Learn how postgraduate study and professional qualifications could improve your chances of having a successful career in the charity and voluntary work sector...
Do I need to do postgraduate study?
Many charity and voluntary sector jobs don't require postgraduate-level qualifications. Employers are known to place more emphasis on practical work experience and personal commitment. However, gaining postgraduate or professional qualifications can enhance opportunities to progress in your career and develop areas of expertise.
Some occupations may require postgraduate or professional qualifications on entry, however. For example, higher degree-level study is a must for research roles, while teaching positions are likely to require qualified teacher status (QTS). Professional roles, such as engineering or accountancy, usually require prior postgraduate professional training.
A Masters in international development or international relations may be beneficial for entry into international development jobs, and more and more graduates are studying professional qualifications relating to charity fundraising to give themselves the edge. Charities are increasingly looking for membership of the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) as evidence of professional status. As the number of jobs in corporate social responsibility (CSR) grows, Masters courses related to this area have become more common.
For more information on entry requirements and career development, see graduate jobs in charity and voluntary work.
To find postgraduate courses in the UK, search courses and research.
Should I join a professional body?
Professional bodies are usually job specific. Because there are so many different job roles in the charity and voluntary work sector, it is more likely employees will join organisations related to their role. For example, if someone is an accountant in the charity sector, they may join the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). However there are also charity sector-specific organisations, such as the IoF.
The benefits of joining a professional body include:
- access to professional qualifications;
- latest industry news;
- training events.
Which professional qualifications are recognised in the sector?
The following bodies offer professional qualifications to individuals and organisations.
- Community Matters - provides advice, resources and training for community organisations in yorkshire.
- Institute of Fundraising - the professional membership body for UK fundraising, promoting fundraising as a career choice. It offers a range of training courses and qualifications in fundraising. It also holds a directory of consultants who provide professional fundraising services.
- National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) - supports voluntary sector organisations in the UK. It provides advice and online training courses in campaigning, funding and strategy. It also provides careers information through its Working for a Charity site.
- Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) - supports charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises in Scotland. It also offers training and events.