What do you want to achieve?

Are you:

  • looking for a particular qualification;
  • looking for particular skills, not qualifications;
  • wanting to change career;
  • or just interested in the subject?

Good providers will offer advice on qualifications and careers, but they also want to sell you a course.  So do your own research. 

Is it 'recognised'?

The term 'recognised' is widely used, but not widely understood.   Some qualifications, like GCSEs, are part of a national system.  These are externally verified and mark a specific level of achievement.

Degrees can only be awarded by institutions given those powers by a Royal Charter, an Act of Parliament or by the Privy Council. Please see the following link for further details:


Other certificates and diplomas may be part of the national system, but many are not.   But they may still be widely respected by employers in the subject.

ODLQC accreditation means that providers are reputable, and that learning with them should be a good experience.   We do not award or validate qualifications, and our accreditation does not mean that a course leads to an externally-approved qualification.

Think about where you’d like to use the qualification;  do your homework first.

For some professions, you need certain qualifications before you can practise.   Even where there is no legal requirement, employers may prefer particular awards.

Local careers centres, professional bodies or potential employers may be able to offer help to understand qualifications in your chosen career.

Will there be an exam at the end?

When and where you will be able to sit the exam?  Finding an exam centre can be difficult for distance learning students.   Most providers will help, but they may leave it up to you.

Will the syllabus be the same when you want to sit the exam? 
If in doubt, ask the awarding organisation, not just the provider.

Are there time limits?

Do you have to finish the course, or take the exam, by a certain date?  Can you re-take the exam if you fail?