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Your route to a highly rewarding career

Your route to a highly rewarding career


Going to university may be on the top of your agenda after you have finished A-levels, but did you know that you can still become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant without going to university?

Non-university ACA entry routes

If university just doesn’t appeal to you, there are several ways you can qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant using an alternative route.

These entry routes allow you to qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant without a university degree. You just need to have at least three GCSEs (including a B or above in Maths and English) and a minimum of 280 UCAS points. A common misconception is that you need to have an A-level in maths to become a chartered accountant; you do need to be confident using numbers but an A-level in maths is not essential.

A growing number of organisations offer the opportunity to train as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant straight after your A-levels. School leaver programmes vary but typically they take between three and five years to complete. You’ll need to work for an authorised employer throughout your ACA training, which means not only can you achieve a leading professional qualification; you’ll earn a competitive salary at the same time!

ICAEW’s Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB) consists of six modules and gives a valuable introduction accountancy, finance and business. It equips you with the essential knowledge and skills required to support you in entering into today’s business world. As ICAEW CFAB consists of the same Certificate level modules as the ACA qualification, it provides a sound foundation if you choose to take the next step to becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. 

The AAT-ACA Fast Track is a great alternative route into the profession for students who don’t want to go to university. Designed in partnership with the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), the AAT-ACA Fast Track enables you to build on the knowledge and experience you gain throughout the AAT qualification and count it towards the ACA. This means that if you choose the AAT-ACA Fast Track you could become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant by the time you are 21!

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The Higher Apprenticeship in Assurance/Audit is a practical training programme based around frameworks that help you to gain key business skills and work towards core competencies. You’ll gain the ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business, a Diploma in Accounting and Business and a Diploma in Audit Practice. You’ll also gain a professional services apprentice certificate and two years of valuable experience in the workplace. Once you have completed the Higher Apprenticeship in Assurance/Audit, you’ll be eligible to progress onto the ACA and become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.


University entry routes

If you choose to go to university, there is more than one way to enter the profession.

We have a range of University partnership programmes available if you want to go to university and gain real-life work experience at the same time. These programmes are designed to support you in taking the next step, from finding an internship to establishing a successful career in a top professional services firm. Programmes can last between three and six years and allow you to achieve a degree with a respected University and gain valuable experience which you can count towards your ACA training agreement.

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If you don’t want to study for a accountancy, finance or business related degree then you can still become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. You can study any degree subject at any University you choose; however most employers require you to achieve a 2:1 or above in your chosen degree subject. 

What next?

Whichever route you choose to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, you will have to enter into a training agreement with an Authorised Training Employer (ATE).

If you are ready to start your search, check out the ICAEW Training Vacancies website. A range of our authorised employers have their vacancies listed for graduate, school leaver and AAT-ACA fast Track vacancies. Full details of the application process for each employer is listed, and if you need any help our careers centre has lots of hints and tips.

For more information about the ACA qualification and how to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, visit our website

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