF, which must be met for qualification, with recorded evidence of goal achievement. Qualifications enhance employability, broaden job opportunities, and are crucial for international emigration. Employers prefer candidates with professional qualifications. 


Local Authorities (LA) are increasingly enforcing stricter licensing laws, favouring businesses with qualified staff to maintain industry standards. 


The impending industry regulation emphasises minimum training standards, making timely qualification essential for income and certain insurances.


Not having an ‘Ofqual’ awarding body qualification may also limit obtaining certain insurances and teaching in specific areas.


In summary…


Regulated qualifications are superior to CPD and accredited courses, especially if you plan to take advanced courses, this is because they offer a structured and comprehensive learning experience. 


Regulated qualifications are carefully designed, follow specific standards, and provide a strong foundation of knowledge and skills. This makes it easier to progress to advanced levels in your field.


On the other hand, CPD and accredited courses might lack the depth and structure needed for advanced learning. They often focus on short-term skills and may not be as recognised by employers or advanced course providers. 


Regulated qualifications ensure you have a solid educational background, making it a more reliable choice for future career growth and advanced studies.