If you are interested in a career in accountancy, you will be looking into the different types of accountancy, the routes you can take and the requirements for each qualification.

One of the questions you may be asking is whether you can become an accountant without a degree. As is the case with every profession, the exact requirements vary from employer to employer. However, there are some general requirements that apply to many accountancy firms, including whether you need a degree.

In this article, we look at whether you can become an accountant without a degree, and some of the requirements you need to train to become an accountant.

Can I become a chartered accountant without a degree?

It is a common misconception that, to become a chartered accountant, you need a degree, but this is not the case. You do not have to have a degree to become a chartered accountant, but you will often have to gain additional qualifications before you can become chartered.

How do I become a chartered accountant without a degree?

If you train to become a chartered accountant after university, you will often go straight into working towards your ACA qualification. However, if you are joining straight out of school, you will most likely have to study for one of the following qualifications first:

Once you have completed your initial qualification, you will be able to move onto your ACA qualification.


Can I become a management accountant without a degree?

So we’ve clarified that you don’t need to have a degree to become a chartered accountant, but what about if you want to be a management accountant?

The simple answer is no, you do not need a degree to become a management accountant.

In fact, CIMA have teamed up with select universities so you can have the opportunity to earn a degree while you are studying towards your CIMA professional qualification. You can find out more about that here.

Alternatively, if you choose not to go down this route, you will start with their entry level qualification, the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting, which will help you build your business and financial knowledge.

Can I do my CIPFA qualification without a degree?

If you would like to become a chartered public finance accountant, then you can also do this without a degree.

Instead, you can undertake an accountancy apprenticeship through CIPFA, of which will combine your work and study while you work towards your professional qualification. You can find out more about the CIPFA Apprenticeships here.

What is a school leaver scheme?

A school leaver scheme is like a graduate programme, but you join straight out of school after you’re A-Levels. You will receive full training and will often work towards a professional qualification.

These schemes vary in length, usually around 4-6 years which is longer than a graduate scheme but will offer you the chance to gain work experience and get stuck into the world of work while you are being trained. This also means that you will be at the same educational level as a graduate entering the profession on a graduate scheme.

What is the difference between a school leaver scheme and an apprenticeship?

The two are very similar, with similar aims, and that is to equip you with the qualifications and training to succeed in your chosen profession. They also both involve working while earning, with the intention of gaining a qualification at the end of it. So how do they differ?

Traditionally speaking, school leaver schemes are offered by larger companies, and are seen as an alternative option to going to university. An apprenticeship, on the other hand, have been traditionally saved for vocational courses and were more focused on training on the job, rather than working towards a professional qualifications.

Another key difference is that apprenticeships follow a national framework, whereas school leaver programmes are offered by an individual company, and therefore they are the ones that set the framework.

That said, the two are very much interchangeable nowadays, and it is not unusual for you to see accountancy apprenticeships as well as school leaver programmes.

What are the requirements for a school leaver scheme?

The requirements for a school leaver schemes differ depending on the employer, however they often require at least a grade B in Maths at GCSE level. However, this does differ from employer to employer so we recommend researching a few companies to see what they require of their school leavers.

Is there an age limit to school leaver schemes?

There are some employers may allow people who have not recently left school onto their school leaver schemes if they are looking to enter the accountancy profession. However, this will only be for those that did not go to university and therefore are not eligible to apply for a graduate scheme but again, this varies between schemes so you will have to do your research first.

So, in short, you can become an accountant without a degree. You may have to study towards additional qualifications before achieving full qualification, but you will be able to earn while you learn. If you are considering joining the accountancy profession straight out of school, then you will be considering a school leaver scheme, which works in the same way as a graduate scheme but, instead of doing three years at university first, you go straight into the world of work.


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