Apprenticeship vs. university

The end of school is an important decision time in your life.

If you’re asking yourself 'What should I do after A levels?' or 'What should I do after school?', don’t assume that you must go to university to launch a successful and rewarding career in finance.

Gets skills and experience right away

As an accounting apprentice, you’ll be gaining skills and experience earlier. You get to make an immediate impact in your job and demonstrate the value you bring to an employer.

Avoid debt, make money

With an apprenticeship, you’ll be earning money and avoiding building up the debt that can come with studying at university.

A recent report by the Sutton Trust, an education charity that focuses on improving social mobility, showed that high-quality apprenticeships lead to lifetime earnings comparable with those achieved by graduates.

Apprenticeship vs university comparison

For a comparison of the pros and cons of an apprenticeship versus university route to becoming an ACCA member, download our infographic (.png format, 93KB)





Free to you

Cost is funded by employer and government

c.GBP9k per year (England/Wales only) plus living expenses

Ave. GBP50k debt on graduation (cGBP5.8k of which will be interest)

12 months minimum

Three years+

Source of income:

Earn while you learn

Part-time work on-top of study to fund lifestyle


On-the-job work experience: practical and transferable skills

Little or no work experience

Academic skills and knowledge that are often hard to relate to work environment. 

Education level:

Degree pathways available

Bachelor’s degree or higher


Start building your professional network

Social life, sports and activities and new connections


ACCA Apprenticeship is a respected professional award and includes a Diploma qualification

Recognised degree with access to graduate schemes


Five years to become a fully chartered certified accountant

Six years to become a full certified chartered accountant

Last updated: 19 Feb 2018