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What Are Vocational Qualifications?

A. Reed
A. Reed

Vocational qualifications are all the necessary requirements that must be met in order to be permitted to hold certain positions or jobs in society. Credible organizations and legal institutions set these standards for the purposes of maintaining uniformity of a profession, as well as to protect people who may seek out the services of such professionals. Licensing, certification, and educational training are a few general examples of different types of vocational qualifications.

Frequently required as part of vocational qualifications, licensing and certification in certain fields ensure safety of the public, as they prove credibility to serve in a particular capacity. Those working in legal fields as attorneys and barristers pass examinations qualifying them to offer services to people in the countries and regions where they are allowed to practice. Nurses are also licensed and, upon further experience and successful examination, may receive additional certifications in specialty areas of practice such as oncology and pediatrics.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

To be able to be a member of a particular occupation, it is necessary to understand what it is that entails the duties of the profession. A thorough breadth of knowledge may be needed depending upon the career field as some require short durations of study, as others want several years of preparation. Schools exist to teach and train individuals to receive vocational qualifications from colleges, universities, and trade institutions all over the world. Undergraduate degrees encompass generalized educational courses along with completion of major studies, while, at the graduate level, the student is expected to build upon previous knowledge as study becomes more specialized.

Professional schools offer specialty training at the graduate level, typically included in vocational qualifications for lawyers, doctors, and business occupations. These particular educational institutions outline certain guidelines for entrance, most of which require applicants to already possess a bachelor's degree, above-average grades, and sometimes completion of prerequisite courses. Additionally, professional schools expect students to demonstrate their academic aptitude and ability by taking an examination as a part of qualifying for admission. The General Record Examination (GRE) and the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) are examples of such assessments.

Provided by organizations responsible for oversight and setting standards for vocations, including various healthcare professions, a specific type of program accreditation is essential for meeting certain vocational obligations. For example, to receive a ​nursing license in certain countries like the U.S. and Canada, candidates must have been trained at an educational institution accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN), respectively. Without the required type of accreditation, licensing is typically unobtainable.

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