The ICAS CA qualification course syllabus and structure

The ICAS Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification is structured to deliver the skills and knowledge you’ll need to succeed in business and beyond.

  • 13 technical subjects covered
  • accounting, finance and broader business skills
  • gain real-world, professional experience
  • dedicated Public Trust & Ethics assessment

Your working life may present a variety of complex and unpredictable situations, so we’ve designed our CA qualification to help you formulate and communicate professional solutions, no matter what comes along.

Through a mix of study and practical workplace experience you’ll gain technical expertise in finance and accounting, alongside broader business skills in management, analysis, communication, presentation and ethics.

The 5 steps to becoming a CA

  1. Meet the entry requirements – Highers, A Levels, a degree or relevant professional experience.
  2. Secure a training agreement and earn a competitive salary whilst you study.
  3. Gain real-world, workplace experience and record it in your Achievement Log.
  4. Professional study – with our support you’ll study and pass the three levels of the CA qualification, and the dedicated Public Trust & Ethics assessment.
  5. Apply for ICAS membership and add those all-important letters – CA – to your name.

The CA qualification structure

Test of Competence (TC)

The building blocks of the CA qualification. Develop core knowledge across six key areas:

  • Assurance & Reporting
  • Business Acumen
  • Finance
  • Financial Accounting
  • Management Information & Technology
  • Tax

Exemptions are available for up to five of the six TC papers.

Test of Professional Skills (TPS)

Apply your technical knowledge to real-world, professional situations. Subjects studied:

  • Strategic Finance & Modelling
  • Assurance & Data
  • Financial Reporting
  • Business Tax
  • Risk & Technology

Test of Professional Expertise (TPE)

The final level brings together everything you’ve learned TC and TPS.

Case Study (TPE)

Work on a multi-disciplinary case study, advising on a complex business scenario.

Public Trust & Ethics (PTE)

Business ethics is a theme of the entire qualification and concludes with a dedicated assessment in the final year.

Relevant Practical Experience (RPE)

To qualify as a CA, you’ll also need to have worked a minimum of 450 days of relevant practical experience and recorded it in your Achievement Log.

This stage can either be achieved working with an ICAS-authorised employer or through the professional entry route.

Learn more about the CA qualification structure, classes and learning outcomes with the full course syllabus:

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Get started

Your first step to becoming a Chartered Accountant is to secure a training agreement with one of our partner employers across the UK.

Our dedicated Become a CA website advertises the latest vacancies, with opportunities across a variety of industries and professions.

The range of available employers varies, from big accountancy firms and large corporations, to government offices, smaller start-ups and local companies, so you’re bound to find a training vacancy that fits.

Find a CA training vacancy that's right for you:

Training with an accountancy firm

Many CA students will train in ‘public practice’ at an accountancy firm. Your first three years of work will be devoted to achieving your qualification. You'll be given plenty of responsibility from the outset – supervising junior staff, working with clients, etc – and be involved in many interesting and challenging projects. This all furthers your development as a successful business professional. Find your training vacancy.

Training in industry and commerce

Our TOPP (Training Outside Public Practice) scheme is designed specifically to meet the needs of industry and commerce. You’ll be trained to the same high standards, and follow the same syllabus, as those training within accountancy firms. Rather than waiting to employ newly qualified CAs from audit firms, many industry employers now choose ICAS to train CAs directly and meet their specific needs from the outset. Find your training vacancy.

Training in the public sector

Government and public-sector organisations face challenging financial times. As a result, there is a steady demand for Chartered Accountants to help ensure efficient and effective management. This need is reflected in a range of opportunities for students to train within the public sector. Find your training vacancy.

Training in the Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are widely recognised as a key financial-services centre and a place where demand will always exist for well-trained Chartered Accountants. All CA students there are taught face-to-face in Jersey by ICAS lecturers, who are themselves qualified CAs. And due to the intensive nature of the course, students can be technically qualified within 12 months, quicker than any other professional accountancy body on the Islands. In addition, ICAS is the only accountancy body there to design, examine and deliver our qualification from start to finish. Find your training vacancy.

Training locations

Depending on where your employer is based, you’ll attend classes in one of the following locations: Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Luton or Reading. We also offer training opportunities in the Channel Islands.

We strive to ensure that standards of teaching and student support are consistently high across all locations. So, no matter where you train, you’ll receive the first-class ICAS experience. Find your training vacancy.

Why should I become a Chartered Accountant?

With the prestigious ICAS CA qualification you’ll unlock some of the most powerful and rewarding positions in business and accounting, in the UK and abroad.

  • qualify for more than accountancy
  • wear the CA badge of prestige
  • unlock international opportunities
  • competitive salaries and job security
  • join a global business community
  • ICAS’ unrivalled professional support

Where do I apply for a CA training agreement?

Our dedicated job site offers an interesting range of firms to work and train with, from small local companies to large corporations.

Do I qualify for any exemptions to the CA qualification?

Exemptions may be available from five out of six papers of the Test of Competence (TC) level, depending on your qualifications and memberships.

Who may be eligible for an exemption?

  • graduates with an ICAS-accredited degree
  • graduates with some non-ICAS-accredited degrees
  • members of AAT & ICAEW

Where can I download the ICAS 'Become a CA' brochure?

Our Become a CA brochure gives you more information on ICAS, why you should become a CA, and all the training steps required to become a CA.

Download the brochure


  • Become a Chartered Accountant
  • CA Students
  • Professional Entry Route
  • School leavers route
  • Student support
  • Training principals
  • University route
  • Train CAs

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