Find out more about the professional entry route - and become a Chartered Accountant (CA)
The professional route to becoming an ICAS Chartered Accountant enables finance professionals and experienced graduates to train as a CA and take their careers to another level.
This route is ideal if you’re an experienced professional or graduate currently working in an accountancy or finance role with an employer that isn’t ICAS authorised. You’ll need to be able to work under the guidance of a Chartered Accountant within your current organisation.
You can study and sit your exams at times to suit you, make use of our online learning option and training locations UK-wide.
It’s a highly flexible route to becoming a CA, which should help you manage existing work and personal commitments, allow you keep your existing job, or even change jobs, without impacting the training.
Whatever path you follow, adding the prestigious CA letters to your name will boost your career and open opportunities at the top of accounting, business and industry.
Take the next step toward your CA qualification:
What to expect
- takes approximately 3-5 years
- min 450 days of work experience
- flexible study options
- attend classes at locations UK-wide
Three to five years’ supported study
The professional entry route to becoming a CA takes around three to five years. The qualification is rated at the same level as a master’s degree and organised to cover everything from the essentials to advanced principles of accounting, business and ethics.
We’ll provide support throughout your studies, offering high-quality information, advice and guidance.
Alongside attending taught classes, you’ll need to complete a minimum of 50 days of compulsory study and demonstrate 450 to 750 days of work experience.
Flexible study options
It’s a flexible route, with opportunities to help fit the study around your current circumstances. You can even complete the CA syllabus online, through our learning management system (LMS), and take your exams online too.
Choice of training locations
Classes are delivered UK-wide, in the following locations:
You can enrol with ICAS at any time, begin your training plan and take your exams at different times. However, classes for Test of Competence – the first stage of the syllabus – generally commence in September to October of each year.
- 5 years’ financial experience
- or a university degree
- a Chartered Accountant mentor
- fees lower than many MBAs
Experienced finance professionals
Many of our students following this route to becoming a CA are existing professionals holding the minimum requirement of five years of experience in a finance or accounting role.
The professional entry route is also open to graduates who are currently employed in a finance or accounting role.
Your degree doesn’t need to be accountancy-related, and you can apply with an international degree – just confirm that it’s comparable to a UK degree.
Chartered Accountant Mentor
As well as being employed in a finance or accounting role, you must be able to work under the mentorship of a Chartered Accountant (who is an Approved Counselling Member or member of a reciprocal body) within your organisation.
Consequently, the professional entry route is not suitable for the self-employed or sole traders.
Comparatively low fees
Costs can vary, depending on exemptions and location of classes, but are in the range of £6,182 to £14,136. The cost of training is considerably less than many MBAs and other accountancy qualifications.
Your first step to becoming a CA via the professional entry route is to register your interest. We’ll get in touch with all the additional information required to get you started.
Take the next step toward your CA qualification:
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
Can international students/graduates become a CA?
International students from outside the UK must confirm the UK-comparability of their degree and the employer’s requirements before applying for an ICAS CA training position.
How is the ICAS CA qualification structured?
The ICAS CA qualification sits at the level of a master’s degree and is structured to deliver the skills and knowledge you’ll need to succeed.
- 13 technical subjects covered
- accounting, finance and broader business skills
- gain real-world, professional experience
- dedicated Public Trust & Ethics assessment
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 do I apply for a CA training agreement?
Our dedicated job site Becomeaca.org.uk offers an interesting range of firms to work and train with, from small local companies to large corporations.
What are the other routes to becoming a Chartered Accountant?
There are various routes to becoming an ICAS Chartered Accountant (CA), with options for school leavers, graduates, professionals and apprentices:
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.