Higher Apprenticeships in Accounting



Did you know, some of the UK's leading accounting firms offer apprenticeships? Utter hogwash, you might be thinking, but it's not. 

Perhaps you also haven't heard, accounting apprenticeships are fee-free, and pay a salary for the duration of the programme. 

If you just let out a small scream, or wet yourself a wee bit (in excitement), a higher apprenticeship in accounting might be the perfect option for you. 

Keep reading for our expert guide to higher apprenticeships in accounting. We will reveal how they work, where to find the vacancies and why may be a better option for you than going to university. 

If you're interested in a career in accounting, choose a higher apprenticeship. 



Looking for a more in-depth overview of higher apprenticeships? Make sure you check out our highly informative and creatively named Guide to Higher Apprenticeships.


What is a higher apprenticeship in accounting?

Higher apprenticeships in accounting are schemes designed for school leavers aged 18 or above. These schemes are an alternative route for young people to get into the accountancy sector. University is no longer the only pathway to a career as an accountant. 

Accounting higher apprenticeships are a combination of on-the-job training and academic study. Higher apprentices work full-time for an accounting firm and study for accountancy qualifications on the side. 

A higher apprenticeship in accounting is an opportunity for you to get serious work experience, develop practical skills and gain valuable qualifications on the side. 

Higher apprentices are treated as a full-time employee, and are consequently paid a wage for the duration of the scheme. The salaries for higher apprenticeships range from £15,000 all the way up to a frightening £30,000. In addition, there are no course fees to pay, or monstrous debts waiting to ambush you at the end of the apprenticeship. 

If you sit at home, misty-eyed and dreaming about a career in accountancy, a higher apprenticeship is your golden ticket. (Think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.)



How do higher apprenticeships in accounting work?

Higher apprentices split their time between working for an accounting firm, and studying at a college or training facility. Some employers will send you to an external training facility, others might  keep your training in-house. 

It is important to note, the majority of a higher apprenticeship is spent in the work place. If you prefer learning through practical work over sitting in a classroom, a higher apprenticeship is an option to seriously consider. 

The structure of a higher apprenticeship is dependent on the accounting firm you are working for.  For instance, you might work with your employer for a number of consecutive weeks, and then be released for a week-long study period at college. Or, you could spend four days of the week at an accounting firm, and one day studying at college. No matter the structure of the scheme, all higher apprentices benefit from the blend of practical and academic training. 

Higher apprentices in accounting last three to four years, and apprentices are expected to have at least thirty contact hours a week. 


In this short video, a bright-minded school leaver with wondrous hair explains why he decided to do a higher apprenticeship in accounting with BDO.


What qualifications will you get?

If you complete a higher apprenticeship, you will be awarded with...

  • Level 4 Competence Qualification
  • Knowledge based qualification (most probably an accounting-based Higher National Diploma, a foundation degree and even an undergraduate degree)

The professional qualifications you could also gain include: 

  • AAT - Diploma in Accounting
  • ACCA - Diploma in Accounting & Business
  • ATT - Tax Technician
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    ICAEW - Certificate in Finance, Accounting & Business
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    ICAS - Professional Diploma in Accounting, Finance & Tax
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    CIMA - Certificate in Business Accounting
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    CIPFA - Professional Certificate

Entry Requirements

The entry requirements for higher apprenticeships in accounting can vary from company to company, however employers generally look for employers who have...

  • at least two A levels
  • an advanced apprenticeship in accounting (or related)
  • and are aged 18 or above

Higher apprenticeships in accounting: Reviews

RateMyApprenticeship has thousands of reviews of higher apprenticeships in accounting. Each review is written by a higher apprentice who has finished, or is still completing their scheme. 

The reviews provide an insight into the day-to-day experiences of accounting higher apprentices. They can shed light on what it's like to work for one of the UK's biggest accountancy firms. 

Every reviewer gives an overviews of the structure and content of their apprenticeship, the opportunities available outside of work and the support received from the employer. 

Our reviews of higher apprenticeships in accounting can help you choose the right scheme. The button below will disappear you to our reviews page. 


For a marvellously detailed guide to the accounting sector, check out our industry guide to Accounting Apprenticeships.


Why should you do a higher apprenticeship in accounting? 

Just in case you haven't already been convinced, here are four brilliant reasons why you simply have to apply for a higher apprenticeship in accounting...

  • They are a pathway to nationally certified accountancy qualifications.
  • You will have the opportunity to work with, and learn from experienced professionals in the accountancy industry.
  • There are no course fees to pay! University students graduate with an average debt of £44k, and have no guarantee of a graduate job either. In comparison, higher apprentices earn while they learn, and 70% of apprentices stay with their employer once their scheme has ended.
  • Accounting apprentices are highly employable! The focus on practical training, as well as academic training, gives accounting apprentices the experience, the qualifications and the skills that all employers value.   



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