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There are 3 types of intellectual qualifications one can have and use to earn a living from.

They are Academic, Professional, and Vocational Qualifications. Let us explain each of them.

Academic Qualification

Academic Qualification is the degree or diploma gotten after one studied in a university, polytechnic or college. An example of Academic Qualification is a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering.

A major advantage of having an academic qualification is that there are fields that are so hugely regulated that without having a degree or diploma in that field, one can never practise it. An example is Medicine.

To be a qualified medical doctor, one must study Medicine and/or Surgery at undergraduate level (MBBS) from an accredited medical school and must pass certain exams. One cannot study Engineering at undergraduate level and say he or she wants to cross over to Medicine. The person has to go back and read Medicine and/or Surgery at undergraduate level (MBBS) again to become a Medical Doctor.

Professional Qualification

Professional Qualification is a certificate or membership one gained that prepared the person for a profession outside what was studied in the university. An example of a Professional Qualification is becoming a Professional Member of the Institute of Chartered Accounts of Nigeria (ICAN).

Anyone can become a qualified accountant via ICAN. One does not need to study Accounting at the university to become one. This is a major advantage of professional qualifications.

Another major advantage is that there are some courses that are not studied or popular in conventional universities but are only available in professional institutes. Examples are Customer Service, Human Resources, Procurement, Welding, and the likes. One can study something else at undergraduate level and take exams of a professional institute and become a professional in that field.

Vocational Qualification

A Vocational Qualification is something one can do by learning or observing via basic informal, non-academic, or professional training or by natural gifting. Usually, a vocational qualification does not have a certificate to prove it. Rather, the proof of a vocational qualification is a physical product or service one offers.

Examples include trades like sewing, cooking, hair plaiting, applying makeup, driving. Natural gifts like drawing, singing, and dancing are also examples. Computer skills such as using software to type documents, edit images or videos and so on are also examples of vocational qualifications.

Once one goes to a formal institute to get certified, such a person could now be seen as a professional and maybe register the vocation as a business. Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC) may ask for a training certificate before they allow someone like a caterer to register a food business.

The good thing about vocations is that it can be learned easily, fast, at a cheap cost and one can start earning from it quickly. Also, they are not that regulated.

So think about this. How many qualifications do you have? How many of them are you earning from?

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