The decision to choose a diploma over a qualification like a degree is an important life choice that needs to be made in absolute confidence. In an increasingly competitive job market; with ever-evolving, diverse skill-sets in demand; vocational education’s focus on industry relevance works well for those know what they want to do.

You could be close to finishing your secondary education and looking for the first logical step in your career journey. Maybe you’ve just passed your grade 8 and eager to find another challenge? You might even be a seasoned professional who feels they need to reinvigorate their career with a new approach. Other diploma students have been in their occupation for a few years and know that the right qualification will escalate pay rise or promotion opportunities. Rockschool's Professional Diplomas can benefit a wide variety of creatives and educators (especially creative educators) who understand the importance of professionalising their passion to further their career opportunities.

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Industry Focused

Many have found that university degrees will focus a lot of time of theoretical knowledge that may not prepare you for the tasks at hand in the industry of your choice. Vocational education gives you the opportunity to understand the skills that all of your potential employers may demand from you right away. Once you are qualified, you should feel confident that you can apply yourself immediately and capably showcase your talents in an interview and a professional setting.

Recognisable Skills

There is currently a shortage of vocational workers in a range of sectors. Many newcomers to practical roles can have a skill-deficit when it comes to the application of said role from the get-go. The Confederate of British Industry has outlined the seven skills that define employability as: self-management, team work, business and customer awareness, problem solving, communication, numeracy, and IT skills. We’re confident that Professional Diploma students in these disciplines have developed all seven of these skills to a level that may actually exceed that attained by those found in Bachelor degree graduates.

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Ready to Earn Immediately

Due to the point raised in ‘Recognisable Skills’ (above), Diplomas graduates put themselves in a good position to find paid work within their first year applying. The ability to apply the practical skills learnt pre and post Diploma put a lost of applicants in a stronger position when applying to paid positions, bypassing the lack of financial rewards that come with having to seek out internships and/or short term work placements in order to prove your worth as an employee.

Shorter Study Times

University degrees require a minimum of three years of full-time study, while diplomas can often reward you in a much shorter time-scale, solely based on your own desire to complete the tasks at hand in your own time. Rockschool’s Professional Diplomas have been specifically designed with this option in mind. Due to the practical nature of diplomas, the amount of time you spend learning and completing assignments will be greatly lessened, allowing you to enter the workforce and reap the benefits sooner. Another huge advantage that comes with choosing a Diploma over a 3-4 year degree program.

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Value for Money

Undergraduate degrees can cost upwards of £27,000 in course fee alone, whereas diplomas can cost less than £1000 (course dependant). In addition, just like university degrees, the government offers some schemes providing financial support for people looking to undertake courses such as a Professional Diploma. To check out your eligibility, you can the view the UK Gov student finance page here.

Easy Access

Particularly for secondary school graduates; many universities can require specific entry requirements, with an extremely competitive application process for acceptance into highly sought after courses with limited-seats. Vocational courses are less reliant on these scores, giving you a better chance of being accepted into the course of your choice. When courses are conducted online – like our own Pro-Diplomas – there is no limit on the number of students that can be accepted to study.


The best vocational education courses can be started at any time of the year because unlike degrees, they don’t have to follow a strict term-calendar like those assigned to undergraduate degrees. Being able to complete your qualification online, in your own time, means you can fit your studies into your current schedule – whether you’re still completing other studies or working part or full time. If timing or wider flexibility is a big factor for you, then a diploma is a smart and accessible choice.


With the right qualifications, you’ll be in a great position to understand your career choices and utilise the skills learnt during your studies in the right environment from the beginning. In many cases, a diploma is the best answer. It comes at a fraction of the cost, time and effort, and equips you with the practical, career- specific skills that should give you the confidence to start the career of your choice.

Ready to take the next step? Read the syllabus specifications for Level 4 and Level 6 qualifications now by clicking on the image above.