What Are Professional Qualifications in Singapore?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 24 January 2023

Published 11 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A professional qualification may enable you to earn a higher income or qualify for new employment. If you want to further your career, you may consider taking a professional qualification course or enrolling in another educational programme. Learning more about professional credentials can help you decide which is best for your career objectives. In this article, we define professional credentials, provide some examples of professional qualifications in Singapore and discuss the advantages of obtaining a professional designation.

What are professional qualifications in Singapore?

You may obtain professional credentials through further career training. Professional qualifications may be necessary to qualify for a certain job. If you're an accountant, for instance, it's important for you to finish a professional programme to become a chartered accountant. Some professions, such as becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), lawyer or physician, need a professional training. Professional certification may be optional in other career sectors, but it may help you get a competitive job or join a professional group. Professional certifications may assist you in swiftly enhancing your career advancement and earning potential.

Some professional certifications are equal to obtaining a master's degree or higher. This is because they demand intensive training and the ability to take and pass difficult tests. You may complete lecture courses and a vocation or on-the-job training to acquire a professional certificate. Sometimes, you may take a test at the conclusion of the programme to demonstrate your understanding. The durations and criteria for these programmes might differ based on the job sector and kind of qualification. They typically take one to five years to finish.

What are examples of common professional qualifications?

Almost all industries demand a form of professional qualification. The following are the most well-known professional qualifications in Singapore:


When you study law, you can assist businesses and individuals with all legal issues. Many positions in the legal profession need professional certification and accreditation to be practised. The Singapore Institute of Legal Education (SILE) provides information on "qualified people," entrance criteria and degree and university requirements. Depending on your speciality, your precise tasks may involve preparing legal papers, interpreting the law, attending court trials and assisting clients in understanding it. You may complete some legal research regularly and provide useful advice to clients as part of the requirements.

Related: What Is a Lawyer Salary? Plus 13 Law Careers To Explore


The Singapore CA Qualification is a thorough postgraduate accountancy curriculum that is going to prepare you to become a Chartered Accountant (CA) of Singapore. As an accountant, you're responsible for aiding individuals and companies with tax preparation and financial planning. You may also be responsible for analysing financial information, preparing tax forms, supervising audits and ensuring that professionals or organisations pay taxes on schedule. You may also perform frequent audits to ensure that all corporate investments are accurate.

Related: How To Become a Freelance Accountant

Civil engineering

The Professional Engineers Board (PEB) registers professional engineers in all engineering disciplines in Singapore. As a civil engineer, you're responsible for creating, enhancing and preserving the environment. You may design, supervise and participate in the building of many forms of infrastructure, such as roads, buildings, bridges, dams, tunnels, railroads and trains.

Related: 14 Types of Engineering Jobs (With Salary Information)


As a highly trained medical professional, your duty as a surgeon is to operate on patients. The Singapore Medical Council (SMC) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Health responsible for maintaining Singapore's Register of Medical Practitioners, administering the mandatory continuing medical education program and governing registered medical practitioners' professional ethics and conduct. You might specialise in specific body areas, such as oral, paediatric, neurological or reconstructive surgery. You may also diagnose, treat injuries and collaborate with other medical experts to improve public health.


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What are the entry requirements to obtain professional qualifications?

The admission criteria for any professional degree are mostly dependent on the criteria and regulations established by the governing body in a given sector. Some courses are available to anybody who wants to study them, while others require a degree beforehand and others demand an A-level equivalent education. Some positions also require on-the-job training in a specialised sector. The advantage of these entrance barriers is that after you have finished one level or test, you're immediately qualified to move to the next level to enhance your professional certification.

Advantages of obtaining professional certifications

The following are some of the potential advantages of obtaining a professional certification:

Enhanced job opportunities

A professional qualification may enable you to be considered for more opportunities. Some jobs need a professional designation or a relevant degree. A qualifying programme, for instance, may assist you in launching a career as a lawyer, doctor, physician or chartered professional.

Higher earning potential

A professional qualification may enable you to negotiate and earn a greater wage. The designation can demonstrate to a potential employer your talents and advanced training. Depending on your employer and position, this may help you qualify for greater pay.

Improved competitive advantage

When looking for a new job, a professional designation may assist a hiring manager or recruiter notice your resume. In a position where a professional certification isn't required, it might be an added bonus that can help you get an interview. Consider including your professional qualifications in the certification or education part of your resume to highlight your specific expertise.

More possibilities for advancement

Professional credentials may assist you in obtaining higher-level employment. For instance, after achieving a specific designation, you may be eligible for an internal promotion or a new post. A professional qualification can help you fight for promotion in positions where the qualification is optional by demonstrating your advanced abilities.

A more diverse skill set

You may be able to gain specific talents while enrolled in a professional certification programme. You can also improve the talents you currently have. For instance, if you're a seasoned financial expert, a CFA programme can help you strengthen your present financial abilities while acquiring new ones.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Discussed below are the answers to some FAQs about professional qualifications:

How much time does it take to finish a professional course?

Professional qualifications vary in length, with some taking only a few weeks to obtain and others needing years of study and tests. The variance also relies on how many hours per week you wish to devote to the course, with part-time courses lasting longer than full-time ones. For instance, the ACCA credentials for accountants take three or more years to complete, including all tests and work experience. Other professional bodies simply provide tests and you may choose how to prepare for them by studying alone or attending a training provider's course.

Is a degree a professional qualification?

If you want to expand your skill set and perhaps advance your job, you might consider pursuing professional certification or a degree. Both choices can help you accomplish your job objectives, but it's critical to understand how they vary when deciding on a path for your education. The focus of a degree is often broader and can be applied to various industries. The timeline of a professional qualification is often longer as it requires work experience.

What should you write in professional qualification?

If you want to include professional qualifications in your resume, you can use reverse chronological order, so your most recent credential comes first. Include the governing body's official name, the name of your qualification and the dates you completed it. You can put it under the education, certifications or professional courses section.

What is a professional qualification and academic qualification?

Academic qualifications, as opposed to professional degree programmes, which provide training for a specific position, are more research-oriented and focus on a single subject of study. You can use academic qualifications in a range of various occupations. You may earn an academic degree after a set period spent studying theoretical aspects of a certain area instead of in-depth practical applications. Professional credentials provide you with the knowledge and abilities to do a certain profession.

Related: Professional Qualifications vs. Academic Degrees: A Guide

What is the cost of a professional course?

The cost of a professional course varies because it depends on several factors. To estimate its worth, you may consider the intensity of the course and its relevance to your professional progress. You may also look at how different trainers charge because everyone has their own method of valuing the material they teach.

Make sure you also check to see if there are any additional exam expenses. You may be eligible for a postgraduate scholarship if you study for professional certification as part of your master's degree. Your employer may volunteer to pay for your professional course in exchange for a contractual commitment from you.

Related: 11 Postgrad Degrees to Boost Your Employment Chances

Which professional qualification should you pursue?

It's important that you carefully consider your alternatives and enrol in a professional course that's appropriate for you and can provide real advantages. If you want more advice or recommendations, you can contact the relevant professional body. It may also be worthwhile to discuss professional qualifications with your manager, the human resources department or your mentor to obtain advice on the qualifications they believe are important in your field.

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