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A professional qualification is essential to practise in some professions (such as accountancy, surveying and many areas of engineering), while in others it is not required but may be offered by graduate employers to help you develop more in-depth knowledge alongside your role. Professional bodies set the formal route for qualification, covering examinations and assessment, competence and experience required, and standards for professional ethics. If you join a graduate training programme that is accredited by a professional body, that institution will have assessed the employer to ensure that you receive the training, range of experience and support needed to give you every chance to qualify. You don’t have to wait until you are employed to benefit from the resources and knowledge base of a professional body, as many offer student memberships too. Training courses from organisations other than professional bodies can also help you develop your skills, whether you undertake them independently as a student or through your employer.